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Skolkovo resident startup ComfortWay has launched sales of a SIM card that allows travellers to make use of the best local mobile internet deal available, wherever they might be.
The CwSim card uses the Remote SIM Provisioning technology released earlier this year. Photo: ComfortWay.
The CwSim card shows users a list of available mobile internet packages and allows them to select the deal that best suits their needs without the need to buy a local SIM card. For now, the sim only provides access to mobile internet, but in October, the company plans to offer local airtime and SMS packages too.
"Our focal aim is to give clients an opportunity to stay connected in any country without roaming charges through the products of our partners: mobile virtual network operators,” said Oleg Pravdin, ComfortWay’s CEO.
The SIM card can also be used in other mobile devices with a SIM slot, such as tablets. Users can browse and select available telecom packages via a mobile app used in conjunction with the CwSim, which can be bought via ComfortWay’s website for 990 rubles ($15).
“They [users] can buy a smaller package from one operator just for a day, or a bigger package from another operator for a longer time,” said Eugenia Tukbaeva, head of global PR at ComfortWay.
The CwSim uses Remote SIM Provisioning, which makes it possible to remotely connect a device to a mobile network without physically changing the SIM card. The technology was released back in February by GSMA, the largest mobile association.
ComfortWay had previously produced USB routers for use with laptops that had the same function as the CwSim.
“This year GSMA released the Remote SIM Provisioning standard specification that makes it possible to provide mobile operators’ SIM profiles ‘over-the-air,’ and that finally allowed us to implement our router technology into a SIM card,” Tukbaeva told Sk.ru.
The app is available in Russian and English, and the company plans to add more languages in the future, as it plans to sell the card in other countries. It already has agreements with sales agents from the U.S., Japan, Poland and Brazil, said Tukbaeva.
The CwSim can also be used when travelling within Russia, where roaming charges are imposed on mobile phone users when travelling outside their home region. Users can even use it to improve the quality of their connection in certain locations within their home region, said Tukbaeva.
The company currently has agreements with more than 40 mobile operators active in more than 130 countries, which Tukbaeva described as the result of “a complicated process of negotiating with operators in different countries, discussing conditions and signing partnership agreements.”
Moscow-based ComfortWay became a resident of the Skolkovo Foundation’s IT cluster earlier this year, and shortly afterwards raised 6 million euros from a pool of European telecom companies and private investors. In 2014, it was named Startup of the Year in the Global Startup nomination by the Higher School of Economics, a research university in Moscow.
“ComfortWay is one of the fasting-growing startups at Skolkovo,” said Sergei Shubin, project development director within the foundation’s IT cluster.
“The team has presented its technology at international mobile congresses in Barcelona and Shanghai, where it attracted the attention of major international companies,” he said, adding that he hoped ComfortWay would soon be talked about as “another Skolkovo success story.”