Forum Forum (
-   International GSM prepaid cards (
-   -   Please bring me up to date re: Intl. Roaming (

snidely 19-05-2018 17:37

Please bring me up to date re: Intl. Roaming
I am in U.S. and have had no need for intl. SIM card since my long time carrier (T-Mobile) has included intl. roaming for 3-4 years to a vast majority of countries. Have made use of this feature in 13 or 14 countries.
(When in Myanmar (fka Burma) bought cheap local data card, put it in spare phone, and tethered our other two phones to it. TM has had wifi calling "built-in" for 10+ years. And Burma has very little land based wifi.)

I gather Europeans can now roam all over the EU "like at home". Do any carriers offer roaming to other countries?
Do Europeans still pay Long Distance charges within their own countries or to other countries? TM users can call/roam in Canada and Mexico like being at home.
Just over 50% of Americans are "cell phone only". No landline. Our 45 unit bldg. in Oakland, Ca. has only 2 landline users. (Most occupants are under 35.)

Question - Is the need for an "International SIM" no longer needed?

It sure is convenient to step off a plane in Zurich or Hong Kong and start making/receiving calls as though you just traveled from SFO to MIAmi. AND using Google Maps.

rfranzq 21-05-2018 03:24

Is the need for an "International SIM" no longer needed?

Originally Posted by snidely (Post 50180)
Question - Is the need for an "International SIM" no longer needed?

By the tsunami of answers to your question I suspect it is a lot less than it used to be needed.
I am not qualified to give more than my impression.

Unless you have a specific need that an international roaming card will fulfill, it is probably not really needed anymore [obviously!].

And anyone who has a Piranha SIM card should look at the most recent messages in the Piranha thread.
You all will need to request a new SIM card.

Bossman 23-05-2018 10:20

I concur with what rfranzq said - The need for international sims has reduced drastically! I would guess that most users of these sims are not based in the EU. As you mentioned, EU based travelers will just use their sims, since they can roam at local rates. Plus, all the 4 major US carriers offer some form of roaming package , that make these sims not worthwhile, especially for short trips. For me, my primary travels are to London, and Nigeria. And I have local sims to use there.

MBK 30-05-2018 15:38


Originally Posted by snidely (Post 50180)
It sure is convenient to step off a plane in Zurich or Hong Kong and start making/receiving calls as though you just traveled from SFO to MIAmi. AND using Google Maps.

They are still very much useful for people in Switzerland. (which is in the middle of the EU but not in the EU).

The hypocrisy, as you are saying, is that you can arrive in Zurich and call as in Miami.

But the Swiss people can't. It doesn't work the other way.

Unlimited plans in Switzerland cost arroud 60$ per month. This doesn't include calls in EU. But only 200mb data in EU (so it's about useless).

For a plan including EU calling, it's 89$. With 1gb data in EU.

Unlimited including in EU is around 120$ per month.

There are roaming add-ons you can activate, but nothing with unlimited and you still have to pay at least 0.20$ per minute for incoming and outgoing calls in EU with the roaming add-ons.

So, unless you are traveling all the time in EU, these expensive plans make no sense. It's much cheaper to get a roaming sim, EU sim or local sim.

As for worldwide roaming: the unlimited worldwide plan is 179$, but data is only 1gb EU and worldwide.

wolfbln 02-06-2018 20:16

As some of you may know, I'm the admin of the Prepaid Data Wiki.

When it comes to international SIM cards, they are struggling hard to maintain their position or find a new niche in the market. I can see that in the fact, that there is hardly another category/country where I need to tone down the offers as much and bring them to a level which is closer to reality. Some of them have gone down in price and some do now really offer good deals for some countries or regions. It remains a question whether this is too little or too late. Generally, the market for international roaming is changing rapidly and for me on the Wiki is hard to keep on track.

1.) More and more countries or operators unite in roaming regions. This happens by force in the EU, the Balcans or the Gulf states, but also voluntarily in North America and other regions.
This means for Europeans it has become much cheaper and easier to roam in neighbouring states, the same for US citizens going north or south.
But there are many countries not yet included within the regions and often some dangerous gaps remain (e.g. Switzerland).

2.) International SIM cards rarely offer better rates within these roaming regions. But their opportunity lies beyond in the regions not included, countries not covered and gaps remaining. Many soccer fans are going to travel to Russia for the World Cup for instance. Some also offer a good alternative to bypass local restrictions like Hong Kong roaming SIMs that break the Great Firewall of mainland China.

3.) Of course, there is always the chance to buy a local prepaid SIM in more than 200 countries as we have proven in the Prepaid Data Wiki with only few exceptions. This is why I will keep on administering the Wiki. For many countries it's still the cheapest choice. Of course, it's getting even better when you stay for longer and use it a lot.

So I think this triple market is what we are going to face for a while to come:
1.) more roaming unions for surcharge-free roaming zones in a region like the EU/EEA roaming zone
2.) international SIM cards for travellers who crisscross serveral regions and countries in a short time like business travellers, e.g. in combination with a wireless hotspot router (Skyroam, GLocalMe).
3.) local SIM cards predominantly for those who stay for longer, come back from time to time or have any other fixed link to that particular country.

thaiprepaidcard 26-02-2019 08:31

Really can't talk about International Roaming without bringing up eSIMs. This is where this market is going to change drastically. Being able to purchase a SIM digitally in just about any market is going to reduce barriers and allow good, easy to use products to find their way to the top. Gigsky and Truphone already seem to be having success with their eSIM products, but if you compare their prices with that of AIS SIM2Fly out of Thailand, who have just launched their eSIM, they are blown away.

So how can SIM2Fly do this? Well, look at the top 10 most visited countries in the world:

The World's Most Visited Countries
Rank International Visitors (millions), 2017
1 France 86.9
2 Spain 81.8
3 United States 76.9
4 China 60.7
5 Italy 58.3
6 Mexico 39.3
7 United Kingdom 37.7
8 Turkey 37.6
9 Germany 37.5
10 Thailand 35.4

Thailand has roughly 10m outbound travelers. That means for every 3.5 people that visit, one person goes abroad.

Think of this from a mobile data perspective. For every visitor to Thailand needing 5GB of data, a Thai outbound traveler would have to consume 17.5 GB of data on their trip to balance International usage. This is not happening. Instead Thailand has a major data imbalance with other countries. This is important because of the way major carriers exchange data. Rather than Thailandís AIS sending $10m USD to Japan and Japan sending $35m USD to Thailand they exchange Gigabytes instead. Thailand may give 10 TB to Softbank Japan in exchange for 10TB of GB for AIS Thailand. So Thai operators are swimming in overseas GBs and need to recoup this asset in some way. Enter the traveler SIM. Because of its competitive pricing itís able to sell itís overseas data glut to more than just Thai people.

There are likely other countries who have a similar advantage, but itís quite pronounced in Thailand do to the already low costs of data.

And this is where the eSIM comes in. If AIS adds a competitor to the Gigsky eSIM app, anyone, anywhere could tap into their prices via a simple eSIM swap.

Daneboy 08-04-2019 20:43

Sort of old thread but let me add my 2 cents worth...

I am Danish, living in Sweden and using Danish carrier 3/Three. My current sub gives me unl talk, unl text and 20 GB of data for 150 DKK per month (roughly $22/month). This also includes roaming in 63 countries including all of the EU countries, the US + Canada, Thailand, Hong Kong and many more.

All in all, a very good deal which almost eliminates my need for a local SIM card entirely.

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 08:43.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2002- ad libitum