Hybrid mobile/VoIP/wifi phones with local number addon abilities – MaxRoam and Cubic Phones

Kind of how I’d describe the new Roam4Free now known as MaxRoam products. Pat has launched the new roaming service as well as the mobile phones themelves at Techcrunch and already Scoble thinks the product is the biz. I think a lot of people will realise how good it is in a while. Not that the Engadget folks or their followers seem to be able to get their head around it.

I got to play with the phones and quiz Pat a little on how the service worls. The roaming part is easy enough. You get a sim. It has a number. When you roam, you get cheaper deals by routing over the MaxRoam network. You can add a new local number for the country you are in by adding it to the sim online for a fee. Clever. This means you can create a whole lot of local virtual offices and they all route to one mobile. Americans roaming in Spain? Get a sim with an American number, have Americans contact them on that and have local Spanish business people contact them on a Spanish number that they add to the sim. Come back to America and the Spaniards can still use the Spanish number to contact you.

The phones, they’re nice. Mobile and WiFi. Free handset to handset calls over WiFi networks and a small charge if you call via WiFi and terminate on a non cubic phone. Love this idea.

Everything about this is great except I am really really not a fan of the website. Business people won’t appreciate how informal it is, it does not look professional and I think it might be good to do some SEO work on the site too. I’m not sure how these people do it, but some sites appear BIG, like they are built to serve millions, this looks nothing like that.

Press release blurb:

Cubic Mobile is a dual-band GSM/Wi-Fi phone that comes with several major innovations enabling callers to make and receive low-cost calls around the planet, wherever they roam:

* MAXroam: the world’s first universal SIM card, offering consumers the best country-to-country phone rates anywhere. The MAXroam SIM, which can also be purchased separately, is a major breakthrough, and the result of years of negotiations with GSM carriers around the world.

* As many phone numbers as you like: full PBX functionality on the handset. Consumers get a single phone number, but can create multiple permanent local numbers for themselves – up to 50 – anywhere around the globe. All calls are forwarded to their Cubic Mobile phone, no matter where the calls originate, at the best rates for the callers.

* All Voice over IP (VoIP) calls within the Cubic network are free. All Cubic Mobile customers get a short code that they can use to make free VoIP calls to any other customer on the Cubic network. This is an especially attractive feature to families who live across borders and globally distributed companies and workgroups.

Cubic Mobile has been designed by a team with extensive experience in consumer and wireless technologies. It also has the ability to route a call to the lowest cost network available, whether it is GSM or Wi-Fi. “It’s consumer friendly in many ways, said Pat Phelan. “It is friendly in its utter simplicity, but also friendly in its ability to also ensure that you and your callers are always getting the lowest rates”.

Pricing and Availability
* Cubic Mobile, which comes in two models, will be available from October 1st at www.cubictelecom.com. The basic model will sell for EUR99.95 and a Windows Mobile version at EUR159.95 (both handsets come with a MAXroam SIM included and an initial EUR5 calling credit).

* MAXroam, which operates on any unlocked GSM phone, can be purchased separately for EUR29.99 (with an initial EUR5 calling credit) and is available on September 24th at www.maxroam.com.

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14 Responses to “Hybrid mobile/VoIP/wifi phones with local number addon abilities – MaxRoam and Cubic Phones”

  1. Cubic Telecom presents Maxroam at TechCrunch 40…

    OK, the embargo is over. For one and a half hours I already had the press release but wasn’t allow to tell. But now, finally, Roam4Free’s Pat Phelan has revealed at TechCrunch 40 his new product Maxroam. TechCrunch is blogging live from the presentat…

  2. Pat Phelan says:

    Thanks Damien
    Bushed here, just wanted to go to bed for a month, we will begin an educational demonstration for webbsite next
    all good here

  3. Aido says:

    Sounds fantastic – quick question springs to mind
    From the above example you are American with a Spanish number and back on US soil. If you call a Spanish contact using the handset which number is displayed, your original number or your country specific number?

  4. Gerry says:

    Hey this sounds cool, will Vodafone, O2, Meteor and the other shower of… operators… allow us to port our number to this? Or since it already works off an existing network, this shouldn’t be a problem, or is it?

  5. It’s time to finally let us know the real rates at:

    http://www.maxroam.com/how-much-does-it-cost.asp

    :)

  6. Sinéad says:

    Engadget are far too busy crawling up inside Steve Jobs to try figure this one out.

  7. Eoin says:

    Exciting stuff as someone who can spend up to €300 per month roaming and have customers in 22 countries I can’t wait, it looks like it will beat any other solution out there hands down

    Eoin

  8. Tom says:

    Overall sound like a good product. A couple things I noticed: accuracy is not there on the website(in the FAQ it declares a savings of over &5% in one example; I took out mu calculator its only 58%) This is not acceptable marketing. When you present something as a value product don’t exagerate the numbers this will only make it appear as a scam. I do not believe anything is intentional(more likely an oversight) but still they need to fix that.

    My other issue is that this is being promoted as a value product. Device prices are up on the site. The low WiFi cubic prices are up. The very very significant MAXroam prices for gsm are not. This is in bad taste at the least. I really hope that the product does not actually go for sale without clear disclosure of all pricing. That is really not all that uncommen in the US telecom market(sometimes you call a CS person and they have no way of pull up rates to for example european mobile phones.) I expect a product from an irish company to have the sort of very comprehensive rate listing normal for european telecom companies.

  9. The problem is that the device they sell as a Business device, is from some other century. You cannot launch a device based on Windows Mobile 5, when a Windows Mobile 6 is out for so long. It is like Dell marketing their new laptop as a fantastic Windows ’98 device. Or a new Sony TV that,.. is just not flat?

  10. Damien says:

    Two phones, one with without windows mobile. one with. If you think that the success of a phone is reliant on a version of windows on a mobile you really need to do better analysis. It’s not about the OS of the phone, it’s about the whole service and platform.

  11. Tom says:

    I do not think that the phone is that big of an issue. Personally I see this as a product for people who know a bit about phone who will be purchasing the SIM card alone for use in an existing phone.

    It might not be specifically stated in th promo but aI am asuming you can subscriibe to cubic WiFi with any WiFi enabled phone. Any confiramation on this?

  12. Aido says:

    I have a device (XDA with slide screen, cant remember model).. my only gripe is that it doesn’t have a built-in GPS receiver, brutal battery life and runs hot! If Pats model can do all that my XDa could for that price I couldn’t complain. If it was also available with GPS receiver built it I would be converted. Most important element to me is that it has a reliable battery life and works as a phone (Calls/SMS) I could live without Mobile 6, MMS etc.

    As Damien says above its the whole package that’s the buiness

  13. Mary winston says:

    I am interested in more information about Maxroam for my son who is at
    college in Belfast. Where can I purchase a sim card and the asssociated top up credit for same.

  14. Ray Tehira says:

    Hi,
    could I get this service to work in my T32 iphone clone, and if so, for how much??
    I live in Oz. Can I get and use it here???????