Want to know what the best cell phone provider is for world wide travel?
Am interested to see if anyone has any good suggestions
Oh, yes. Am interested too.
I have a Google Pixel 2 XL with Google Fi and it works most places in North America and in the Schengen States (western Europe.)
The best option I found so far is just getting a local sim wherever I go. It makes things a lot easier since it’s often the cheapest option and some services in a particular country can only accept local numbers.
If you are visiting certain parts of the world and will be traveling to nearby countries some providers have roaming agreements with neighbors. For example, I was able to use my Panamanian Movistar prepaid plan to roam in Nicaragua and Costa Rica for free. A lot of EU mobile providers provide EU wide roaming as well.
As a Canadian I have found Fongo to be useful as a Voip app. I was also able to sign up for Google Voice when I visited the US and it is useful for US based services.
I have seen some sites offering ‘World sim cards’ that can work in any country. However, the data rates a lot of these services are charging are ridiculous.
There are some great plans offered in some countries (e.g. SFR in France, T-Mobile in US). However, a lot of these providers have fair usage limits and you can’t roam on them forever. Google Fi seems like a good option if you live in the US and travel often. However, similar to T-Mobile, if you don’t use it mainly in the US they might suspend your line:
The Services are offered only to residents of the United States. The Services must be primarily used in the United States and are not intended for extended international use. Further, the Services are designed for use predominantly within our network. If your usage outside our network is excessive, abnormally high, or cause us to incur too much cost, we may, at our option and sole discretion, suspend your Google Fi account, terminate your service, or limit your use of roaming.
I have a dual-sim phone.
1 main number which is linked for my OTPs and also to Viber (You can link the Viber account to your mobile number, so when you make Viber calls it looks like it is from your mobile number).
And when 2nd sim slot is for the local country I am visiting.
I do have virtual numbers as well, which re-direct to whatever number I need.
From my perspective as someone who spends most of his time in Europe, but with frequent trips elsewhere (although usually not as long as they used to be):
I prefer Google Fi (if you can access it) when traveling for shorter periods outside the EU. I also use a Pixel 2, which has Google Fi built in as an eSIM. Then if you spend a lot of time in the EU, get a cheap sim card that will give you free calls and data across the EU. The same if you stay in any given non-EU country for an extended time (say more than 1-2 weeks) or you expect very high data use.
I mostly use Google Voice or my EU sim (if the service doesn’t allow virtual numbers for some reason) for 2FA etc.
I am Looking for the best reloadable SIM card from Spain for my second phone.
I tried Orange but they wont accept any of my credit cards or even my N26 card.
Would Vodafone be a better choice??
Try using the main Orange site for the top-up.
The Spanish version of the Orange site only accepts cards issued in Spain. I think the site checks the BIN number of your card to see where it was issued.
Most mobile banks such as N26 will assign your card a BIN number based on where the card is being delivered. Therefore, if your card is delivered to a Spanish address, it will have a Spanish BIN and strict websites such as Orange Spain shouldn’t have a problem accepting it.
Orange is a good provider since you are able to keep your line active for one year after your last top-up. See this FAQ for more details. This is good if you decided to spend some time outside of Spain and wanted to maintain your number and receive SMS messages.
This is a good resource on prepaid sim cards in Spain.
While it’s certainly great to pay less, if your time and peace of mind are more important, you may not want to get local SIMs. Many countries have outrageous identity verification procedures for getting a SIM card. In Colombia for instance, you need to let the telco cashier take photos of your password. That is an identity theft and security risk - passports sell on the dark web, and especially US ones are quite valuable.
It can also take over an hour to get a local SIM.
Another issue with local SIM cards is that you won’t have service when you land in a new country, until you figure out where to get a local SIM, and pay for it.
I have been very happy paying $20-$30/month for Google Fi to not be subjected to the privacy invasions of these identity verifications.
Google Fi itself is an excellent service, and you can find may raving reviews about it online. It’s worked great for me in urban and rural areas, but coverage in some remote Colombian locations has been spotty. You can also get up to 9 (nine) free SIM cards, for one account, which you can use in backup phones, MiFi devices, laptops etc. The service can be paused and resumed at will - not something that can be said of T-Mobile US, which only lets you freeze it for up to 3 months.
Update on Google Fi: beware that they can shut down your account without warning for “extended” use outside the US.