“Roam oversea” project

Two members of our team were heading oversees, Russia to be exact, for couple of weeks and it was my responsibility to come up with solution for cheaper roaming. One of them was on Telus with World Blackberry while other had personal Fido phone. Telus roams fine in Russia, but bills are outrageous. Telus charges near $5 per minute.

My challenges were:

  1. Find cost effective way to keep person with personal phone connected and eliminate need for reimbursement of personal expenses occurred on personal phone.
  2. Find cost effective way for person with Blackberry to stay connected while maintaining existing number.

The solution was… First of all, I found Montreal based company which provides services of global SIM card called SimPhoneE. They were very nice by offering us one international unlocked phone with SIM card and another SIM card for trial period of 30 days. It was very nice to deal with real people, especially located near by, who knew local carriers and were ready to help. They were also kind enough to ship phones to us on Friday which we received Monday morning.

Once phones were received and tested I faced new challenge. Telus does not have international call forwarding.

Our user with Blackberry needed all his calls routed from his local 604 number to new global SIM number (which btw is Estonian number, that’s where they have services) Telus refused to wokr with us on resolution of this problem. So we needed to find a way to forward his number to North American number which we can then forward to global SIM number.

Some of the options included using Skype-In with international forwarding, which would work perfectly. But I found another online company, TollFreeForwarding, with straight forward instructions. What was so special about this guys, was that they’ve setup 10 days trial account with $10 credit on it! Not that we don’t want to pay for services, I just didn’t want to pay all fees for setup of the account, fill it with $50 credit to find out that our user will not use it and revert to Telus roaming for $5 per minute.

They are airborne now, and somewhere above Atlantic. I hope that once they land, they will have perfect roaming services and will save company hundreds if not thousands of dollars in roaming charges.

Prices for services:

  • SimPhoneE – roaming in Russia: incoming calls are free, outgoing are $0.53CAD per minute
  • TollFreeForwarding – $0.35USD per minute as long distance to Estonia mobile number

BTW, I found out that Canadian and US roaming will not work good on this cards as prices are outrageous. Near $3 per minute in/out. Better use North American plans.