SIM Cards When Travelling Overseas – The Basics

Huge response to the story on yesterday's Steve Price Show on 2UE about SIM card requirements when travelling overseas. It's understandable that people want take their mobile with them when they travel, but some are unsure as to what the requirement are. I don't pretend to know everything, but here are a couple of tips I've put together for you.

First of all, make sure your phone is compatible with the network of your destination. If you go to a country with a 3G network, but you don't have a 3G phone, then it won't work there. So you will either have to buy a cheap unit when you arrive, or use the hotel exchange.

However, in some places such as Japan and Korea, not even having a 3G phone is good enough. Your handset must also support W-CDMA (which is supposed to achieve higher speeds).

Most countries in the world support roaming, however Japan and Korea aside, the biggest problem area will be the Americas, where you will need a Quad Band handset. Your phone must support GSM bands 850 and 1900. You may get away with 1900 but there may be reception issues.

Secondly, it would be a good idea to check out the rates available in your destination. All countries charge for outgoing calls, however some also charge for incoming calls.

Finally, there are a couple of dual SIM phones available in the marketplace. They allow you to use your Australian SIM card at home, and then you can put a SIM card from the country you are visiting, in the second SIM slot. You just have to click a button to change them over. Again, you still have to check the network is compatible with your handset.

I have found an excellent website that gives you a tonne of information – from the type of network a country has, to the rates they charge. It is called TravelSIM.net.au. Go to the Coverage And Rates screen, and punch in the country you are going to, and you will get a tonne of info. The company also offers a service for those travelling overseas.

Any queries, drop me a line.