Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
If you’re an international traveler, you know that finding a cheap, reliable mobile network can be a challenge. First, there’s the matter of finding a plan that won’t nickel-and-dime you on international calls and texts.Then you have to switch your phone’s SIM for a compatible card. The lucky owners of ZTE’s Blade V8 won’t have to deal with those problems much longer, however.
At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, KnowRoaming, a tech firm that “delivers end-to-end solutions for global connectivity,” announced the launch of the KnowRoaming SoftSIM in the new ZTE Blade V8. Thanks to KnowRoaming’s virtual SIM technology, roaming with the ZTE Blade V8 is a cinch: Users can get unlimited data in 61 countries worldwide without the need for additional SIMs or hardware. (In the U.S., that excludes Verizon and Sprint.)
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“We’re proud to partner with ZTE to relieve Blade V8 users of the burden of high roaming fees, and provide the freedom and flexibility to stay connected no matter where they travel,” KnowRoaming CEO Gregory Gundelfinger said in a press release.
Managing the SoftSIM is easy. The Blade V8’s native Roam Now app lets users manage real-time usage, choose the country, select the data package, top up their account with prepaid credit, and automatically connect to unlimited data in the aforementioned countries.
KnowRoaming’s announcement comes on the heels of tech firm uCloudlink’s CloudSIM. It, like KnowRoamin’s SoftSIM, tricks your the phone into thinking a card has been inserted. But CloudSIM’s services are restricted to the Xiaomi’s Mi Max phone. And uCloudlink must regularly send a signal to a central server in order to detect which local network is the strongest at any given time.
There’s also the matter of compatibility. Xiaomi phones aren’t sold in the U.S. and don’t support U.S. carrier bands, while the Alcatel and ZTE phones supported by KnowRoaming’s technology are confirmed to work for U.S. GSM carriers.
The $240 Blade V8, for the uninitiated, is an affordable phone with uncompromising hardware. It sports a 5.5-inch 1,920 x 1,080 pixel screen, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 624 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage. Its dual-camera lens combines images from two adjacent 13-megapixel lenses to create a blurred background (bokeh) effect similar to that on the iPhone 7 Plus, and the 3,140mAh battery compatible with quick charging technology supplies about a day’s worth of juice.
KnowRoaming’s Roam Now app will launch worldwide in the second quarter of this year, a company spokesperson said.