International SIM card tablet

International SIM Card Comparison: Which One Should You Pick?

By Patricia Rey Mallén Get Connected, Top54 Comments

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We’ve said it many times before: for most people, local SIM cards are the best option for affordable calls, texts, and data while traveling. They provide a local number for making and receiving calls, and are typically cheaper than other options, especially if you’re a heavy data user.

Buying them can be a hassle, though, especially in countries where there’s a language barrier, or you’re short on time and just want to get connected with a minimum of fuss.

So today, we’re looking at alternatives. International SIM cards (sometimes called “travel SIM cards”) aren’t tied to a specific country or group of nations, but allow you to use your phone all around the world — for a price.

There are several of these cards on the market, each with different plans and pricing. We’ve done the legwork to discover which ones are best for certain types of traveler, and whether any of them might be right for you.

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Are International SIM Cards Useful?

International SIM cards aren’t our first choice for long-term trips, but what if you’re not constantly on the road? Is it always worth investing in a new SIM card and package every time you step off a plane?

For business travelers, who dip in and out of countries on short trips several times a year, international SIM cards can be a sensible choice. They’re typically cheaper than roaming with your usual cell company, and more convenient than local SIMs. When time is money on a business trip, that matters.

For travelers who have a home base and take a few short trips a year, international SIM cards can be worth considering. Ideally, the card could be left dormant whenever it wasn’t required, with any remaining credit held over until the next overseas trip.

International SIMs can also make sense for those skipping through several countries in a hurry. The cost savings of local SIMs disappear if you’re buying them every few days, and there are more exciting places to visit on vacation than the inside of half a dozen mobile stores.

Finally, even if you’re on a longer trip, there’s a use for certain types of international SIM. There’s often a lag between arriving in a new country and picking up a local SIM, and it’s good to have a working phone straight away to do things like call an Uber or tell your Airbnb host you’ll be late. If the cost isn’t extortionate, international SIMs can be very useful for your first few hours somewhere new.


What’s Out There?

We’ve reviewed a couple of international SIM card options in the past, which we’ve included here, as well as several other market leaders.

There’s full details of the number of countries they work in, data and voice rates, package options, and more.


OneSim is the international card offering of US carrier Belmont Telecom, which comes in three different packages:

  • Universal (for discounted calls, SMS, and data service)
  • Expedition (for calls, SMS, and the widest data coverage)
  • Europe and More (for calls and messages globally, and data in Europe).

All plans give customers two numbers, one European (based in Estonia), and one from the USA, Canada, UK, or Australia. Numbers for other countries are available for purchase, too.

Plans are all prepaid, and include free incoming calls and messages for many countries, as well as reduced rates for outgoing calls.

How many countries does it work in? You’ll get voice and SMS in 200+ countries with all three packages. Data is available in 150+ countries on the Universal package, 170+ countries with the Expedition package, and 90+ for the Europe and More package.

Data plans: prices vary depending on where you’re traveling, and whether you buy data bundles in advance. You’ll pay under 1c/MB in 35+ countries, for example, if you add a 10GB Zone Giga data bundle to a Universal package, or around 1.3c/MB if you add a 3GB Zone Asiana bundle that covers 13 countries in Asia and Oceania. Several other bundle options are also available.

Casual data rates typically start at 20c/MB, so you’re generally better off to add a data bundle instead if you plan anything other than very light data use.

Outgoing calls: start at around $0.39 per minute for Plus, but as with data, cheaper calling bundles are available if you plan to do a lot of it.

Extras: VoIP app, 24/7 technical support, partnership with Skype and Viber (free calls whenever there’s Wi-Fi!), voicemail, miles back with several frequent flier programs. OneSIM also has eSIM support for recent iPhones and Google Pixel smartphones (data-only).



WorldSIM offers voice, messaging and data plans for over 200 countries, and promises to reduce roaming charges by 95%.

Its offerings come in four variants:

  • Infinity (voice plans and automatic connection to 50 million Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide)
  • Data (for mobile internet)
  • International (voice, messages, and data)
  • UK Travel (aimed at UK residents, for use within the country and abroad for voice, data and messages).

Users get UK and US numbers with their card, and can add numbers for other countries for an extra charge. Incoming calls are free in 95 countries.

