Best prepaid SIM card with data plan for .... World

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by ffitalia, Jul 14, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. ffitalia

    ffitalia Silver Member

    Messages:
    195
    Likes Received:
    228
    Status Points:
    375
    There are several threads in which you ask what is the best sim to use in the various countries for short periods.

    For voice an excellent solution are skype and other similar programs, while for text WhatsApp and other are fine. The problem is always related to DATA traffic when we can not use the wifi.

    I ask you which sim used in each country you visit, or to residents which recommended (for short periods, no annual contracts)?

    Having a table summarizing the Country -> operator/plan (MByte/GByte/Price) may be convenient to many

    I start with Italy

    Italy -> Wind 3GB - 9€ month
    Italy -> Vodafone 15GB(4G!) - 35€ month

    UPDATE 16 July
    This page, recommended by traveltoomuch, is the solution :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2014
    daninstl, jbcarioca and Gargoyle like this.
  2. OceanTrotter3

    OceanTrotter3 Silver Member

    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    134
    Status Points:
    360
    I was in Tanzania, Sri Lanka, and Taiwan last year, and paid something like the following
    • Tanzania: I paid about USD$18 for unlimited data (or $9 for 1GB; $12 for 5GB). (Screenshot of plan from one of the carrier)
    • Sri Lanka: There were rates of USD$10 for 2GB + text/calling depending on which mobile company you go with. There are a few kiosk right after you exit Custom, I find them quite friendly. (Tourist Pack from Mobitel)
    • Taiwan: Similar to Sri Lanka, you can find a designated 'station' after you exit Custom. There are agents in Taiwan who can speak fluent English, so if you have problem deciding what plan best suit your need, there is someone you can speak with. If you are a heavy internet user, you may want to go with their unlimited data plan (this excludes calling/texting) that is incremental by days, as the following: (link)
      • 1 day: USD$3
      • 3 days: USD$9
      • 5 days: USD$12
      • 7 days: USD$15
      • 10 days: USD$20
      • 30 days: USD$27
    I was also in China & Singapore, but I got prepaid cards from friends while visiting, so I'm not certain about the exact cost.

    But I know that for Singapore, you are basically looking at 3 carriers: Singtel, M1, and Starhub. And being an English-speaking country, you should have no problem getting the help you need.

    China however, might be a little difficult to navigate. There will be people trying to sell you overpriced SIMs just enough to make a phone call, do not get them. I will try to research, and see if I can get a more concrete information for China.
     
    daninstl, jbcarioca and ffitalia like this.
  3. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,462
    Likes Received:
    3,783
    Status Points:
    2,145
  4. OceanTrotter3

    OceanTrotter3 Silver Member

    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    134
    Status Points:
    360
    jbcarioca, ffitalia and edekba like this.
  5. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,462
    Likes Received:
    3,783
    Status Points:
    2,145
    I think officially they list it as EDGE; but users have reported 3G. And if you're not streaming/facebooking/instagramming and just use it for google, yelp, maps, etc... i think it would be sufficient.

    Ill know soon enuf in sept when I hop over to Europe.
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  6. OceanTrotter3

    OceanTrotter3 Silver Member

    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    134
    Status Points:
    360
    I was in UK a few years ago, and burnt through 100MB (I know) worth £10 in 10 minutes!
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  7. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

    Messages:
    774
    Likes Received:
    912
    Status Points:
    795
    Here's a site with the tables you may be looking for.

    And some specific answers:
    • Poland: Play. SIMs are 5zł (less than $2!) and you can pick one freebie. I like the free internet option (low-speed). SIMs available from Kiosks everywhere.
    • Ireland: 48 Months. Free SIM, but it must be mailed - order before arrival. 15GB for €15, good for 30 days (the Mitch service plan). Targeted market is 18-22 year olds, but there's no hard age check.
    • Netherlands: Lyca Mobile. 500MB for €5. Free SIM.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014
    daninstl, jbcarioca, Lionell and 2 others like this.
  8. OceanTrotter3

    OceanTrotter3 Silver Member

    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    134
    Status Points:
    360
    jbcarioca likes this.
  9. ffitalia

    ffitalia Silver Member

    Messages:
    195
    Likes Received:
    228
    Status Points:
    375
    jbcarioca likes this.
  10. Gargoyle
    Original Member

    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

    Messages:
    22,015
    Likes Received:
    96,543
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Vodafone also another option:
    Internet Sempre Smart
    12,10 euro per month-
    no limits on time. The first 2 GB traffic at 7.2 Mbps, after that it throttles down to 64 kbps without limits on usage.
     
    jbcarioca and ffitalia like this.
  11. Lionell

    Lionell Gold Member

    Messages:
    767
    Likes Received:
    3,248
    Status Points:
    1,810
    jbcarioca likes this.
  12. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    So far I have had T-Mobile Simple Choice and used it in Brazil, France and Russia, but not the US. This has only been during the last three weeks so I will defer to anybody with more extensive experience than have I. I have had 3G speeds and no throttling that I perceive anywhere. In Russia and brazil i can compare with local postpaid plans, with which T-Mobile compared favorably. I even use T-Mobile in Brazil when my local plan comes up on data usage limits. Anyway, T-Mobile Simple Choice is no annual contract so one can simply use it for a month and cancel. I've no idea if they'll let you sign up and cancel numerous times, but I suspect they might. Who knows?

