I met Kaye from ritesim.com at a talk I gave at the TNT Travel show a few weeks back.
At the show, I explained some of my traveller tech tools of the trade including Truphone to help save on roaming costs, and she suggested I also look at ritesim.
Their proposition is SIMple (pardon the pun).
They hold stocks of prepaid SIM cards from around the world and sell them to you without the hassle of having to show ID or having local resident status.
They are also easy to activate before you travel, meaning you not only know what your local number will be, but also that it will work when you land in that foreign country.
Smart travellers no longer roam when they travel internationally – it is still too expensive to call home or use data when you roam. Stories of £1000 bills still get written by people who “decided to watch a movie on their phone while abroad” oblivious to the £3/MB charge they were incurring.
For years now (and as a result of working for mobile operators in Australia), I have been avoiding roaming charges. I have written a comprehensive guide at lc.tl/dr that explains some simple steps to follow that have also been covered in Wired Magazine.
Simply, if I will be in a country for more than a day, I use a local SIM – either one I have in my “sim wallet” – that I have used previously and can top-up online, or I purchase a SIM locally.
Depending on the country, it can be quite difficult to get a local SIM unless you live there.
Recently I was in Stockholm speaking at a conference.
I wanted to test out the 4G networks there with my shiny new EE 4G MiFI. In researching the local operator websites, they need you to have a local resident ID to get a SIM card – so there was no way I was going to be able to get one while I was there.
I did see a new shop at Terminal 5 on my way to Stockholm that was selling pre-paid SIM cards for a range of countries – so there is a real business here in providing local SIM cards before you go.
Their service is simple and just works!
Before my last trip to the US, Kaye organised to send me a US pre-paid SIM free to test.
The SIM duly arrived in time before my trip and I was able to easily activate it online. In fact when I put it in a handset, it was actually live and roaming in London!
The SIM was a T-Mobile one that gave me unlimited talk, text and 5GB of data – so it was very useful on my trip to San Francisco and New York.
The other benefit of the ritesim service is that you can see what your local number is going to be before you go – and give it to local contacts so they can call you on a local number while there.
I also used ritesim for a recent trip to South Africa. Knowing what my local number was before I stepped onto the plane, so I could give it to my hotel was invaluable. Also being able to turn on my phone while still on the plane and receive emails was a real plus. As the SIM was pre-activated, all I needed to do was turn on my phone and it just worked.
I think the option of grabbing a local SIM before you go (which you own and can use again on your next trip by topping up online) is a very smart option, and could literally save you hundreds if not thousands of pounds/dollars on your next trip.
I suggest you take a look at ritesim.com before your next trip and give them a try.