€10m SIM deal targets seafarers

CORK firm Cubic Telecom has signed a €10 million deal with the international charity organisation, the Mission to Seafarers.

Cubic’s MAXroam SIM card will be rebranded as SeaRoam and will be made available to the 1.7 million seafarers worldwide at 250 ports.

Chief executive, PatPhelan, said this was the company’s biggest deal so far this year. He said the SIM cards would save users up to 80% on telephone charges when they travelled internationally.

The Mission to Seafarers is a missionary society of the Anglican Church, which helps seafarers worldwide by visiting them on their ships.

Discussions on the deal began more than two years ago and the product began going on sale last week.

“We had meetings all over the world with the organisation in order to secure this deal,” said Mr Phelan.

Cubic estimates that this partnership could generate up to €10m annually.

MAXroam is a SIM card that works by making your phone think it’s at home, no matter where in the world you go. Because it thinks it’s local, users get charged local rates.

As most seafarers do not have credit cards, Cubic had to develop a new pre-paid service.

It will have scratch card credit vouchers on sale at all ports used by the organisation worldwide.

Cubic was founded in 2005 and provides its own MAXroam service, which provides low-cost voice services in 213 countries.

Cubic signed an exclusive deal in San Francisco earlier this month with US start-up Qik to provide it with SIM cards. Earlier in the year, it signed a deal with US social networking site Dopplr.

Cubic is also in talks with a number of Irish, British and US retailers to get its MAXroam product into stores.

The company is aiming to sign up 50 partners for its service by the end of the year, growing to 200 by the end of next year.

Mr Phelan said the firm’s focus was on joining with partners worldwide, and the firm had developed a virtual platform that could be rolled out for any brand that had a large number of customers or members.

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