How many countries does it work in? 200 for International and Infinity, 188 for Data, 190 for UK Travel

Data plans: Casual rates start at $0.10 per MB, but data packages are also available, starting at $13.50 for 500MB valid for a week. Prices for both casual data and packages vary depending on your destination, but most packages work across several countries.

Outgoing calls: rates start at $0.18 per minute.

Extras: users can sign up for unlimited national numbers for over 50 countries at $2.50 per number. WorldSIM also offers a Global Wi-Fi pass, allowing access to its Wi-Fi hotspots starting at $22.50.


The very slick KeepGo SIM card case has spots for Micro, Nano, and standard SIM cards.

KeepGo is the answer for social media-obsessed travelers. This international SIM card eschews voice and messages, focusing solely on mobile data.

How many countries does it work in? 64 in the Americas, Europe, and Asia

Data plans: the Lifetime Data SIM Card includes 1GB to use in a year. Extra packages can be purchased from KeepGo, ranging from $19 for 500MB to $219 for 10GB. Data stays active as long as you top up at least once a year.

Outgoing calls: no voice plans. Users can call through any VoIP service, including Skype, FaceTime, Viber, etc.

Extras: KeepGo has another option, the Lifetime Mobile Wifi Hotspot. You can read our full review of it here.

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Like most of its competitors, GoSIM offers voice, messaging, and data plans for international use.

It has four plans:

  • International (voice, messaging and data around the world)
  • Data (international data per MB or on packages)
  • Europe (voice, messaging and data within Europe)
  • US (for international calls from the US).

Users get a UK number to use globally. Just as with the other companies, incoming calls are free in most countries. Incoming messages are not, though, costing nine cents each.

How many countries does it work in? 190 for International, 120 for Data, 41 for Europe.

Data plans: starts at $0.25 per MB. Rates vary depending on the nationality of the user and their destination, though. For a lark, I asked how much would it cost for a Sri Lankan traveler to use 1MB of data in Botswana. The answer? $0.89.

Alternatively, data packages start at $29 for 250MB for all plans. There are also plans for 500MB, 1GB, and 2GB.

Outgoing calls: as with data charges, prices start at $0.25 per minute and also vary depending on nationality and destination.

Extras: offers coverage on 150 cruise ships in 380 networks, as well as during some flights.


KnowRoaming provides physical SIM cards, eSIM service, or a special sticker that sits over the top of your usual SIM card inside your device. When you’re in a different country, it connects to local networks for voice, messages, and data. You buy the SIM with some initial credit, then add more via the website or app.

The company also sells mobile hotspots, and includes 30 days of free WhatsApp use each time you top up your credit. We wrote up a full review of the service here.

How many countries does it work in? 200 for pay-as-you-go voice and data, 90 for unlimited data.

Data plans: $3.99 per day for “unlimited” use in eligible countries. Packages are also available, providing a given amount of data to use globally or in certain regions for 15-30 days.

For pay-as-you-go, it starts at $0.15 per MB, but rates can change depending on nationality and destination.

Outgoing calls: rates start at $0.11 per minute for both mobile and landline, but again, will change depending on the destination and country where you are calling.

Extras: If you’re using the sticker, it doesn’t need to be removed when returning home — it just remains dormant until the next time you travel internationally. You get assigned a local US number for free (and others at a cost), and there’s a call-forwarding service available.


GigSky 4G LTE/3G Data SIM Card with Pay As You Go Data Plans for USA, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, Middle East, and Africa for Unlocked iPhone, iPad, Android Phones, Hotspots and Tablets

GigSky, just like KeepGo, focuses on data only – no voice calls or messages. Packages are available from 50MB to 5GB.

The service is available for users of all devices, but with a catch: iPad users who own an Apple SIM have more leeway in where they can use GigSky.

How many countries does it work in? 180+ for iPad SIM Apple users, 90 for iPhone/Android/Windows users.

Data plans: prices vary slightly depending on the country of residence, and the destination.

For US nationals, prices start from $10 for 800MB to use in one day, to $50 for 5GB to use in a month across a given region. For residents of the Eurozone, prices for the same services range from 15€ to 50€. For UK residents, it’s £12-40. A global plan, valid in 120 countries, is available at a higher cost.

As with KnowRoaming, you buy the SIM with a base plan from Amazon, then add the extra data packages as needed. Note there are some restrictions in the amount of data available in certain destinations, so double-check for your intended destination.

