I saw these guys at Mobile World Congress and their offering is certainly an interesting one, and remarkably simple too..
Start with the ChatSim chat plan. It’s €10 a year and this will let you send unlimited and free text messages and emoji anywhere in the world.
Wait though, because if you want anything more you’ll need to pay a bit more. For most travellers that’s not a terrible thing – if you’ve got a dual-SIM handset then stick this SIM card in and, when you land in a new country, you can keep in touch with home and the office via instant messaging apps like WhatsApp.
The list of available apps includes WhatsApp, Messenger, QQ International, WeChat, LINE, Telegram, BBM, Hike, and Kakao.
We got one of these on test and it’s a strange experience to begin with. Pop the SIM in and it appears to be roaming instantly. You’ll need to set up an account and disable the data roaming locks that your phone will put in place too. However, once done you’ll find that it does indeed do what it says.
If you do only have one SIM tray it can get a little troublesome, with your apps trying to get data and failing because the ChatSim network doesn’t let you connect to the internet, and indeed ChatSim tell you to stop background data.
Text and emojis are fine, but what if you want to send pictures and videos over your instant messaging apps? That’s available too. You still get roaming and coverage in 150 countries, but spend another €10 and they’ll convert that into 2000 credits. That’ll let you send up to 200 photos or 40 videos or make 80 minutes of calls. You can pay more (such as €25 for 5000 credits, €50 for 10000 credits) to let you send pictures home or make calls over your instant messaging apps too.
ChatSim is a very interesting idea and, if you’re travelling often and have a dual SIM phone or a second mobile you can take abroad, I’d heartily recommend it. Effectively the classic “scary roaming charges” are no longer a worry because it blocks the chance of other data apps pulling traffic over the network. Only those instant messages are allowed through, and you can use the ChatSim secure customer area to see exactly where you’re at too.
Even better is the fact that you only need to renew the SIM annually, so €10 is all it’ll cost you for an entire year of global instant messaging. You can also chuck a bit more into the pot so that you can call home when you’re on the way to the airport in whatever distant country you’re in. No WiFi? No problem.
I’ve filmed a detailed demo of the ChatSim card that I used below, and you can see it in action below..
If you’re interested in getting one, head to ChatSim.