Friday, October 30, 2020
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The Best International SIM Cards: A Comparison

Whether you’re a business traveler or planning a whirlwind trip abroad, an international SIM card can reduce your data and roaming costs considerably.

How Does an International SIM Card Work?

Local SIM cards are limited to one network. When you go out of range of the local network, roaming charges kick in. These charges can really add up if you use your phone a lot when you travel. Unlike local SIMs, international SIMs work on multiple networks around the world.

Local SIM Cards vs. International SIM Cards: Which One Is Right For You?

A local SIM card might be fine if you’re only planning on visiting one or two countries. But International SIM cards are more convenient and affordable for a variety of travelers, including:

  • Business travelers: People who travel for business are usually short on time and need to stay connected for work.
  • Travelers who are visiting several countries in a short amount of time: If you’re planning a multi-country tour of Europe, an international SIM will eliminate the need to find a new local SIM card for each country you visit.
  • Travelers who like to be prepared in advance: International SIMs allow travelers to stay connected at all times for access to maps, language tools, online reservations and other convenient online travel resources.

How to Choose an International SIM Card

Before you choose an international SIM card, you’ll need to ask yourself a few questions, such as:

  • What countries will I visit?
  • Will I be using mainly calls, text, data or all three?
  • How long is my trip?

Best International SIM Cards Review

Three Mobile

Three SIM cards consistently rank high on consumer reviews. Three Mobile was voted the best network for data in the 2019 Mobile Choice Awards. Three offers five different pay-as-you-go SIM plans. Each plan includes unlimited texts and phone minutes. Their affordable 4GB, 10GB and 12GB plans last for up to 30 days. These plans work well for travelers who communicate mainly through calls and text. If you’re planning on using a lot of data, you can’t beat Three’s 90-day unlimited SIM card. Unlimited 90-day data cards cost only £1 per day.

Pros:

  • Versatility. All cards include unlimited phone calls and texts.

Cons:

  • SIMs can only be purchased in UK stores or ordered online.

Stats:

  • CALL COST- Unlimited
  • COUNTRIES COVERED- 71
  • TEXT COST- Unlimited
  • TOPUP METHOD- Online
  • DATA COST- From £1 per day
  • 4G?- Yes
  • 5G?- Yes
  • INCOMING CALL COST- Free
  • NANO & MICRO SIMS?- Yes

WorldSIM

WorldSIM covers over 100 countries, making it one of the most popular SIM cards available. Many pay-as-you-go SIM cards restrict access to hotspots. However, WorldSIM provides access to a vast global network of hotspots.

Pros:

  • Cards can be used as data SIMs for iPads and tablets. Access to WorldSIM’s wi-fi hotspots.
  • Comes equipped with UK and US international calling codes to receive calls for free. Customers can add unlimited virtual numbers from over 90 additional countries.

Cons:

  • Questionable customer service rating of only 6.6/10 on Trustpilot.

Stats:

  • CALL COST- From £0.39/min
  • COUNTRIES COVERED- 200+
  • TEXT COST- From £0.33
  • TOPUP METHOD- Online/Phone
  • DATA COST- From £0.26/MB
  • 4G?- Yes
  • 5G?- No
  • INCOMING CALL COST- Free in 95 countries
  • NANO & MICRO SIMS?- Yes

Lebara

Lebara mobile offers versatile SIM cards for budget travelers. Travelers who plan to use limited data and less than 100 international minutes can buy a 30-day plan for a little as £5. You can purchase 30-day, 15 GB plans for just £20 and 25GB plans for only £25. The 15 and 25GB plans include unlimited international minutes to 41 countries.

Pros:

  • 30-day plans start as low as £5. Trustpilot rating of 4.5/5.

Cons:

  • Plans only cover 41 countries.

Stats:

  • CALLS- From £0.01/min
  • COUNTRIES COVERED- 41
  • TEXTS- Unlimited UK texts
  • TOPUP METHOD- online
  • DATA- From £0.05 out of bundle
  • 4G?- Yes
  • 5G?- No
  • INCOMING CALLS- Unlimited with 15 or 25GB plans
  • NANO & MICRO SIMS?- Yes

Auracall Traveltalk

Auracall will save you up to 85% of what you would pay with a local UK SIM card. The Auracall SIM includes free incoming calls and text. Customers can choose auto top-off for when the account reaches below £3 so that you can stay connected.

Pros:

  • The Call Divert feature allows you to postpone received calls for after you return from your trip. 24-hour multilingual customer service. Traveltalk call credit is usable from any landline, even in remote areas.

Cons:

  • Some customers have reported limited data coverage.

