Best company in each country to buy a prepaid SIM from

This special forum topic exists to help people identify the best local company to use for a temporary prepaid GSM SIM card when you visit that country. If you research this, put your results here. In particular look for the best results for a short term visitor, who thus won't care much about when the minutes expire and may or may not care when the number expires. A typical cost to compare would be the cost of the card and say 60 to 100 anytime minutes. However, if there is a major difference for somebody planning mostly night/weekend calling, note that.

Here are things to note in your comment:

  • Company and their URL
  • Price for SIM, price for a cost-effective prepaid card
  • Ease of getting the card
  • Other companies to check if this one isn't convenient
  • When will cheapest minutes expire, and how long after that does number expire
  • Can you refill from overseas (ie. with non-local credit card)
  • For comparison, cost of a prepaid account including (probably subsidy locked) phone. This bundle can be cheaper than an unlock and a naked SIM.

Important note: If you have any affiliation with a company you talk about or link to you must disclose it. No affiliate links allowed Furthermore, you must post your prices. (Create an account so you can come back and edit your posting when they change) and they must be one of the best deals out there. We want real information on the best deals, not self-promotion or typical vastly overpriced cards.


In Canada, the company I selected was Fido, which is now merged with Rogers/AT&T cellular anyway but still has lower prices.

  • Naked SIM card is just $25 CDN
  • 100 anytime minutes for $15 CDN, 10 cents/minute more to USA
  • Number expires in about 6 months
  • Here are the airtime packs
  • Can't refill with non-Canadian credit card (boo)
  • Also try Rogers (now owns Fido)
  • Cards hard to get, must go to Fido store or order by mail. Stores only in major malls.
  • Minutes not usable outside Canada
  • Can use Rogers network (a must outside Ontario) but remember to buy $5/month rogers roaming plan and turn it off when you leave. Cheaper than Rogers directly.

Note, presently $CDN = $0.81 USD, but add 15% tax in many places, making the discount more like 7% off USD.

You can get good deals on Fido SIM cards bundled with some airtime off ebay canada. Most of the ebay dealers will ship these to the US. So you can get a card before heading off to CA.


I'm travelling to Toronto and Montreal (from Aus) in July/Aug. With the Fido SIM card, what number (from which region) do you get given with those cards you can buy on ebay? Can the number be changed? (toronto to montreal?)

To see if they will change the number, but simpler to just order a card from them in the region you want, they will mail it to your hotel I presume.

I have a spare sim card available from January 08 onwards, I am offering to sell it for £140 and it will give u 600 national calls (includes the special numbers which allow you to call different countries for free) and 500 text messages. This will be valid from February to November 2008 i.e £140 for 10 months!! For 600 calls n 500 texts u would usually have to pay up £35 a month and you will not be allowed to get a contract if you have been in uk for less than six months.
Let me know if you want to talk more about it at

I bought a FIDO card last week (Jan 08) and they charged $60 for the SIM which came with $25 credit. Also ran into the problem with the credit card fiasco. When I tried to refill in store it took me over 15 minutes to purchase a refill, and then another 10 to go through all of the options on the automated menu. IMPORTANT: There are a number of different codes you will need, the one to refill is different to access your voicemail - keep the paperwork!!

Hi, all. Does anyone know of a reasonably-priced SIM that can be purchased in the USA that supports international roaming? I'm planning a cruise in the fall. The ship has AT&T cellular-at-sea service (they charge international roaming rates), and the ports of call include Cozumel, Mexico and Grand Cayman, BWI. I am scared to death to turn on my BlackBerry while outside the US, for fear of the little gizmo quickly bankrupting me with data and roaming charges! I'd like to get a separate SIM to take along in my standby Motorola phone.


Bob April

You now can rental a SIM for IPhones from JCR ( with unlimited data with coverage from NTT DoCoMo. Worked for me in Tokyo and Okinawa.

We recently rented a sim card with unlimited data from JCRCorp. Easy to pick up, and had excellent coverage everywhere we went (except for a short hiking trip to the Japanese alps, where coverage was spotty; this seemed to be a problem for everyone there). Not cheap - $290 for a month for a sim card that can be used with a device that allows tethering and hotspot, $180 for an iPhone with sim card - but it was worth it. =)

You said you rented a sim card but then said that the phone was $180... I was a little confused- did you rent an entire iphone, or just the SIM card that was put into an iPhone that you brought with you from your home country? I have a US bought iPhone 4(not JB'd or unlocked, still waiting on the 2.10.04 hack), and am wondering if it will be worth it to track one of these SIMs down. I arrived in Japan 2 weeks ago and will be here(in the Ishikawa/Toyama prefecture areas) until 26.01.10. My music collection, hipstamatic app, and angry birds are fun and all, but I sure would like email and texting capability, at least email/data.

