Monday, February 23, 2009

Roaming - Cubic card

Expansion is on the cards formobile roaming firm

Cubic Telecom is to launch a new version of its roaming technology, as the company prepares to expand further into overseas markets. It has just agreed branded Sim card deals with US travel network Dopplr and Roaming sim.

com in Australia, and plans to have 50 such partnerships on its books by the end of the year.

‘‘We are looking to the Gulf next,” said Pat Phelan, founder of Cubic. He added that company revenues were increasing by 20 per cent month on month.

Cubic’s Max roam product is a Sim card designed to help mobile phone users save money on calls while roaming abroad. The Sim card provides users with a Dublin phone number they can only use with an unlocked phone.

‘‘They can leave a voicemail on their normal home account giving out their new number or can seamlessly forward their mobile to that Dublin landline number,” said Phelan.

The company has built a virtual platform that can be adapted to any brand. It offers its services in 200 countries, targeting individual consumers and corporate customers. It plans to expand its service range shortly to include mobile data usage.

‘‘We have solved the roaming voice cost issue,” Phelan said ‘‘Next, we are going to solve the roaming data problem. P eople have come back fromtravelling to find insanely expensive bills, particularly for browsing the web and sending e-mails.In some cases, people have faced bills of between €2,000 to €80,000.”

Investment in Cubic Telecomhas to date totalled €2million raised privately.T he company continues to research mobile andweb-basedmarkets on an ongoing basis.

It employs nine staff at offices in Cork and Dublin, most of whom are software developers, and has just recruited two sales staff to drive sales globally.

Phelan said the company could have up to 20 staff employed by the end of the year.

‘‘A downturn is the perfect storm for us,” he said.’ ‘Our new virtual platform will save companies money. If an organisation has 50 staff, and five are travelling, we can give that company the ability to manage those five accounts through an online portal, providing savings in the region of 70 to 80 per cent.”

‘‘In the US, you can get unlimited voice, internet and SMS for $65 a month, but we spend a lot more than that on our mobile phone bills here. I think this is where we fall behind in Europe, especially Ireland. There is a terrible lack of competition, especially on business tariffs.”

Phelan established Cubic Telecom in February 2006.H e said a new generation of entrepreneurs would emerge from the job losses of the current downturn.

‘‘I would hate to say a downturn is good for us, but we are going to see a lot of incredible start-ups coming out of it,” he said.’ ‘If you look at the lay-offs in the technology sector, those people are going to have to think of start-ups. We saw some great companies come out of Motorola.”

Phelan advised first-time business owners to adopt a careful approach to funding and investment.

‘‘Don’t take money you don’t need,” he said.’ ‘Try friends and family before talking to any venture capital group. Try and do things as long as you can on your own money. A venture capitalist’s job is to get money for the venture capital group.”

Mentoring can be hugely beneficial for start-ups, according to Phelan.

I give advice to six or eight companies started by friends, and any recommendations or referrals I give them are aimed at helping them to avoid any ‘pain points’ I went through,” Phelan said.’ ‘It can be a great advantage, especially on costs, and that’s where the issue lies.”

Cubic Telecom was last month named Cork Chamber/ BT Emerging Company of the Year, alongside overall winner Eli Lilly andNewsweaver, which took first place in the SME category.

‘‘Winning an award in a competition in which the overall winner was EliLilly is an incredible boost,” said Phelan.

‘‘Companies that won this award before have gone on to be extremely successful.”

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