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Irish firm launches 'global' mobile phone

'All global calls should be local calls'

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Irish start-up firm Cubic Telecom has launched what it claims is the first "truly global" mobile phone at a major industry exhibition in California.

The Cubic Mobile phone was launched Monday at the prestigious TechCrunch 40 trade show in San Francisco, where Cubic was the only Irish exhibitor of the 40 companies in attendance. The new phone is a dual-band GSM/Wi-Fi device that includes several features the company says will help reduce the cost of long-distance calling.

It uses the "MAXroam" SIM card, claimed to be the world's first universal SIM card, which offers favourable country-to-country phone rates anywhere in the world. Cubic says the card is the result of years of negotiations with GSM carriers around the world. The phone also offers full PBX functionality, allowing users to create up to 50 permanent local phone numbers for themselves. Cubic is also offering free Voice over IP (VoIP) calls within its network.

"We are living in a world where more and more people need to make phone calls across borders and while travelling. Our mantra is 'all global calls should be local calls', and we have built a product that can do that," Cubic CEO and co-founder Pat Phelan said in a statement.

Cubic says the new phone is aimed at three key sectors of the mobile market: Emigres who buy pre-paid calling cards to call friends and family overseas, travellers looking to reduce the costs associated with roaming, and globally distributed teams from commercial, not-for-profit or governmental organisations.

Two versions of the handset will be available from 1 October: A basic version priced at €99.95 and a Windows Mobile version selling for €159.95. Both devices come with the MAXroam SIM card pre-installed. The card can also be purchased separately for use in any unlocked GSM phone, priced at €29.99.

The launch of the Cubic Mobile comes after the company secured €5m of funding for the development of new products in August of this year. Cubic has offices in Canada and Portugal as well as headquarters in Cork and offers its services in 160 countries. The firm currently employs 10 people worldwide but says it is aiming to double its headcount by the end of the year.

© 2007 ENN

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