Outgoing calls: same as KeepGo, no voice plans. Users can call through any VoIP service, including Skype, FaceTime, Viber, etc.

Extras: GigSky offers a corporate plan, which allows companies to maintain several accounts and keep track of data allowance and usage.

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As with Gigsky and KeepGo, Surfroam provides data connection only. Service is available for users of any mobile device or hotspot, including those with eSIM support.

How many countries does it work in? Coverage is available in 200+ countries.

Data plans: Surfroam makes its pricing easy to understand, and doesn’t require purchasing specific packages in advance. Each country has a single per-megabyte rate, starting at 0.01€/MB (10€ per gigabyte). Details for each country are on the pricing page.

You pay 15-20€ (+ shipping) for the SIM card, but receive the same amount as credit on your account. After that, you top up online as needed.

Voice plans: No voice or SMS service is included. If you need to send and receive calls or texts, you’ll need to use Skype, WhatsApp, Google Voice, or similar.

Extras: Surfroam provides both physical SIM cards and eSIM service, at the same price per megabyte. If you have a recent iPhone or Google Pixel smartphone, or one of the small range of other phones, tablets, and laptops with eSIM support, it’s worth considering.

So, Which International SIM Card Should You Buy?

If data is all you care about, go for either Gigsky or Surfroam. Most travelers benefit from having access to mobile data on the road, and these two have the best rates of the companies we compared. We prefer the simplicity of Surfroam’s pricing.

You’ll be able to check e-mail, text via a messaging app or iMessages, and upload pretty sunsets from all over the world. Should you need to make a call, VoIP services like Skype, WhatsApp, and Viber work fine.

If you’d like traditional voice and text as well as data, we’d suggest OneSim, especially if you’re heading to Europe. The company has a wide range of package options, with particularly good rates in certain European countries.

Have you used an international SIM card when traveling? Would you recommend it?

Images via Brett Jordan (SIM card with tablet), mroach (multiple SIM cards), Junpei Abe (single SIM card), GigSky, GoSIM, KeepGo, Surfroam.

About the Author
Patricia Rey Mallén

Patricia Rey Mallén

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A roaming writer and tech enthusiast, Patricia has been wandering the globe for 10-odd years. A passionate Apple lover, she is familiar with Genius bars from Sydney to Reykjavík to Mexico City. She only vaguely remembers life before the Internet, but will forever long for the days in which mobile phone batteries lasted for over a week.


  1. Avatar

    I used Gigsky in India and it worked well. the main downside is that data is
    very expensive.

  2. Avatar

    Haven’t used it on the road yet but it’s worth noting that KnowRoaming’s 30 day money back is only good if you don’t use the card (or sticker)at all, i.e. no testing. In order to use it at all you have to buy credit, (minimum $25 non refundable). I bought it for the WhatsApp feature planning to use it on a spare phone but it will not support a separate WhatsApp account, i.e. you have to transfer your previous existing account to the UK number. I haven’t actually been able to do this yet and plan to wait until closer to my departure date to follow up.

  3. Avatar

    When I traveled to Singapore I picked up a local Singtel sim card. My next destination was Thailand and I discovered that I could activate a 1GB roaming plan for $15. When I arrived in Bangkok I activated my roaming package and I had data on my phone the moment I stepped off the plane. Singtel offers inexpensive roaming in multiple East Asian countries. The big advantage was I could activate the roaming package in an iphone app and pay for it with a credit card. (Unlike Thailand where I had to feed cash into a machine in person in order to top up my service.) I’m holding on to my Singtel sim card for future trips.

  4. Avatar

    Do you know any european sim with free incoming calls in Morocco?

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    i am a international flight crew..which is the best card just for whatsaap mesg only. dose know roaming do it for free?

    1. Dave Dean

      Yes, it does, as long as your KnowRoaming account is active and you’re in a country where the company offers data service. There’s more information on their website.