    In any event my eleven sims are going away now, with t-mobile solving almost all my world travel issues. Almost because there are countries they do NOT cover, such as Jordan and Lebanon. Both of these are available for daily packages and voice bundles from my Brazil carrier which are less expensive than local sims, so my guess is that I'll continue with T-Mobile Simple Choice plus my Brazil postpaid VIVO account.

    i do not mean to suggest that this is panacea because nothing yet seems to be truly universal. This does seem to be the closest thing to it so long as you have a US credit card, US billing address and US credit file with a decent credit history. Even though it is no annual plan they do do a credit check because it is postpaid, billed to your credit card. It is possible that I was scrutinized less than many because I have had T-Mobile prepaid for more than ten years.
     
  13. OceanTrotter3

    OceanTrotter3 Silver Member

    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    134
    Status Points:
    360
    This is good to know. I wonder how T-Mobile perform in Asian countries. Does anyone have experience with that?
     
    jbcarioca and TAHKUCT like this.
  14. TAHKUCT
    Original Member

    TAHKUCT Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,766
    Likes Received:
    7,236
    Status Points:
    5,070
    Used it in Japan and Taiwan for data mainly, no problems at all. speeds were capped at about 128 kbs for downloads
     
    jbcarioca and OceanTrotter3 like this.
  15. estnet
    Original Member

    estnet Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,749
    Likes Received:
    2,117
    Status Points:
    1,270
    Used tmo a lot in Thailand with variable speed (sometimes you need to change carrier rather than let it choose automatically) and better reception in some cities than others (no surprise).
     
    jbcarioca, OceanTrotter3 and TAHKUCT like this.
  16. norge
    Original Member

    norge Silver Member

    Messages:
    180
    Likes Received:
    172
    Status Points:
    420
    Spending 6 days in Paris, 6 days in London and 5 days in Ireland next month. Is there one card that will cover all three areas?

    If not, what would you recommend for short stays like mine? Will make a few calls, no texting, and some data use for google, maps, yelp, etc.
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  17. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    This may not be the best one, but i formerly used Vodaphone UK prepaid for that type of use. It worked out well for me. I used it for UK and France, but not Ireland.
    http://www.vodafone.co.uk/shop/pay-as-you-go/vodafone-freebees/index.htm
    If you're beginning in France, or elsewhere in the EU I might go with Transnatel, which has quite flexible EU-wide rates. I personally have not used them.
    http://www.transatel-mobile.com
    I have used such packages in the past from Bouyges (France). It may have changed, but was francophone only when I used them.
    http://www.laboutique.bouyguestelec...e-prepayee/carte-prepayee-internationale.html

    For a fairly short trip such as yours you might even find good packages from your local provider.
    Regardless, for a one time short trip the prices will not be the very cheapest, but these days there are options from almost all European mobile providers, although some are easier to find than others. I have never had any problem with data speeds or call quality with any carrier while in major metropolitan areas, but I have regularly run into data throttling or usage limits, especially if I used GPS guidance while walking. If you plan to do that I'd take a bit more data than you think you need. Running out of data while you're navigating back alleys somewhere in any of these areas can be unpleasant if you've grown overly dependent on GPS guidance, as I have.:oops:
     
  18. norge
    Original Member

    norge Silver Member

    Messages:
    180
    Likes Received:
    172
    Status Points:
    420
    Thanks, I'll check them out. The vodaphone site doesn't say anything about the sim being good in France, AFAIK. I assume they can be mailed to me in the US?
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  19. Sammich

    Sammich Gold Member

    Messages:
    5,645
    Likes Received:
    22,439
    Status Points:
    11,025
    Usually no, carrier's refuse to do that unless you're buying from a reseller/retailer (Fleabay, maybe?) who's willing to do it.
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  20. Sammich

    Sammich Gold Member

    Messages:
    5,645
    Likes Received:
    22,439
    Status Points:
    11,025
    Fiji: Two carriers, both with booths right at the arrivals area of NAN. Vodafone Fiji offers better coverage than Digicel, at least from my experience. However, I've realized that the voice and data plans for both carriers suck in terms of prepaid. You're better off getting a "Flashnet" SIM from Vodafone Fiji (about $65 FJD) that includes 5GB data, then use an internet phone like Vonage for your calls. Keep in mind that these "Flashnet" SIM's are intended to be used in a data stick, but can be cut to size and used on a phone as well. Passport copy required for signup.

    Maldives: Dhiraagu Prepaid, with booth located at arrivals area of MLE. Choose any voice prepaid plan that suits your needs then add a data-addon instead. (ranges from Rf 25 a day to Rf 189). https://www.dhiraagu.com.mv/mobile_internet_on_your_prepaid.aspx. Passport required for sign up.