Do you mean you arrived on vacation or you just moved to Japan? If you are living in Japan now, just make a new contract (with Softbank I believe, but I may be mistaken) and you'll get the Iphone 4 for free. They're still trying to make it more popular in the Japanese market. Then you can just find a way to transfer your information to the new phone.

Hi there,

Hope this is of use to someone - I think there should be a proper site for this sort of information - you would get enough hits to sell ads for sure!

Just back from a trip to NZ. My research beforehand showed that is the biggest operator over there, both for cell/mobile phones and mobile internet. Telstra is starting to compete but has much less coverage. Its pretty basic 3g with gprs/gsm off the beaten track. The bad news is that its convenient but expensive, even for an Aussie who is used to getting ripped off for telecoms! You can turn up at Auckland airport and buy a sim from a Vodafone stand in the terminal for $30 and then stick as much credit on it as you want. For $30 (this is all $NZD) you get $30 credit with calls around a dollar a minute plus you get 100MB of data to use as you please. You can get a sim for your 3g modem for the same money but putting credit on it is something crazy like 500mb for $40 - maybe that will last a while on an iphone but not for me and my 10" asus! On a contract you pay $40 for 1 gig/month! Thats 4 to 6 times worse value than in Oz. The credit will not run out for a year so to just remain contactable (with no charges for incoming calls unlike international roaming) you can get pretty good value out of one recharge I guess. Start making calls and it won't last though! People in NZ text a lot more so maybe consider that.

You can buy top-ups almost anywhere that has an eftpos machine.

Be warned that despite "97% coverage", many of the places you will want to go will have zero reception. If you must be contactable while doing some of the touristy stuff you will need a sat phone.

The good thing is that in the major towns and cities there are plenty of free hotspots but ADSL over there is expensive and slow so don't expect to youtube HD movie trailers at McDonalds! I googled free hotspots before travelling and while there and there were plenty. Public libraries are your safest bet.

For just keeping in touch via email maybe consider throwing a few bucks at an internet cafe every few days - NZ is not a place you should spend too much time buried in a computer anyway!

I would recommend getting the 2degrees sim. it's a new company, but you could get a cheap $2 sim card and top up $20. prices are more competitive than vodafone, and chances are, with phone calls you don't really need 3g. although coverage might not be as good in very rural areas, i think you get more bang for your buck. plus texting to many places overseas is only 9c per text. you also get a "magic topup" (certain # of free texts plus cheaper calls) when you add credit to your phone which lasts for 1 month only, so if you're not here for long, it would be very useful.

Expiry time for top up is one year and top up benefits is one month.

Hello ,
Below is what I found in my recent trip to New Zealand in March 2010

If you a non-techie guy using a basic GSM phone

Buy the 2Deg Prepaid Sim card for NZ$10 ... you get the same amount of talk time , Calls to india are 20p per min , US and UK are as little as 5p ( if I remember correctly ) and btw incoming calls are free

If you are a techie guy and using a SMARTPHONE ( which is what I did)

Buy a Vodafone NZ Prepaid card for NZ $20 ... you dont get any talk time , all you get is 100MB 3G data and incoming calls

You can use nimbuzz Out ( ) or any Voip you like and btw voip does not consume lot of bandwidth , you can get through atleast 300+ min ... numbuzzout costs 0.08 USD to call here in india .

Topup for 10NZ$ and you get another 100mb

hope you find the info useful
Kartik Mehta

I got a microsim card for my iphone with Telecom and it was fine. It costs 30 dollars, you can choose a package that includes calls, text and 200mb of data, or you can choose just data, i believe its around 500 mb, nothing else. You can register online and they give you additional 10 dollars just for that, and you can use those 10 dollars towards buying minutes or even another data package. I traveled all over south island (christchurch, queenstown, mt cook) plus wellington and it worked perfectly. Check their rates online, i recommend it.

You mentioned Pre-paid sim for your 3G modem? What do you mean? is it as easy to buy as any other once? Also would like to cut it down and use with my iPad 3G when I'm over there in July 2010. Thanks for the info.

There is an outfit that sells NZ SIM cards for $NZ10 so you can know your number before you leave. The will send it anywhere. They also hire data modems at a good price and I think even a GPS

Also vodafone can do direct but they are like $29.95 for a SIM card!

