Tru unveils iPad local rate data-pricing for UK, US and Oz
'Local anywhere' outfit does fondleslabs
Multi-country "local anywhere" mobile operator Tru is launching a £20-a-month iPad bundle that currently provides local rate broadband in the UK, US and Australia. A similar package will be available in the US "shortly", according to the company, which also intends to add Spain, Hong Kong and the Netherlands to its roster of countries in Q3 of this year, with a further 20 in 2012.
The iPad bundle includes a 1GB-a-month allowance, on a 12-month contract. Out of bundle pricing is 10p/MB in the UK and US, and 8p/MB in Australia. Roaming in rates in non-Tru countries can also be cheaper than those charged by established UK mobile operators. Roaming in Europe, for example, £1.25/MB, while Canada is £2.50/MB and rest of world £5/MB. The Register's corporate O2 account, on the other hand, whacks us for £2.55/MB in Europe and £6/MB outside Europe.
The out-of-bundle data rates for the iPad product are the same as for Tru's handset products, but as the iPad version obviously doesn't include voice the pricing is a tad different. A Basic Tru voice and data SIM costs £10 a month with no contract, while pricing on business products can be seen here. The Tru SIM can have local numbers for other Tru countries bolted onto it for £5 a month, while business customers get two numbers as part of the package. Local call rates are available in Tru countries whether or not you have a local number, however.
You could say Tru is a pretty well-kept secret, as our very own Bill Ray remarked last year, "perhaps the clever stuff will follow once Truphone has expanded its retail channel beyond British Airways customers* and its own website." Well it still hasn't expanded its retail channel, but a spokesman for the company claimed that customers are increasingly coming to the company "from a CIO or CFO perspective", driven by the crippling cost of international roaming rates. They still need to know about the possible escape routes before they can take them, of course ... ®
* Disclosure: the writer hadn't heard of Tru either until one more G&T than was good for him drove him to read the BA in-flight catalogue, and he thought £15 for a multi-country SIM experiment was worth a punt. So far it seems to have been, and it's worth noting that Tru doesn't object to tethering, so there's no problem setting up your own Wi-Fi hotspot when you're travelling.
seems a bit pricy
1GB a month is not a lot, and the out of package data charges are - as always - eyewateringly steep. You say that it can be used to tether, but do so and your data use will go through the roof (and through the 1GB limit) quicker than you can say youtube.
Vodafone has Data Traveller
Vodafone's DataTraveller has two options:
One costs you either £2/day for 5 or 25MB (depending on country) in Europe, or £5/day for 25MB elsewhere in the world.
The other is to choose a price plan above £40/month and get Data Traveller included FOC.
You can always use your iPad on WiFi with your iPhone personal hotspot switched on... :-)
AWS in the US
The problem I found with Truphone in the US is that they partner with T-Mobile who use a slightly different 3G frequency to the rest of the universe. You need AWS compatible equipment that can transmit on 1700MHz.
There aren't that many good devices that support AWS, the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 don't so you drop down to Edge when you use Truphone in America :(