International SIM Card Comparison

International SIM Card Comparison - Global SIM Cards

If you plan on traveling to a range of different countries and want to avoid the hassle of buying local SIMs or having to repeatedly change your number, then you might consider an international sim, which can help you avoid extortionate roaming rates. On this page I conduct an international SIM card comparison and advise you of the best choice for your particular situation.

A range of companies offer these travel SIM cards, which you can buy in advance from your home country. They offer assurance of connection on your travels, and are useful for a range of people:

  • Business travellers on short international trips, or others who take a few short trips a year. Where time and convenience is more important than getting the lowest rates.
  • Those who are visiting several countries and therefore do not have the language ability or desire to spend time on their travels in mobile phone shops buying local SIMs.
  • Those with anxieties about travel or language limitations. An international SIM can act as a good stopgap, allowing you to keep a constantly working phone, regardless of your location. This can reduce travel-related stress, allowing you to get immediately organised and connected on touch down.

There are many options available, at a relatively low cost. However, horror stories abound of people being unable to connect, unable to reach customer service, and stranded!

To avoid this, I am going to break down the available options and look at what might be the best fit for you. This international SIM card comparison looks only at cards that are designed for global travel, so if you are staying in a particular region it might be more cost effective to purchase a SIM designed exclusively for Europe, Asia, etc, or a local country-specific sim.

Be aware that the rates shown are the minimum, so please check all details fully on the website before purchasing.

 

International Sim Card Comparison - Three

 

 

 

‘The Three ‘Feel at Home’ deal – Our top pick for UK residents’

UK mobile network ‘Three’ has a deal that allows you to use your normal allowances to call and text the UK and use your data, and it won’t cost you a penny more in 34 European countries and other specific countries including USA and Australia. This deal is available on all three sims except the essential plans.

You can top up in £10 or £20 bundles, which include data, minutes and texts and last for 30 days. A £10 top-up essentially buys you 30 days of smartphone usage around Europe, at the same cost as if in the UK on a local sim. Along with the bundles, you can also top up credit to use as you go, at very low rates.

This makes the Three SIM very advantageous for being contacted whilst abroad, allowing relatives to call you at the same cost as if you were at home, and making calling home the same cost as if you were there.

Countries Included: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy (includes Sardinia and Sicily), Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal (includes Azores and Madeira), Republic of Ireland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (includes Canary Islands and Balearic Islands), Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, United States of America.

Pros

  • Unbeatable rates

Cons

  • Sims can only be purchased in the UK

Stats

Call cost £0.03 per min Countries covered 50+
Text cost £0.02 Topup method Online
Data cost From £0.01 per MB 4G? Yes
Incoming call cost Free Nano & Micro Sims? Yes

 

International Sim Card Comparison - Traveltalk

 

 

‘Recommended by Money Saving Expert’

These SIM cards start at just £25 which includes £20 call credit; enough for almost 3 hours of mobile calls from the US to the UK.

Pros

  • The Call Divert feature allows you to receive calls only when you return from your holiday or business trip.
  •  24 hour multilingual helpline service (first 3 minutes free)
  • You can use your Traveltalk call credit from any landline – which might be useful in areas where there is no reception in remote places, or in hotel rooms etc.

Cons

  • Reports that data coverage is lacking

Stats

Call cost From £0.15 per min Countries covered  200
Text cost From £0.05 Topup method  Online/Phone/Auto
Data cost From £0.17 per MB 4G?  No
Incoming call cost Free in most of EU Nano & Micro Sims?  Yes

 

International Sim Card Comparison - WorldSim

 

 

‘Large company with considerable perks’

With a 6.6/10 rating on Trustpilot, The WorldSIM International Simcard is one of the most popular options available.

