Roaming SIM Cards

As I had lost my roaming SIM card, I decided to investigate roaming SIMs again.

Roaming SIMs are pretty cool things for the traveller: they allow you to accept calls for free in most of the countries you would travel to (usually around 60-75 countries).

There are some gotchas:

– validity. Some cards will lose their credit if you have not used them for XX days – or even worse you will lose your number

– connection charge. Some charge connection fees.

– incoming numbers. Some have weird codes, like Latvian numbers. For example onesimcard has a Latvian number so US callers would need to call that, or the toll-free US number (which you then pay 29c/min for them to call).

– phone constraints. Your phone needs to be SIM free and usually needs to support callback.

Other bonus things to look for:

– additional numbers. For example, US number (although I think this service should now really be for free).

Unfortunately data roaming still seems enormously expensive – so probably not an option (yet).

The cards I looked into were:

http://www.0044.co.uk/, http://www.globalsimcard.co.uk, http://www.onesimcard.com/, http://localanywhere.truphone.com/ (replaced sim4travel), http://www.travelsim.co.uk/

This site was pretty helpful (but the links are not intuitive): http://geosim.roamingsims.com/

Anyhow long story short, if I was living in the US, I might choose: http://www.onesimcard.com/, (free air miles – but watch the connection charges). But I am living in Europe and this one – which is the one I had before – is the one that appeals to me: http://www.travelsim.co.uk/. It’s primary number is a UK one (so my family can call me cheaply), but – when in the US – you can get a US number (cost 29c/min to forward on). The customer service is pretty good – I do most of my questions by email and usually get a reply within the hour. The only drawback is their fair usage policy where you need to be making as many calls as you are receiving – although I have not run into that barrier yet.