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Global SIM Card

We have had several threads on sim cards in the past. I recall the last time we/I looked at the situation, I lost an interest in global sim cards because Japan was not included.

However, according to this site:


there is a coverage in Japan. Currently I have a sim card in the US and one in Austria, which I had just purchased 20 Euro worth, I was just wondering it would be worth it to get a global sim card. I will be in Germany, Switzerland, and Slovak on this trip. I have rented a Japanese cell phone here at Narita.

What has been your experience with a global sim card opposed to an individual sim card for each country?

by Tomoko Yamamoto at 2007-07-10 08:18:47 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Tokyo , Japan | Bookmark | | Report spam→

I am about to try http://intouchsmartcards.com/Smart_Free.htm – on the recommendation of a USA Today photog.

by [former member] | 10 Jul 2007 20:07 | Charlottesville, Virginia, United States | | Report spam→
an individual sim card for each country would work out cheaper than a global one..though one disadvantage for all incoming calls will be charged at ISD rates

by [former member] | 10 Jul 2007 21:07 | NEW DELHI, India | | Report spam→
Cherian is right. Buying locally in the foreign country is cheapest for your own use. But if you need a card with one number for others to use to call you, the international card may be OK. I cannot imagine that you can’t get one that works for Japan. Check out the Intouch Smart Cards site that Jon refers to. I have used it in the past to buy a GSM phone. I also have used used http://www.cellularabroad.com/ppsc.php, and http://www.planetomni.com/Prod_SIM.shtml.

But now I just buy the SIM card in the foreign country and send an e-mail with the number to people who might want to call me.

by [former member] | 11 Jul 2007 00:07 (ed. Jul 11 2007) | Reno, NV, United States | | Report spam→
Unfortunately, the two sites you have used are not selling SIM cards for Japan. One is selling a phone, not a SIM card. The development of SIM
cards usable in Japan is very much behind.

An interesting development is that Vodafone Japan has been bought by a Japanese company, Softbank. This company has been in existence for a while, but lately they are doing a lot of mobile phone business in Japan and have opened store fronts at many locations in Tokyo.

by Tomoko Yamamoto | 11 Jul 2007 01:07 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
I have done a little more research into the SIM card usage in Japan.

The biggest hindrance in Japan is that GSM is not available in Japan. Therefore my GSM phone is not usable in Japan.

is a Wiki description in Japanese of the situation in Japan.

by Tomoko Yamamoto | 12 Jul 2007 02:07 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
I might report what I ended up doing on my recent trip to Japan and Europe.

I rented a cell phone in Japan at the airport. Since I paid for insurence, it turned out more expensive than my last cell phone usage without insurance.

In Europe I already had one SIM card in Austria. I spent my morning hours before departure to Japan getting a value card to add more money on my card so that I would not have to worry when I returned to Austria. When I was in Berlin, Germany, I purchased a German SIM card, but this was a mistake because I did not have enough minutes to talk and the rate to overseas including non-oversea foreign countries like Austria was not good. When in Switzerland, I was directed by the hotel staff to go to a larger town rather than the village where I was staying to look for a SIM card. It took a while to find a shop where they sold me a Lebara card. This has a better rate calling overseas as my EETY card in Austria. Both can be topped up on the Internet. I used my hotel/current address in the country to purchase these cards.

by Tomoko Yamamoto | 25 Aug 2007 02:08 (ed. Aug 25 2007) | Baltimore, MD, United States | | Report spam→
I think I have found a solution to this. It’s Skype.

I rent a SkypeIn number – it’s a London number +44 20 7871 7553 (call it!) – which I redirect online to whichever phone number I’m on. I buy a SIM in any country I’m spending more than a few days in and then redirect the SkypeIn number to that.

Et voila! No more roaming charges! Those are the things that kill you.

As an aside – I’d love to buy an iPhone, but what’s the point when you can only use one provider? It’s nuts. Are Apple losing the plot? PHC.

by Paul Hardy Carter | 25 Aug 2007 12:08 | Monte Pego, Spain | | Report spam→
I need to check into Skype. When at home, I am afraid that I don’t have great motivation.

Here are the websites of two of my SIM cards. I have a T-mobile SIM card, but I haven’t even checked their overseas rates.



Knowing two brand names would help shopping in quite a number of European countries. Neither of the above is found in Germany. EETY is available in Southeastern Europe including Turkey. Presumably there are lot of refugees and transplants from those countries in Austria.

by Tomoko Yamamoto | 25 Aug 2007 13:08 (ed. Aug 26 2007) | Baltimore, MD, United States | | Report spam→
Use Skype as much as possible. As Paul mentioned, you can get a Skype-In number and have it forward to a keitai in Japan while you are here. You can get a prepaid phone at a convenience store, but as I found out, it’s no simple matter, with lots of faxed IDs before they will activate it. (It is probably easier for Japanese people than foreigners.) Next you have to buy a card with minutes and they seem to get used up at a much higher rate than a regular phone.

Once that’s done though, you just tell skype to forward missed calls to that number…

by [former member] | 26 Aug 2007 01:08 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
Hi Jim, I checked the Skype site and realized that I would need to upgrade my computer to take advantage of Skype. This upgrade is needed for more than one reason, but I have to pay for my most recent trip first and figure out my finances.

by Tomoko Yamamoto | 27 Aug 2007 17:08 | Baltimore, MD, United States | | Report spam→
hi, get a blue fire wireless number in uk and travel around the world with free incoming calls.works on a gsm network and no monthly rental.can’t get any better than this.


by [former member] | 27 Aug 2007 19:08 | NEW DELHI, India | | Report spam→
I checked out the rates at Blue Fire, but calls you place to foreign countries are more expensive than those country-specific SIM cards with particlarly low rates for calling outside of the country you are in.

by Tomoko Yamamoto | 28 Aug 2007 03:08 | Baltimore, MD, United States | | Report spam→

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Tomoko Yamamoto, Multimedia Artist Tomoko Yamamoto
Multimedia Artist
Vienna , Austria
Paul Hardy Carter, Photographer Paul Hardy Carter
(meet Triumph and Disaster...)
London , United Kingdom ( LHR )


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