Truphone offers local calling anywhere

Mobile VoIP provider Truphone has a new service to help frequent international travelers bypass expensive roaming rates when using their cell phones.

On Tuesday at the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2009 the company announced Truphone Local Anywhere. This new service allows travelers to use one GSM SIM card to make local phone calls in several different countries.

Details about how much the service will cost and which countries and operators it will partner with to offer the service aren't yet public.

The service is essentially a substitute for the tried-and -true method of swapping out SIM cards for unlocked mobile phones when you travel. Using a local SIM has always allowed travelers to get a local phone number and make calls in-country for local rates. But for frequent travelers, who go to more than one destination, keeping track of SIM cards is a hassle and a headache. With the new Truphone service, these same people can use one SIM card, and simply sign up for multiple local numbers. Whenever they make an outbound call, they'll be using the local phone number and local phone network for where they are located.

And because the service uses one SIM card, friends and family can use any of the local phone numbers associated with that card to reach the Truphone Local Anywhere customer.

Truphone executives say there is a definite market for this service. Tom Carter, president of Truphone's operations in North and South America, said the people interested in a service like Truphone Local Anywhere are likely airline pilots, cruise ship workers or any other business travelers, who find themselves in the same foreign countries all the time.

"We're really going after people who have what we'd call an international lifestyle," he said.