Mobility – meaning mobile connectivity – has changed the way we behave, both personally and professionally. Digital interactions are the norm; interpersonal communications are becoming a challenge for many who would prefer to text or IM. On the flip side, digital communication can be much less disruptive to others and can take place at nearly any time, despite not requiring real-time response.
Especially across geographic barriers, digital communication has enhanced our ability to both conduct business and stay in touch with friends and family – if you can afford it. Despite mobile connectivity being available nearly anywhere, in most cases, actually leveraging that connectivity outside your home market becomes prohibitively expensive.
Enter XCom Global, which has quite a simple concept for resolving the issue – mobile hotspot rentals. While international roaming plans can cost a small fortune – anywhere from .99 to $4.99 per minute for voice calls and $25 per 100 MB for data from Verizon (plus .50 per text message sent and .05 per message received). Ouch!
Instead, XCom Global offers an unlimited data plan for $14.95 with its mobile hotspots (MiFi devices), which allow you to not only connect multiple devices, but with Skype (News - Alert), WebRTC, and other data-based calling services, voice calling is just as easy.
“It’s a very simple rental service we are upgrading across the world to create a simpler, better experience,” COO Joe Fennell (News - Alert) told me recently. “Our target is really the major carriers who don’t offer very good international data roaming plans.”
In fact, it is that simple. Just like you would rent a vehicle, a room, a DVD, or anything else, XCom Global lets international travelers rent mobile connectivity at rates that are much more reasonable than the embarrassingly high rates North American carriers charge.
The way it works is simple as well. XCom has relationships with typically one carrier in each local market – or two in markets where it makes sense, like the U.K., where it works with both Telefonica and Vodafone (News - Alert). It buys a block of service from the carriers and leases the hardware and service on a daily basis, including universal adapter kits to make charging easy.
Clearly, while there is a consumer angle here, the big money will come from the enterprise customers, which have regular international travel needs and connectivity requirements.
“Smaller businesses provide a nice boost during vacation periods, but the sustainable business comes from larger corporations,” confirmed Fennell.
Who knows, however. In the future, you may have the option to rent a hotspot when you pick up a rental car, when you check into your hotel, or even when you make your flight reservation. There are many potential partnership opportunities for XCom. Anyone who has experienced the trials of international connectivity likely has no difficulty understanding the benefits of XCom Global’s service, and any of the partnerships would be welcome.
As for the service itself,TMC CEO Rich Tehrani (News - Alert) describes his experience with the service earlier this year.
Sorry, Verizon and AT&T (News - Alert) – you may have a grip on our domestic calling budgets, but Internationally, we are free from your rates.