Celitech makes international mobile travel a breeze @ CES 2023 - Show Notes

Celitech makes international mobile travel a breeze @ CES 2023

Tuesday Feb 28, 2023 (00:11:47)


If you like to travel internationally, you know there is a major problem with it - cellular coverage. Sure, your carrier might claim to have coverage across the globe, but it's usually spotty coverage, has slow data speeds, and is often very expensive. Thankfully we've now got Celitech, a company that has made an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) infrastructure that works across the world without breaking the bank.

What is an MVNO?

MVNO stands for mobile virtual network operator and essentially means a carrier without hardware. In the United States, Virgin Mobile is a brand that many people know. It was an extremely popular prepaid cellular service before Sprint was bought by T-Mobile. But, Virgin Mobile didn't really exist - at least not in the same way as Sprint and T-Mobile.

Rather than having towers that they own, operate, or lease, like the current Big Three, Virgin Mobile purchased time from Sprint and resold it under their own name. They even had an operating agreement that the network would display on phones as Virgin Mobile and not as Sprint. This is the operating mechanism of an MVNO.

What is Celitech?

Celitech has built out a series of relationships around the world in order to build its own MVNO infrastructure. This allows international travelers to add international cellular service to their travel plans and have a consistent and predictable mobile experience while traveling.

The offering is powered by two sets of relationships - the providers and the agents. On the provider side, Celitech has teamed up with AT&T, Orange, Telefonica, and Vodafone, some of the biggest names in mobile. These relationships allow for Celitech to offer its service in nearly any country with consistent experiences.

On the other hand, there are the agents. In this case, it's mostly travel companies, like Expedia, that the company partners with. These companies can offer international cellular service at 80% less than traditional international roaming costs. Plus, the network will report as being their own, not that of Celitech.

How does it work?

Let's say you set up your travel plans through Expedia. You've booked your flights, your hotels, and even rental cars if you need them, all through the website. At the end of the experience, Expedia can say something like, "We see you're traveling internationally. Would you like to add international cellular service for $X?" If you say yes, they can simply add it to your existing bill.

Once you're ready to travel, you receive an email from Expedia with your itinerary, etc. In that email there's a QR code. Once scanned, you can set up your international mobile service. Once setup, your phone will show that you're on the Expedia mobile network, as opposed to AT&T or Vodafone, so that users fully understand what's happening.


The Celitech infrastructure is available today for travelers using partner providers to use. To learn more about the platform and to see what partners have implemented the system, you can go to the company's website.

Interview by Don Baine, The Gadget Professor.

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Scott Ertz

Episode Author

Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.


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