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Anywhere SIM offers UK mobile roaming - at a price

Barry Collins
15 Jun 2015
Anywhere SIM
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New mobile provider to let you roam between O2, Vodafone, Three and EE - but there's a catch or two

A new virtual mobile network claims to be throwing a lifeline to rural dwellers by letting them roam onto any UK network. Dubbed Anywhere SIM, the service can make or receive calls on O2, Vodafone, Three or EE - but users will have to pay a premium for the privilege.

Anywhere SIM will offer three different tariffs that offer varying degrees of roaming. The Anywhere Home tariff will let users receive calls using any network, but they can only place calls or make a data connection using the service's "home network", O2. On that tariff, outgoing calls are charged at 5p per minute, while data costs 5p per MB.

The Anywhere UK tariff lets users both place and receive calls, send messages and use data on any network, but this sees call and data charges increased to 10p per minute/MB respectively. Anywhere EU extends roaming to 27 European countries, including France, Germany and Spain, but sees call charges rise to 15p and data kept at 10p per MB. SMS messages cost 5p on every tariff.

Phones using an Anywhere SIM will automatically switch to the other networks if they can't get a reliable signal from O2, prioritising 3G connections over 2G. However, the service is unable to switch between networks during calls, which may limit its usefulness for those who spend a lot of time in their car or commuting.

There are other drawbacks, aside from the relatively steep cost of the tariffs. There's no 4G offering, at least not until next year. Nor will there be any monthly contract deals when the service launches next month, although the company hopes to offer them by the autumn.

Anywhere SIM isn't the first company to offer UK roaming, but previous services have been pitched at businesses rather than consumers. The Lancashire-based firm has reportedly partnered with a foreign company to offer the roaming service here in the UK, according to the BBC.

Last year, the then Culture Secretary Sajid Javid tried leaning on the mobile networks to offer national roaming, after the Prime Minister complained he often couldn't get a signal in his home constituency and when travelling around the country. The networks flatly rejected the idea, describing it as expensive and anti-competitive, before agreeing with regulator Ofcom to extend their own coverage. 

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