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adam917 (Offline)
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Question Advantage of int'l SIMs versus other solutions? - 22-01-2009, 08:45

I would like to know from other users on here who use them: what are the advantages of an international SIM besides maximum coverage & one number? Is the often high price per minute or megabyte worth such a convenience? I notice that SMS rates are multiple times higher than using the home SIM roaming abroad. Has anyone on here really saved money using these int'l SIMs or are they used as a backup/last resort solution like I have them as? Deals like Vodafone Passport & 3 Like Home (as well as whatever equivalent offerings Orange, T-Mobile, & O2/Telefonica have) are looking better every day.

The data rates I notice are astronomical and can easily sometimes be higher than standard roaming rates. Charging by the 10, 100, & 333 KB, sometimes with a session fee, is a real rip-off.

I also notice these SIMs often get the discount rates only in a handful of countries in Europe, ditto anywhere else - your only solution would be a local SIM in that country.

Considering we can find out who supplies the int'l SIM companies the service, would it make sense to check out the offers direct from the operator in question? (Like O2 UK, the operator that Mobal uses.)
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AndreA (Offline)
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Default 22-01-2009, 22:59

Quote:
Originally Posted by adam917 View Post
I would like to know from other users on here who use them: what are the advantages of an international SIM besides maximum coverage & one number?
Well, you have the answer inside your question
Quote:
I also notice these SIMs often get the discount rates only in a handful of countries in Europe, ditto anywhere else - your only solution would be a local SIM in that country.
That's partially true... Travelsim, for examples, has some countries in Africa and East Europe (Russia).

Quote:
Considering we can find out who supplies the int'l SIM companies the service, would it make sense to check out the offers direct from the operator in question? (Like O2 UK, the operator that Mobal uses.)
It's not so cheap... italian operators want 3/6 for minute in Africa and Asia. Do you think that they have the "right" price?


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snaimon (Offline)
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Default 23-01-2009, 00:27

Quote:
Originally Posted by adam917 View Post
I would like to know from other users on here who use them: what are the advantages of an international SIM besides maximum coverage & one number? Is the often high price per minute or megabyte worth such a convenience? I notice that SMS rates are multiple times higher than using the home SIM roaming abroad. Has anyone on here really saved money using these int'l SIMs or are they used as a backup/last resort solution like I have them as? Deals like Vodafone Passport & 3 Like Home (as well as whatever equivalent offerings Orange, T-Mobile, & O2/Telefonica have) are looking better every day.

....................
I can't answer you about data. And I can only give you my perspective on calling and SMS.

The turf has changed quite a bit over the last 2 - 3 years. At one time international SIM users were probably way ahead of those who used their national cards and paid very high roaming prices. The new EU rates, Vodaphone Passport among others are all relatively new and quite competitive.

If you dig deeper into the discussions here, you will find O9 (Iceland) and affiliates are probably DEAD. You will find several Isle of Man etc providers are DEAD. You find United Mobile raising its already somewhat high prices even higher. The internationals are struggling.

In my case I bought two of these international cards and am using up the balances. I am unsure I will refill when the balances are used up. I sold several others, too.

There is for my technically challenged wife the convenience of not having to change the SIM card as she moves about. This summer she may be in Europe without me, so I will give her one phone for Germany and one for other countries. She can do that.

As noted, there is also the idea that you just give out one number, the international SIM, and friends and family can reach you on that number. This instead of giving them 6 phone numbers and your full itinerary for them to follow you over the course of your journey.


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Default 23-01-2009, 00:31

You are in the U.S.? If so, and you are a T-Mobile customer, you can use one of their UMA capable phones to connect to a wi-fi connection anywhere in the world. The minutes used would come out of your minute bucket (or you can pay $10/mo. for unlimited minutes while connected by UMA/wifi.
They obviously don't advertise the fact you can use their phones w. UMA capability this way - but they even provide support if you are overseas.
Obviously this isn't as good as having a phone connection anywhere you have cell signal - but "free" calling can't be beaten. We have used it everywhere from the Dubai airport to hotels, coffee shops and apts. from UK, Spain, Costa Rica, Israel, etc.

...mike


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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 EDGE data in 140+ countries.

