A mobile hotspot that allows international business travellers to slash mobile internet costs and avoid "bill shock" abroad has been launched by communications company Voiamo.
The small black device, known as Globalgig, is light and portable and will power up to 5 devices including mobile phones, laptops or tablets without the need for any extra SIM cards. Customers can achieve download speeds of up to 7.2Mbps.
Instead of routing data through local networks and then back through the user's home country network, incurring huge charges, Globalgig keeps traffic within local networks (Sprint in the US, Three in the UK, and Optus in Australia).
Users can sign up for one of three monthly data contracts, priced at £15.00 for 1GB, £25.00 for 3GB and £35.00 for 5GB. Customers can upgrade, downgrade or terminate their contract by giving email notice up to 48 hours prior to the end of their billing cycle. The hotspot itself costs £79.00.
"It's time to bring an end to the rip-off data bills that business people face upon their return from travelling abroad on business trips, and to offer them a simple out-of-the-box solution." said Nigel Bramwell, Chief Executive Officer at Voiamo.
"Our simple Globalgig service brings people fast, secure, carrier-grade internet access through local mobile networks - enabling them to use videoconferencing, to surf the internet as they would ordinarily, and to email and receive large attachments."
The device is currently available to customers in the UK, US and Australia, and can be bought from the Globalgig online store. It will shortly also be available from Amazon.
Voiamo plans to expand the service to Asian and European markets, and to other large global travel hubs over the next 12 months, and also plans to launch a voice service in 2013 that allows users to subscribe to foreign mobile numbers as part of their contract
The news comes after a new law to lower the price of mobile phone roaming was passed by the European Union on 1 July. Under the new rules, the cost of a call will be no more than 0.29 per minute to make and 0.08 per minute to receive.
After July 2014, this will drop to 0.19 to call and 0.05 to receive. The cost of a text message between EU countries will cost no more than 0.09, and 0.06 from July 2014.
The law will also cap retail data roaming charges for the first time. The cost of downloading from the internet on a mobile phone in another EU country will be no more than 0.70 per megabyte from July and no more than 0.20 from July 2014.