I was looking for a Christmas gift for my niece, who's in university and on a tight budget. The best deal I came across is the 7-Eleven (a national convenience store chain) SpeakOut wireless promo. When you buy $100 airtime, you get a free Nokia 1661, which is fine for talk or text.
You can also get other inexpensive mobile phones.
- Prepaid cards start at $25
- Talk rate is $.25/minute
- Long distance calls in Canada and to the US are +$.45
- For $10/mo you get 2500 outgoing texts (incoming are free)
- The 'local' calling area is far larger than the big national providers.
Check it out at
There's also a great SpeakOut site that's run by users and has a ton of useful info

Choices are T-Mobile To Go and Cingular/AT&T. Verizon and Sprint use CDMA, Nextel (now with sprint) is its own deal

  • 130 minutes for $25 USD, 1000 minutes for $100
  • Minutes usable only on T-mobile network, not outside USA
  • Number normally expires in 6 months, sometimes expire is much longer due to promotions.
  • Long distance to Canada +40 cents, overseas +$1.50 (total rip-off)
  • $50 for SIM card includes $30 of minutes (ie. $20)

Cingular Gophone Pay as you Go:

  • Either 10 cents/minute plus $1/day on days used, or 25 cents/minute
  • +15 cents to Canada, +10 cents to mexico, Europe +39 cents (way better than T-mobile to go)
  • Phones as cheap as $25, SIM card is free if you buy minutes
  • Lots of stores

So: Which is cheaper depends on how much usage. T-Mobile to go has the remarkable feature that once you put $100 into an account, minutes last for a full year. In theory you can keep a cell phone and number for $10/year, which I haven't seen anywhere else in the world.

I really think T-mobile america is scamming me. So far I have spent $25= 130 minutes + 15 initial minutes. There is no way I have used my phone 145 minutes in two weeks. Not even close. Yet I am running out of minutes.

I will never recommend T-mobile to anyone (including my worst enemies). Go with cingular, I will, the next time I run out of minutes.

You can buy 1000 minutes which is good for a year off ebay for $70. To rollover the minutes at the end of a year, purchase a $10 and roll over for 90 days over and over again.

T-Mobile is the best deal in GSM phones in the US and is the only company that offers prepaid airtime good for a year.

t mobile terms of service = total lie, they are scam artists, i'm on the phone hours, calling back over and over on hold with these losers because they didn't send the activation code with the SIM CARD/activation kits i bought from t mobile website - TWICE! And they refuse to refund, and refuse to activate my IPHONE. they have a ploy where they keep transferring your call to other departments, and they keep saying that each department is separate and cant share information with other departments because their systems wont let them. they just want to take your money by lying to you, and then once they stole your money they let you rot.

I was travelling with a group and used AT&T $1 a day plan as it gave free AT&T calls between all of us. It was 15c a text message and 15c a minute calls (incoming and outgoing). The joy was the free calls between us. Never had any trouble with coverage (in NYC), couldn't top up over the phone with a non US credit card but plenty of places to buy top up cards.

Since I live in the US, I thought I'd just get T-Mobile service there, and roam in Europe (paying $1/minute for calls, but at least I am reachable!). T-Mobile is Deutsch Telecom (the German PTT); how could this go wrong? I tried this twice. It never worked.

I have a T-Mobile "Flexpay" plan, which is sort of halfway between prepaid and a mobile account. I got that because it offers unlimited data plans, and they wanted me to show an ID to get their ordinary account -- and what the hell is that about?! Their web site talks about international roaming, and even quotes you rates for it in various countries, but WHEN YOU GET THERE IT WILL NOT WORK!

The first time, they told me (while spending 1 euro per minute to call back to their "free" tech support number) I needed to add the zero-cost "International Roaming" feature to my account. But they could not add it on the spot; no, it would be added at the start of the next billing cycle -- after I returned from my travels. Idiots. Scratch one European trip with no T-mobile roaming.

The second time (right now), I carefully loaded lots of money into my FlexPay account, added a $5/mo cheaper international calls feature, then traveled. Upon arrivel, itdidnt work. It would check in with several local networks and each in turn would reject it. I spent more than a hundred euros on four calls back to T-Mobile tech support. The first told me it would never work outside Canada and Mexico. This was so obviously contradicted by their web site that I persisted. Two other tech support reps were convinced that it ought to work, but had me trying everything to make sure my phone and simcard weren't broken. The problem was obviously that the T-mobile US network was not authorizing the foreign network to let me roam, but they wouldn't or couldn't change their database (or even check the logs to see that my phone was trying to log in from various European carriers). They asked me to save my address book entries to the simcard (hundreds of entries, saved manually one at a time!!!) and do a "Full Reset" on the Blackberry, while refusing to do anything on their end. I backed up my contacts to my computer with Barry, and did the reset. Didn't help. Swapped my simcard into someone else's phone. Didn't help. My final call with them had a second tech support rep tell me it would only work in Canada and Mexico (but this was only in their internal policies, not on their public web pages). I gave up and got a local simcard, which nobody knows the number of.

