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Sim Card

I plan on being in England for two months and the international plan with Verizon is $10.00 a day. I have a business where people in the states might need to reach me. I have been looking at international sim cards and was wondering if anyone has ever purchased one and how it works.

Posted by
154 posts

When you say an international sim card do you mean one that is for England? I have purchased one in Italy and then used in England, because my first stop was Venice and then London. You will get a phone number for the country you are in. I had an Italian number. You can use calling over data, i.e. Facebook, Skype, and others that I don't know. It could be cheaper to get a Skype account and I believe you can pay to have your phone number forwarded through Skype but I haven't done it. If they can reach you by email then an international sim card would work. I just ordered one through https://www.giffgaff.com/ and it will be delivered prior to me getting over there so I can activate it the day I leave the states, pop it in while in the air and once I land it will work. I am doing a 20 pound plan that includes calling, texting, and unlimited data (although over 9 gigs of data it will be slowed down but I don't think even I will be using that much in 13 days but it is possible) so it is a good deal cheaper.

Posted by
2322 posts

I assume that the people in the states who will need to reach you have your current US cell number. If you get a SIM in England it would give you a UK number and you’d not be able get calls at your US number.

If it’s a small, known number of people who will be calling (like your direct employees) then all you need is to give them the UK number. If, however it’s a lot of people and you don’t know exactly who (like if your number is given to prospective clients often) then you will have a problem - the number they have for you would not work and so they couldn’t reach you. I’m sure there are ways around that but just getting a SIM won’t solve everything in this case.

Posted by
4695 posts

Get a Google Voice number (free), then use the Google Hangouts app on your smart phone to make and receive calls for free on WiFi and with mobile data. Google Voice numbers are US phone numbers, so people can call you without making an international call. You can call your Verizon number from the UK and check your voicemail for free with Hangouts. You could also forward your Verizon calls to your Google number while you are in the UK, so you'd get all your normal cell calls on Hangouts.

Try Hangouts now and see how it works. (Android phones need the additional Hangouts Dialer app too to make calls.) Although I recently switched to Sprint (free 1 year unlimited with eligible device, offer still available), I used Hangouts for a year as my primary phone service. Not perfect but reliable enough - I've made and received dozens of calls with it. Works great in Europe too, though to call US numbers while you have a UK SIM in your phone, you may need to add a +1 in front of the US number to call it with Hangouts.

Sprint might be a good option too - free unlimited international roaming data (2G speeds), 20 cents/min calls. No complications. My bill is $3.20/month for taxes and fees for the next year.

You could also get a Skype US phone number - $18 for three months for incoming calls only. Hangouts/Google Voice is free for the US calls, but I suppose some people would find Skype easier to use.

Posted by
676 posts

Used to be the case giffgaff would only ship to UK addresses ,recently I have begun to see thier SIMs in stores.
I have been with giffgaff since the start, 7 ? years back
If you wanted I would ship you a SIM at no cost,I could even pre register it for you.

Posted by
4695 posts

You can buy UK SIM cards on eBay - some US sellers even seem to have them. E.g. search eBay for Giffgaff - or other UK SIM vendors. The UK doesn't require you to show a passport to register/activate the SIM like most EU countries do.

Posted by
334 posts

I used Know Roaming Int'l SIM card during a multi-country trip through Europe and had no issues. Very easy to use and had no issues.

Posted by
4695 posts

I've heard of KnowRoaming, but it seems pretty expensive, especially now that there are no more EU roaming fees. If I wanted to save money, I'd get a local SIM card. Otherwise, I'd just probably opt for the Verizon $10/day plan - not going to cost much more than KnowRoaming, plus it let's you keep/use your original phone number while traveling.

Posted by
780 posts

thank you katsrad. I've been looking for a UK SIM card that I could get my hands on before arrival. EE doesn't ship overseas, I didn't want to use ebay to ship me one from China, and the international SIMs plans were too limited/too expensive. My home plan charges $10/day for roaming and that's outrageous for a 30-day trip. So, I had no solution until you posted about giffgaff - now that SIM is in the mail to me. Sounds like the perfect solution. I'll report back in July.

Posted by
4695 posts

I've never heard of a UK SIM card being shipped from China. All the GiffGaff SIMs (new, not used) I see on eBay ship from the US, not from China. My Dutch Vodafone SIM bought on eBay was shipped from the Netherlands. Ebay is just another place the same sellers use to market their SIM cards - a lot of the sellers use Amazon too. The orders go to the same place; I go by who has the cheapest price and/or best shipping terms.

Posted by
780 posts

@Andrew - this is the PAYG card and plan I wanted, but not a great price and shipped from China. EE 5 GB voice data EU roaming. I just didn't have a lot of confidence it would work. I'd rather have it directly from the provider than some third party. So now I'll get it directly from giffgaff at a price I'm willing pay (free SIM, free shipping, then I can decide on the bundle once I have it.) I'll see how it goes.

Posted by
4695 posts

Nelly, if you can get the SIM shipped directly from the mobile company in Europe, that's great. Many mobile companies will not do that outside of their countries.

However, there are plenty of SIMs available for GiffGaff and EE on eBay that ship directly from the US, too. Some of them are quite cheap - e.g. you can get a GiffGaff SIM shipped to you from the US for $1.29 CAD. Not much to lose if it doesn't work. (You should be able to activate it before you leave home, like I did with my Dutch Vodafone SIM, so you'll not wonder whether it will work or not when you arrive overseas.)