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    My best experience is with OneSimCard. They offer the lowest cost actual mobile data and discount data packages. I think 5GB for $30 in China and many other countries is a great deal. The service is feature rich with many options including secondary numbers in over 60 countries, optional VOIP calling using the same numbers on the SIM and switching automatically to roaming when the data is not available, so no calls and sms are being missed. This is the most reliable SIM and the best customer support I experienced and I tried them all being a very frequent international traveler. OneSimCard allows changing the caller ID depending on the number being used, voice mail, auto-top up of the funds on the sim and data packages covering many countries. The web site is a bit overwhelming because of multiple features offered, but once you figure this out, it works. All charges are transparent and calls, sms and data use records available within 24 hours for review. Data Charges are rounded to 1kb and to 1MB as I learned the hard way with WorldSIM. Minutes are not rounded to 2 either. Obviously the local SIM offers the lowest cost. However for the guy jumping from one country to another the time is a valuable thing and the roaming sim saves this time and provides the convenience of just working when you land in the country.

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    Do you know if any offer sms with a US/Canadian number? KnowRoaming just got rid of their sms service. I’ve been using Know Roaming for calls/text and a local SIM for data in a dual SIM phone. This was great until about a month ago when I discovered the number I have registered with Uber, whatsapp, facebook etc has been discontinued and I can’t get verification texts to the other phone number…looking for a new solution, ideally one with a Canadian/US number that I can keep as my permanent phone number and use anywhere.

    1. Dave Dean

      You can’t get texts to the US number KnowRoaming provide?

      I signed up for a Google Voice (US) number a few years ago, and use that for WhatsApp, verification texts, etc. It works surprisingly well, although there are occasional services that don’t want to work with ‘virtual’ numbers like this. Very few overall, though.

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    Hi, am travelling to india from uk,what sim is best for calls to uk ,i have free wifi in hotel so calls on the go are more important to me . Thanks

    1. Dave Dean

      Each of the listed companies has detailed pricing info on their site, so it’s just a case of sitting down and comparing it when you get a chance. It’ll change over time, so maybe do it a couple of months or less before your trip.

  9. Avatar

    I have travelled and been using KnowRoaming for just over 6 months now and would not recommend it-
    it’s highly unreliable. When entering any new country, I had to contact customer support so that they could manually guide me through how to change the settings on my phone to get a signal to work. As of Oct 2017, support team has said “Unfortunately, the process of fully enabling SMS on our KnowRoaming US Number will take slightly longer than anticipated and it is currently under development by our team.” Also, they have done away with all UK numbers, only offer a USA number how. How a SIM card is incapable of core SMS, callback and data feature is beyond me – essentially pointless.

  10. Avatar

    GigSky pricing has changed (very affordable) since 2016 and coverage is even better on both the GigSky data SIM, and on Apple SIM for WiFi + cellular iPads. They also offer regional plans for North America, Europe, Caribbean, Asia Pacific, Middle East/Africa. 185+ countries on one SIM. For me, it’s more convenient than looking for a new Sim every time I arrive in a new country.

  11. Avatar

    Every year I spend 3 months in Europe, three months in the US, Mexico and Canada, three months back in Europe, and three months back in US. As a US senior citizen with kids in France, Holland and Germany I’m thinking its a good idea to have a one smartphone with different SIM cards. Any tips on what phone and what kind of SIM strategy? Thanks from a restless hippie geezer!

    1. Dave Dean

      I’d say that an international SIM will work out to be too expensive if you’re using it for 6+ months of the year. Instead, you may be able to get by with a T-Mobile One service in the US — you’ll get service in most of the world, although data speeds will be quite slow outside North America. Read more about that here, and you’d want to double-check with T-Mobile that you won’t be deemed to be outside the country too often for their liking.

      Another solid option is Google Fi, which has no restrictions on how much you use it outside the US, but you’re limited to certain models of Android phone. We reviewed it here.

      Otherwise, just pick up a SIM card in the first European country you go to on each trip (we’ve got coverage for the Netherlands and Germany on the site, and will add France at some point), and use the free EU roaming for the rest of your time there. Your phone number will be different on each trip, but that’s about the only downside. You could probably keep a US cell service throughout the year — most carriers have relatively affordable options for roaming in Mexico and Canada, and if its a prepaid service, you should be able to switch to a basic, cheap call and text package to keep it from expiring during the time you’re in Europe.

  12. Avatar

    Dave: contrary to what you’ve said, it seems like Google Fi DOES have international restrictions. Refer to 2nd paragraph in the “Using the Services” section at the following URL:

    I was about to start using Google Fi until I read this. This is basically equivalent to T-Mobile restrictions. Not ideal for nomads. 🙁

    1. Dave Dean

      Thanks Jon – you’re right, it seems like Fi does have some restrictions on international use after all. 🙁 I don’t remember seeing that section when I first used and reviewed the service, but I guess that was a while ago now.