T-Mobile Flexpay has a few quirks but it has been a cheap and reliable way to get 1000 anytime minutes for $40/mo, unlimited data for another $20/mo. They recently jacked up their SMS rates to force even casual users into a $5/mo SMS plan (400 SMS's, of which I only use about 25). They charge you $5/mo for declining to tie your phone to a bank account, inexplicably, but I was surprised they offered privacy at ANY price. They participate in the usual telco "extra monthly charges that are not a tax and not part of the advertised price" fraud that I'm amazed the FTC and state regulators haven't slapped every phone company for, sadly.

I really wish they hadn't screwed me on international roaming. Now I have to look for another cell company when I get back. Having a carrier that lies to you and fails in the crunch is not who I want to be sending money to every month.

It's crazy to spend $100 on calls back to their customer service. You could have bought yourself a great prepaid SIM in the local country with a lot to spare, then forwarded your U.S. number to it.

When I do have to make calls to customer service or other U.S. locations, it's nice to have the computer and make them via voip, like Skype, for free.

how do you forward your us number to the local (new sim) number?

The cell phone biz is nothing but a scam all the way around, people are so addicted to their; cell, blackberries, Iphones or whatever, the companies who service these know they can get away with almost anything. I have ditched cell phones, you want to call me? call my hard line. I just use skype or other internet chat services to talk to f & f long-distance, I will not be a slave to or be held ransom by a telephone company! When I lived in Pananma 90% of the people used pay-as-you-go cell phones, you just bought a phone, a sim and a card from whomever you wanted to use as your service and bought another when you needed it. In the US the cell phone carriers want to control you and extract a constant amount of money from you; hence one is locked into one-sided contracts for years to these capitalist pigs. Refuse to do business with them as it is, see how fast they change! Consumers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains!

Did you check if yor phone is GSM faehig? The Europeans invented the cell phone, so your American handset may be the reason why it did not roam.

We run a site call USA SIMs -
On our Site besides the normal AT&T and T-Mobile SIM cards we also offer 2 SIM cards that are great for calling abrode from the USA
The Tuyo Mobile SIM (T-Mobile Network) –
The Red Pocket Mobile SIM (AT&T Network) –

The Red Pocket Mobile SIM is great for anyone from Canada since there are no international calling charges when calling back to Canada. Also Red Pocket Works off the AT&T Network. If anyone has any questions about SIM cards to use in the USA on vacation check out our site and email us any questions you might have.

I found from this site, and we have now used them 3 times. We only have wounder full things to say about them. Fast shipping, great customer service on the phone, and they don't pass the buck - they really help you even if it has nothing to do with their SIM cards. Also these guys seem to be the only ones that can get an iPhone to work on AT&T

I bought a RedPocket SIM from, and I can't recommend them. The activation process was a major pain. The activation Web site wanted my ZIP code, but didn't say why, so I gave my billing ZIP. It turned out that they actually wanted it so they could assign a nearby phone number, and when my ZIP didn't have any available the site just gave up and told me to call customer service. Lucky I had Skype access so I could get to them. Then they said the phone would be active in 15 minutes; it took 20-30. Then I had to go through a process to charge up the prepaid time I had bought; it was supposed to work directly from the phone but I had to go to the Web site.

OK, so now I have an active phone. Only sometimes it takes so long to ring that callers give up or get sent to my Google voicemail. Or I make a call and hear only an echo of myself while the person I called can hear me but can't talk.

And then there's data...not. I had to go to customer service again to find out how to enable data, only the phone number was busy. After 20 minutes of waiting for online chat, I got an answer: "Give us your e-mail address and we'll send instructions but it's $0.01/KB" (i.e., $10/MB, compared to $0.10/MB in super-expensive New Zealand). OK, fine. But the instructions sent me to a Web site where I had to pass a CAPTCHA that doesn't work (I tried three browsers). And even then I would have to download a program and install it on my phone to get data. I'm supposed to trust this program? On every other SIM I've had, data "just works." I decided it's not worth the risk.

All in all, these guys don't make it. I really wish I had bought from a different provider, and next time I will.

P.S. Hi, Brad! It's been a lot of years.

