Ghost in the MVNO machine

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Ghost Telecom is the latest to launch into the MVNO space, an area where co-founder Graeme Hutchison cut his teeth. Mobile News talks to its chief Michael Camilleri about its strategy and management team

VoIP provider Ghost Telecom is to launch as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) for the international calling market by the end of the year.

It is the second VoIP service to venture into the international calling market and launch as an MVNO, following Truphone’s launch earlier this year of its Local Anywhere roaming SIM.

But Ghost Telecom has patented a technical design, which makes its SIM cards “smarter,” it reckons.

Its patent is for assigning multiple IMSIs, or international mobile subscriber identity numbers, to SIM cards; IMSIs enable network operators to recognise customers as their own. The assignment of multiple IMSIs allows network operators in different markets to recognise roaming between customers.

It effectively means users have local numbers, charging local rates for calls and data as they travel – instead of making calls from a UK number and racking up huge roaming charges. Ghost Telecom customers will be able to add up to five local numbers per SIM, according to their usual travel preferences.

But the clever part for users is the SIM technology links all their numbers, so that calls on recipients’ phones appear from them whichever number they call from. Call recipients are not required to save numbers over and again.

Ghost Telecom co-founder and chief Michael Camilleri explains: “If I call someone from an overseas number, and the person I call already has my UK number in their phone, then my name will show on their screen; they do not need to save my number again.

“A lot of people don’t answer if they don’t recognise the number calling them. Ghost Telecom removes that problem. It is smarter than other SIM cards that assign several numbers.”

Ghost Telecom is expected to confirm tariffs in the early second half of the year, ahead of launch.

Full article in Mobile News issue 464 (May 24, 2010).

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