  13. Avatar

    Gigsky have a poor client support

    I have experienced a ~24 hours period without data service.
    Gigsky support still not have any explanation.

    Advise to 2 sims users: change your home sim APN setting to prevent any automatic switch in case of your international sim issue, the cost may be terrific…

  14. Avatar

    Plan this year after some practise doing short trips around Europe to do a final around the world trip before I pop my clogs. So now very use to Airbnb, SkyScanner, GoogleMaps (download offline maps) but having several bad experiences with my own local mobile providers (Isle of Man) and attempts at buying an Italian and Norwegian local sims. I now rely Skype and Whatsapp on hotel and wifi-hotspots (very unreliable) for making phone calls and ensure all flights, hotels, Airbnbs are booked before I go. But now confident to attempt ‘on-spec’ single journeys starting IOM – New York – Seattle – China then pending prices choose Asia (Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore ) pending flight prices staying a few days in each – with a return flights and stays in India, Turkey. This intend to book accomodation and trains as I go , thus this time will need a reliable sim so I can contact Airbnb hosts and Hotels when trying to find them. Once spent 2 hours in the boiling sun in Italy trying to locate an Airbnb because my IOM sim could not pick up a network when arriving in Italy. So out of the sims which would you recommend for my needs please.

    1. Dave Dean

      Since data is your main requirement, I’d probably check out Gigsky. Prices are reasonable, although like any international SIM, you’ll want to limit the amount you use. Heavy data users are always better off with local SIMs, but as long as you can be disciplined about your usage, international SIMs can sometimes be a somewhat-affordable (and easier) option.

      Whichever company you go with, be sure to double-check their data pricing for the countries you intend to visit before making your final decision. Some of the places you’re going might have expensive data rates, in which case you may decide to buy a local SIM while you’re in that particular country, and use the international SIM elsewhere. As always, it’ll be a balance between budget and convenience. 🙂

  15. Avatar

    every year …. Aussie to singapore to hongkong to seaoul to moscow to prague to budapest to dubai to capetown to singapore to india to doha to us to montreal …constant data and phone calls … I can use two sims which one you suggest

    1. Dave Dean

      I don’t know of any SIM that’s going to give you reasonable pricing for “constant data and phone calls” across all those countries, I’m afraid. Perhaps look at a data SIM from KeepGo that will give you data coverage in almost all of the countries you list, at a not-awful price, and make calls via Skype, WhatsApp, etc. You’ll still need to limit your data usage to some degree, though, if you don’t want to be spending a lot of money.

  16. Avatar

    We are global nomads, no home, have been on the road for 7 years. Initially we relied solely on wifi, no phone, however when banks required more security we changed to local sims but when that failed and a bank could not get in contact with us over a fraud (almost cost us tens of thousands of dollars) we changed to an international sim. We have Gosim (which has just changed owners) and now part of ekit. It is very useful to have one phone number for banks etc to call and sms us on (Skype can’t quite do this yet), but data is too expensive. Unfortunately they have just increased rates unexpectedly on us so we might move to OneSimCard (looks cheaper). Ekit are good with customer service but coverage is patchy, Canada for example was terrible, and we had to change phones a couple of times. We now have a Blu (but even that would not work in Canada) with dual sim which is good as can add local sim for data and outgoing and international for incoming.

  17. Avatar

    Best one I use for Europe is Keepgo the data is valid for the whole year top it up before the year ends and it carries it over. Price is also reasonable.

  18. Avatar

    I’m surprised nobody mention ekit SIM which are excellent and the International SIM I have works in more than 190 countries. We have 4 SIMs – one for each family member. There have been few problems – once in Palau I think. There is excellent support and it’s easy to recharge. Only drawback is the balance expires if no use for 3 months

    1. Dave Dean

      I can’t see any data packages listed, only the default rates, which seemed to be at least EUR 0.05 / MB anywhere I checked. That puts it roughly on par with the others for default rates, but the lack of cheaper data packages means it’s a much more expensive option if you use even a moderate amount of data on your trip.

      For instance, with OneSIM, 1GB of data over a month across several European countries can be had for $19 USD. With this Lufthansa SIM, you’d pay 50 euros (currently $62) for the same usage.

