UROS thrives where users dare to roam
Low cost data roaming might sound like a contradiction in terms but Finnish company Uros has slashed the price of mobile connectivity.
The idea was born three years ago when the company’s founders, outraged by the costs of data when travelling, wondered why foreigners were not able to buy data at local prices. Starting at 5.90 euros per day, users of their Goodspeed service can get mobile internet access abroad. The service is now available in key business destinations in 60 countries.
“People are used to unlimited Internet access experience in their home countries and that’s the experience they would like to have abroad,” says UROS CEO Tommi Uhari.
“What we have done is make the price a non-issue.”
“Business travellers might be spending 200–500 euros a day on fares and hotels. For them, it is a no-brainer to pay the price we are asking.”
From its headquarters in Oulu, UROS is covering more and more of the globe with the service offered in the US, Canada, Latin America, Russia, China and Europe.
Uhari says there are one or two European destinations the company is still keen to cover but that most of their effort is going into African expansion at the moment.
He adds that if he could relive the last three years, he would think harder about marketing.
“For a new company, no matter how brilliant your product is, the challenge is always how do you get all the relevant people to know about it.”
“The main focus now is finding time to meet customers and talk to media so that more and more people realise that we have found an innovative way of providing this Internet freedom.”
Dialing globally locally
The Goodspeed device, which is roughly the size of an iPhone, functions as a portable Wi-Fi hotspot that can connect up to five devices at a time. It accommodates up to 10 SIM cards at once.
Users currently pay for three elements – the device, a monthly service fee and a day pass with a choice of plans to cater for different needs.
The pricing system is in line for a shake-up as users have indicated that they would rather see the cost of the device folded into the service fee. Starting this month, the device fee will be waived when users commit to a 24-month contract.
The days of SIM swapping and hefty roaming charges may be over but new challenges lie ahead.
“The next goal is for the device to support 4G/LTE,” says Uhari.
Text: Vincent Landon