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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Martin
    • By MSE Martin 27th Jul 05, 1:39 PM
    • 8,111Posts
    • 42,248Thanks
    MSE Martin
    Great Cheap Local Sim Card Hunt
    • #1
    • 27th Jul 05, 1:39 PM
    Great Cheap Local Sim Card Hunt 27th Jul 05 at 1:39 PM
    A few weeks ago I published the 'Cheapest International Roaming' article which explains how to make cheap calls from your mobile while abroad. One of the solutions is using a Sim bought in that country. To help I want to use this hunt to build a database of what to get where. If you've bought a Sim abroad, please let us know the details.


    How to help: Please reply in the following format

    Country Visited:
    Make of Sim:

    Cost of Sim:
    Ease to obtain:
    (if this is city specific let us know)

    Cost of calls: as much details as you can)
    Do you know of a weblink to the tariff
    Anything else that may be helpful:
    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
    Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.

    Don't miss out on urgent MoneySaving, get my weekly e-mail at www.moneysavingexpert.com/tips.

    Debt-Free Wannabee Official Nerd Club: (Honorary) Members number 000
Page 1
    • declanmcc
    • By declanmcc 27th Jul 05, 2:02 PM
    • 404 Posts
    • 242 Thanks
    declanmcc
    • #2
    • 27th Jul 05, 2:02 PM
    O2 Ireland
    • #2
    • 27th Jul 05, 2:02 PM
    Country Visited: REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
    Make of Sim: O2 International Sim https://shop.o2.ie/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=1188&cPath=39
    Cost of Sim: E9.99
    Ease to obtain: Online. Not sure if it is available in-store in Ireland.
    Cost of calls: 0.95c per minute to UK landlines and mobiles.
    Other countries listed at this link: http://web.o2.ie/personal/tariffs/speak_easy/international.jsp
    Do you know of a weblink to the tariff:http://web.o2.ie/personal/tariffs/speak_easy/international.jsp
    Anything else that may be helpful:
    The sim offers 10 euro worth of calls upfront plus 5 euro per month for 2 months if you register your sim card online. As obvious as it may sound - if you're visiting Northern Ireland your UK Sim card will work there - there is no need to change over. If your UK phone is unlocked it will accept any Irish network sim (O2, Vodafone, Meteor)
    Last edited by declanmcc; 27-07-2005 at 2:09 PM. Reason: you're -----> your !!
    • declanmcc
    • By declanmcc 27th Jul 05, 2:12 PM
    • 404 Posts
    • 242 Thanks
    declanmcc
    • #3
    • 27th Jul 05, 2:12 PM
    • #3
    • 27th Jul 05, 2:12 PM
    Oops. Slight hitch. The sim will only be delivered to Republic of Ireland residents. I'm sure it'll be available in-store though
    • lswwong
    • By lswwong 28th Jul 05, 1:37 PM
    • 406 Posts
    • 175 Thanks
    lswwong
    • #4
    • 28th Jul 05, 1:37 PM
    • #4
    • 28th Jul 05, 1:37 PM
    Country Visited: HONG KONG
    Make of Sim: Smartone (now rebranded SmarTone Vodafone)

    Cost of Sim: HKD $180 and upwards (about 12)
    Ease to obtain:
    Very. Just drop into any SmarTone outlets. Lots of them around.

    Cost of calls: check out their website.
    Do you know of a weblink to the tariff: http://www.smartone-vodafone.com.hk/jsp/mobile/prices/store_valued_SIM/english/smartone_idd.jsp
    Anything else that may be helpful: Use Martin's callchecker for cheapest provider for calling a HK mobile number. Think it is still Telediscount 0844 861 85 85 @ 1p per minute.

    Taken from their website:

    It's so easy to plug into SmarTone-Vodafone's quality, value and convenience with a SmarTone-Vodafone Stored-value SIM card. No contract or monthly fee is required. You just pay as you talk or use our various services.

    Supported by SmarTone-Vodafone's superior Dual Band network, your SmarTone-Vodafone Stored-value SIM card provides you the best reception in town.

    A SIM card carries a stored value of $180. All airtime charges, service charges, administration fees will be deducted from your card's stored value.