We have a few new SIM cards at USA that are great for travelers
Pure Prepaid (only need to refill once ever 6 months) -
Spot Mobile (Uses both AT&T and T-Mobile also offers direct dialing abroad) -
AT&T now offers 500MB of 3G Data for $25 -
Red Unlimited offers 30 unlimited calling and SMS for $40 -

For anyone travelling from the US to Europe try SIMSmart PrePaid International SIM Cards. $20 for a SIM with $20 credit. Great rates from the UK ($0.13 per minute back to the US). A +44 UK number and no call back - just dial normally.

USA Sims has been very unsupportive!!! I purchased an Icon 322 modem from USA Sims that was supposed to be unlocked. It was NOT! It was locked. Having an unlocked modem was very important to me as I am traveling in the Bahamas and need to put a BaTelCo sim card into the modem to have internet access, thus giving me communication with my family back home. I have emailed the company 19 times to date and still have not been able get the modem unlocked. They have rarely(three times) responded to my emails. One time they sent me a link to the software download that I already had. Another time they sent a code, but there is no place to type in the code. They said there would be a popup window, but no such window appeared despite numerous tries. This has been a very frustrating process. Perhaps if I were in a location where I could call them, things might be different. I have emailed them using their info email, support email and live chat. The live chat has never been "live". It is always a message. I would not recommend them at all. I would have given them zero stars if I could.

I am sorry to say, but the cheapest plan is O2 Wireless and you don't have to unlock your phone if its an at&t phone, I'm using it in my iphone right now! Calling is just 00.14 cents a minute 00.05 cents to text (but you have to pay 00.10 cents for the first time you use your phone for texting that day), but it still comes out cheaper than t mobile and at&t, and they run off of at&t network! Also, you can buy the sim card from their site or ebay, and you get $7.00 in call credit, and the sim card costs $10 from them and about $5 from ebay

What is it you are sorry about?

02 wireless in the USA sucks......I had to travel to 3 Best Buys to find one......I could not call any cellphone outside of the USA, and their free calling to international landlines was not free at all.....It was $0.14 a minute, horrible quality if it worked at all.....The main thing was that i could not call a cellphone in Germany........ohh and don't waist your time calling customer support, it takes 15 minutes to get through to some one over this

I had the same issue with prepaid cards in the US. Was driving from home in Montreal to New Jersey. Had to go all the way to Saratoga Springs Best Buy to get a card (no luck in Plattsburgh, but I did call beforehand so I knew). Biggest issue was finding a pay phone to activate the sim after purchase - apparently they couldn't do it in the Best Buy store. Weird, particularly since it was their own brand of sim. Am in Berlin now and have bought an card (vodaphone prepaid). Have been texting to Canada and have quickly run out of minutes - about .75 euro per message. Still trying to figure out if I can use Blackberry messenger on a prepaid card without signing up for a contractual package while I am over here. Don't think I can. Would love to find an online site where I can send and receive BB messages. Any ideas out there?

well from your response that seemed to have worked extremely well for you. i'm going to germany next month and would like a cellphone so i can call to the states should i need to. i was thinking about getting an at&t phone and getting the O2 sim card like you had said, but would i still need to get an international calling card? any help would be nice and asap since i would like to have this figured out before i leave.

Try Mrsimcard
We just spent 2 months in the USA and had a sim with unlimited data and a lot of call time for the iphone for $85 per month

I just wanted to tell my story about Mrsimcard....We bought what was supposed to be a blackberry SIM card from there. First off it never work, no one ever answered the phone when we call to get help. No cellphone store we went into had a clue of what we had. After three days of both being ignored by Mrsimcard and no one else being able to help us we just gave up...............Also we never got our money back from them.....Why in the US is it do hard to just get a SIM card?

Mr Simcard resells Simple Mobile 2G plans as 3G. So a $50 plan from Simple Mobile ends up costing over $100. What a rip off. Next time I go direct to Simple and avoid Mr Simcard.

In Hong Kong, it is very easy to get pre-paid SIM card locally so you don't need to get it ahead of the trip. The mobile carriers are Orange, Sunday, People. You can find the pre-paid SIM cards in convenient stores or book stores at the airport, or numerous small cell phone shops through out Hong Kong. The cost is HK$100 (about US$12.5) and it gives you approx 300 min of local calls. The SIM cards are also available in higher denominations for more covered minutes. I am not sure about the international call rates but it is on the small booklet that comes with the SIM. If it is expansive, you can always get the phone cards that give you very low international rate to use on any land line or cell phones. Most pre-paid SIM you get in Hong Kong only work in HK, but there are a few special kinds that work both in HK and China (of course less minutes). Just ask the sales person about it.

