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CommunicationsConnecting - internet cafes, laptops, Palm devices, cell phones - how to connect, use, which one, and Bike to Bike and passenger intercoms.
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I would like to have an up to date list of what people regard as good providers of communication with SIM cards for a particular locality for us travellers.
This can be for voice, SMS/MMS or Data.
My need is to know what SIM card to go and buy in a country that I might travel through with out having to figure and sort it out while on the hop.
I am sure a lot of people here will have a whealth of experience with mobile communications while travelling, and I hope those of you would be willing to share.
My specific need right now is angled at Europe, and to know what local SIM cards are reliable and affordable for purely data. I'm not so interested in voice. I wish for a good pre-paid plan for data.
Here in Australia I use a card supplied by 'Amaysim' who have, in my opinion, a good plan with reasonable rates. I have pay as you go and my credit will last for 90 days, rolling over if I recharge before then so I don't loose any, unlike the 30 days of so many other providers. Data is only $0.05 per MB.
Amaysim originally started by some of the folks who setup 'Simyo' in Europe. You can find simyo.fr/nl/de/es/be/com online, but last year while in France, I could find no mobile shop that was interested in or would sell it, even though french Bouygues Telecom are the outlets for it in France. The data cost is not as good as we get here in Australia, with €0.20 per 0.25MB, so in actual fact it costs twenty times more without taking the exchange rate into consideration, which would make it more expensive than Amaysim.
What I want, is a pre paid plan that doesn't need me to jump through blazing hoops of fire and produce bank account details or surrender my passport, but rather, simply be able to buy the SIM card at a tabac or petrol station for a few euros and then set it up online.
So, with all that, I'm keen to hear what people have used and a few details about how easy or not it was for them to buy and use.
Give details of whether your main need was for voice, SMS/MMS and or data. If you have a link to a site, fantastic.
Whatever you do, DO NOT GET ORANGE MOBILE FRANCE Sim card!!!!!!
This cost me a bomb and was so infuriating I did a big rant about it on my blog. In fact I did 3 big rants because that's how long the pain lasted.
A year later and I still go into an apoplectic rage at the mere mention of the name...
Whatever you do, DO NOT GET ORANGE MOBILE FRANCE Sim card!!!!!!
And after reading your blog on problems with Orange, I too have come away with feeling utterly frustrated with their apparent stupidity over how they do things having also nearly been subjected to a similar story.
A brief story of my dealings with Orange began one early morning in the Orange store in Montélimar, (south east France) not last year, but 2011. I arrive early to their office as in France you need to get into the town before the midday holiday. Now I won't be critical of this, as I respect that this is how the French like to enjoy a nice long lunch, and I have been invited to many a long French lunch, where we all sit down after a hop down to the boulangerie then preparing the salad with a few nice bottles of wine. I wish it was the normal way, even here in Austraila, though I can easily go off topic with this one.
Right, so I am in the office of Orange, and Nice Young Frenchwoman (NYF) again speaks almost nothing other than French, thinking to myself 'should be ok, as I only want a carte SIM, how difficult could that be?'.
After some minutes of me filling out forms providing all sorts of personal information NYF organises a SIM card and tells me it is on order and will arrive in the next day or so. Great I thought.
I leave it for two days and go in on my second visit to collect my cartre SIM. Well, carte SIM has arrived, (mostly everything in France goes through la Poste, and it works quiet well, but slows the process). I need to give more details, then show my Australian Passport, to which I must have a look of curiousness on me as to why, but just think to myself 'it's the French way'.
So, at this point I have been able to organise a carte SIM from Orange, all is going ok, albeit slowly and that that is frustrating in itself.
The next thing NYF asks me is, 'can we have your bank details', and I become suspicious and ask why. 'Oh, it's so we can debit it automatically'. So I get said details. Next, can we have the bank BIC number, 'aaargggg' what, what is a BIC. 'Ok, I will get the BIK number for you', so I go away to find WiFi and good coffee to find BIC which I know nothing of at this point in time.
Another few days later I come back with the BIC number for my Australian bank, ANZ. Surely I will have my carte SIM in my hands any moment now to put into my phone. I once again go to office of Orange.
Next, NYF asks me, remembering after providing many personal details, copying of passport, providing bank details, she asks me, 'can we have your French bank account details', 'what, you are joking, right', I think to myself. This does it for me and showed to me the stupidity of how they do business.
After a total of four visits down to the office of Orange, why ask me for all those details, spending so much time and all the while knowing I am an Australian, not a French resident with a local French bank account, why do you ask me for my French bank details.
I guess you can imagine the level of frustration I am feeling. All I can think and asked NYF, 'Why did you not ask me for my French bank details at the very start?', to which she just shrugged as if to say, what do you mean, I did everything correct according to the guidelines of Orange.
I wanted them to understand the situation of what had happened, and how I was feeling, but I was tiring of it all by now.
To prove a point on my experience with how difficult it is to deal with Orange, I did two things.
First, I did open a French bank account just a few blocks away with Crédit Agricole, which was very easy, much to my surprise actually. I closed it again some time later as they were taking €5 per month for administrative fees.
The second thing I did, and this is a big one in comparison, I went out and bought a car, yes, une voiture. For which I did not need to provide anywhere near the details as was requested by Orange.
