At PhoCusWright last year I managed to snag a photo with fellow Australian's John Diamond CEO eKit and Rod Cuthbert Executive Chairman of destination services company Viator. Now Madame BOOT has had a chance to try out eKit's overseas mobile product. Here is her review...
So you are going overseas for business and pleasure, visiting a few countries, seeing old friends, and leaving small kiddies at home whom you want to reach quickly and easily at any time and vice versa. How to keep in telephonic reach? The Frugal Traveler from The New York Times this week explored the following options Skype, Google Voice, GizmoCall, OneSIMCard, and Voxox . One he hasn't talked about, and which offers a comprehensive solution is ekit.com.
WHY USE IT
Madame BOOT used it recently and has positive reports*. The main benefit was calling and texting to and from family in Australia, making and receiving calls and texts from friends and family in the UK and in Italy by using a SIM card, purchased through eKit.com before she left OZ, which she popped into her network-unlocked mobile phone when she landed in London. If your regular moby is locked ekit will provide you with phone and SIM. The highlight of global mobility was reaching friends from Australia who were holidaying in London by calling their Cypriot based mobile number (don't ask) with her UK-number SIM card, from an Australian-bought phone.
Texting was instantaneous to all mobiles, be they Italian, Australian, UK, or Cypriot. It only delayed once when it took 2 days to deliver an SMS and I suspect that was the fault of Mother's dodgy Telstra service. The beauty of landing at 6pm in Gatwick, turning on mobile, and having text message awaiting about dinner invitation for 8pm, was the epitome of ease-of-travel. The other moment that made her feel that it was a worthy service was turning her phone on while waiting for the Heathrow Express to reach Paddington, and immediately speaking to the BOOT and BOOTies who were on some farm in NSW with no landline.
HOW TO USE IT
ekit scores highly on ease of use. After you insert your SIM card you enter a PIN, dial the required number as per normal and within 10 seconds your phone rings and you are connected. Texting is as per normal: enter destination number and text and press send. You can set up automatic recharge so you don't run out of credit.
Their Global Premium Service cost AUD39.99 and then texts and calls were charged as per usage, with a bunch of benefits thrown in. I leave it to you to decide if you consider it value for money as it is relative to your needs and what other services you can access. There is a 'passport' product for long-term travellers.
You need to allow time for delivery, in this case 48hrs. So plan a little ahead. You need to memorise a new number and PIN or carry it with you.
(*She has NO links to the company, was not asked to review the product and paid her way)