I just got back from china and China Unicom has great sim cards they sell everywhere. I was able to call the US for .11$ a minute! I had to dial a prefix of 17911 first was the only hassel....

hi there
i want to buy a sim card in beijing.. can you tell me whats the best buy?
(some you pay to receive calls, some you can not receive call outside the region or from abroad...)

The two main mobile carriers that I've run across in china are China Unicom and China Mobile.

In general, China Mobile has better phone coverage, and (at least in NW China) has better english support. They also have a nice system where you can check your mins by sending an SMS to 10086 and with "YE" in the message.

With that being said, I went with China Unicom because they are the only provider in China that supports 3G (the standard 3G. China Mobile has 3G, but they use their own proprietary frequencies, and so only their phones will be able to receive 3G... have NO idea why they decided to do that).

So yeah -- go with China Unicom -- I've been extremely happy with their service.

When I was last in China I had a prepaid sim (I think it was China Unicom) which while being super cheap, did not let me make calls until I registered it, but the telephone registration process was entirely in Chinese. Has anyone had this experience and/or know how to get around it?

Hi , just wondering if any of you can tell me if there are any prepaid mini-sim card with data roaming in China.


The easiest way to get a SIM card in Hong Kong is to buy one at a SevenEleven. These are not your father's SevenEleven. And they are everywhere.

You can buy them in several denominations, starting with HK$20. Calls turn out to be about US$0.03/minute. Dirt cheap. And by dialing what's called an IDD number before calling back to the United States, you can get the *same* US$0.03/minute rate for overseas calls to the States. The rate varies for other countries but is always extremely low. I was calling home all the time to impress the family.

There's no need to buy a higher denomination card because you can always add money to the SIM card at SevenEleven or directly with the carrier.

Hi, we are going to HK and Shanghai. Should I buy the GSM phone before we go or buy one in HK?

What Sim card were u using? Can u post the company or name of the Sim card please. I am in hk right now and the plan for 0.03$/min sounds preety decent. Thanks

The best for iphone 4/data is definitely UNICOM becuase its faster (supposed to be 3g, but i heard its not really). The hassle is that they'll ask for your passport and register. They dont have anything online in english to understand. But they have quite a few options for prepaid for those looking for data. I took a plan which was around 180 RMB, which included around 600 MB data + quite a lot of minutes (around 600 i believe). The problem is that even tho is prepad, it works as a monthly plan, so if you run out of data, there is nothing you can do (you can put more money but you it will consume quickly!). If you are for a couple of weeks its fine, but if you stay longer, make sure you make your selection wisely, and if you change your monthly plan, it will take effect until the next month. They have english customer service by phone.

Our company can offer sim cards to many countries. If you are traveling let us know your destination and I will get back to you ASAP with what we can offer. Prices are better then TELESTIAL

Visit us

Happy travels

Kate :)


I am from Australia and I am looking for a sim card which I can use in America. I tryed accessing the site which you mentioned but it doesn't work?? Can you give me a price and rates for a pre-paid sim for the US?


hi i live in canada and a trucker i go in the states alot. im from the uk and bought 2 cell phones there had them unlocked they are pay as u go i am trying to find a phone company in canada who also work in the usa rather than buying one in each country can u help

I just wanted to let you know that your blog post on this topic was the most useful place I found information about SIM services in the USA. I live overseas and I'm visiting the US for a short time and wanted a cell phone...way too much information out there with all these people trying to sell you something sketchy...your information was right on the money. I'm going to go to a Cingular store tomorrow and get one of their pre-paid cards. I find their plan better for me with what I'll be using my phone for while I'm here.


I'm going to be in the UK for 5 days, and would love to be able to make local calls while I'm there, and possibly a few calls back to the States. I don't care about having a local number, if that's an issue, and I don't imagine needing more than 100 minutes of calling.
Any suggestions for minimizing my cost? I've got a GSM phone.
Thanks! Neil

In the UK the carphone warehouse will sell a PAYG phone for about £30 - This generaly depends on you buying an airtime voucher. Carphone warehouse is on just about every high street you can get an idea of costs by hitting their website.

Enjoy it over here

Or while I rember...
If your phone is unlocked yo may beable to get a UK sim for between £5 and £10 - try the independant newsagents for these (look out for those that are Asian owned and advertising lots of telephone calling cards in the window) the big newsagents (WHSMITHS) dont do these.

