Roam Mobility, the Vancouver-based startup that helps Canadians travelling to the US to not get killed by roaming rates, has hit a pretty big break. Starting today anyone can buy its products, including SIM cards, cellphones and mobile hotspots, at Best Buy and Future Shop.
“Roam Mobility will be available for purchase in-store at all Best Buy and Future Shop locations across Canada,” said cofounder Christian Paul. “The team at Roam has worked extremely hard to get here, and we continuing our effort to improve the service and expand the network to new countries.”
The cofounder also foreshadowed some “big announcements” to come in the near future.
As the company explained in a release, there are 52 million crossings from Canada to the US every year and almost all Canadian travellers take a cell phone with them. Roaming is what happens when a Canadian phone jumps onto another network. While abroad both the Canadian and the US network charge people for using their mobile service, resulting in high fees.
Canadian roaming fees are the highest in the world. Each year Canadians spend $800 million on roaming fees alone. Half of those fees are spent on roaming while in the US.
Roam Mobility offers Canadians an alternative to outrageous roaming fees, through a partnership with T-Mobile USA. Roam can provide Canadians with direct access to its nationwide network in the US, reaching 96 percent of the population, for the same price a local would pay. “Because Roam doesn’t operate under a traditional roaming agreement, it’s able to offer transparent pricing that is 99 percent less than other service providers. We believe that’s a fair deal for Canadians,” wrote the company.
The company’s plans start at $2.95 for one day of talking and texting (unlimited talk and text, free long-distance calls to Canada, free voicemail and caller ID) and $3.95 for the same plan plus 300 mb worth of data. A data-only plan for tablets and mobile hotspots costs $7.95, including 300 mb of data that can be used over 3 days. Finally, its “Snowbird” plan gives users unlimited talking and texting plus 1 gb of data for $39.95 per month.
Roam Mobility was founded by Emir Aboulhosn, who helped build three successful companies before Roam in SynerDrive Technologies, Laplink, and Kinjoe. Laplink acquired SynerDrive,in 2004 for an undisclosed amount. Aboulhosn became Laplink’s vice president of global marketing communications, growing sales by nearly 50 percent over four years.