  19. Avatar

    Any suggestions for an international sim for a simple flip phone used for calls and text messages when traveling – and a Canadian phone number?

    1. Dave Dean

      One option is OneSIM — for Canadian customers, they include both a Canadian and Estonian number. The Canadian number is free for 30 days, and then $4/month or $25/year after that.

  20. Avatar

    I am new to international travel and pretty limited in my SIM knowledge.
    I will be potentially traveling from the US to Greece and then Spain or Indonesia. I may also spend time in Malta.
    i am looking for the easiest and most affordable option. I do not think I need to make calls, etc… the data should be enough. I have WhatsApp on my phone and will want access to social media for photography.
    I may also be doing some teaching as a foreign language online. In that case, I would need to use my phone as a hotspot for my laptop.

    So far, it looks like because I will be changing country/region often, I would be best with an International card?
    If so, am I best with something like Gigsky or Keepgo? Looks like Keepgo may have better pricing, no?

    Thank you!!

    1. Dave Dean

      Since the EU roaming rules changed about a year ago, you can roam between EU/EEA countries without extra charge. That means if you buy a local SIM in Greece, you can also use it in Spain and Malta, if you go there.

      Due to that, and because Indonesian SIMs are very inexpensive, personally I wouldn’t bother with an international SIM for this trip. Use your Greek SIM across the EU, buy an Indonesian one when you get there. You’ll have more data, for a lot less money.

      As with all SIM cards, you just need to make sure the SIM slot in your phone is unlocked. It’s becoming more common than it used to be in the US for phones to be sold that way, at least for international use, but if you bought your phone through your cell company and you’re not sure, you’ll need to check before you travel.

  21. Avatar

    I’m currently traveling throughout Europe my second time. 3 weeks this time. I just bought a Vodafone pre pay SIM when I landed in Ireland. €30 with unlimited talk and text within Ireland an the rest of the EU. Also, 8gb of data 99% I have 4G LTE sometimes the H+ but that’s even about 8-12mbps down never had an issue. Also, it comes with 100 international minutes. You can buy 400 more international minutes of you want for another €15 or 5 more gb of data for €15. That’s what it did and I just use WhatsApp with my friends. Not sure why these other places are needed? They seem expensive

    1. Dave Dean

      If you’re only traveling within the EU and are happy buying a local SIM in the first country you arrive, you don’t need an international SIM at all. We’ve written a lot about the benefits of local SIMs and last year’s change in EU roaming regulations elsewhere on the site.

      International SIMs are still useful for travel elsewhere in the world, and/or people who want to get set up ahead of time, however, which is why we discuss them here.

  22. Avatar

    I’m travelling to costa rica, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina and staying in each country for at least 2 weeks each – I can’t decide whether a local Sim for each country is better than an international Sim?

    1. Dave Dean

      For 2+ weeks in each country, personally I’d probably go for local SIMs in each one, perhaps with an international SIM to use just for the first few hours or days after arrival so you’ve got connectivity for finding your hotel etc if you need it.

  23. Avatar

    Canadian residing in the middle East. I would like an international sim with a Canadian number for visiting Canada, a middle East number when residing there and a Chinese number when visiting China. Any suggestions? Many thanks in advance.

    1. Dave Dean

      I don’t have any suggestions, unfortunately — none of the providers mentioned above provide Chinese or Middle Eastern numbers, and I don’t know of any others that do. Sorry!

  24. Avatar

    I do not know if OneSim has changed their policy since you recommended them, but I would rate them UNACCEPTABLE based on their current ordering policy. They will not disclose the cost for shipping until after you have to placed the order. In other words, they want you to buy the product without knowing the total cost. They are even deceptive about it. On the page where they request the credit number, they have a line that says “Transaction Amount: $29.95” where in fact the transaction amount will be higher than that, the amount they charge for shipping. They will not even disclose shipping cost when you contact them and request that information.

    For a consumer, it is flattly unaceptable to have to provide email, phone, address and credit card details before being given a total price.

  25. Avatar

    Please forget all these services: too expensive and complicated. Have a look at surfroam who offer a worldwide data sim with global coverage from 1ct/MB
    Some countries are prohibitively expensive but most are OK for surfing (live streaming is always expensive except in WiFi zones).

  26. Avatar

    Used Ekit in my dual SIM international phone for years, but they have become crap lately. Prices skyrocketed (they say they are lowering), then it started to not work at all in some. No coverage in Singapore.

