South African company Blue Turtle Technologies has become a reseller for U.K.-based Majesti-fi, which claims to offer the world’s first SIM-free, mobile Wi-Fi for business clients. Blue Turtle will offer Majesti-fi’s service as part of its FinTech range, in order to help clients manage their data expenditures when roaming abroad, using a secure, encrypted connection. Majesti-fi’s roaming Wi-Fi service operates in over 110 countries and automatically connects to a preferred local 3G or 4G/LTE network, based on the criterion of which available signal is strongest at any given point.
For business travelers who are primarily interested in managing their data consumption, Majesti-fi offers an unusual (possibly unique, though we cannot assess that claim at the present moment) alternative to MNOs’ roaming packages. The Majesti-fi hotspot device is smartphone-sized and operates without need for a SIM card or a subscription to an operator’s service.
Majesti-fi customers at first purchase the device (£120.00 [US $153.09] in the U.K.) and then subscribe to the service on a one-year contract (£61.44 [US $78.38] per month in the U.K.). For that payment they receive an allowance of 1 GB of worldwide roaming data per month. This is an adequate deal, but where Majesti-fi really becomes economical is when users need to exceed the 1 GB limit. After that, the cost (again, in the U.K.) is only £0.06 per MB. For heavy users of roaming data users (such as business travelers who spend a great deal of time outside their home countries), this cost structure could end up saving them quite a large amount of money. Majesti-fi claims that it constitutes a potential 90 percent savings over the services offered by U.K. operators O2, EE and Vodafone.
The encryption feature should prove attractive to enterprises whose employees are routinely transmitting sensitive data in the course of their work while traveling abroad. And if Majesti-fi does indeed, as it claims, pull the optimal signal for its Wi-Fi, that will make it very appealing in comparison to public or hotel Wi-Fi signals, which are often slow due to overuse or low quality. And while Majesti-fi currently offers only data, it could be of use for voice telephony if subscribers are interested in VoIP.
While we are not aware of the exact nature of Majesti-fi’s relationships with mobile operators, the claimed ability of its SIM-free device to get on any operator’s network at any time, based on signal strength, is certainly a threat to those operators’ business models—as is the very concept of SIM-free, worldwide portable Wi-Fi. While Majesti-fi occupies a niche in the market—high-end business users—it could prove disruptive in a larger sense over time, depending on the level of quality it delivers and, of course, on whether the price turns out to be right for the target demographic. It should be noted that using a reseller, such as Blue Turtle in South Africa, to help manage clients, could add to the costs to users.