Basic Guidelines Edit
We make this Wiki to inform travelers about the offers of prepaid SIM cards with data in a given country or region. It’s all about information not manipulation or advertisement for specific products.
Certain basic guidelines need to be respected:
- Language here is English and English only. You can add the local name of the product or keywords in the local language (preferably in italics.) But you should always stick to English. Most of us aren’t native speakers and far from perfect, but it should be at least understandable that a reader or editor can figure out what you want to say.
- Strictly no advertisements: Even when you are affiliated to a product, try to present it with plain facts, not ad talk. Try to show all prices and fees in real terms, not “from….”, skipping essential issues, and don’t hype it by unreachable promises. When taxes or other fees are on top, make them clear. There is a language to inform and a different language to manipulate, which is often used by the industry. Better choose the first one.
- Avoid buzzwords: Don’t try to call a throttled package “unlimited” or UMTS-based technology “4G” as it has been done often by providers. This is to misguide consumers. If you can’t avoid using these arguable terms, better label them with "quotation marks" to show the discrepancy.
Subject of this Wiki Edit
In the introduction of the main page we have shown, what this Wiki is all about:
We stick to prepaid (at some places called pay-as-you-go) tariffs, not contracts. Edit
We are totally aware that contracts offer better rates for data users in many countries. But they are very inconvenient for visitors, as you mostly need a local payment system linked to it and sometimes even a local residency. For foreigners, the fine print and how to terminate the contract is often not clear. That’s why all contracts are banned from our survey.
We only make a few exceptions in countries where you can suspend a contract anytime by free will. This makes it more comparable to prepaid and easier to handle for travelers. At the moment only some contracts in France and Israel fulfill this criteria. Remember, they still have to be accessible by an international payment system and without living in this country (see criteria below).
We focus on data here, not text (SMS) nor talk (voice). Edit
The reasons are given in the introduction as well. So voice or text rates should be only displayed, if they are part of a combined package. It’s absolutely impossible to give out all prices for any voice tariff: call rates domestic, abroad – incoming, outgoing, to different country zones etc.… So for the clarity of the article stick to data rates only and don’t add prices for voice or texts. There are other forums on the internet caring for these requirements.
GSM-providers only Edit
In the Requirements section it is shown that only GSM-based devices can make you swap SIM cards. That’s why we list only GSM-operators and ignore all other providers on CDMA or WIMAX or whatever system they might be on. Showing choices that users simply can’t get, confuses them more that it explains in the end. CDMA-operators are only listed, if they are an option like having 3G on UMTS or to show that they are not an option. We are aware that 4G/LTE technology has the potential to bridge this gap and many non-GSM-providers start to give out “world phones” with a GSM SIM card slot too. This opens up GSM to CDMA users, but not the other way round.
Further guidelines Edit
As we make this Wiki for travelers, even if you are a local resident, try to put yourself in the position of a visitor to your country. This leads to some rules that need to be explained further as well as the exceptions we make:
Only offers open to the general public Edit
We list only offers that are open to everyone no matter where he/she comes from. Special offers e.g. for young people, certain domestic regions, army members, particular groups or holders of local IDs only, are banned from the list as well. You need to have a chance to get this SIM card on location no matter who you are. The only exception is made for “Tourist” SIM cards that are aimed directly at visitors and sometimes even locals can’t get hold of.
No online-only operators Edit
Online-only operators that don’t have physical stores in the country can save some expenses by not building up a distribution system. Their SIM card and payments can only be ordered online and not paid by any vouchers sold at outlets on location.
This makes them very inconvenient for travelers: First, you need to have a local postal address in the country to get the SIM card by mail, as most providers won’t send it abroad. Then you need to be sure that your payment system is accepted by their online platform (see below) to top them up.
That’s why we have banned all online-only offers of providers who don’t have physical outlets or shops in the country from the list as long as there are other choices. The only exception is made for “free” offers giving a certain data package out for free, as you won’t lose money using them.
Payable by cash or an internationally accessible payment system Edit
You’ll always need to pay the bill: a starter pack or a reload. The different ways are explained here. Obviously, this may pose a problem if you are on a contract (always linked to a payment system) or use a SIM card of an online-only operator (see above). Being a visitor, in many countries payment by credit/debit cards online is a hit and miss. Many providers accept only certain issue countries or payment systems for their online top-ups. But you will be always able to buy vouchers, if they are distributed locally. We don’t list operators who don’t have a verified payment system open to all users no matter where they come from.
It’s sometimes hard to draw a line here: which offer to list and which not. These guidelines have been developed by travelers according to their own experience. So they are supposed to make sense.
This Wiki tries to be both, which is sometimes a kind of a balancing act:
- a market survey of all (or the most relevant) products in a given country and
- some guidance of which products a data user may prefer over others
So it’s all right to add some kind of a review or your personal experience with the product. But make it comprehensible for others. Try to describe what makes you feel good or bad and exactly why. This makes it easier for the reader to make a common-sense decision of which to buy and which not.
Special guidelines for the "European Union" section Edit
We list all international offers in our All countries chapter, but are much more restrictive for the European Union section. The EU will get rid of roaming charges in 2016/7. Some operators are ahead of time and anticipate this step, but are still hard to get hold of. While others still try to cash in on the current situation, they give roaming data more or less for their domestic rate. That's why the EU section is reserved for them only and special criteria apply for their listing.
Minimum requirements to qualify for this list:Edit
- Validity: major EU countries or all, inter-European with specific countries and a variety of roaming partners and no tight reload scheme to keep the SIM card alive.
- Price: Generally no roaming fees on data! So prices should be more or less the same as for domestic data traffic of this given provider or the national average rate for data.
- Availability: The SIM card should be available not only in the issuing country but outside as well e.g. to be delivered abroad by mail (for a minimal surcharge).
- Registration/Activation: Registration or activation if necessary needs to be easily feasible for foreigners without entering the issuing country.
- Manageability: Credit and data credit check, tariff selection, billing and more optional functions should be manageable either online, by an app, text message or USSD code from everywhere.
- Reloads: Top-ups must be possible from abroad by a generally accessible payment system.