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Start-up raises $1.3m to ‘eliminate roaming charges forever’

Roamer app allows users to link their regular mobile number to roaming SIM card

A start-up that has produced an app allowing users to avoid mobile phone roaming charges when abroad has raised $1.3m seed investment from a group of telecom industry veterans.

Launched in 2013, the Roamer app allows users to link their regular mobile number at home to a local SIM card when abroad, allowing them to make and receive calls and texts without the high roaming charges normally associated with using mobile phones in other countries.

Available on iOS and Android in more than 200 countries, the app also allows customers to use Roamer via a Wi-Fi connection without the need to swap their SIM card.

Roamer’s founders said the service represented a significant upgrade from Voice-over-IP (VoIP) services such as Skype when contacting friends and family abroad, as it does not rely on the other participant installing or downloading a specific service.

The start-up has seen strong growth in the last three months in particular, with uptake rising by 40%. Roamer said its users were benefiting from savings of up to 97% of the cost of international calls.

The $1.3m backing included funding from a number of high-profile angels in the telecoms industry, including Richard Frank, founder of mobile phone retailer Dial-A-Phone.

Simon Rabin, co-founder of Roamer, said: “The new investment round, including funding from industry veteran Richard Frank, will help us to widen our unique service and bring it to a mainstream audience. Our beta customers have already reaped the benefits of Roamer while on their travels.

“With the proliferation of mobile use in everyday life, there is really no excuse in hitting consumers with excessive roaming charges anymore. Roamer is the easy, cost-effective alternative specifically designed to fill a distinct gap in the market.”

Petr Antropov, co-founder of Roamer, said: “Following our recent funding and business growth, in the near-future we plan to widen Roamer’s offering to include a SIM delivery service, where business travellers and holidaymakers will be able to order a local SIM card in advance of travel. We also plan to extend the number of languages available within the app.

“These updates will further enhance the ease and accessibility of Roamer, ensuring that our customers encounter an even simpler, yet cost-effective mobile experience while abroad.”

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