    You can make local and IDD calls, plus enjoy international roaming services.

    Stored-value SIM card offers a full range of value-added services, including free missed call alerts and caller number display.

    Compatible with Tri-band, Dual Band, GSM or PCS phones.

    You can instantly check the remaining balance and expiry date of your card anytime. Click here for checking methods.

    Your card is valid for 180 days from the date of the first call you make. Each time you recharge your card, its validity will be reset for a further 180 days and you can retain the mobile telephone number assigned to that card.
    Last edited by lswwong; 28-07-2005 at 1:42 PM.
  • Ian_W
    • #5
    • 28th Jul 05, 1:54 PM
    • #5
    • 28th Jul 05, 1:54 PM
    www.0044.co.uk sell a lot of sims - seem to be a fair price.
  • andy88
    • #6
    • 28th Jul 05, 1:55 PM
    • #6
    • 28th Jul 05, 1:55 PM
    There are 6 networks in Hong Kong, 3, CSL, New World Mobility, Peoples Telephone, SmarTone, and Sunday. 3 has both 3g and GSM coverage; the rest are GSM only.

    SmarTone costs about 8p/min for local calls, compared to 2p or 3p for many of the others; with 3 you can call UK for 14p/min peak, 2p off-peak using their IDD 1968 service - see below. I'll look up more details and provide more links this evening

    http://dualband.three.com.hk/website/template?pageid=d25100&lang=eng

    actually, the easiest way to reach all of these networks info is via the PPGSM site mentioned below. I would choose 3, as there has often been a 2 for 1 SIM offer at $98 = 7, effectively halving call charges to start with - ie 1p/min local and off-peak to UK

    http://www.prepaidgsm.net/en/hongkong.html
    Last edited by MSE Andrea; 03-08-2005 at 11:06 AM.
  • andy88
    • #7
    • 28th Jul 05, 1:58 PM
    • #7
    • 28th Jul 05, 1:58 PM
    www.0044.co.uk sell a lot of sims - seem to be a fair price.
    by Ian_W
    it is always cheaper to buy the local SIM when you get there
  • andy88
    • #8
    • 28th Jul 05, 2:05 PM
    • #8
    • 28th Jul 05, 2:05 PM
    Detailed info on about 300 GSM networks and their payg SIMs, and links to the operator websites, can be found at this site, run by 2 Italian prepaid fans

    http://www.prepaidgsm.net/en/operators.html

    GSM World is also very useful for network links and coverage maps.

    http://www.gsmworld.com/roaming/gsminfo/index.shtml
  • criminal_smile
    • #9
    • 28th Jul 05, 2:28 PM
    • #9
    • 28th Jul 05, 2:28 PM
    Country Visited: REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
    Make of Sim: Meteor International Sim
    Cost of Sim: 39.99 online - 19.99 in stores
    Ease to obtain: Online. Available in quite a few shops SEE SHOPS.
    Cost of calls: 0.50c per minute to landlines and mobiles in UK, US, Canada, S. America, Australia, Pacific Rim, Europe. 0.15c per SMS to ANYWHERE!
    Do you know of a weblink to the tariff: VIEW TARRIFF
    Anything else that may be helpful:
    The sim offers 10 worth of calls upfront, another 10 / month when you register the card online, plus FREE incoming calls. As obvious as it may sound - if you're visiting Northern Ireland your UK Sim card will work there - there is no need to change over (coverage limited to counties along the border). If your UK phone is unlocked it will accept any Irish network sim (O2, Vodafone, Meteor)

    Thamks to declanmcc for allowing me to plagiurise some of his post without his knowledge!
    Last edited by criminal_smile; 28-07-2005 at 2:48 PM.
    I haven't been asked to tell you that I'm the Board Drunk for this board. As the night wears on, my posts will become worse, with simple spelling mistakes, inane ramblings, and a blatant disregard for the truth. I have no authority to do anything, so there's no point asking or telling me. If you see me past midnight, please tell me to get my coat and order me a taxi.