Pros

  • Data bundles available in 100 countries which provide cheaper roaming
  • Can be used as data SIM for iPads and tablets
  • Access to Worldsims global network of wi-fi hotspots
  • Comes equipped with two numbers: UK (+44) and US (+1) along with capacity to add unlimited virtual numbers from over 50 different countries. This allows you to receive calls on your regular mobile number without roaming charges.

Cons

  • Questionable customer service rating

Stats

Call cost From £0.39 Countries covered 200+
Text cost From £0.33 Topup method Online/Phone
Data cost From £0.26 per MB 4G? Yes
Incoming call cost Free in 95 countries Nano & Micro Sims? Yes

 

International Sim Card Comparison - Onesim card

 

 

‘Good for incoming calls’

With 8.2/10 review on trust pilot and free incoming calls in over 130 countries, the Onesimcard is a good choice for those who expect to be receiving lots of calls.

Pros

  • Auto-recharge means you don’t need to keep topping up. A convenient feature, with a limit of 200 USD to prevent mounting costs.

Cons

  • Onesimcard direct app for managing doesn’t work with un-jailbroken iPhones*

Stats

Calls From USD0.29 per min Countries covered  200+
Texts From USD0.15 per min Topup method Online/App*
Data From USD0.02 per MB 4G? Yes
Incoming calls Free in selected countries Nano & Micro Sims? Yes

 

International Sim Card Comparison - Piranha

 

 

‘Great customer service reviews’

A relatively recent addition to the world of international sims; with good rates, and good customer service rating.

Pros

  • Delivered anywhere in the world for only £2.50
  • Swift response from e-mail customer service

Cons

  • Please let me know of your experiences in the comments below!

Stats

Calls From USD0.10 Countries covered 195+
Texts From USD0.11 Topup method Online
Data From USD0.08 4G? CHECK
Incoming calls From USD0.04 Nano & Micro Sims? Yes

 

International SIM Card Comparison: Conclusions

So, which International SIM should you buy? This depends on where you are likely to be going and how you plan on using it….

  • Travelling from the UK? If you plan on staying within the ‘feel at home’ countries, then the most cost-effective option would be to order a free Three SIM.
  • Concerned about accessing data? If you don’t plan on making calls or texts, then check out an international data SIM.
  • If you are truly traveling globally and will take advantage of the wide range of different countries covered, then the sim with most coverage is WorldSIM.
  • Want friends and relatives colleagues to be able to call you at no cost to yourself?  then try the One SIM card.

For truly budget travellers who are perhaps sticking only to one or two countries – it is sensible to buy a local sim on arrival. These will usually provide cheaper rates than any ‘global SIM’ can compete with. See my guide to local countries sim offerings under destinations.

Shop around based on your particular trip, and please thoroughly check the rates on the website before buying.

If you have used any of these SIMs, and want to conduct your own international SIM Card comparison, then please share your experiences with us in the comments.

3 Replies to “International SIM Card Comparison”

  1. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing this valuable information on sim cards. I’m currently an American living aboard in Colombia, and always been thinking about a way to get good cheap service here. I actually sill have service through my service provider from the States. However, the roaming charges and rates are ridiculous! Plus, the mobile data doesn’t work. I think the one sim card makes the most sense for me. Cheers!

  2. Great review here. I travel a lot for my work and always headache about phone charges. I still remember facing the ridiculous charge from my service provider for roaming at month end when the bills reach my home.

    Sometimes when I travel I do not have specific activities, just need to make sure someone could able to reach me when there is necessary when there is a need. From here I found that TheOne sim card suits me the most.

    Thanks dude

  3. I’m happy to have read this because sometimes I travel outside of the country. I’ll be sure to research how I can buy a sim card that will work when I travel. For example I’m from the USA but when I travel to Indonesia my phone simply doesn’t work except on Wifi, even though Jakarta says that we can access their network. What we have to do instead is buy a sim card like in other countries that allow us to purchase data and use it. I’m not sure how it works in other countries but in the USA you just use the sim card that the cell phone provider uses and usually the data is unlimited or auto billed.

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