November 25, 2013
Staying connected whilst traveling recently came up for the Zula team as one of our members read an article in the Huffinginton Post before taking a three week holiday to the US.
One of the biggest headaches of traveling today is the frequent question, “Will my mobile work in all the countries I am visiting?” Usually followed by, “Uh oh, how much will that cost?!” Even visiting one country, depending on where, can make this a somewhat terrifying thought. Since this Zulaer’s trip was for a significant chunk of time, it was clear that a good data plan to keep up with email and Facebook was necessary.
When traveling for a short period of time, many people often choose to get extended international coverage through a carrier but find that for a long period of time this option is not particularly viable as it becomes too expensive and doesn’t come with enough GBs of data. It seems that the best option in the US is to purchase an AT&T SIM with a good data plan for a whopping $60. Nothing to jumping for joy about, but it gets you through those longer trips.
What is most irritating in the process of taking our mobiles abroad is that we usually do not really care about having the actual mobile number, just the data plan, since there are other ways to make calls through VoIP applications. SMSing with the number isn’t necessary either. Theoretically one can still stay easily connected to one’s team without a mobile number.
This led us to think about how much easier life would be whilst traveling with our mobiles if we could find a way to have internet access everywhere and be able to make calls over the internet without needing an actual mobile number. No time wasted on worrying about how to get a SIM in another country, about people not recognising our temporary number/s or making sure those who needed to contact us have our foreign number/s. The thought of staying connected to your team when abroad could be made far less daunting.
Imagining traveling with just a good data plan and no SIM led us to think about how convenient this would be even when not traveling. The future of mobile communication, not exclusive to traveling, does not necessarily need to involve actual mobile numbers. Truthfully, a lot of us are very close to just that as we use apps that use VoIP instead of a phone line for calls and the internet for messaging. I could very well be that one day SIM cards and phone numbers will become obsolete.
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