Revolut is launching an eSIM travel plan in the UK, a rare move for a financial services company.
British fintech company Revolut is launching phone plans in the UK, the company exclusively told CNBC, making it the first financial services company in the country to offer telecoms plans – and among the first in the world .
The digital banking and payments unicorn announced that it will this week begin offering eSIMs – SIM cards that can be stored virtually rather than physically in the device. The plans will begin rolling out to users in the coming days.
Customers on the basic Revolut app experience without any subscription can benefit from a standard eSIM plan which 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 their Revolut app features for free and top up their data as usual.
Revolut customers on the company’s £55 ($69.47) per month Ultra premium plan will get 3GB of data to use worldwide, with an ongoing refresh each 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 Brits in recent years. Several mobile operators, including BT, Vodafone and Three, have reintroduced roaming charges since the UK left the European Union. Britons could previously travel across the EU without having to pay roaming charges. Meanwhile, most mobile operators do not include free data in third countries in their standard plans.
Revolut users without an Ultra subscription can get an introductory offer of 100MB of free data if they apply before May 1. The offer is valid for seven days, after which they will need 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 Massoudi, general manager of premium products at Revolut, said Revolut’s decision to launch eSIMs was aimed at transforming the company into a global “super app” with services covering bank accounts, foreign exchange, insurance, travel reservations and the airport. lounge pass.
“Our ambition is really to be the financial super app,” Massoudi told CNBC. “It’s definitely in that direction.”
“Travel is a huge value element that we’ve always had, and it still remains very important to our users,” Massoudi added. “So it’s important that we continue to innovate in this area.”
Launching phone plans is a rare step for a financial services company. Many rival banks have integrated new services into their apps to give consumers more reasons to use them over others. The goal is to attract a more loyal customer base in the long term.
This is a key element in the case of Revolut. The company, which reached a valuation of $33 billion in 2022, is working to further retain its user base and expand its range of paid subscriptions to diversify its revenue.
To do this, it needs customers to use it more as a permanent banking provider for all their financial needs, rather than just an optional low-fee travel account when they go abroad.
Hermann Frank, CEO of tech startup Gigs, which helps businesses create and sell their own eSIM phone and data plans, said Revolut’s move could prove lucrative for the company in the long run.
“This move provides Revolut with an easy way to unlock a lucrative new revenue stream and could play a critical role in the company’s long-term profitability,” Frank told CNBC via email.
“By enriching their offering with branded phone plans, neobanks like Revolut can merge two essential services into a single app, making the user experience easier and further exacerbating inflexibility.”
Retail spending on travel connectivity services, including roaming plans and travel SIM cards, is expected to reach more than $30 billion by 2028, according to the market intelligence and consulting firm roaming and connectivity Kaleido Intelligence.
“We expect many more banks to launch phone plans and travel deals in the next 18 months,” Frank added.
Revolut is not the first fintech to launch an eSIM offer. Indian credit card startup Zolve, which helps immigrants establish banking before arriving in the United States, began offering phone plans linked to physical SIM cards and eSIMs in August.
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