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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Rental smartphones for travellers

A Hong Kong-based start-up has launched a smartphone rental service for tourists and travellers who want to avoid paying steep roaming and data charges while overseas.
The Straits Times - March 12, 2013
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Rental smartphones for travellers

Called Handy, the service from Tink Labs offers customers a smartphone that provides unlimited international and local calls, and unlimited 3G data usage for a flat fee.

The phones are pre-loaded with a city guide app that contains walking guides curated by Handy's team, and other useful information such as recommended eating places.

Must-have travel and social media apps, such as Google Maps and Facebook, are also accessible on the phone. Although it has a customised interface, one can download additional apps through the Google Play Store. Personal contact details can be synced with the phone through the Google cloud.

In Hong Kong, customers reserve phones on Handy's website and pick them up at several locations, including the airport and the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wanchai. Singapore-bound travellers can also pick up their sets there.

Otherwise, tourists who want to use Handy's phones in Singapore can pick them up at the Singapore Tourism Board's office in Orchard Road and, soon, at Changi Airport.

American-born Mr Terence Kwok, who grew up in Hong Kong, is the 20-something entrepreneur who founded Tink Labs. He was inspired to start the service when he was hit with exorbitant data charges while travelling in Australia.

"I forgot to turn off my data roaming... that weekend cost me $1,000," said Mr Kwok.

He is offering users discount coupons to select tourist attractions and dining outlets which they can buy directly using the rented phone.

For now, this is available only in Hong Kong. Mr Kwok said his team is working with several partners in Singapore to offer similar deals.

By next month, he said, handy will also be available in Macau.

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