Your guide to international and travel SIMs


WhistleOut
26 May 2017

International and travel SIMs


Looking for a better international roaming option the next time you head overseas? Luckily, there's a way to save up to 95% on call, text and data costs when you're outside Australia. 

Just by swapping your everyday, Australia-only SIM card for a international roaming or 'travel' SIM, you can cut down considerably on roaming expenses.

We've compiled a list of the most popular travel SIM options in Australia, for both data-only and voice/text/data products. You'll also find - where applicable - each product's example roaming rates for five of the most popular destinations for Aussie travellers. 

How can I take my phone overseas?

If you're planning to take your phone on your travels, there's a few things you need to check.

Is my phone unlocked?

Firstly, to use a travel SIM in your device, you'll need to make sure that your handset is network unlocked. When you buy a device through a telco, it's sometimes 'locked' to that network - meaning you can't simply take your phone and use it on a rival provider's plan.

Luckily, all phones sold on contracts in Australia are now unlocked straight out of the box. However, if you've bought your device on a prepaid plan, it could still be locked to your telco's network.

If this is the case - or you're simply unsure as to whether your phone is unlocked - you'll need to contact your provider. You'll need to give your telco the IMEI number for your smartphone - to find this, simply dial *#06# (star, hash, zero, six, hash). Your IMEI should appear on-screen.

For info on the unlocking process for specific telcos, follow the links below. 

Is my device GSM or CDMA capable?

As well as a phone unlock, you'll also need to ensure that your device will work on your destination's networks. Australia uses the GSM standard for mobile, as do most of the countries you're likely to visit. However, there are exceptions: the US, Japan and South Korea all use a combination of GSM and CDMA technologies. 

Australian-bought devices should work on GSM networks, provided your phone is compatible with your destination's available frequencies. Many newer flagship phones, such as iPhones and the Galaxy S range, should support just about any frequency you encounter, but older devices may run into problems. 

For a more detailed breakdown of network technologies and phone compatibility, head to our guide here

Flexiroam


Unlike other travel SIM providers, which require you to swap your regular domestic SIM card for a global version in order to roam internationally,  Flexiroam allows customers to keep using their regular SIM outside Australia. 

The Flexiroam X is a thin microchip that will save you a bundle on data roaming in more than 100 countries. Just attach the chip to your regular domestic SIM, activate it though Flexiroam's mobile app, then switch to the available Flexiroam network when travelling.

Although you'll be able to access 4G data in 56 countries and 3G in more than 120, Flexiroam doesn't offer calls or texting. However, Flexiroam X is compatible with any unlocked iOS or Android device, and can be switched on or off at any time. Users can also add and check credit, and make international calls, via the free Flexiroam X app.

90-day starter packs: 

  • 1GB for $29.99 USD
  • 3GB for $79.99 USD
  • 5GB for $129.99 USD

Pay-as-you-go data: 

  • 100MB over 10 days for $5.99 USD
  • 500MB over 30 days for $20 USD
  • 1GB over 90 days for $29.99 USD
  • 3GB over 180 days for $79.99 USD
  • 5GB over 360 days for $129.99 USD

TravelSIM


TravelSIM's call, text and data options can save you up to 85% on roaming, in more than 195 countries. Customers will receive one Australian number to use globally, and customers can send free texts between TravelSIM numbers. 

Customers can monitor and recharge their credit via TravelSIM's app, website, or 24/7 phone support, or text 'Recharge' for an automatic $25.00 top-up. All credit lasts for six months, and remaining credit rolls over for the following recharge. There's also no extra charge to call mobiles, and no flagfall or connection fees. 

A standard TravelSIM Starter pack with $5.00 of voice, data and SMS credit is available for $25. If you'd like to go big, you can upgrade to the $115.00 Bundle Pack for $105.00 of included credit.


Indonesia New Zealand United Kingdom United StatesThailand
Cost to call Australia per minute $0.50 $0.25 $0.25 $0.25$1.00
Cost to receive calls per minute $.0.50 $0.25 $0.25 $0.25$1.00
Cost to send text message to Australia $0.50 $0.25 $0.25 $0.25$1.00
Cost of data $0.50 per MB $0.25 per MB $0.25 per MB $0.25 per MB $1.00 per MB

Australia Post Travel SIM


As Australia Post provides its global roaming service via TravelSIM, you'll find most of the above conditions and pricing apply to both products. Australia Post offers rates in more than 200 countries, customers can send free texts between TravelSIMs, and you'll also get 24/7 Australia-based phone support.

You can pick up a $24.95 SIM at any Australia Post store or online, and each pack comes with $5.00 of credit pre-loaded. Recharges can be made online, over the phone, or at Australia Post stores, and all credit lasts six months. 


Indonesia New Zealand United Kingdom United StatesThailand
Cost to call Australia per minute $0.50 $0.25 $0.25 $0.25$1.00
Cost to receive calls per minute $0.50 $0.25 $0.25 $0.25$1.00
Cost to send text message to Australia $0.50 $0.25 $0.25 $0.25$1.00
Cost of data $0.50 per MB $0.25 per MB $0.25 per MB $0.25 per MB $1.00 per MB

Travel SIMs Direct


If you're heading to the US, Europe, or Japan, Travel SIMs Direct offers excellent prepaid packages for each location, some including unlimited calls, texts or data. 

US travel packs are valid over 30 days, while the European SIM option gives you 28 days of data coverage. Prices and inclusions are listed below. 

US packs:

  • AT&T SIM: Unlimited calls between the US, Mexico and Canada, unlimited texts and 6GB of 4G data for $99.00
  • T-Mobile SIM: Unlimited US calls and texts and 4GB of 4G data for $64.00
  • T-Mobile Unlimited SIM: Unlimited US calls and texts and unlimited 4G data for $99.00

Japan packs:

  • Eight days of unlimited 4G data for $39.00
  • Fifteen days of unlimited 4G data for $59.00
  • Thirty days of unlimited 4G data for $109.00

Europe packs (servicing 25 countries): 

  • European Roaming SIM: 4GB of 4G data and unlimited 2G data for $64.00

Woolworths Global Roaming


Supermarket chain Woolworths has extended its range of mobile products into global roaming, offering competitive rates in over 200 countries.

Woolworths' roaming SIM works in any unlocked phone less than five years old, and customers can manage and recharge credit online at any time. You can also forward calls and texts from your regular Aussie number when roaming.

A standard SIM card pack is priced at $29.00, and comes with $10 of included credit for calls, texts and data. Woolworths also offers data roaming bundles for Europe, the US, and globally: European packs start at $25 for 250MB over seven days, up to $50 for 3GB over 90 days. 

If you're heading to the US, you can buy 100MB over 30 days for $25, and Global options include 250MB over 7 days for $40, 500MB over 30 days for $60, or 1GB over 30 days for $99. 


Indonesia New Zealand United Kingdom United StatesThailand
Cost to call Australia per minute $0.34 $0.34 $0.18 $0.55$0.34
Cost to receive calls per minute $0.14 $0.05 Free $0.55$0.14
Cost to send text message to Australia $0.20 $0.15 $0.14 $0.19$0.20
Cost of data $0.30 per MB $0.25 per MB $0.25 per MB $0.45 per MB $0.30 per MB

Original travel accessories and phone image via Shutterstock

Looking for more ways to save when travelling? Check out our guide to pay-as-you-go-roaming, our round-up of the best roaming inclusions from telcos, the full story on travel packs and passes, and how to roam on prepaid



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