Revolut launches travel eSIM phone plan in UK

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In a rare move for a financial services firm, Revolut is launching a travel eSIM scheme in the UK.


British fintech company Revolut is launching phone plans in the UK, the company tells CNBC exclusively, making it the first financial services company in the country to offer a telecom plan – and the first globally .

The digital banking and payments unicorn said it this week will start offering eSIMs – SIM cards that can be stored virtually rather than physically in the device. These plans will be launched for users in the coming days.

Customers on Revolut’s basic app experience without any subscription can get a standard eSIM plan that allows them to access their Revolut app so they can top up their phone when needed. For example, if a Revolut user arrives at an airport and runs out of data on their current SIM provider, they can still access the features on their Revolut app for free and top up their data as usual. Can.

Revolut customers on the company’s £55 ($69.47) per month Premium Ultra package will get 3GB of data to use globally with rolling refreshes every month. This means they won’t have to worry about unexpected roaming charges when entering another country.

The cost of using mobile data abroad has increased for Britons in recent years. A number of mobile carriers including BT, Vodafone and Three have reintroduced roaming charges since the UK left the EU. Britons were previously able to travel in the EU without roaming charges. Meanwhile, most mobile carriers do not include free data in non-EU countries as part of their standard plans.

Revolut users without an Ultra subscription can avail an introductory offer of 100 MB free data if they apply before May 1. This offer is valid for seven days, after which they will have to upgrade to Ultra if they want to continue using the eSIM.

Revolut has partnered with UK mobile network operator 1Global, formerly known as Truphone, to launch its eSIM.

Tara Masoodi, general manager of premium products at Revolut, said the decision by Revolut to launch eSIM was to transform the company into a ubiquitous “super app” with services spanning bank accounts, currency exchange, insurance, travel booking and airports. Lounge Pass.

“Our ambition is to become the financial super app,” Masoudi told CNBC. “It’s really in that direction.”

“Travel is a huge value that we’ve always had, and it’s still extremely important to our users,” Massoudi said. “So it’s important that we continue to innovate in that area.”

Launching a phone plan is a rare move by a financial services firm. Many challenger banks have added new services to their apps to give consumers more reason to use them instead of alternatives. The aim is to attract a long-term customer base.

This is very important in the case of Revolut. The company, which had achieved a valuation of $33 billion in 2022, is trying to increase its range of paid subscriptions to gain a more loyal user base and diversify revenues.

To that end, it needs customers who use it as a permanent banking provider for all their financial needs, not just an alternative low-fee travel account when traveling abroad.

Herman Frank, CEO of tech startup Giggs, which helps businesses set up and sell their own branded eSIM phones and data plans, said Revolut’s move could prove lucrative for the firm in the long term.

“This move presents an easy way for Revolut to open up an attractive new revenue stream and could play a key role in the company’s long-term profitability,” Frank told CNBC via email.

“By enriching their offerings with branded phone plans, neobanks like Revolut can combine two essential services into a single app, simplifying the user experience and further increasing stickiness.”

According to roaming and connectivity market intelligence and consulting firm Kaleido Intelligence, retail spending on travel connectivity services, including roaming packages and travel SIMs, is expected to exceed $30 billion by 2028.

“We expect many more banks to launch phone plans and travel offers over the coming 18 months,” Frank said.

Revolut is not the first fintech company to launch an eSIM offering. Indian credit card startup Zolve, which helps immigrants set up banking before arriving in the US, started offering phone plans tied to physical SIMs and e-SIMs in August.

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