Around the world,  Digital nomad,  TDM

International SIM card comparison

If you’re like us internet addicts, you’re looking for data everywhere in the world.

In fact, as soon as we arrive in a country, once we pass the immigration and get our luggage, our first concern is to have internet (ex-aequo with the need to withdraw money).

This will allow us (among other things) : to warn our Airbnb that we’re coming, to see how to get there with public transport, to call an Uber, to check that the cab doesn’t take us around, …

You’re going to tell me that for most things, there’s no need for the internet if you anticipate. You’re right, but it’s so much more convenient with the internet 😀

To have internet everywhere in the world, you have 3 solutions.

Option 1: Use your French SIM card

It is a possibility but we don’t recommend it, it will cost you a lot of money. This is called roaming, the fact of using another operator abroad who will charge your consumption to your operator. At rates that are often… surprising.

I had fun evaluating the cost of 1 GB of data in different countries with the main mobile operators (I didn’t find the Orange rates, if you have them somewhere I’m a taker).

ThailandJapanNew ZealandAustraliaArgentinaCanadaMoroccoTurkey
SFR13 516 €13 516 €18 923 €13 516 €13 516 €13 516 €13 516 €18 923 €
Bouygues10 485 €10 485 €10 485 €10 485 €10 485 €552 €10 485 €10 485 €
FreeIncludes9 932 €IncludesIncludes9 932 €Includes3 072 €6 656 €

As you can see, the rates are exorbitant.

Fortunately, this remains rather theoretical.

  • Operators will cut your roaming after X € out of bundle (X can still be several hundred …).
  • Depending on the country you are going to, some operators will offer you to buy an international option for a few days. You will pay less than the table above but it will still be very expensive.

In any case, if you want to avoid receiving a painful bill when you return from your trip, it is better to disable roaming on your smartphone, or even remove your SIM card from the phone.

Option 2: Purchase a local prepaid SIM card

In the vast majority of cases, this will be the most economical solution (by far!).

The principle? You buy a prepaid SIM card with a certain amount of available data. Most of the time, it is possible to reload if your quota is exhausted.

Rates obviously vary according to the country.

We try to do an article on the subject in each country we visit. Examples in Thailand, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and Morocco.

This is clearly the solution to be preferred, both for its simplicity and to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Option 3: have an international SIM card

If option 2 is in our opinion largely the best, it may be interesting to have an international SIM card in addition, especially if :

  • You stay only a few days in a country, too few for it to be interesting to buy a local SIM. This was our case in Belarus where we stayed only 5 days.
  • If for some reason X or Y you cannot buy a SIM card at the airport and you still need internet. This case can happen for example if you land at night and the phone booths are closed.

International SIM card operators have agreements with phone operators around the world to benefit from preferential roaming rates.

Small constraint, you will have to order on the internet your international SIM card, it will be difficult or even impossible to find it on the spot. It is therefore necessary to anticipate.

There are a lot of different international SIM cards out there, it’s not necessarily easy to find your way around, so I took the time to study the Go rate for different countries.

Two remarks before starting :

  • There are a lot of different offers, I generally chose an offer that allowed me to benefit from the internet for a minimum of 30 days.
  • Many rates have been converted from dollar to euro to be able to compare them.
  • For this price list, I took when it existed the “pay as you go” offer of the operators which allows you to pay only what you consume. Some operators also offer “packs” which can be more economical but with a limited lifespan and number of countries.
ThailandJapanNew ZealandAustraliaArgentinaCanadaMoroccoTurkey
Drimsim15 €30 €10 €10 €51 €35 €204 €10 €
Explod153 €102 €Not available163 €153 €102 €409 €102 €
Wraptel45 €27 €45 €36 €271 €108 €Not available27 €
Telestial66 €Not available66 €66 €66 €66 €Not available66 €
TravelSim16 €44 €61 €16 €16 €44 €Not available16 €
WorldSim226 €226 €135 €190 €181 €181 €996 €181 €
Flexiroam26 €26 €26 €26 €Not available26 €Not available26 €
OneSimCard225 €225 €225 €225 €225 €225 €451 €225 €
Surfroam20 €51 €10 €10 €51 €20 €71 €20 €
Koko Mobile45 €45 €45 €45 €45 €45 €363 €45 €
MySims2go2 037 €399 €15 349 €399 €19 435 €286 €4 085 €399 €
KeepGo30 €30 €30 €30 €30 €30 €30 €30 €
Xxsim194 €194 €194 €194 €194 €194 €399 €194 €

Some lessons to this table :

  • There are a lot of holes in the racket, many international SIM cards do not work in all countries.
  • While this is cheaper than option 1, many international SIM cards offer extremely high prices. So much so that it is hard to see who can use their services.
  • Some countries like Morocco are very expensive regardless of the operator. Surprising then that with a local SIM, 1Go costs 1€. Moroccan operators certainly do not offer partnerships
  • If we assume that we are looking for a SIM card that works in as many countries as possible, DrimSim, Keepgo and Surfroam are by far the most economical solutions.

Among these three actors, the only one I tested is DrimSim. I use it occasionally as a backup of a local SIM card and I’m very happy with it.

I made a detailed article about it (link to the article).

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