Cubic Telecom Lied About Its "Cheap International Calling" SIM Card

Last Friday, we published a post about Cubic Telecom, an Irish start-up that sells a SIM card that’s supposed to enable international calling for “50-90%” less than standard carrier rates. The post was in reference to columnist David Pogue’s review of the product, and he was quoting rates that were provided to him directly by Cubic’s CEO. Turns out the CEO was “misleading” him—he provided numbers that were substantially lower than the actual rates, and has been stringing Pogue along with assurances that they’d “update the site” ever since. As of Thursday, October 4th, they still hadn’t.

Here are some examples of the prices the CEO gave the New York Times versus what they posted the same day on their website:
  What they told Pogue Actual price
Russia to U.S. 49c $1.24
USA to Greece 42c $1.77
U.S. to Iraq 69c $2.02
U.S. to Australia 42c $1.77
U.S. to New Zealand 49c $1.24

Cubic Telecom’s MaxRoam card does still offer better rates than the major carriers, but this whole story sounds an awful lot like a CEO has been trying to manipulate a well-known technology columnist into providing great free publicity. Writes Pogue,

Overall, though, I feel a bit manipulated, since the primary virtue of the Cubic phone was its low rates. I’m not exactly sure how the problem could have been avoided–in 20 years of reviewing tech products, nobody has ever deliberately misled me on hard facts like prices–but I thought you should hear about it from me.

So to those of you who were considering this product: you might want to wait a while to see whether Cubic has a convincing explanation for their bait-and-switch marketing, or whether they’re just not worth dealing with at all.

“Setting the Record Straight on Cubic Telecom’s International Rates” [New York Times]