There are basically two kinds of SIM cards on the basis of area of operation, i.e. a local SIM card and an international SIM card. As the names suggest, a local SIM card is used locally (within the country), and an international SIM card is used internationally (across different international borders). Most of the SIM cards we use are local SIM cards. The concept of international SIM cards is relatively quite new. No wonder, not many people know about this new category of SIM cards. When you travel abroad, you have two options – either buy a local SIM card at your destination or have an international SIM card. So if you have the option to buy a local SIM card in your destination country, then why bother about buying an international SIM card?
The reason is that an international SIM card is for those people who are frequent travelers, and they land in different countries sporadically. People like business tycoons, globetrotters, digital nomads, etc. need an international SIM card as they can’t buy a new local SIM card very often in every country they visit for a short span of time. It is also important to note that a local SIM card is more affordable than an international SIM card 9 out of 10 times, but still, international SIM cards have their own value and purpose. At this point, it is essential to know which are the best international SIM cards to use abroad. Let’s have a look at the 10 best international SIM cards available in the market.
Three UK SIM cards allow you to roam for free in 70 countries. It has more than 130 million subscribers worldwide. Its SIM card allows you to have data, voice minutes, and SMS at no extra cost while roaming in any of the 71 ‘Go Roam’ countries including the UK. This international SIM card’s price is 39.90 USD and includes 12 GB of 3G/4G data within Europe and 20+ countries outside Europe, unlimited calls and SMS inside Europe, and validity of 30 days after activation. It is one of the best SIMs to use in Europe, Latin America, and Central America, but it is not a good option in Africa and Asia. One more drawback is you can recharge it only using a valid UK credit card.
Orange Holiday World is an international SIM card that includes data roaming covering every country on the planet, and that too at an affordable price of just 49.90 USD. Its credit is valid for only 14 days, and after that, you can reload it online very easily. Because of these great benefits, currently, its customer base is more than 250 million. But it has its downside too – it can’t do voice calls and SMS as it is a pure data-only SIM card. The data it includes depends on your destination. You get 10 GB of 4G/LTE data in Zone 1 (66 countries mostly from Europe), 5 GB of 4G/LTE data in Zone 2 (18 countries), 1 GB of 4G/LTE data in Zone 3 (11 countries), 50 MB of 4G/LTE data in Zone 4 (rest of the world).
GigSky sells only eSIM and no physical SIM cards. It offers only data-only services, that’s why you can’t make or receive calls or SMS. It has coverage in 116 countries but has limited coverage in Africa, the middle-east, and the central Asian countries. The company’s eSIM is free, but to use its services you are required to download its app. You can choose your data plan on its app, it offers regional data plans as well as a World Plan. It’s the best SIM card for you if you are traveling to Latin America as it offers 5 GB of data for every Latin American country for just 40 USD and outside Latin America, it charges 60 USD for the same amount of data.
Surfroam international SIM card is also a data-only SIM card with vast coverage in more than 200 countries. The greatest benefit it possesses is you can have unlimited access to WhatsApp, Facebook, and Viber. Its physical SIM card comes for €15 (with €15 credit included) and its eSIM is sold for €20 (includes €20 in credit), so basically the SIM becomes free this way. The data charges of the company are cheap for most of the countries around the world as they charge you per MB. For western countries, they charge €0.01 per MB, which means for 1 GB of data it is €10.
KeepGo is a partner with Telefónica, Vodafone, and AT&T. It operates in more than 100 countries, tying up with some 500 telecom companies. KeepGo provides only data-only SIM cards with two types – GoFi Prepaid Data SIM Card, and Lifetime Prepaid Data SIM Card. GoFi Prepaid Data SIM Card is worth 39 USD and works only in Europe and the US. The SIM card offers 1 GB of data for 8 USD whether you stay in the US or in Europe. The other one is Lifetime Prepaid Data SIM Card which is worth 49 USD. This SIM card is truly an international SIM card that works in 100 different countries. It comes with 1 GB of data preloaded, and there are more data packages available.
KnowRoaming SIM cards work in more than 200 countries. Its price is 9.99 USD (one of the cheapest international SIM cards) and it offers no preloaded credit. But a KnowRoaming eSIM is available for free. The company offers data-only SIM cards. You will require to buy any of the available data packages to use your SIM card (physical or eSIM) abroad. It is considered the best option if you are traveling to the Caribbean Islands as it covers every country in it. But, it is not recommended for Latin America as it is very overpriced there.
Travelsim provides its international SIM card for 10 USD and its eSIM for 6 USD. It operates in more than 135 countries and offers free incoming calls in 70+ countries. It delivers its SIM cards free worldwide for orders above 50 USD, and the preloaded credit remains valid for 18 months. Though its pricing is comprehensible, it’s still more expensive than other available international SIM cards. You can check its pricing details on its official website.
Gosim offers relatively cheap calling and texting services abroad, but its data services are somewhat expensive. The SIM card is sold for 17 USD with a 10 USD preloaded credit. It provides free incoming texts in all the countries and free incoming calls in 135+ countries. The outgoing calls are charged between 0.50 USD to 1 USD per minute depending on the remoteness of your location. Data roaming is offered in 135+ countries but at an exorbitant rate of 0.25 USD per MB. The best part about Gosim is it delivers SIM cards for free no matter where you live.
Many websites claim OneSimCard is the cheapest international SIM card, but it might not be 100% true. It is a brand of an American carrier Belmont Telecom. OneSimCard offers 4 different kinds of SIM cards – Universal SIM for 29.95 USD, Expedition SIM for 34.95 USD, Europe & More SIM for 19.95 USD, and eSIM for 9.95 USD. These rates are expensive as compared to other brands on the list. The data roaming charges are high as well, i.e. 0.25 USD per MB. That means for 10 dollars you get only 40 MB of data, quite pricey. This SIM card is good for receiving incoming calls though.
Though WorldSIM claims to be available for free, you get it for free only when you add 120 Euro credit to it. It offers two kinds of SIM cards – (i) data roaming only SIM cards and (ii) international SIM cards for calling and texting. Its data-only SIM card offers data roaming in about 188 nations. The cheapest plan you get on WorldSIM is €42. Furthermore, the cheapest data roaming it provides is 1 GB data for 20 Euros, again quite expensive. If this wasn’t enough, if you go to Cuba the data roaming costs you 3 USD per MB, which makes 1 GB of data for 3,000 USD. Certainly, it is also not recommended much as there are many cheaper options available. More details can be obtained from its official website.