Is the traditional mobile operator model broken?

I was at a briefing with Truphone yesterday when it presented an update of its business, had a customer presentation and announced some research.

The research is not being made public until next week, but the meeting was interesting to me as it is outside my usual journalistic beat.

Truphone, which targets businesses with mobile contracts, offers a service where the user has a single SIM card that allows them to use mobile devices in 66 countries as if they were connecting in their home country. So calls and data cost the same as they would when in your home country.

The company can do this because it has built its own network infrastructure in all these different locations so when a customer uses the phone or the internet they connect where they are rather than messages going back to the home country where the contract is. This is great for businesses that have staff travelling internationally.

The customer that presented was the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO). Its IT head described how the service had transformed the organisation of tours.

The LSO performs across the world. The logistics involved in getting over 100 people with musical instruments to venues across the world, as well as the everyday organisation of matters such as travel and accommodation, make mobile communication critical.

Head of IT at the LSO, Jeremy Garside, said the organisation had previously had contracts with a variety of the large incumbent operators.

“While this ‘sort of’ worked, we wanted more.” Now organisors can talk instead of constantly typing messages.

With international travel common these days isn’t it about time mobile operators got rid of all roaming charges? In Europe roaming charges are to be gone by late 2015 bit what about the rest of the world. 

Truphone’s Rob Jones, managing director Europe said something interesting about GSM. The fact that Global System for Mobile communications is not really global, but broken up into regional chunks.

With businesses more and more mobile, using more and more data and harnessing technology to do business internationally it is about time mobile operators upped their games.