Traveling can be challenging or expensive without an adequate mobile roaming option in order to stay connecting when traveling, especially in China where social media, messengers and Skype are blocked.
These restrictions in China can only be circumvented by using a foreign SIM card to utilize data roaming or through a VPN. When visiting multiple countries in a short period of time then it might be very useful to have a travel SIM card that offers service in multiple destinations.
Various providers all over Asia offer such products in their individual markets but it might not always be a good deal. John wrote about the option of purchasing a Seven Connect card from Seven Eleven in Hong Kong the first time about two years ago (see here). It looks like this:
It’s still available and works like a charm but there are certain drawbacks such as the card is initially only good for 5 days, it just has 500 MB of data (sometimes there are promotions, visible by a sticker on the package, doubling the data but still… And then there is the price. 200 HKD is US$25 for a days of 500 MB data (no calling services).
The TRUE Mobile Travel Sim Asia / Travel Sim World (see here) offers the 8 day package including 4GB of data for 399 THB (US$12). You can currently also extend the package for 299 THB plus tax by sending a sms to subscribe, however you have to top up the account first which I did.
The card can be purchased at several TRUE Outlets in Thailand as well as at Bangkok Airport (unless they run out again). In order to purchase and activate the cards one has to provide passport details. I bought 3 of the SIM Cards at one go because I didn’t feel like going back one by one.
If you have an iphone you don’t need to do anything. as per the decription an Android device requires to set up an APN. I just popped in the SIM into my iPhone and restarted it, after that it worked perfectly fine.
Some providers in the U.S. (i think it was T-Mobile) offer decent post paid options with slow international roaming worldwide but it wouldn’t be worthwhile for me at this point. That’s why I’m pretty happy about these multi country options that are only good for a limited time.
I will be in China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Malaysia in the next 3 weeks so it’s good that I can use these travel sims across borders without having to buy or charge a local card every time. If you come through Thailand or have someone visiting there who could get you such cards it might be worth a thought but keep in mind they are good 3 months from the time of purchase at the store.