Stats:

  • CALL COST- From £0.15/min
  • COUNTRIES COVERED- 170
  • TEXT COST- From £0.05
  • TOPUP METHOD- Online/Phone/Auto
  • DATA COST- From £0.17/MB
  • 4G?- No
  • 5G?- No
  • INCOMING CALL COST- Free
  • NANO & MICRO SIMS?- Yes

5. OneSimCard

If you’re somewhat technically savvy, OneSimCard may be the SIM for you. For people who travel often, OneSimCard’s annual plan could save you a ton of money. Buy the annual plan, set up auto-recharge, and roam when you want with no fuss.

Pros:

  • Auto-recharge with a limit of $200 to prevent mounting costs.

Cons:

  • Complaints about ease of use and customer service.

Stats:

  • CALLS- From $0.25/min
  • COUNTRIES COVERED- 200+
  • TEXTS- From $0.09/min
  • TOPUP METHOD- Online/App
  • DATA- From $0.03/MB
  • 4G?- Yes
  • 5G?- No
  • INCOMING CALLS- Free for 162 countries
  • NANO & MICRO SIMS?- Yes

6. Piranha Mobile

Piranha tops the list for convenience and user-friendliness. The company has been serving customers for over a decade. They’ve solved many of the customer service problems that cause newer SIM companies to struggle.

Pros:

  • Excellent customer service. Piranha will deliver SIM cards anywhere in the world for only $3.50.

Cons:

  • Limited 4G coverage.

Stats:

  • CALLS- From $0.10/min
  • COUNTRIES COVERED- 170+
  • TEXTS- From $0.04
  • TOPUP METHOD- Online
  • DATA- From $0.02/MB
  • 4G?- Limited
  • 5G?- No
  • INCOMING CALLS- Free
  • NANO & MICRO SIMS?- Yes

7. Orange Holiday

Geared especially for travelers visiting Europe. The Orange Holiday Europe plans make communicating fast and easy. The SIM switches networks within minutes after entering a new country. You won’t have to run around searching for a local SIM every time you visit a different country.

Pros:

  • Excellent coverage throughout Europe.

Cons:

  • Mandatory registration for customers who want to keep using the card after 30 days.
  • You’ll be assigned a French phone number, so folks back home may not recognize you.

Stats:

  • CALLS- 120 minutes included in 20GB card
  • COUNTRIES COVERED- 30 EU countries
  • TEXTS- 500, 1000, and unlimited plans available
  • TOPUP METHOD- online
  • DATA- Depends on plan
  • 4G?- Yes
  • 5G?- No
  • INCOMING CALLS- 120 minutes included in 20GB card
  • NANO & MICRO SIMS?- Yes

International SIM Cards With Unlimited Data

8. KnowRoaming

KnowRoaming is an excellent choice for business travelers who make frequent short trips. KnowRoaming’s unlimited data plans can save travelers up to 85% on roaming charges. Their unlimited data plans cover 125+ countries. Phone coverage includes more than 200 countries. The company also offers cards that specialize in EU, US, or Asian travel.

Pros:

  • Serves over 200 countries. KnowRoaming App allows you to manage your usage as you go.
  • Free Whatsup for 30 days every time you add money to your account through the app.

Cons:

  • Global unlimited data plans only last for three days at a time.

Stats:

  • CALLS- Free WhatsApp
  • COUNTRIES COVERED- 200 countries
  • TEXTS- Free Whatsapp
  • TOPUP METHOD- online or app
  • DATA- Unlimited
  • 4G?- Yes
  • 5G?- No
  • INCOMING CALLS- Free depending on plan type
  • NANO & MICRO SIMS?- Yes

9. Sim2ROAM

If you’re planning to tour the US, you can’t beat SIM2ROAM for reliability. The company’s SIMs connect to T-mobile’s vast network within the US. You’ll maintain coverage in most major US cities. SIM2ROAM’s cards also offer free calls home to the UK.

Pros:

  • Unlimited Data, US calls and texts. Free calls to the UK.

Cons:

  • Not refillable. SIMS limited to 12-day plans.

Stats:

  • CALLS- Unlimited calls throughout the US and UK.
  • COUNTRIES COVERED- 60+
  • TEXTS- Unlimited
  • TOPUP METHOD- Buy new card
  • DATA- Unlimited 4G within the US
  • 4G?- Yes
  • 5G?- No
  • INCOMING CALLS- Free
  • NANO & MICRO SIMS?- Yes

International Sim Card: Conclusions

Still wondering which international SIM card to choose? Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Ease of Use: Piranha and Three
  • European Tour: Orange Holiday
  • Frequent Short Trips: KnowRoaming
  • Versatility: WorldSIM and Three
  • Year-round discount: OneSIMCard
  • Trip to the States: SIM2Roam
  • 5G Capability: Three

Check current rates before purchasing your international SIM card. Companies frequently offer discount sales, and service plans change often.

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