Picture the scene. You’re about to go abroad. You’ve got your passport, you’ve booked the hotel and the flight. What about your phone? Unless you’re lucky enough to be using a network like Three and going to one of the countries in their Feel At Home plan, you’ll be texting or making incredibly short calls.
Sure, you can unlock your phone, go abroad and buy a local SIM card when you’re there. You’ll need to probably keep popping to the local shop to top it up like I did last time I was away. You’ll also need to ensure that your phone is unlocked.
Or you could try this solution from KnowRoaming.
You’ll still need to unlock your phone. I unlocked mine with the aid of an eBay listing, which popped my LG G3 out of its network-locked state pretty quickly indeed. Next, you need to head to KnowRoaming. They’ll sell you a sticker.
Wait.. a sticker?
Yes, a sticker. This is a special sort of sticker though. This will stick on top of your existing SIM card. It really doesn’t matter what size your existing SIM card is, you order the appropriate one from the site.
As you’ll know, we’re going to climb onto our private jets tomorrow to head out to Barcelona. Keeping in touch with you guys is kinda important, so we bought a SIM card to see how the system worked. As I type we’re not quite out in Barcelona yet, so I’ll follow-up with another article as soon as we arrive to tell you how it did.
Here’s how it works and how you get setup though. Firstly, head to their site and order yourself that sticker. It’s $29.99 for a single SIM sticker (about £19.44) but you do get inclusive credit in that if you register it within 15 days. I’ll get onto the application process in a moment, but it basically sticks onto your SIM card. Provided you’ve unlocked your phone, you then need to power your handset back up and download the KnowRoaming app (available for iOS and Android). This will let you log into your account an track your spending and how much everything will cost. You can get bundles to reduce costs even further and it means you won’t need to faff about going to shops to top-up etc.
Manage your KnowRoaming account as you travel (or even before you jump on a flight) and you can save up to 85% off your voice and data costs whilst roaming. Whilst you’re at home though, your sticker remains dormant and your phone operates as it normally would. There’s a “SIM Toolkit” which also gets installed so that you can interact with the sticker and manually switch to a different country to test it.
You can also see which SIM you’re currently using and more, but the main app you’ll need is the KnowRoaming one.
Here you can check your balance, your spending and see the rates you’ll be charged ahead of a visit to a certain country. This is broken down into texts / calls and data. As you can see in the shots here, I can call back to the UK for 18c per minute. Unfortunately everything is charged in dollars and cents, but 18c is about 12p. Data is charged at 15c per MB, but you can have a look at the data packages available to you through the app and get unlimited daily data (in this example) for $7.99 per day, which works out at £5.19 per day.
Additional services are available too. As an example, straight out of the box (included in the price too), you get a free UK mobile number and a free USA number. This means that people in those places will never have to pay much extra to call you. They’ll perceive you as having a local number. Here you can see that I can also buy additional numbers in other countries, like $3.90 per month for a Spanish number for example.
Other features include the ability to buy other packages ahead of time – like 1 day, 3 day and 7 day data deals – plus the “At Home Long Distance” offering which lets you call international numbers from your phone when you’re in your home country.
You can of course also check your usage too.
Basically put, when you go abroad, the SIM sticker will realise you’re in a different country and will switch you to a local network using local SIM details. You become, effectively, a local. If you’re going to be there a while and want to be easily contactable, get yourself a local number.
You can get one for your micro, nano and mini SIM cards. Here’s how it arrives..
Installing is a matter of grabbing your existing SIM card and popping it into the small blue SIM slot shown here. Initially what you have here is a nanoSIM adapter, so you can remove that and – for me meant I could slot in my slightly large microSIM.
It’s then merely a matter of pushing down on your SIM with the supplied tool. This creates the best level of adhesion with the sticker.
Once you’ve held it down you then flip the device over and push down on the covering sticker on the other side. This again ensures that the sticker is properly place onto your existing SIM.
The entire device and the build of it makes application easy and, to be honest, I’m glad that they’ve done this properly. It means that your SIM card has the sticker placed neatly and accurately onto your SIM.
Once you’ve slowly peeled off the covering white sticker, you’re done. It’s then just a matter of putting it back in your phone.
To be honest, at this point, I thought that the sticker would simply come off when it went back into the SIM slot. There’s a wide range of SIM slots and holders – some you drop your SIM in, some you slide in. Mine is the “slide in” variety and I honestly thought it would just peel off instantly, but it didn’t.
So far so good then, but we’ll keep you posted on how this fares as we travel to foreign lands to test this out properly.
If you’re interested, head to KnowRoaming.com for further information and pricing.