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snidely (Offline)
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Location: Berkeley, California and Miami

Default Please bring me up to date re: Intl. Roaming - 19-05-2018, 18:37

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.

Make use of T-M's UMA/wifi free calling from any place in the world with access to wifi. I use an LG G6, wife an S7)
A/o Oct 20, 2013 no need for intl prepaid as T-Mobile U.S. includes voice roaming at 20/min (in and out)., unlimited text (in and out), and unlimited data in 140+ countries.

My Plan -[6 lines] U.S. T-Mobile unlimited minutes (incoming and outgoing), unlimited text, fast data on each line. that $145/mo. total! . (In U.S. no surcharge for calling a cell.) If a line exceeds 2G of data in a month, pay $10 more for that line. [That only happens a couple times/year.
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rfranzq (Offline)
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Default Is the need for an "International SIM" no longer needed? - 21-05-2018, 04:24

Originally Posted by snidely View Post
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.
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Bossman (Offline)
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Default 23-05-2018, 11:20

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.

Phones: Xiaomi Mi Mix 2, ASUS zenfone 3, Nexus 4, Lumia 650 dual sim
Sim cards: AT&T (Contract), 3 UK, Piranha Mobile
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MBK (Offline)
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Default 30-05-2018, 16:38

Originally Posted by snidely View Post
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.
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wolfbln (Offline)
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Default 02-06-2018, 21:16

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.

Last edited by wolfbln; 02-06-2018 at 21:27..
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