Revolut is launching an eSIM travel plan in the UK, in a rare move for a financial services company.
Customers who use the basic Revolut app without any subscription can get a standard eSIM plan that allows them to access their Revolut app so they can charge their phone when needed. For example, if a Revolut user arrives at the airport and runs out of data on their current SIM provider, they can still access the features in their Revolut app for free and top up their data as usual.
For the company's £55 ($69.47) per month Revolut customers will get the premium Ultra plan that will get them 3GB of data to use globally, with a rolling update 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 for Britons has risen in recent years. Several mobile carriers, including BT, Vodafone and Three, have reintroduced roaming charges since the UK left the EU. Britons were previously able to travel across the EU without incurring roaming charges. Meanwhile, most carriers don't include free data in countries outside the EU as part of their standard plans.
Revolut users who don't have 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 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 Masoudi, general manager of premium products at Revolut, said Revolut's decision to launch eSIMs was transforming the company into a one-stop “super app” offering services including bank accounts, currency exchange, insurance, travel and airport bookings. Passes the hall.
“Our ambition is to become the financial super app,” Al Masoudi told CNBC. “This is really in that direction.”
“Travel has always been a very valuable support to us, and it remains very important to our users,” Al Masoudi added. “So it is important that we continue to innovate in this area.”
The launch of phone plans is a rare move from a financial services company. Many challenger banks have bundled new services into their apps to give consumers more reason to use them instead of the alternatives. The goal is to attract a more consistent customer base in the long term.
This is key in the case of Revolut. The company, which achieved a $33 billion valuation in 2022, is trying to capture more of its loyal user base and grow its line of paid subscriptions to diversify revenue.
To achieve this, it needs customers to use it as a permanent banking provider for all their financial needs, rather than just an optional, low-fee travel account when they travel abroad.
Hermann Frank, CEO of tech startup Gigs, which helps companies set up and sell their own eSIM phones and data plans, said Revolut's move could be profitable for the company in the long term.
“This move represents an easy way for Revolut to open a lucrative new revenue stream and could play a vital 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 core services into a single app, simplifying the user experience and increasing the complexity of stickiness.”
Retail spending on travel connectivity services, including roaming packages and travel SIMs, is expected to rise to more than $30 billion by 2028, according to roaming and connectivity market intelligence consultancy Kaleido Intelligence.
“We expect many more banks to launch phone plans and travel offers over the next 18 months,” Frank added.
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 U.S., began offering phone plans tied to physical SIMs and eSIMs in August.
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