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The mobile data / international roaming thread

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  • VerdantBacon

    Going to take the plunge with eSim. Seems especially good value for Bahrain, where a regular prepaid sim would be 3x the cost of the Airalo offering.



    @jayjay
    thanks for the referral, which knocked $3 off. If anyone would like my signup code (also $3) it’s TOBY9970.

    In the spirit of keeping the referral chain going, used yours Toby

    If anyone would like a code, mine is, DAVID7141

    slidey

    With an airalo esim, how do you switch back to your normal carrier sim? Can you switch back and forth between the esim and the existing sim incase you need to make a call on the sim?

    jayjay

    With an airalo esim, how do you switch back to your normal carrier sim? Can you switch back and forth between the esim and the existing sim incase you need to make a call on the sim?

    Both SIMs essentially function together – so you can decide which SIM you want to use for calling, and which one you want to use for Data.
    Additionally when making a call it defaults to the SIM you selected for phone calls, however does also give you the option to modify that before making the call (on an iPhone it shows up at the top, usually your standard sim is called “Primary”)

    Referral code if anyone’s interested: JAYESH2305

    elguiri

    One thing to note with Airalo – make sure to download or print out the instructions, as it only allows activation when in the country. I had issues with it not connecting, and had to wait until I could find wifi in order to go through the help pages to find out it needs the APN settings updated.
    Apart from that, had good signal in Colombia, and would definitely use again for ease of use. Of course, it’s not anywhere as cheap as a local SIM (other half got one for 30 days for £4, whereas Airalo was $8 for 7 days.

    Matt

    For USA and a few other countries a Hong Kong Three eSim does a good job – about £13 for 10Gb over 30 days.

    dougzz99

    A vote for Airalo which I used with great success in the USA. I used a referral from upthread which saved a further $3.

    @Slidey
    – On Android you pull the top of the screen down, twice, and choose which sim is used for each function of calls, texts and data. I left the first two on Vodafone, and just switched mobile data to the eSim of Airalo. Switching if you wish is very simple.
    One small note of caution was the setup was OK, but not what I’d call idiot proof. I did it in the lounge waiting for a flight connection, as that had good reliable Wi-Fi which you need to enable the Airalo eSim.

    Mikeact

    For what it’s worth, I thought I’d post an up date which may be useful to UK visitors going to the US.
    Having traded upto a Galaxy s22 with built-in esim facility, the problem here in the UK was finding a sim only provider .I was with BT, but no esim. It became apparent to me that the Far East are light years ahead in this respect.
    There are only three esim providers, well not quite…3Three are still promising, next month, next month etc etc.
    That leaves Vodafone and O2.
    Vodafone, I was pulling my hair out trying to get information. Eventually it turns out that they only support certain, larger sim only contracts..My local high street shop firstly didn’t know what I was talking about and just tried to sell me a regular sim only deal
    O2 were the only company to come up trumps. The local shop couldn’t help directly but knew they could offer it. And they gave me a number to call .Hey presto, the guy I spoke to knew exactly what I wanted with some useful help. As a new customer willing to go esim he gave me a 30gb deal plus the usual minutes and texts for £10/month, 24 months. Plus for a minimum 30gb contract you get a free ‘O2 Travel Inclusive Zone Bolt On’. This gives you 120 mins/day, 120 texts/day to use as at home. If you do a Google it includes numerous countries outside the EU…already included…including the US, Canada, Australia, NZ, Mexico, the list goes on. Just what I wanted for our upcoming trip to the US shortly.
    O2 couldn’t at this stage, send me the QR code direct…that’s the next stage. So, the next morning a physical sim arrived, with the QR code to be activated after inserting the sim. Worked a treat, and binned the sim immediately.
    Hope this helps someone. One day, the likes of Virgin, BT, Talkmobile, Tesco, Giffgaff and all the others will get their act together as this is definitely the way forward.