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adam917 (Offline)
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Question 24-01-2009, 02:50

Quote:
Originally Posted by snidely View Post
You are in the U.S.? If so, and you are a T-Mobile customer, you can use one of their UMA capable phones to connect to a wi-fi connection anywhere in the world. The minutes used would come out of your minute bucket (or you can pay $10/mo. for unlimited minutes while connected by UMA/wifi.
They obviously don't advertise the fact you can use their phones w. UMA capability this way - but they even provide support if you are overseas.
Obviously this isn't as good as having a phone connection anywhere you have cell signal - but "free" calling can't be beaten. We have used it everywhere from the Dubai airport to hotels, coffee shops and apts. from UK, Spain, Costa Rica, Israel, etc.

...mike
As a matter of fact I am, and have a BlackBerry Curve 8320 which is compatible and I could see using that when abroad... I asked my question more as a hypothetical as opposed to something I will be doing anytime soon. Heck I'm not sure when I'll be travelling outside the US & chances are, by that time things will likely have changed even more once again.
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Default 24-01-2009, 20:46

I have a couple of MAXRoam cards with some credit remaining. They both have local numbers, making it easy for friends to call, as well as a forwarding feature that lets me forward to any number, including European mobile numbers, for free. Could I save money over MAXRoam rates by getting a local SIM for the country I'm in, but then giving out my MAXRoam number forwarded to that SIM? I assume the local SIM will have better rates calling within country, but how bad are the rates calling back to the US? The countries I'm currently thinking of are France and Italy.
   
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Default 26-01-2009, 20:50

Quote:
Originally Posted by adam917 View Post
what are the advantages of an international SIM besides maximum coverage & one number?
Even those advantages are dubious because 1. the roaming can be unreliable and 2. it's usually a number in a location that is expensive to call or for you to forward calls to.

A lot has changed in the past few years and I'd say international SIMs had their market window - and blew it. They've never really become visible on the mass market, 90% of even international travellers have never heard of them.

With both Callkey-based sims and now O9 based going under, it's clear the business model is still very difficult - the target market is expert users who want to pay as little as possible at all times, not exactly a way to make a profit! For example, just about all I used my O9 for was to get the free incoming in Mexico with callback, I made virtually no outbound calls with it.

I now use local prepaid SIMs in my main three countries, and a VOIP account on the (wifi) phone. Plus a couple of UK postpaid (no monthly fee) SIMs for when I'm elsewhere without wifi - higher roaming costs but cheaper than trying to keep global sims active on the off-chance they'll still be in business when I next travel!

For the one-number part of it, I have an IPkall US number, and a UK number, as "find-me" numbers that I forward, via a VOIP account, to whichever country sim I'm currently using (I pay the forwarding part but that's OK, especially as I can pick and choose VOIP rates).
   
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Grampa (Offline)
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Default 28-01-2009, 16:05

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Originally Posted by RTuesday View Post
For the one-number part of it, I have an IPkall US number, and a UK number, as "find-me" numbers that I forward, via a VOIP account, to whichever country sim I'm currently using (I pay the forwarding part but that's OK, especially as I can pick and choose VOIP rates).
This is where the MAXRoam solution comes in handy, particularly if you already have a MAXRoam account. The card doesn't expire or have minimum usage requirements, you get one free "find-me" number from any of several countries with an area code of your choice (additional numbers are 2 Euro per month), and you can forward those numbers for free calls to anywhere in the world, even to cell phones. None of this requires that you actually use the MAXRoam chip. That's why I was asking about recommendations for local prepaid SIMs.
   
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Default 28-01-2009, 18:07

Actually, you can only forward maxroam to certain countries. I think they list 45 or so in the dropdown. Still a pretty good option since you can forward to mobiles too.

With the call quality and the okay call costs, this will likely be my primary roaming sim moving forward. The rest, yackie (if they come back from being dead!), UM+, will be backups.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grampa View Post
This is where the MAXRoam solution comes in handy, particularly if you already have a MAXRoam account. The card doesn't expire or have minimum usage requirements, you get one free "find-me" number from any of several countries with an area code of your choice (additional numbers are 2 Euro per month), and you can forward those numbers for free calls to anywhere in the world, even to cell phones. None of this requires that you actually use the MAXRoam chip. That's why I was asking about recommendations for local prepaid SIMs.


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Grampa (Offline)
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Default 28-01-2009, 23:12

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Originally Posted by Bossman View Post
Actually, you can only forward maxroam to certain countries. I think they list 45 or so in the dropdown. Still a pretty good option since you can forward to mobiles too.
Sorry for the exaggeration. I tested this out by forwarding the maxroam number to my UM sim, a card with country code 44 (Jersey), and the call quality was very good. Unfortunately, UM charged me about $3 for that test to receive the call in the U.S.
   
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