    Australia: Telstra, Vodafone, and Optus. The latter two have booths at the arrivals of SYD. Optus being the cheapest, but coverage lacks compared to Telstra and Vodafone. Get the "$2 Days 4G Ready" Plan. $2 AUD a day includes unlimited text and mms, 500 MB/day (if you go over they'll charge another $2 AUD for an additional 500MB), and unlimited calls to any Australian network. Passport copy required for sign up.

    I've actually used Vodafone Australia's data stick prepaid plan and it was brilliant, faster data speeds than Optus. Can also be stuck into a phone and used for data only if thats what you want (Vonage for calling, similar to Fiji option). $30 AUD for the unlocked data stick and 3GB data for one month.

    Canada: I've been living in Canada for my whole life and I can't recommend anyone a good prepaid plan here. Generally speaking, the big 3 carriers here (Bell, Telus, Rogers) dominate the cellular market and equalize their prices for their offerings. So you won't find any "advantage" in using one over the other. There are two newly established carriers running on the AWS network (similar to T-Mobile), namely WIND and Mobilicity, however, their signal coverage is questionable. So if you're in the city often, these two carriers might work for you, but expect no service once in a while. Passport copy required for sign up.

    Hong Kong: Lots of choices here, I've practically used all carriers during my very long stay in HK, I've noticed that CSL and China Mobile HK rip you off in terms of data speed and allotment. (CMHK actually sold me an unlimited data and voice card...but data was only allowed on their 2G/EDGE network. Go figure. This was in 2014 too.) 3HK sells voice and data sim's with the option of pay-as-you-go (per MB) or sign up for a weekly, monthly plan. If you go with pay-as-you-go option, there is a maximum daily charge block on the account. Meaning if you spent more than $32 HKD per day on internet, the rest will be unlimited until 11:59PM of that same day. In terms of coverage, all carriers are equal. Passport not required for sign up, cards can be purchased at any 7-11 or convenience store.

    Taiwan: Taiwan Mobile, passport copy required for sign up, there's a dedicated cell phone booth area at the arrivals of TPE, with multiple carriers there. But Taiwan Mobile has the longest lineup. Of course, you could also skip the airport and visit their stores in the city instead.
    300 Type
    300 TWD, includes 1GB data for 30 days, and 150 TWD funds for calls, texts...etc.

    500 Type
    500 TWD, 1GB data for 30 days, 400 TWD funds for calls, texts...etc.

    1GB Type
    180 TWD, 1GB data only
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2014
    ffitalia and jbcarioca like this.
  21. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    I'm with sudosandwich on this. My limited experience with trying to send sims abroad is that those who do it charge a lot, and in each major area there are shops in airports that sell the sims and almost all sell ones ready for some international roaming. Se;action and costs in airport shops seems to vary a lot. Be cautious. the Vodaphone, if you choose it, I prefer to buy directly from Vodaphone shops rather than through a reseller because i find them more predictable. Others may have different views.

    Either way I suggest to find exactly what you want online, with a bit of bother to search through near-endless options, then if check locations to find the shop in your arrivals terminal or near it. My "belt and suspenders, approach has been to ring the specific shop just prior to flight time to check if they can sell the specific package i have chosen with the sim I need.

    Many times they do not have nano-sim in stock but do have micro- or mini-. I cut those to nano myself using a box-cutter with 100% success, and many shops will do that for you, although not all. I know I am being a bit too detailed, but IME the most common problem with buying prepaids for short term use is the lack of availability for nano and excess availability for larger sized. Rule of thumb: NEVER cut the metal, but you need not be quite perfect otherwise.
     
    Sammich likes this.
  22. Trackside

    Trackside Silver Member

    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    33
    Status Points:
    165
    United Kingdom: Lebara or Lyca Mobile seem to be the best offers on data only. Enough so we used it as our primary service for a number of consecutive months on repeat trips. £5 for 1gb or £10-12 for 2-3gb depending on promotion.
     
    jbcarioca and TAHKUCT like this.
  23. TAHKUCT
    Original Member

    TAHKUCT Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,766
    Likes Received:
    7,236
    Status Points:
    5,070
    Toggle Mobile also has 2GB for £10 in UK. I believe Toggle is owned by Lyca Mobile
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  24. Gargoyle
    Original Member

    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

    Messages:
    22,015
    Likes Received:
    96,543
    Status Points:
    20,020
    TIM (one of the two or three biggest Italian cell phone companies) is offering fa good plan for travelers- prepaid voyager pass, €10 gives you 250 minutes, 250 texts, and half a gig of data throughout Europe and the US. (one week usage)

    It's called the Tim in Viaggio Pass Mondo, http://www.tim.it/estero/tim-in-viaggio-pass
    Sorry, I couldn't find an English language section on their site.
     
    jbcarioca and iolaire like this.

Share This Page