    dougzz99

    @Mikeact. I have an S21 but would have expected the S22 to offer at least the same. You effectively have two sim capability. I use Sim1 for my work supplied physical sim, and Sim2 you can use either a second physical sim, or an eSim. So with Airalo mentioned above I just enabled the eSim as the second one.
    Why was it important to use an eSim, or was it just techie desire, which I totally get 🙂

    Mikeact

    A bit of desire ! But putting my UK contract on eSim, means that I can free up the two regular sim slots. Travelling overseas it’s not always possible, like here, to get an eSim option and the best local deal could well be regular sim only, and even then one sim could be data only and the other for calls etc.
    I really like the flexibility.

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 7 months ago by .
    Carlos

    One thing to note with Airalo – make sure to download or print out the instructions, as it only allows activation when in the country. I had issues with it not connecting, and had to wait until I could find wifi in order to go through the help pages to find out it needs the APN settings updated.
    Apart from that, had good signal in Colombia, and would definitely use again for ease of use. Of course, it’s not anywhere as cheap as a local SIM (other half got one for 30 days for £4, whereas Airalo was $8 for 7 days.

    That sucks (not being able to pre-active before in the country and requirement to use wifi – isnt part of the point to pay for data when you land) but thanks for the heads up

    duggie1982

    I have my iphone 12 pro on EE esim so keeps my actual sim slot for any foreign sim when i land there or can get another esim for the place i am visiting, i.e. i have an esim already to activate for my trip to dubai (£6 for 3gb i got) probably cheaper getting an actual sim when i land but it will be late so least i know i have this esim ready to go

    jayjay

    One thing to note with Airalo – make sure to download or print out the instructions, as it only allows activation when in the country. I had issues with it not connecting, and had to wait until I could find wifi in order to go through the help pages to find out it needs the APN settings updated.
    Apart from that, had good signal in Colombia, and would definitely use again for ease of use. Of course, it’s not anywhere as cheap as a local SIM (other half got one for 30 days for £4, whereas Airalo was $8 for 7 days.

    Are you sure about this? I got my Turkey/Dubai ones, set them up before the flight took off (only Turkey needed APN settings). I remember activating the Turkey one before I took off (via the app) so once I landed it worked instantly.

    The Dubai one I forgot to Activate before, but Airalo auto-activates it once you go off Airplane mode (albeit takes a bit of time to detect this, took me 10 min or so)

    JDB

    Airalo doesn’t seem that cheap or that flexible and appears to tie you to one operator, which in some bigger countries is quite disadvantageous when, like the UK, some operators work better than others in certain areas. We use Solis/Skyroam where the data doesn’t expire, and can be used at your next destination. You need to buy the tiny device but they have fairly permanent sales for the device and the data; has been a great option for 10+ years.

    Guernsey Globetrotter

    Airalo doesn’t seem that cheap or that flexible and appears to tie you to one operator, which in some bigger countries is quite disadvantageous when, like the UK, some operators work better than others in certain areas. We use Solis/Skyroam where the data doesn’t expire, and can be used at your next destination. You need to buy the tiny device but they have fairly permanent sales for the device and the data; has been a great option for 10+ years.

    This does look like a good bit of kit JDB. Unfortunately, perhaps due to global supply chain issues, they are nearly impossible to buy at the moment as I have recently found 🙁 I really wanted such a device after I saw an earlier recommendation of yours… if anyone has any tips on where I can pick up a similar bit of tech please do share!

    Mikeact

    Take a look at YESIM

    SamG

    Vodafone UK does do an esim, you start with a regular sim and then do a sim swap. It’s not advertised but you can also do a swap for PAYG, I got one for a friend that was visiting

    duggie1982

    Take a look at YESIM

    Far too expensive for me

    elguiri

    One thing to note with Airalo – make sure to download or print out the instructions, as it only allows activation when in the country. I had issues with it not connecting, and had to wait until I could find wifi in order to go through the help pages to find out it needs the APN settings updated.
    Apart from that, had good signal in Colombia, and would definitely use again for ease of use. Of course, it’s not anywhere as cheap as a local SIM (other half got one for 30 days for £4, whereas Airalo was $8 for 7 days.

