We all know that traveling for business can be stressful due to decreased productivity and the thought of all the work mounting up back at the office. There's no doubt we love our mobiles, and today we have an insatiable demand for data as our addictions to apps and everything digital just keeps on growing. Sadly, it's when we have to travel that for many of us, our attachment with our mobiles is broken as the high cost of data forces us to switch off and look for free Wi-Fi.
EnterWorldSIM, a company that helps business travelers stay connected to the Internet wherever they go. The company has won many awards for products, innovation, and service. I wanted to know why this company is making the amazing move of putting 50 million Wifi Hotspots in the pockets of business travelers around the world, so I spoke with Arif Reza, CEO of WorldSIM.
1. What promise does increased Internet hold for business travelers?
A recent study showed as much as 70% of traveler's switch off their mobiles due to the high costs of roaming. This is why we have introduced WorldSIM infinity, which allows travelers to connect seamlessly in more Wi-Fi locations than ever before and enjoy unlimited data.
Having seamless and unlimited Wi-Fi access on planes, trains, in airports and millions of venues around the world means business travelers can remain productive whilst on the move, without the hassle of looking for free Wi-Fi. WorldSIM's mobile service ensures business people remain reachable even when not on Wi-Fi, at costs they can afford and speeds that ensure they can keep working.
2. Can you tell me what WorldSIM Infinity does?
WorldSIM Infinity brings together the benefits of mobile (cellular) and WiFi into one seamless user experience no matter where the user is worldwide. Whilst mobile users are accustomed to using mobile and Wi-Fi interchangeably in their home country, doing the same abroad has always been a challenge. Often home operators offer limited or very expensive roaming charges abroad, forcing travelers to look for free Wi-Fi. Finding WiFi hotspots, however, is hard and even harder is trying to connect to them through complicated login pages often in foreign languages. Many times credit card details are required or users are asked to share personal information or watch adverts.
WorldSIM Infinity gives travelers low cost roaming on their mobile devices whilst abroad in over 200 countries and seamless access to over 50 million global WiFi hotspots. Whilst on the move travelers can remain reachable on their mobiles and access data at really low prices. As soon as the users are within reach of one of 50 million Wi-Fi hotspots, WorldSIM Infinity will automatically connect to Wi-Fi where Users can benefit from unlimited data. When they are out of a WiFi zone they will be switched back seamlessly onto global mobile. In this way, travelers can enjoy their mobiles abroad as they do at home without worrying about costs or data limits. What's more all, data is transmitted securely through a VPN, encrypting all data.
3. What's the story behind the creation of WorldSIM?
Back in 2006, I used to travel to the Middle East a lot for work and back then roaming charges were at least 4 times more expensive than they are today. Buying calling cards and local SIM cards were not the most convenient way to stay connected. Changing numbers meant clients would always struggle to reach you, and often looking after these sim and keeping them active was a huge headache. At one time I had a collection of over 20 local SIM's in a small pouch. I still meet many travelers that continue to collect local SIM's in this way.
So I looked into ways to create a solution of having one SIM card, with one number for wherever you travel to in the world, with affordable rates worldwide. In 2007 WorldSIM was born. Initially, the service operated primarily as a voice business offering a seamless call-back service. Callers would dial a number and immediately receive a call back which would then connect them to the number they dialed. In this way, we could overcome expensive roaming charges. Over the years the service has evolved greatly and today, the user experience of our roaming sim is exactly the same as what customers are used to from their home operators. We offer a low-cost call through voice service, SMS, and low-cost international data.
In fact, the demand for roaming data has been growing exponentially, with many users having over 3 devices and spending nearly 6hrs per day online. With WorldSIM Infinity offering unlimited Wi-Fi access in over 50m hotspots worldwide, I am pleased to say we are again seen as pioneers in space of mobile roaming connectivity. By combining Wi-Fi and cellular, WorldSIM can now offer customers the greatest access to connectivity across the globe.
4. Were there some unique challenges you had to overcome in creating your brand?
Starting off was a challenge as I aimed to create something that didn't really exist, so careful thought had to go into naming the product and the brand identity. Back in 2007, the phrase 'roaming' was not well understood and many people, unfortunately, learnt the hard way when they received huge roaming bills. We found the majority of people understood that phones worked using sim cards, therefore we went with the name WorldSIM which was both appealing and descriptive of the business we were in.
Progress was hard at first as a lot of ground work needed to be done in order to decide on a solution that would make a significant difference to travelers. Perseverance helps but I had a vision and plenty of determination to make sure that we could make international roaming affordable and become the 'Go go' company for all those looking for innovative and affordable ways to stay connected whilst abroad.
Once the solution was built, back then it was the early version of our roaming SIM card which was primarily a voice based roaming product using call-back technology. I'm pleased to say over the years we have continued to innovate adding more roaming countries, lower costs, introducing data, virtual numbers and so on. The recent addition of the largest Wi-Fi network is the latest example of how we are continuing to innovate and bring real value for travelers.
5. Do you think roaming solutions have had any influence on the rise of freelancers and digital nomads?
Definitely. Times have changed and we no longer need to be bound to the office. We have more freedom to work from anywhere in the world and with roaming solutions and global WiFi that enable low-cost connectivity there really are no barriers. The demand for data has historically held people back somewhat, bill shock is still very real and that's why I developed WorldSIM Infinity. Having high-speed unlimited data when you are traveling internationally changes everything. Let's face it, we don't even want to go on holiday without being able to check the internet for a nice place to eat or upload photos to Facebook without having to rely on painfully slow hotel WiFi.
6. What are the best ways businesses can leverage technology to accelerate their growth?
Technology is our greatest asset! Businesses need to move with the times. Today there are so many tool and Apps that make work much easier and faster. However, we continue to find that when businesses need to send executives abroad, often roaming restrictions are put in place, which in turn affect productivity. Those companies that allow executives to stay connected whilst roaming often complain of bill shock, which represents 14% of big business mobile costs today.
To combat this issue many companies have put roaming restrictions in place rather than roaming solutions. If employees can't stay connected when they travel on business productivity levels drop and therefore so does revenue. By leveraging new technology businesses can ensure their employees remain connected without having to suffer significant roaming charges. Expanding in international markets is one of the most profitable ways to increase revenue but if connectivity is restricted while traveling in these markets, then sales will be too.
7. What's your best advice for starting a company today?
Have a vision - anything is possible you just need a plan to get there. Too many companies just rehash the same old products and services, innovation is the key to business growth but this is a harder path so you will need a lot of determination. It's important to understand all areas of your business so you can anticipate what the business needs as your company grows.
Being a business owner isn't always as dazzling as it seems, its hard work and you need to be prepared to work a lot of hours and remain calm under pressure. If you feed your passion you will succeed.