Sylvia contacted me just over a month ago regarding mobile sim options for her two sons who where just about to travel overseas with some friends. Having heard that roaming charges can result in huge bills when you return from your break she wanted to do the right thing and empower them with a sim card that would enable them to use their phones whilst overseas as well as use the internet so that they could stay in touch and follow the much anticipated journey.
Below I have a thread of emails that we exchanged over a period of days that enabled Sylvia to eventually end up with the right product. The great news is that the choice of product was right and whilst the final savings aren’t known, there are savings compared to the alternatives.
As ou will see, it is not all roses trying to get yourself setup with an international roaming service, unlocking phones, sim sizes, roaming settings, it can be a little confusing and leaving it to a few days before you travel probably doesn’t reduce anxiety.
21/3 – The initial enquiry
I’ve been trying to find a solution for something and it just occurred to me that you’re the right person to ask!
My sons are going overseas on the weekend and I desperately want them to have at least one phone between them that has a sim that I can contact them on if necessary. I don’t want my boys using their regular sims for obvious reasons … too many incoming calls and texts which will cost heaps.
I thought the best solution would be to get a prepaid sim for one of them to share. The number would be unknown to all their friends but I’d be able to communicate back and forth with them. I realise a local sim in each country would be cheaper but to be honest, they will only need their phone for emergencies, perhaps a daily text to and from me and MAYBE a bit of data in case they need to look up maps. I understand they will have to use global roaming but I’m happy to pay for that for my peace of mind.
Can you recommend anything? We’re all with Optus. Do you think they should just take a prepaid Optus sim with them and keep it in the phone?
Oh … the countries they’re going to are Singapore (3 days), Italy, Slovenia, Turkey (several weeks for Europe) and Dubai (5 days).
I’d love to hear from you in time to buy it tomorrow. Thanks, Arthur!
21/3 – My Response
Sylvia, if you take an Optus sim with you, the credit will not last very long and roaming charges will be applied to the prepaid sim. For cheaper rates you can buy an international sim card. There are a few to choose from but not sure they are all in retail outlets. Try travelsim and woolworths global roaming. They also come with another number and a guide on how to use them. Your kids can then use this sim card to make local and international calls. It is most likely that a calling card will work best when oseas for long calls home or skype if they have computer access.
Travelsim should be able to be picked up from 7eleven or Allphones stores.
Woolworths is obviously at the supermarket.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
21/3 – Doing the research
Thank you SO much, I really appreciate that. I’d been looking closely at RoamingSIM but Woolworths is cheaper! Now I just have to see if I can pick one up at my local Woolies tomorrow, or settle for a RoamingSIM from Officeworks.
Your website is incredibly helpful. Even before you responded, I actually found the info I needed (though no mention of Woolworths) and started my research. I should have contacted you much sooner and by now I would have everything in order. But thanks anyway for responding so promptly. I’ll let you know what I end up going with. Meanwhile, I’m organising Find My iPhone and Find My iPad which I’m sure will be very enlightening, and fun to do each day to see where they are, especially as it provides a satellite view as well.
22/3 – Where to buy
Hi Sylvia, RoamingSim is good as well I didn’t realise they were in Officeworks or I would have recommended them too.
In terms of pricing, the difference is minimal unless you are going to do lots and lots of calls. These services work well. As I mentioned calling cards are probably cheapest for longer calls and you can pick them up from any convenience store.
I have added Woolworths after I sent you the email. The problem with adding more options is that I then need to maintain it and for many people, too many options means more confusion.
23/3 - Just learned that woolworths sim doesn’t work with iphone5, any other suggestions?
23/3 – Try travelsim https://www.travelsim.net.au/Shop/
23/3 – Global Roaming Settings
No problem; I found travelsim myself but appreciate your reply. It’s quite a bit more expensive than the WW one but I’m happy for my sons to have contact. Travelsim’s customer service via phone was exceptional and I’m really pleased with it. Still have another couple of questions to ask them tomorrow.
Would you happen to know, do they have to have global roaming enabled on their phone to use these cards? Is that something in settings or to do with Optus, their usual carrier?
23/3 – Unlocking your phone
No it is not an Optus option (or anything to do with them) unless you are using their sim card. Note, that the iPhone needs to be unlocked to use these services and even oseas sim cards. Whilst they might want to take the iPhone with them, it might be worth considering a cheap phone just in case it gets left somewhere or stolen.Having read through the faqs it doesn’t look like you need to turn this on, but it is a setting on the phone if it turns out you need to.
See this section on compatibility.
28/4 – Happy Ending
That’s really kind of you to check in. My elder son returned from the trip just two weeks in and his Woolworths card was excellent the whole way through. My younger son is currently in Turkey, heading for Dubai some time next week and then home on the 10th May. He has the Travelsim nanosim and it’s been excellent too. It was difficult trying to keep up with whose card did what most economically (e.g. Woolworths sim gets charged for incoming calls, Travelsim receives incoming calls for free) but now there’s only one to be concerned about so it’s fine.
Really happy with both of them for different reasons. Thanks so much for your help when I really needed it