Jun 24, 2013

When traveling internationally, is it better to purchase a local SIM card, or use your carrier’s international service?

I’m headed to Europe in a few weeks, and I will be in England, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Which makes the most sense, taking a cheap GSM phone along and switching out SIM cards, or just using my carrier’s international data/calling option? I’m with AT&T if that makes a difference.


I will hep you


To use your AT&T phone overseas, you will be required to activate a roaming feature on your phone account that allows you to connect to the mobile phone towers at your overseas destination. If you do not want to activate the roaming feature or pay the additional rates for phone calls, messaging, and data capabilities, you can contact AT&T to have your phone unlocked so you can use an local sim card in other country to avoid high charge for calls.To unlock your mobile you can use relevant software from the internet or by an online provider like Mobile-Unlocker. I always prefer a local SIM cards,it’s way cheaper and makes more sense


There's a third option, which is to get hold of an international SIM card from someone like GO-SIM or Telestial. it's cheaper than AT&T by far, and will be more convenient than local SIMs because you won't have to switch out the SIM each time, share a new phone number, etc. It'll work in every country you want to visit and there are some excellent bundle deals on data and calling. Worth a look.


Typically, if you are going to multiple countries, it does not make sense to get "country specific" SIM cards for each country. Although the rates are significantly bettter than with a roaming SIM or with AT&T, it is unwieldy trying to juggle, in your case, 4 SIM cards. However, using AT&T is not a good solution either. What makes sense is to get a roaming SIM card like the National Geographic Travel SIM. All incoming calls are fee so try to have people call you back.

If you were just going to one country or even two, it would probably make sense to get 2 SIM cards as opposed to a roaming SIM unless:


A) People are calling you, or

B) You are using the phone mostly for emergencies.

The worst thing you can do is to roam with AT&T. Even if you need to keep your current phone number for work (most people don't WANT anyone and everyone to reach them while on vacaction), you can always forward that to the roaming SIM.

The National Geographic SIM is one of a few companies out there. The benefits are that it works great although it may cost more than some of the other out there depending on the country.




This suggestion is only if you lve in the usa or canada.


I always use www.cellomobile.com for my international voice/data solution needs and was never let down.


Talk to sales@cellomobile.com, I remember them offerign once for my daughter one SIM card that works in all the countries you're going to.


Au revoir, and C'est La Vie!

The SIM card seems like the better option to me.

Those carrier services can get VERY expensive, so because of cost, I would probably look at the SIM card option, especially if you have an older device laying around just waiting for a second use in life. You may actually have to buy a different SIM card for each country (make certain the phone is GSM!). It’s been a few years since I lived in Europe, so maybe there is someone more current than me, but a lot of times the carriers there are only good for one county. Still, you can pick up prepaid SIM cards much more easily in Europe than the US, so even it you have to get a couple of them, you would probably be better off cost wise. It might not be as easy for people to reach you directly, but I suppose you can check your email and messaging services frequently enough to minimize that issue.

Answer this