International SIM Card vs Local SIM Card vs Data Roaming

international sim card vs local sim card vs data roamingThe number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn’t think they could learn before, and so in a sense, it is all about potential.

According to the ex-director of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, technology is all about what can be done. Who would think that a tiny piece of plastic could be a mean of communication like an international data SIM card? So technology makes us free and closer.

Nevertheless, when we talk about communications and traveling, two technological items always stand out. The SIM card and data roaming. Hence, we wrote this article for you get to know the differences of the international SIM cards, local SIM cards and data roaming.


SIM Card: All You Need To Know

First, SIM is the acronym for Subscriber Identity Module. It is a removable and intelligent card which securely stores the user’s phone information needed to identify itself with the Internet Service Provider’s network.

The SIM holds a chip which allows access to the mobile telephone network. Its size has been changing continually with technological advances. Many years ago, the SIM has the same size than a credit card.

Nowadays, it comes in various sizes, like regular, mini, micro and nano, so you can put it into the device you prefer. It works with smartphones, tablets, and even personal computers. You can make and receive phone calls and messages and get internet access. As you have seen, SIM card benefits are many.

SIM Cards can either be prepaid or postpaid which allows you to make and receive phone calls, messages and browse the internet.


What is a Local SIM Card? 

A local SIM card is which works only within a certain geographical area. By example, if you are in New York and you buy a local SIM card, it will only work in the United States. Only one country is in its range of coverage.

Then, if you live and work in the United States and your boss sends you to attend a client in Madrid (Spain), your local SIM card won’t work there. So you need to change it for an international SIM card or start using international roaming in order to access the internet. Thus, local SIM card advantages are few for a traveler.


What is an International SIM Card?

On the contrary, this chip SIM allows you to use your phone in more than one country. For instance, you are going to travel to Europe, to see the Eifel Tower, the David of Michelangelo and the Red Square. At least 3 countries you are going to visit, aren’t you? With an international SIM card (also known as Global SIM Card or Travel Data SIM Cards), you are going to be able to be connected to the internet anywhere you go.

Indeed, the possibility of using this chip in many countries is the main international SIM card advantage. Usually, those SIM cards are made to function in several places at once and by areas. You can find SIM card for Europe, for Asia, for Latin America and so on and on. In this sense, for international travelers, the Global SIM card is an ally.


Data Roaming: What You Need To Know

Data roaming is the use of internet or phone data alien to SIM card operator. Let’s explain this in a very didactic way.

When you are using your cell phone in your country (let’s say Denmark), your local phone operator provides you with a phone and internet data plan for a monthly fixed price. If you need to travel abroad, your phone company offers you different internet data plan rates in order for you to be able to keep using your mobile data abroad.

This service is called roaming. It consists of contracting to other companies abroad to provide the necessary phone service while staying connected to the internet. So your local company looks for foreign operators to be able to still provide you with service.

As you are probably thinking, yes, it is expensive, because you will end up paying to several companies. On the other hand, comfort is one of the data roaming benefits.


The Advantages & Disadvantages of SIM Cards

One important aspect of traveling is to be always prepared for any situation – just like your internet service. Thus, you must be careful to choose it, so here you have some reasons to think about.


The Advantages of International SIM Cards

First, you need to know if you choose this option for your travel abroad, you must select an international one. Local SIM cards only will work in one country.

Roaming, for its part, will work everywhere the phone provider can reach. So this point is important because there will be places where your phone companies may not reach. By example, you decided to travel on roaming. Tomorrow you will go to Acapulco, next week to Toronto and later to Rio de Janeiro. When you arrive in Rio, you realized you have no coverage because your phone company doesn’t make business in Brazil. What a pity!

That is the risk of choosing to roam over an international SIM card. Maybe your Travel SIM card works only in Acapulco and Toronto, but not in Rio. But once you are there, you buy other SIM and the problem is solved.

Second, you need to consider the price. A local SIM is cheaper because it only will function in one country. But an International SIM is cheaper than roaming because you contract with only one phone operator. With roaming, nobody knows the price until the bill arrives. You also need to remember, on roaming you pay if you receive a call too.

Finally, Travel Data SIM cards are usually prepaid, so you can choose one which fixes your needs. Roaming is postpaid, and then you will know the price when you get the bill and maybe you will suffer a stroke with those high numbers. Learn how to avoid high data roaming charges here.


The Disadvantages of SIM Cards

If it is important for you to keep your current phone number, then this is the point when SIM cards stop being a dream.

Remember SIM card has its own number, thus when you change it; you change also your phone line. Unless you have a dual phone, in this way you can have two separate phone lines. Most importantly, you must have an unlocked gsm phone to even be able to use different SIM Cards other than the one provided by your Internet Service Provider.

Besides, traveling for several areas and changing several SIM cards maybe annoying. So if money is not a problem, you are going to be fine on roaming. If you want to learn more about how to pick the right SIM Card, then click here.


The Advantages & Disadvantages of Data Roaming

Roaming is not such a monster. It is good as long as you have money to pay for it. Besides, you will know it does not apply in the entire world, so that is a data roaming advantage.


The Advantages of Data Roaming

Data roaming is usually easier than using a travel SIM card. First, you don’t need to research as you need with a SIM card. You only activate the function on your phone and use it.

Likewise, you will keep your current phone number which is great for those that depend on it. In the same way, every phone service that you have in your current country, you will keep it on roaming.

Besides, if you are in a country which is a member of the European Community, roaming rates don’t apply anymore. These rules apply to international calls to mobile and fixed telephones, to the sending of text messages (SMS) and to the use of data packages abroad. They also apply when receiving free incoming calls or text messages when roaming, even when the person being called uses another service provider.

So if you have the money to pay for roaming, use it. You are going to be fine.


The Disadvantages of Data Roaming

The big issue is always its price unless you are traveling to Europe, as we said before.

For instance, the rate of roaming per minute can be up to €2. But if you choose a Travel Data SIM Card, you can find Prepaid SIM Cards for Europe starting from $29.90. And that includes data and texts. So do the math!

On the whole, honoring Steve Ballmer words, the evolution of technology implies the end of many things that we considered before, as indispensable. Like roaming was. Nowadays, smarts minds are working in devices which will replace the SIM itself, like the virtual SIM. Our purpose is going with the advance and embracing the change. The change always hides an opportunity.

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