If you don't need a sim with roaming (ie you are happy to just use it in the UK), get a mobileworld sim from carphone warehouse. their international calling rates are much lower than the standard companies

Go to carphone wharehouse but you need to buy a talktalk world sim card.. it is the best rates to the USA

WATCH out for Carphone warehouse, these guys are not always honest. I followed the advice above and I purchased a Talk Talk SIM card, then I found out that I could not activate it since I did not have a UK credit card. When I went into a Carphone warehouse they said they couldn’t do anything for me about activating it, but they could sell me another SIM card. 2 hours later after blowing through 10 pounds with 3 phone calls, I found out they sold me the WRONG SIM card. I guess they have 2 SIM cards, one for cheap calls in the UK and one for cheap international calls. And all they could do for me is tell me to go buy yet another SIM card. I picked up a Nomi Mobile SIM card from a news stand instead. Cost 5 pounds and worked great. No sign up no nothing, all I did was put it in my phone, added some money and started calling away

I arrived in the UK and purchased a pre-paid Orange SIM card from an Orange shop. It's worked great, and I know one can get Orange SIM cards (already used) from street-corner vendors, though I heard from someone that these sources were dicey. That said, you can get some good deals if you trust that the SIM card will work properly - and you can check it before you leave the vendor. Alternatively, just go into an Orange store.

I am going over to London for 5 days, with my unlocked phone. I want to buy a local SIM for calling in the UK, and there seem to be many options. I am hoping to find a SIM that will keep my credit for longer than a month, because I return to the UK about once a year, and it would be nice to have my unused credit still there each time I go back. Can anyone recommend which SIM to buy for this?

It would seem that Orange SIM cards are easy to get, either online or at local vendors in the UK. But when do they expire?

I just read your post and I'm wondering what you ended up doing while in London? I'll be there for 8 months or so and will definitely need to have phone service- my girlfriend and I have iPhone 4's(not JB's yet as we await the 2.10.04 hack). Dunno if it'd be more cost efficient to us get temporary phone there or try to get a sim for our iPhones.

I Got a Nomi Mobile SIM card from before I left on my last trip to the UK. Was really cheap to call back to the US. Something like 6 cents per minute and NO call back service so it actually worked!!!

Going to be based in Germany for 3 - 6 month and will travel in Europe mostly. Looking for a cheap solution to call from my cell phone (GSM) anywhere within Europe, and a good deal to call back home to the US. Any suggestions?
Thank you. Nika

for Germany I suggest and Blau as operator.
They have a special offer to call abroad: 9 cents to the US and most western countries.
In Italy I use 3: with 15 Euros you can talk up to 50 hrs for 30 days

Got a Blauworld simcard in Berlin for 20 euros, added two E-Plus 15-euro top-ups to it, and it's still working in Copenhagen (roaming on the "DK Sonofon Blau" network). I have received calls here, and sent SMS. From Germany, it has great rates to the US and to other parts of Europe -- but don't do any data transfers! I wasted 5 euros in two trivial web accesses on my Blackberry.

I had about 13 euros left on my DE Blauworld card when I arrived in NL. Two calls (0:21 to NL and 9:00 to US) exhausted it. It cut off my 9-minute call, and with less than a euro left, it allowed my US caller to call me back and eat all but 0.14 euros of that with a 10-second call. So it'll roam, but not for long! SMS roaming would probably work a lot better.

I have found a couple of sites to purchase Mexico Telcel Amigo sim cards in the U.S. prior to departure: and (these also provide sim cards for other countries around the world). However, I am curious to know if sim cards are easy to purchase in Mexico, and if the prices are more competitive. Does anyone know if I would get a better deal if I just waited until I got to Mexico before purchasing a sim card, instead of buying one from a U.S. provider before departure? Thanks for your help.

Sure, Mexico Telcel Amigo is a great deal from 15 USD you can get a SIM and 10 USD in calls, the avarage price per call is 40 cent dollar per minute. Is incredible, belive me. Don´t look it on internet, it it not necesary.
If you travel to Mexico City and you visit Zocalo, juat walk about 10 blocks to 'Eje Central' and 5 blocks south, and you find many many cell stores. Some of the sell the SIMs at very low cost

Mexico SIMs die if you don't use them enough (or mine did anyway), so I tried a rental this time and was very happy with cost and quality and everything. Was less $ out of pocket than when I used phone cards. (Hardware & minutes and everything was Telcel and name of the company was mexitel cellular (don't have the URL right here but you can Google it).

Telcel amigo cards last for 60 days and your account stays active (keeps your prepaid credit) for 180 days so if you do not recharge your account balnce in 180 days with at least $10 you will loose the account.

