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Bangkok Post - - BUSINESS - SUCHIT LEESA-NGUANSUK

Tourists who visit Thailand will be able to stay con­nected at af­ford­able prices with­out chang­ing their SIM cards, us­ing TripAlly.

In­bound tourists who visit Thailand will be able to stay con­nected at af­ford­able prices with­out chang­ing their SIM cards, thanks to a mo­bile in­ter­net ser­vice TripAlly.

“By the third quar­ter next year, the com­pany ex­pects to of­fer TripAlly to pro­vide mo­bile in­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity to tourists who visit Thailand,” said Alek­sey Gor­di­enko, chief ex­ec­u­tive and co-founder of TripAlly Tech­nolo­gies Pte, a Sin­ga­pore-reg­is­tered startup with Bangkok-based op­er­a­tions.

The com­pany aims to solve the prob­lem of ex­pen­sive high data roam­ing costs and bill shock. It has spent over US$400,000 (13.2 mil­lion baht) f or re­search and de­vel­op­ment of the new ser­vice.

Trav­ellers need only in­stall TripAlly’s mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion (avail­able for iOS and An­droid on any mo­bile de­vice), then choose their des­ti­na­tion, in­put their travel pe­riod and choose a pay­ment pack­age. The one-day pack­age prices cost $3 with un­lim­ited us­age. Weekly pack­ages for 1-3 weeks will also be avail­able.

Tourists do not need to change their mo­bile SIM or use any ex­tra hard­ware and they still can use their mo­bile num­ber and ex­ist­ing ap­pli­ca­tions. Users can pay by credit card and PayPal or counter ser­vice to top up.

The com­pany also of­fers its own Ally to­ken (dig­i­tal coin) as a pay­ment op­tion.

“We pro­vide lo­cal mo­bile in­ter­net for over­seas trav­ellers to help them to stay con­nected even on the beach or at na­tional parks with­out hav­ing to scout for free WiFi, ” he said.

The ser­vice will be launched in Thailand and then ex­pand across Asean to cover Cambodia, Laos, Viet­nam, Myan­mar and Malaysia for a to­tal of 82-85 mil­lion trav­ellers.

Ac­cord­ing to the Tourism Au­thor­ity of Thailand, 35 mil­lion trav­ellers will visit Thailand in 2017.

To achieve the ex­pan­sion, the com­pany is mak­ing ini­tial coin of­fer­ing (ICO) by us­ing Ethereum blockchain, opened in Oc­to­ber 2017 and will close by at the end of November 2017. In­vestors can ac­cess its ICO at https://tripally.co/.

The com­pany ex­pects to cover the 100 most-vis­ited coun­tries around the globe by 2022.

In 2016, 1.2 bil­lion peo­ple trav­elled in­ter­na­tion­ally, and to­tal an­nual growth in in­ter­na­tional travel was 4%, with 8% an­nual growth in in­ter­na­tional travel to South­east Asia.

The “tran­sient roamers” mar­ket (users who seek al­ter­na­tive mo­bile roam­ing) is con­tin­u­ously grow­ing and is po­ten­tially worth $20 bil­lion or more.

Mr Gor­di­enko said TripAlly will tap into mil­len­ni­als as early adopters or tourists who do not buy data roam­ing.

“We are in dis­cus­sions with tele­com op­er­a­tors to be our mar­ket­ing part­ners,” said Mr Gor­di­enko.

“We will build the Ally plat­form beyond mo­bile in­ter­net but cover trans­porta­tion, lo­cal at­trac­tions, tick­ets, restau­rants and even lo­cal cur­rency ex­change,” he said.

The com­pany will seek Bank of Thailand ap­proval to sup­port Ethereum blockchain to al­low trav­ellers who have Ally to­kens to with­draw money in lo­cal cur­rency.

In ad­di­tion, it plans to build an ecosys­tem to en­cour­age mer­chant ac­cep­tance for Ally to­kens through QR codes.

TripAlly chief ex­ec­u­tive Alek­sey Gor­di­enko dis­plays the app.

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