    Last straw was my SIM being restricted in Indonesia for no reason. No way to call customer service since the SIM wouldn’t work, their website contact us returned back to same page, NO response from either their FB page or messenger to my pleas for help.

    Got back to US, called to cancel, on hold over 25 minutes. When finally got through, didn’t even ask why I was cancelling, NO mention of a refund of the credit on my account.

    I had a CC tied to the account for automatic payment.

    They started out good but have consistently declined.

    I usually pick up a local SIM but move between a lot of countries and had a US number for my family.

    Need one I can actually rely on in case of emergency.

  27. Avatar

    I can’t believe the article completely overlooks TruPhone ( which gives you 8 genuine SMS capable mobile numbers with local rates and local outgoing caller ID when calling or texting to those countries or your main number otherwise. If one travels regularly, it makes an excellent second SIM for voice and texting (not so much for data though – way too expensive),

    1. Dave Dean

      You outlined the reason why we didn’t include Truphone in your comment: the high data rates. If all you need is calls and texts, though, their prices aren’t too bad.

  28. Avatar

    GigSky rates are _ridiculous_. In Myanmar you can buy a SIM card for $2 with 1GB of data. In Thailand at 7/11 a SIM card cost 50 baht ( $1.60) plus you can load it with cheap data – for $10 they will give you additional 4GB for a week.

    1. Dave Dean

      The first line of this article reads: “We’ve said it many times before: for most people, local SIM cards are the best option for affordable calls, texts, and data while traveling.”

      Local SIMs will almost always be the cheapest option, especially in countries like Myanmar and Thailand that have particularly low data rates. If you don’t need the benefits of international SIM cards (multi-country support, immediate connectivity on arrival), you should buy local SIMs instead and save money.

  29. Avatar

    I will be five weeks in Africa in five different countries (Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, and South Africa). Normally when traveling, I buy a local SIM but it does not seem reasonable for one week, and I know not all airports will have access to local SIM’s. I would like voice, texts, and data (for navigation). Not many comments above relating to Africa. Any suggestions?

  30. Avatar

    Is GoSIM the only card offering cruise ship “cellular at sea” support?

  31. Avatar

    Thanks for your comprehensive review, it was exactly what I was looking for -b

    I am about to go on a one-year trip around the world, and while I don’t usually find getting data abroad necessary, I figure it’s useful to be able to access it in emergencies. So I think I will go for SurfRoam in the end

    I’d like to keep my German number as my bank sends me texts to authorise transfers, but OneSim doesn’t seem to offer that for Germany anymore and WorldSim has pretty bad reviews online…

  32. Avatar

    I’m planning to go to India and I’ll arrive at 3am in the morning in a small airport. I was thinking to get a local SIM card later on in the morning but I’ve read that it can be a hassle sometimes to get a local SIM card. I’m also going to be traveling in China but I don’t intend to buy a local SIM card there, instead, I’ll try and use offline maps and detailed instructions. I was wondering what you thought the best international data SIM card was for these two? I was thinking to buy a surf roam SIM but then I saw that their shipping cost is now £15 and I don’t think my phone model fits the e SIM technology. Should I just spend the shipping cost fees? Or is there a better option or even a cheaper way to purchase a surf roam SIM?

    1. Dave Dean

      Yeah, the shipping rates are quite high (although the Surfroam site is showing €14.50 / ~£12 to the UK, rather than £15) — I presume that’s because they ship using a courier company rather than the postal service. eSIM would be the way forward, although obviously only if you phone supported it.

      I don’t know of a cheaper way of buying a Surfroam SIM, unfortunately — I guess the one good thing is that the cost of the card (without shipping) is reimbursed in the way of data credit on your account, so you’re only really out the shipping cost itself.

      I wrote up my experience of buying a local SIM card in India recently — it definitely can be a hassle, and if you’re arriving at a small airport, there may well not be a booth there for you to do so (especially at 3am). You’d need to sort it out at a store the next day, and it can be a time-consuming process. On the upside, it’s very inexpensive once you do get the registration process out of the way.

  33. Avatar

    I was wondering if anyone knew if there was a cheaper way to get a surfroam card? Their simcard shipping costs £15 and I live in London (so not exactly remote). I was hoping to use their sim as a backup for India and China due to potential local sim acquisition difficulties.

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