Yes!!! Great deal - thank you sooooo much.
Tried it, it worked great, it costs almost nothing.
Why haven't we heard about this earlier???

E-bay shipping was quoted at $55.00 for Mayan cell phone. Not cheap.

From what I can see, $35 of the $55 you are talking about is a refundable security deposit, so you get it back and $10 is pre-installed air-time, so really shipping is only $10, and that appears to include a pre-paid return shipper as well, so actually it is cheap - really cheap ;)

BUT to get the "refund," you use Mexitel's pre-paid shipper, which they address. After we mailed it they claimed that it failed to arrive, and voila! you are out your security deposit. If you use their service BEWARE! I think that the "security deposit" is just a hidden fee, and I don't think there's any way to know how many phones mysteriously fail to turn up.

Thanks for the tips guys! I need to know something extra: do these services also provide mobile internet access on my Android Phone when I'm in Mexico?

Thanks a lot!


Yes, telcel pre-paid phones have internet too, the cost is 1 peso per mb, which is less than a dollar per mb, or get the unlimited prepaid for 500 pesos (like 40 usd), if you get a "plan" it cost 249 pesos unlimited access for 30 days (like 19 usd). All of this is in 3.5G they have amazing coverage.

Thetering is allowed, far more convinient that the 9 usd per day in hotels

Hello Aurturo!
I will be going to Acapulco (diamante) for a week and plan to use the Telcel and Movistar prepaid SIM for my LG KP500 unlocked GSM phone that I got off of Amazon ($80). I will report back with my results!

I tired of being stuck in a cyber most of the day with Skype. My hope is to use the SIM card for the local or 800 number then use an international calling card for the calls back to So. Cal. then I will be sort of free of the cyber blues.

I guess I should preface my prior message in that my calls are business related and sometimes goes into the twenty calls daily bracket. The need to send out emails to currant clients of mine are usually clipped with 1-3MG attachments. My usage would be considered heavy.

the Netherlands:

KPN Mobile (best Network coverage)
2 plans:
1 same price (0.35) mobile and landline
1 day & night difference from from 0.15 up to 0.40
2 plans:
1 same price (0.35) mobile and landline
1 day & night difference from from 0.10 up to 0.45
2 plans:
1 "much SMS" (0.35) and 0.09 for SMS
1 "much phonecalls" (0.29) and (0.19) for SMS
1 plan:
depends on how long you call: (the longer you call the lower the cost per minute)
0.17 up to 0.35 per minute and 0.09 SMS
a few plans
from 0.10 up to 0.45 p/minute for day & night difference
fixed priced 0.35 p/minute and 0.23 SMS

Then you have a few resellers like: Debitel, HEMA, easymobile, etc.

All prices are Euro, Price for SIM, depends on shop, sometimes you get fully refunded with phonecredit. Probably you will pay 5 Euro. All SIM cards are relatively easy to obtain. I don't know if it is possible to refill with foreign credit card. If not possible, it is easy to buy refill cards. A lot shops sell them including supermarkets, and newspaper stands. Although some resellers cards are only by internet, or only in 1 brand of shop. (that is the reason why I didn't list them.

The cheapest prepaid SIM in Holland (& Belgium & France) is by Lyca Mobile; both to phone/send SMSs international as national. It has the lowest roaming costs as well if you stay within the EU (I didn't verify the costs outside of the EU).
Check out there site, the prizes and offers are a bit different from country to country but for those 3 countries it's definitively the cheapest.


Also glad to have found this blog!
I've been researching telestial and other companies and trying to decide whether picking up a sim card locally in Australia and then Hong Kong or buy one that is good in both... Having one number isn't so much and issue, but price is.

Also - telestial needs to ship to me, and I was thinking of just getting it when I arrived.

Any recommendations? Please and thanks in advance!

i'll be leaving for greece in sept.06 and will be purchasing a quad band phone to use. whats the best choice for sim cards i found cosmote anyone heard of it? plus ill be ther 5 yrs but traveling between the u.s. and greece evry 4-6mos. please advise

Yes, I had Cosmote prepaid and it is excellent, especially compared to the restrictions/expiry of Canadian prepaid systems.

Let me know if I should let my cosmote sim card expire which I purchasedx in Athens on holiday. I will not be returning to Greece and will be in USA. Thanks.

Hey Brad,

This blog is exactly what I was looking for. I'm going to Tokyo and need to know if its cheaper for me to buy a sim for my unlocked GSM phone or rent a cell phone at the airport. I'll be there for 20 days.

jp lover