    Free Ebay Simple Profit/Loss Spreadsheet. PM me for a download link.
  • Ian_W
    it is always cheaper to buy the local SIM when you get there
    by andy88
    Maybe - but not much use if you can't understand the language - and wish to inform others before you go of your new number.

    I am not linked in anyway to 0044 and have not yet purchased from them - but I did buy a french sim from CPW a few years ago - and never did get it to work - it was a waste of 30. For peace of mind I would rather spend a few pounds extra knowing the number before hand and having the confidence that all should be well.
  • Edinburghlass
    Maybe - but not much use if you can't understand the language - and wish to inform others before you go of your new number.

    I am not linked in anyway to 0044 and have not yet purchased from them - but I did buy a french sim from CPW a few years ago - and never did get it to work - it was a waste of 30. For peace of mind I would rather spend a few pounds extra knowing the number before hand and having the confidence that all should be well.
    by Ian_W
    Obviously it depends on what country you would be visiting but if its for a popular destination all the shops and markets would be able to sell you a local sim with no language problems.

    The main thing to realise if you do buy via a company like 0044 is the sim must not be used or put into the phone in the UK but wait until you have reached your destination.
    Martin has asked me to tell you that I'm the Board Guide of the Telephones, Reclaim Bank Charges, Silver Savers and Scotland boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and I can move and merge threads there. Pease remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. Board guides don't deal with this. Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
  • fazz
    Country Visited:Singapore
    Make of Sim:M1
    Cost of Sim:S$30 (approx)
    Ease to obtain: Many of the news vendors outside MRT stations
    Cost of calls: Use in conjunction with a S$10 M8 Calling card also obtained o/s MRT's, I never had to top up my M1 sim, hundreds of minutes using the M8.
  • pab1951
    In Brazil I have purchased a couple of SIM cards for use on the TIM network. Some operators are reluctant to sell to foreigners but I have had no major problem with TIM. Be careful of the various price plans as some SIM's have a monthly subscription, use it or not but with lower per minute prices. Also be aware that if you in one state and receive a call from another state you end up paying part of the call charge as per internatiopnal calls received whilst in Europe. As near as I can remember the SIM cost about R$30 which at the time was about 6. TIM coverage is good in all areas that I have visited, mainly the states of Rio, Espirito Santo and Bahia.
  • Ian_W
    Obviously it depends on what country you would be visiting but if its for a popular destination all the shops and markets would be able to sell you a local sim with no language problems.

    The main thing to realise if you do buy via a company like 0044 is the sim must not be used or put into the phone in the UK but wait until you have reached your destination.
    by Edinburghlass

    Thanks - need to get one for France so will be watching this thread with interest. If anyone has suggestions for France it would be appreciated.
    • chris_k
    • By chris_k 28th Jul 05, 5:58 PM
    • 157 Posts
    • 43 Thanks
    chris_k
    Thailand - Orange, www.orange.co.th

    I have had an email back from their customer services department. They do a special SIM aimed at tourists.
    500 Baht (7) for the SIM including
    • 400 Baht calling value, valid for 20 days
    • User Guide
    • Map of Bangkok
    • Tourist Guide
    • Free access to Tourist Police
    • Free calls to customer services
    Calls in Thailand 3 Baht ( 4p) per min (charged per second with a min of 30 sec)
    Local texts 3 Baht (4p), international texts 6 baht (8p)
    International calls - They appear to be operated by another company. They have differnet rates depending on what line quality you get (VoiP or not) - CAT001 I think is the standard high quality one.

    United Kingdom CAT001 st=18 Bt, eco=18 Bt, reg=18 Bt /CAT009=7 Bt:min./CAT PhoneNet=6 Bt:min.

    Anyway, the highest price is 24 p per minute charged per 6 seconds.

    CAT Telecom Public Company Limited

    Purchase from: Orange shops
    or at the airport - Orange Shop, arrivals Hall 1, first floor

    When I first started looking Donnie posted details of another provider:
    Happy
    He has given a prefix for that network which works out at 11p per minute.

    If anyone wants the whole comprehensive email I recieved from Orange Thailand please PM me.
  • moana
    Singapore M1 or Mobile 1.

    Sims cost six pounds or ten pounds and are sometimes discounted or extra minutes added.

