International Roaming Tips

Anyone who travels overseas with any frequency knows how quickly International Roaming costs can add up. Call charges are inherently stratospheric, you are slugged for receiving calls, and then charged again by the foreign mobile provider up to three months later, meaning that the expenses are difficult to keep track of. And forget about using your swanky new smartphone for anything beyond phone calls (Wi-Fi excepted). International Roaming data costs are especially vicious.

The good news is that there are some relatively simple ways to lessen these costs. I'll provide an overview of some of them here.

International or Global SIMs
These are SIMs that you use to replace the existing SIM in your GSM phone when you travel overseas. Their efficacy varies depending on the provider and the countries you are travelling to. For example, some SIM providers are particularly strong throughout Asia, but not so in the USA or Europe. For others the reverse is true.

One of the hidden benefits of this option - and I'm surprised the providers don't announce it more loudly - is that some global SIM companies don't charge you to receive calls in many countries, and your calls aren't charged the dreaded 'OS Airtime' fee. This occurs when the foreign carrier charges your Australian teclo for the call, which is then passed onto you up to three months later. With International SIMs, what you see is generally what you pay.

The downside is that you cannot be contacted on your normal number while you travel. However, the best strategy is to have your mobile number divert to a voicemail message informing callers of your International SIM number. 

Prepaid SIMs in the country you are visiting

Free Call Apps
Skype and others

AsiaRoam Data SIM