There are many different places where you could potentially buy an international SIM card. There are typical marketplaces like Amazon or eBay. You could also essentially wait until you actually arrive wherever it is that you are going to be going. Then buying a SIM card at a local store. The third option that you are going to have is to go to a specialized market place online where you could buy these SIM cards. Before we get any further, we want to go ahead and address the elephant in the room. You are probably going to find banners for Sim Options on this article and all throughout the site. If you want to buy from them you would be supporting the site and we thank you. We are going to try our very best though to try and really give you an unbiased opinion.
As with everything in life each one of these options can have its own set of pros and cons. One of the recurring themes that comes up on the site is the fact that each trip can be different. Therefore, there is usually not one universally great option that everyone should choose. If you find yourself having to take a trip on short notice you may not have the time to get a SIM card online. On the other hand, maybe you can’t access the Amazon or eBay of that foreign country that you want to travel to, to get the card. Therefore, it is a good idea to at least have a notion that it would work if you had to go find a SIM card on the street. These are most of the topics that we are going to cover in this article:
- Risks of buying an international SIM card on Amazon
- Buying an international SIM card on the streets
- How can I know I am getting the real deal?
- Using Sim Options
- What the future looks like with eSIM cards
Risks of buying an international SIM card on Amazon
Whenever you buy something online there is a chance that you are going to get scammed. Companies, like Amazon and eBay that rely on individual sellers, have gotten a lot better at monitoring these situations. If you are buying on Alibaba it is usually more likely to run into trouble. The same goes for Wish. It is not that we are trying to pick on companies that rely on made in China products. In this day and age though, online is pretty safe. In the event that you do get scammed, you are most likely going to be able to get your money back.
The problem with buying international SIM cards on these platforms is that you are probably not going to know if you get scammed until you are already on your trip. Although you are likely to get your money back the whole ordeal could have already cost you a major inconvenience. As you are going to have to scramble to find a SIM card that does work on the street. That particular process can come with its set of problems as well! Which, we are going to get to in a bit!
Another possibility is that you buy the wrong size SIM card or you get sent something that just doesn’t fit your phone. If you make the mistake you are probably not going to be getting your money back. If it is an honest mistake from the seller then we are back to square one. You could get your money back, but you still have to go out and buy something on the street. If you know exactly what you need and you find a seller that you know you can trust on these platforms you can go for it.
We are not saying that everything that you can find there is bad. The problem is there is a certain level of risk involved. In some cases, you may need a VPN tool to access the version of the store that allows you to buy SIM cards from a foreign site. There are just a lot of things that need to go right for the process to work. On these sites, there are many things that could go wrong.
Buying an international SIM card on the streets
If you are going to buy your international SIM card directly from a certified company store you are not going to have any trouble. For example, if you are in a country that has AT&T coverage you could head over to a certified store and get your SIM card there. If you get it there it is going to work. A lot of times you can get help from store employees to set everything up so that you are good to go. The main problems come when you try to buy an international SIM card on the street. Also, some certified shops don’t sell prepaid plans! Which, is going to force you to go out and find an outside dealer.
If you have to go out and find another place besides the certified company shop to get a SIM card try and look for SIM cards in supermarkets and chain stores. Here, you are less likely to fall victim to some sort of scam. You may not get as much help to set up your SIM card from these places. If you are buying from a supermarket that is a chain store you are not going to get scammed. You just need to figure out the set up for yourself.
There is a good chance that you are going to find international SIM cards being sold in small shops on the streets. With informal merchants and things like that. Usually very near some of the hottest tourist spots in the place that you happen to be visiting. Are all of these shops fake or are all of these merchants out to get you? Absolutely not, we would never want you to think that everyone in a particular country is out to get tourists! The reality is that there are some people that make a living from scamming tourists in many parts of the world. Selling international SIM cards and currency exchange are two of the biggest things that you need to be careful with. That is why we most likely advise that you avoid the informal shops and the people that come up to you on the street selling these particular services!
How can I know I am getting the real deal?
There are a couple of easy tasks that you can complete in order to make sure that you are getting the real deal. For example, if you were to buy a SIM card on the street don’t leave the place until the person who happens to be selling you the SIM card has proven to you that it works fine. You should be receiving a text from the company that you bought the SIM card from. Which, will, in turn, inform you that the SIM is active and that you have X amount of data or minutes available. At this point in time, it may be a good idea to remove or deactivate your regular SIM. That way really if it does not work there is no way that you could be getting a text from anyone.
