sims

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Swapping SIM cards is one of the biggest pain points for the connected traveller. Either you’re sick of getting ripped off at the airport or hate allocating time to card registration.

Malaysian startup Hello Roaming wants to help you get ahead (of the taxi queue) by sending out the relevant SIM card to you days before your trip. This eliminates long registration processes at the airport, the possibility of losing your original SIM card and the hassle of hunting down the cheapest tourist plan.

“We currently hold stock for five countries (Australia, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong) and hold inventory for all the telcos in all of those countries. How it works is you go to the online store, you tell us where you want to go and for how many days, what size your SIM card is, etc. From that search, we’ll show you all the results, from different data sizes to different telcos. [Once you choose], it’s over to us — We do the registration and ship the SIM cards out to you,” Serene Gan, Co-founder of Hello Roaming, tells e27.

How much would it set you back for such a service? Users have to pay for the cost of the local SIM card, express shipping charges and a small service fee of MYR 3-5 (US$0.70-U$1.20). To put this into perspective, a week-long trip from KL to Bangkok would cost approximately MYR 45 (US$11).

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The Hello Roaming online store

Co-founder Choong Yoke San stated Hello Roaming sources its SIM cards through partnerships with telcos, which are thanks to relationships she built during her time in the telecommunications industry.

Come the first quarter of 2016, Hello Roaming will expand to another six countries — but that will require partnerships with local telcos to build inventory.

Also Read: Why I gave up my fixed mobile number of close to 20 years

“We’re looking to add 12 more countries in the next six months for 2016. Our focus right now is our beta launch, do as much testing and market validation as possible. We’re looking into options for travellers to pick up the SIM cards at the airport or have the cards delivered to hotels or their Airbnb,” says Gan.

Also in the works, which seems like the major value-add here, are plans to launch a top-up feature so users can keep the same SIM card per destination. Through the Hello Roaming platform, users simply fill in the denomination of what they’d like to top up, which will keep the card (which usually expire after a certain duration) active.

There are, of course, a good number of startups that are trying to provide data roaming solutions but Gan claims that no one else is selling SIM cards via an online store.

Hello Roaming has only just launched in beta. Gan says that although they’ve only completed the transaction for six to seven cards, they have customers in the pipeline ready to go. “We’re trying to cap the fulfilments right now, so we can do a dry run in operations. We have a long waiting list of over 300 people who are interested to buy,” she says.

As one of VLT Lab’s homegrown startups, Hello Roaming is privy to the Malaysian venture builder’s support services which include development and UX design. This leaves Gan and Choong free to focus on product development and sales.

The Hello Roaming team is offering e27 readers MYR 5 (US$1) off their first purchase with the promo code: HELLOROAMINGE27.