Startup MaGlobe to sell prepaid international Web access

InfoWorld |  Networking

MIMICKING THE OLD Ma Bell nickname, MaGlobe, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based startup is aiming to make connecting to the Internet while on the road both easier and less expensive.

The service, which will launch on Wednesday, is targeted squarely at mobile business professionals and other Internet users who need universal access to e-mail and other online information from wherever they travel.

Unlike traditional ISPs that typically charge a monthly flat fee, MaGlobe allows organizations to prepay, then use the service whenever they need to, according to Mahesh Hinduja, founder, president and CEO.

"You pay for only what you use," he said.

Furthermore, Hinduja said, users get a better connection rate with the service because local calls usually connect at faster transfer speeds than long-distance calls.

Users connect to the Web through a dialer interface that finds the local access number for the appropriate city and connects the traveler automatically. MaGlobe services are compatible with existing e-mail accounts so users can continue to use their current inboxes.

"The idea for this company came from my own experience," said Hinduja, who trained in footwear design from ARS Sutoria, in Milan, Italy, and has established plastic extrusion and injection molding plants and distribution centers around the globe.

During a three-week international business trip Hinduja found that in many places he could not use his notebook computer to access the Internet. Instead he had to find cybercafes or choose between third-party e-mail accounts and expensive, often unreliable long-distance calls to access his ISP in Mumbai, India.

Upon returning to India, Hinduja worked on technology to make connecting easier. After two years of research and beta testing directed by co-founder and CTO Haresh Hingorani, the officers brought the MaGlobe service to market.

The MaGlobe network consists of redundant networks to ensure reliable connectivity and provides users with direct Internet access in 5,000 locations on five continents. The company will roll out service to an additional 7,000 locations during the coming months to cover smaller cities worldwide, Hinduja said.

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