    Are you sure about this? I got my Turkey/Dubai ones, set them up before the flight took off (only Turkey needed APN settings). I remember activating the Turkey one before I took off (via the app) so once I landed it worked instantly.

    The Dubai one I forgot to Activate before, but Airalo auto-activates it once you go off Airplane mode (albeit takes a bit of time to detect this, took me 10 min or so)

    I might be mistaken. When I tried setting up in the UK I had all sorts of issues with the process, and so maybe because of this it wasn’t set up correctly before I arrived. I also couldn’t get my head around what was ‘setup’ and what was ‘activation’. Teaches me for not reading thoroughly before arriving at airport…

    dougzz99

    Airalo doesn’t seem that cheap or that flexible and appears to tie you to one operator, which in some bigger countries is quite disadvantageous when, like the UK, some operators work better than others in certain areas. We use Solis/Skyroam where the data doesn’t expire, and can be used at your next destination. You need to buy the tiny device but they have fairly permanent sales for the device and the data; has been a great option for 10+ years.

    I looked at this, which isn’t available at present in the UK anyway. But it’s a device that incorporates a battery, so it’ll be a hefty item for pocket. Price is debatable as not really a direct comparison, but for USA I’d be looking at £7/GB (£33 for 10GB/month subscription) versus $26 for 10GB on Airalo which being an esim requires no other devices. Sure that’s a use it or lose it plan, but I’m fine with that.

    AndyGWP

    Does Airalo work ok as a personal hotspot to share with others? 🙂

    yonasl

    Does Airalo work ok as a personal hotspot to share with others? 🙂

    https://www.airalo.com/help/using-managing-esims/can-i-use-tethering-personal-hotspot

    JDB

    Airalo doesn’t seem that cheap or that flexible and appears to tie you to one operator, which in some bigger countries is quite disadvantageous when, like the UK, some operators work better than others in certain areas. We use Solis/Skyroam where the data doesn’t expire, and can be used at your next destination. You need to buy the tiny device but they have fairly permanent sales for the device and the data; has been a great option for 10+ years.

    I looked at this, which isn’t available at present in the UK anyway. But it’s a device that incorporates a battery, so it’ll be a hefty item for pocket. Price is debatable as not really a direct comparison, but for USA I’d be looking at £7/GB (£33 for 10GB/month subscription) versus $26 for 10GB on Airalo which being an esim requires no other devices. Sure that’s a use it or lose it plan, but I’m fine with that.

    You are only considering the USA where SIMs are cheap. Airalo is relatively expensive in countries such as Argentina, Mexico and South Africa where we have been in the last few months and as I say, the fact it works on all operators is a big boon – we sometimes have data when locals don’t. We used to travel regularly to China pre covid and there SIMs are complicated, but Solis worked well.

    The device does easily fit in a pocket although I tend to put it in a backpack or briefcase and my wife carries it in even in a very small handbag. I buy data opportunistically when they have double dip offers, most recently paying US$55 for 20GB which never expires so you can just use it on your next trip. It can be used with up to 10 devices. I saw it years ago in a Bloomberg article about 10 items never to leave home without.

    davefl

    For China I bought a prepay from China Mobile here in the UK before I left and had great data service everywhere on my trip. The remarkable thing was that it bypassed the great firewall so I had access to Gmail, Google Maps etc all the time.

    dougzz99

    @JDB. That seems a good deal in more places. I tend to focus on US as that’s the bulk of my travel. Data when the locals don’t. Yes I remember when roaming offered better performance than your home coverage because of the ability to browse to the best network in a given country. Sadly that seems long gone in an era of international agreements, and getting a ‘choice’ one network in many destinations.

    dougzz99

    Does Airalo work ok as a personal hotspot to share with others? 🙂

    Yes.

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