We’re spoiled by how easy and affordable it is to communicate, text and tweet to family and friends, post to Facebook, get the latest news and restaurant recommendations and get directions when we get lost. Until we go overseas. Unless you have a European phone or SIM card, communication overseas can be difficult and very expensive. A Google search of anything having to do with saving money communicating overseas yields pages and pages of articles and advice. Regardless of how many of these you read, there really isn’t a simple solution. For phone calls, you can use one of several internet apps like Skype. But for me, the problem has always been data. If ever there was a time you needed data it’s traveling overseas.
So next month when I travel to Northern France I am going to try out Mobal’s new Europe Data SIM card. I’m excited to give this product a try even though I have no idea how well it will work. First some details about the Data SIM:
- With Mobal’s European Data SIM, you can send and receive e-mails, post on your Facebook page, tweet, check news and use phone map tools for as little as $0.39/MB, substantially less than typical roaming charges on your personal cell or tablet
- There are no monthly fees, no minimum usage and no long-term contract
- There are SIM cards for iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Mobile Tablets
- The data-only SIM works in over 30 countries, plus the US so you can test it before you leave home
- You pay for data only when you use it
- There is a monthly data cap of $100 and when data usage reaches this cap, the SIM stops working
- At $0.39/MB which is the data charge for France, that equates to about 256 MB of data transfer
- You can cancel the SIM at any time
- You can use it while traveling, then put it away and not use it until you travel again
- There is a 60 day full money-back guarantee
- The cost of the SIM card is only $9 and shipping is free
So if you are like me, you’re reading and you are saying something like, “OK, where’s the hitch?” I know, me too. I have searched the company website and internet chat groups looking for some bad news on this company and its products and I can’t find anything negative. That’s the reason why I am going to give this product a try!
Mobal was founded in the UK and has been providing travelers with communication solutions since the mid-1980’s. Their international phones and satellite phones are recommended by publications like Inc. Another amazing thing is that Mobal donates 90% of its profits to Africa–seriously! In 2006, the company formed its own charity and it now donates 90% of profits to help transform communities in Africa through the charity. You can read more about the company and the mission of its amazing founder here.
There are a number of things I am curious about, like how long $100 worth of data will last me on my trip and how well this product will really work. Regarding how long it will last, according to Macworld, the average smartphone owner uses about 500 MB of data/month. I will be traveling for 13 days, so I could estimate that I might use half that amount. That will depend on how much I use data roaming for map access and sending tweets during the day, and whether I will actually be able to pick up signals when I want to use it. But the bottom line is the best way to answer these questions is to try it out!
According to the Frequently Asked Questions on Using the data SIM, setting up your device with the data SIM seems pretty easy and should take about 5 minutes or less. You can try it out before you leave, which is great, and there is a 24/7 help line should you encounter any problems.
Seems to good to be true to me, but who knows, this just may work! So stay tuned for my recap on this product when I return home in September!