I allowed Orange to consume nearly a week of my life in order to obtain a small 10mm by 10mm plastic card, while within a few days I had found a car, had it checked (French CT), had it paid for, had it transferred to my name, and had it insured and was happily driving about with my phone with an Australian SIM card.
Ok, so this wasn't so brief, but rant over now.
I hope this little story can add to your 'intention now is to do Orange 50€ of bad publicity' Scootergal.
I don't feel good with denigrating Orange as others may have different stories, though this was the experience I had.
A year later and I still go into an apoplectic rage at the mere mention of the name...
As you can guess, much the same for me it seems.
Now, I wouldn't say not to buy a French SIM card, just be careful of how you do it, especially with Orange.
I found the French telcos, really don't have good plans for data, for voice, well they love voice and SMS. Data plans have not been so easy to obtain in the past, and this is really the the entire reason for why I started this thread.
If you go onto the Simyo site you can see how similar it is to Amaysim, and this could be an option.
Traversing the European continent, I wish for a more universal system whereby one SIM card will work as a local SIM card across the European Union. Heck, they have the Euro, why not a single telco with a single SIM card.
Time for coffee, and as you say, breathe deep.
ps. not re-reading this to edit grammatical errors, not yet.
mbravo, I am looking at your link, thank you for providing this.
It's not exactly "local", more the opposite actually, but this thread has some ideas that would cover Europe:- http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...im-cards-56524
Post number 12 is just about how I deal with communications when travelling; when static in a particular location for a while I just buy the local "pay and talk" sim card for the mobile phone (whatever the local people are using) and stick to wifi for everything related to data.
Yep, French business practice is bizarre (to be pronounced with a strong french accent), but that's Europe for you!
WorldSim has been great. One simcard with a UK and/or US number, and local call rates in 175 countries, all rates published on website so no surprises. No more messing around trying to find a "cheap" local simcard that works for two days, and being surprised by 'local' rates that go through the roof....
Travelling through the Americas, we used pre-paid SIMs for mobile Internet. We're happy with:
Canada: Chattr (a division of Rogers Communications)
Mexico: Telcel (pretty much your only option, but the coverage and speed is mui bien)
We have iPhones, so in some places, there is a surcharge for cutting the SIM chip to MicroSIM size. This "service" could be free or it could go up to $5. In retrospect, we should have ordered a SIM cutter for $5 off eBay or Amazon before we left so we could cut our own chips.
I would also suggest that you take a look at WorldSIM. The biggest benefit to the WoldSIM card is that there are no roaming charges, which are what normally end up costing a fortune.
My daughter and I both used WorldSIM on our recent four weeks in Europe, during which we drove through nine countries. Having a single sim card made things very easy. As already mentioned, the calling costs for each country are posted on the website. The rates vary between countries, so it is worth checking the list.
Incoming calls and texts are handled the same as on any other sim card. However, for outgoing calls, the sim uses a call back system. You dial a number from your contacts and your screen displays a message saying that the request has been sent. A few seconds later, your own phone rings. Answer the phone and you hear a message telling you that your call is being connected. You then hear the ring tone and continue to make the call as usual (the receiver sees a different caller ID that is not the phone number allocated to your sim).
Topping up the credit was easy whilst on the road using an internet connection. You can also pay via PayPal.
I only used the sim card for phone calls but my daughter also used it for data and found it to work well.
For my trip to Russia and Central Asia in 2014, I'm starting to look at data roaming usb modem options. They would make connecting to the internet easier once plugged into a tablet or laptop, without having to rely on finding (and often paying for) wifi connections. WorldSIM has one but the rates vary significantly between countries - $0.059 per 100kb in the UK; $1.457 in Russia; $4.023 in Mongolia; $1.922 in Kazakhstan; $2.018 in Uzbekistan (rates for each country are listed on the website).
There are a variety of providers of international sim cards and international usb modems. It is just a case of researching them and the rates for the countries that you will be visiting to find the one that best suits your individual needs.
Thanks so much 'Bermuda Rover', what you have written is very informative.
I'll look further into what WorldSIM is about.
For this year, again France lags behind so much that I just didn't bother.
What I did find however is that in Slovenia, as in Australia, you can easily buy a SIM card from the petrol station for a few Euros and the data rate is around €0,05 per MB, (mega byte), say with izimobile izimobil which works on the T-Mobile network, just as Amaysim works on Optus in Australia amaysim.
I hope France and other neighbouring countries will get it together and make such SIM cards available in the not too distant future.
Right, let me finish this lovely bit of French patisserie, while it's fresh, yum.
Hi, I will check out WorldSim, thanks.
Ours may not be the cheapest way to do it but.... we have a UK paid Vodafone card which gives us 300 minutes calls (including international), 1000 texts and 1.5Gb of data per month. Cost £10 per month. For an extra £3 per day this plan can be used across Europe (including France!).
We're stuck in Bulgaria at present and it's been invaluable for finding car parts, arranging transport etc.
Just turn data roaming off (and use wifi where you can) then you don't pay the £3 for that day unless you turn it on. If you can't find wifi, turn it on and just pay for the day.
Good to have as a back-up as you know you can always make / receive calls on the same number wherever you go.
Heading to Africa next (Southern countries first). Anyone got any good suggestions for there?
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