Don’t you just hate it when you fail to get even a single “bar” of mobile phone reception? Especially when a mate – on a different network and sitting right next to you – is happily texting away whilst you are left to silently curse your operator.
A new offering on the UK market called Anywhere SIM promises to eliminate this frustrating problem. A Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), Anywhere claims it turns so-called “notspots” into hot spots, due to its SIM cards’ ability to use any of the major UK networks. The special SIMs are programmed to automatically connect to the network with the strongest signal, just like a foreign SIM would.
The new firm is able to operate this way due to a roaming agreement its parent company, Manx Telecom Ltd, has with the UK mobile industry’s big three operators – Vodafone, O2 and EE. Because Manx is based on the Isle of Man, users on the UK mainland are technically roaming all the time, thus allowing them the pick of networks.
As the big three operators themselves have so far resisted pressure from the government to offer national roaming, Anywhere SIM and its clever sidestepping of the current roaming rules offers the best chance for UK mobile phone users to avoid notspots.
Pricing is straightforward, if rather expensive, with each of three available tariffs offering a flat rate for calls, text and data. Texts cost 5p, while calls and data will set you back between 5p and 10p per minute/megabyte. There’s a single, flat rate for roaming right across Europe.
The firm’s founder, Matthew Wright, told BBC News the new network appealed to people who had experienced coverage issues, such as those who live in rural locations.
“And those who travel a lot and experience notspots – for example people that spend a lot of time in caravans and those who pursue outdoor pursuits – cyclers, runners, walkers, anglers, there’s a long list that could benefit outside the big conurbations.”
What’s your thoughts on this new service? Is the flexibility worth the added cost? And how likely are you to use such a network?