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 a 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 prepare this article for you to know the international SIM card, local SIM card, data roaming and their comparison. In this way, apart from enlarging your knowledge potential, you will be prepared to choose the best option.

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 securely stores the user’s phone information (PIN) needed to identify themselves in the network.

The SIM holds a chip which allows the access to the mobile telephone network. Its size has been changing according to 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 serves for smartphones, tablets, and even personal computers. Then, you can make and receiving phone calls and messages and also you can have internet access. As you have seen, SIM card benefits are many.

In reference to its way to pay, it can be prepaid or postpaid and it may contain also data. You can make and receiving 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 Pamplona and you buy a local SIM card, it will only work in Spain. Only one country is its range of action.

Then, if you live and work in Spain and your boss sends you to attend a client in Denver, your local SIM card won’t work there. So you need to change it for an international SIM card or using roaming in order to keep connected. 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 know 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, you are going to be able to be connected.

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. Then you can find SIM card for Europe, for Asia, for Latin America and so on and on. In this sense, for a traveler, the international 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 smartphone in your country (let’s say Denmark), your local phone operator brings you the phone and internet data for a price. If you need to travel abroad, your phone company offers a different service in order to keep you using your phone and internet data.

This service is called roaming. It consists in contracting to other companies abroad to provide the phone and internet service. So your local company looks for foreign operators to keep you communicated.

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

Considering The Advantages & Disadvantages of SIM Cards

One important item of traveling planning is your communication means. Thus, you must be careful to choose it, so here you have some reasons to think about.

The Advantages of International SIM Cards Over Local SIM Cards & Roaming

First, you need to know if you choose this option for your travel abroad, you must select an international one. Local SIM card 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 international 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 the 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, international 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 keeping your current phone number, 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.

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 over SIM Cards

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 Pros of Using Data Roaming

Data roaming is usually more comfy than using a 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 calls to mobile and fixed telephones, to the sending of text messages (SMS) and to the use of data services abroad. They also apply when receiving 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 Cons of Using 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 an international SIM card, you can find a package of 120 minutes of calls & 10GB of Data included for $60. And that includes data and texts. So do the math!

Quick Overview

LOCAL SIM CARDINTERNATIONAL SIM CARDDATA ROAMING
PRICECheaper because you contract only with one company which covers only one country. They can be prepaid or postpaid. It is rechargeable.Cheaper because you contract with one company which covers several areas. They can be prepaid or postpaid. It is rechargeable.More expensive because your local company needs to contract with several foreign providers and you only will know the price when the bill arrives
COMFORTIt only works in one countryYou need to do some research to choose the ideal SIM for you if you travel to many countriesYou only activate the roaming function and your company later charge the price in your bill wherever you are
COVERAGEIt only will work in its country of originSIM Cards covers more than 1 countryCheck with your provider to see all the countries covered by their roaming policy.
TELEPHONE NUMBERYou keep your current phone numberYou change your number because the SIM has its ownYou keep your current phone number
PHONE AND DATA SERVICESYour phone services only will work in one countryYou can choose a SIM with only data or only phone services or bothYou keep your current phone services, whether is data, calls or messages.

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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