If you are going with another strategy to buy a SIM card it is a good idea to know which company you are going to buy from beforehand. Download the company app on your phone so that you can make sure that any type of activation of a SIM card is going to register on the app. The way that you do that can vary from company to company. Therefore, it is good to know what the actual process of activating a SIM card on your phone is going to look like. This is something that you could check directly on the site of the company that you want to buy from. Even if you decide that you are going to buy a SIM card on the street it is great to know which company you want to buy from. That way you can know exactly what to expect when you make a purchase. This is obviously going to make it harder for you to fall victim to any type of scam!
Using Sim Options
The reason why we have decided to partner with Sim Options is simple. To be able to create this web page we have had to do a ton of research to figure out what all of the costs of using your phone could be. At times having to deal with individual sellers on marketplaces like Amazon or eBay can be a toss-up. Trying to compare SIM cards from different companies in a specific country can prove difficult. You may even need to use a VPN to access the content. More often than not you are not going to be able to get that SIM card delivered to you in your home country. These are all things that you will be able to get with Sim Options.
You are going to be able to explore different options from the country that you want to visit all under one roof. Since they are not tied down by a particular brand you are going to get an unbiased opinion on each option. Of course one of the biggest benefits that you are going to have in using this platform is the fact that you can have your order delivered to anywhere in the world. This is going to allow you to set things up before you travel. If you happen to need any extra assistance they have good customer service on the platform. Above all the safety factor is really what sets this way of making a purchase apart. You are not going to have to deal with fake users.
As was mentioned before, thankfully these days when buying online if you get scammed on Amazon or eBay you can get your money. The issue is the time that you spend, and the inconvenience that not getting the right SIM card the first time around can cause. Certainly, on this platform, it is just going to be easier to find the right SIM card.
SIM Cards Per City
When you are scrolling through SIM Options there is a good chance that you are going to find certain SIM cards that are sold per city. What we mean by this is, for example, you can come across a card that is labeled London SIM card. Instead of it being sold as a UK SIM card. One of the main questions that people have about these options is whether or not they are going to be valid outside that particular city. For the most part, the answer is yes! The SIM cards that you see being sold for use in a particular city are pretty much valid throughout the whole country that this particular city is based in.
The next question that people have is why then, they would go out and buy one of these SIM cards. The real answer is most likely related to speed! If you buy a SIM card that promises to provide you with coverage in all of Europe, for example, you could be giving up some speed. Certain brands may not have great coverage in particular cities. If your trip is going to be largely based in one particular place it may be a good idea to buy a SIM card specifically for that city. That you know will provide you with good coverage and speed!
What the future looks like with eSIM cards
There is a good chance that this whole process of buying SIM cards can become a lot easier. If most cell phone developers switch to eSIM technology then you could just be getting a code from the seller. This code is what is going to allow you to activate a foreign SIM. With that being said, there are still literally people that live off of scamming tourists. Therefore, it will probably still be a good idea to buy from certified sellers. Will it be easier to buy directly from service providers? It should be, at least that is what logic would dictate. To create this site though, we have done a lot of research. One of the things that we have noticed is that most companies don’t highly advertise their prepaid plans or just selling you a SIM. Even though, you could potentially buy a SIM from them on the streets or online through other sellers.
What we are trying to say is that instead of being sold a card you are going to be sold a code. Yet, the whole process of selling especially to international customers does not seem like it is going to change any time soon! If and when it does shift you can be certain that we will be on top of it and make sure to let you know.
Best Way to Buy an International SIM Card
The first thing that we want to say as we wrap up is that each way to buy a SIM card could work. It is not like everyone that sells SIM cards on the street is a crook. The same thing goes for people who are selling SIM cards on Amazon or eBay. If you get a chance to buy directly from the service provider online, that can also be a great way to get coverage abroad.
The problem is, certain methods can put you more at risk. Especially if you are not certain what type of card you need and what to expect as far as costs go. In most countries around the world, you can expect a SIM card for a month to go from anywhere between 30 to 70 dollars. In certain countries in the Caribbean and South America, as well as Mexico you can expect prices that are a little bit lower. Just because of the fact that living costs in these places tend to be lower overall. Other than that the 30-70 range is pretty accurate.
Usually, it is a good idea to plan ahead. If you buy your SIM card ahead of time you are more likely to get a chance to spot any potential issues that could come your way. It also gives you time to rectify things if something goes wrong. That is why it is a good idea to buy SIM cards online from certified sellers. If you are someone who travels for business a lot there is a chance that you will get to a foreign country on short notice. Is that your case? It may be a good idea to buy a SIM card from a certified store abroad. If you can’t find that you may want to use the eyeball test. Buying from a guy on the street with a bunch of SIM cards in his pocket may not be a great idea!