Hands up if you've used global roaming while travelling overseas, only to be gob-smacked by an exorbitant bill when you got home — one, two, three…. Yes, thought so, almost every Aussie traveller's been burnt by an unexpectedly dear international call charge.
Enter TravelSIM, a prepaid SIM card that you can swap into your phone handset while you're travelling abroad. The company claims that you could save up to 75 per cent on global roaming fees. Like most international calling solutions though, it has its pluses and minuses.
- The benefits:
- It's prepaid, so you know exactly how much you're spending
- It works in over 140 countries; in 50 of those, receiving local calls is free
- You can top up TravelSIM online if your account runs low
- You don't have to get a local SIM card in each locale on a multi-country trip
- Sending text messages costs US$0.40 per message (receiving is free)
- Your friends can send you free SMS messages through the TravelSIM website
- It works with most — but not all — handsets, as long as they are unlocked (not tied to a specific carrier). Quad-band is best, and it must be a 3G phone that uses WCDMA to work in Japan and South Korea
- Outbound calls start at US$0.66 per minute, but vary widely depending on the country you're in
- It doesn't connect directly. You have to dial the number you want, then wait a bit for your phone to ring back once the call has gone through
- The drawbacks:
Still, for those of you who booked summer holidays before the Aussie dollar tanked, it's one way of more tightly budgeting your communication costs. A TravelSIM starter kit can be purchased for AU$49.95 including $5 of call credit through Australia Post, Allphones, www.travelsim.net.au or by calling 1300 851 676.
Have you found any other international calling solutions? Share them with us below, or, for fun, tell us about the worst bill you've ever copped by using global roaming through your local carrier.