    Make sure you buy the one with free incoming calls. That's the usual one.

    Calls cost 6p per minute outgoing.

    IIRC.
    No reliance should be placed on the above.

  • robdog
    South Africa Sims
    When going to S.A. try to go to a shopping mall find a supermarket used by the locals and buy a local sim, it pays to shop around, last year i bought a vodacom sim for R50 [5] it had R40 pre loaded and was priced at R158, if you go to a LARGE Spar shop you will find a dedicated mobile phone dept,[I can recomend the one in Hazyview]. Calls in SA are about R1 PM TEXT about R2 Just make sure your phone is unblocked and let your friends know your new number when you arrive
  • Unhban
    Country Visited: Tunisia
    Make of Sim: Tunisiana
    Cost of Sim: Five Dinar (about 2.20)
    Ease to obtain: In Sousse there were huge hoardings outside the shops that sold them (about four shops along the main street). I presume most major cities will sell them i.e. Tunis, Sfax, Gabes etc.
    Cost of calls: as much details as you can) to UK - about 30p/minute (a little less than the International Call boxes - known as Taxiphones in Tunisia!). Local calls very cheap - several hundred millimes. 100 millimes = 4.25p)
    Anything else that may be helpful: You must take your passport to obtain one, and fill out a form that includes your UK address. If a call is not made at any time over a period of three months your SIM becomes blocked and you must take your original form in, again along with your passport, for it to be re-authorised. I'm not sure if there is a fee for doing this. Top-up cards are sold in values of 5TD, 10TD and 20TD (8.90). One tip: be careful of your mobile being stolen in Tunisia.... and the police don't want to know....
    Last edited by Unhban; 01-08-2007 at 11:30 AM.
  • andy88
    Slovakia
    2 networks - Orange and T-mobile (formerly Globtel and Eurotel).

    Call charges are extremely similar on both networks, but the T-mobile SIM is cheaper, SKK 399 vs Orange's SKK 599, both with 300 credit. Exch rate SKK 58 = 1, so the T-mob SIM is 7.

    2 or 3 network shops for each in a larger city. We bought 14 T-mob at their kiosk on the edge of Tesco hypermarket. Top-ups of SKK 200, 300, 500, 1000, 2000 available. I disagree with Ian_W again about buying in UK or there. The SIM came with a manual only in Slovakian, and the woman at the shop was helpful in English, which 0044 would not manage in Slovakian - we only needed to know how to check balance and top-up (call 12350 or *50, follow options) never mind WAP/GPRS or other complications etc. The first attempted call had activated the SIM, including setting menu language option.

    16p peak to 7p off-peak T-mobile
    25p all times other networks
    int'l see below

    http://www.orange.sk/
    http://www.t-mobile.sk/
    neither site has English for all pages; this is the T-mob tariff page
    http://www.t-mobile.sk/sk/!pages.get?id=telefonovanie

    Calls to UK and other EU are 50p per minute on both networks at peak times. Since return, I've discovered that T-mobile appears to have (I can't translate) a cheaper int'l option by using 33 instead of + or 00 - see tariff page above. Orange seems to have some cheap off-peak int'l rates. Roaming is possible, but is not ready-activated when new. I did not use the SIM internationally and the others did only sparingly. Instead I used a callback service with calls to UK at about 15p/minute.
    Last edited by andy88; 29-07-2005 at 12:33 PM. Reason: one link did not work
    • pbolding
    • By pbolding 28th Jul 05, 8:59 PM
    • 31 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    pbolding
    Country Visited: India, Karnataka
    Make of Sim: Airtel
    Cost of Sim: 99 rupees (no call credit with this) (75 rupees = 1 pound)
    Ease to obtain: Requires proof of address in India, 1 passport photo, photocopy of passport (shop did this) (Proof of address can be an employment letter, not scrutinised.) Widely available.
    Cost of calls: 661 rupees card gets 294 local minutes or around 20 to UK. Higher value cards are much better value for money. (Use of any Indian mobile in a different Indian state constitutes roaming so may be more expensive)
    Do you know of a weblink to the tariff http://www.airtelworld.com/4/circle_vouchers.htm
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