I don’t use usually any sim cards when I travel outside India. I rely on the Wifi for data as I don’t really feel the need to carry local sim cards. While preparing for my long Europe trip, however, I got to know about TSIM. TSIM is a company that offers various pre-paid SIM cards. I decided to try their Refundable Lifetime Europe SIM Card that I used for over 2+ months traveling in Europe. I would like to share my experience, things to know and a few tips in this TSIM card review.
Let me first brief you a bit about the various things to consider and understand if you are looking to buy an international sim card.
But, do you even need a sim card while traveling abroad?
I know that the answer to this depends from person to person. But I will try to add a few things to think about that would help you decide this.
If your primary use is data and you don’t mind using the WiFi to browse only in WiFi areas, hostels/hotels, cafes, then you don’t actually have to spend extra money to buy sim cards. Also, you probably would be using a sim for a short time.
If you are on the road for a long time, feel the need to remain connected all the time via data or phone calls, then you might want to go for sim cards.
Alternatively, you can activate international roaming on your mobile sim card that you already use. This is hassle-free, but this option is the most expensive. So if you are just backpacking or going on vacation, buying local sim cards works best for you, if you must buy a sim card that is.
International sim card/Global Sim Card
You will have to buy an international sim card for Europe travel. The sim could only cover European countries like the TSIM Refundable Lifetime Europe SIM Card that I used. There are also Global sim cards available, which could be used anywhere in the world.
There are some popular companies like Orange, Matrix and others that offer country-specific prepaid sim cards as well as global sim cards. They could be bought in India itself. Tsim is another company that’s joined the likes of these providers. A major difference that you would notice is that the rates quoted by these providers are higher, compared to Tsim – an edge for budget-friendly travelers.
In this post, I am focusing on prepaid sim card for Europe for people traveling from India. If you are looking for a European sim card for tourists including calls & data options or a Europe sim card for data alone, read further.
Let me share further details about Refundable Lifetime Europe SIM Card.
1. As the name suggests, this sim card has lifetime validity. The refund plan lets you pay for just as much as you use. You could choose to use just data or just calls/messages option or a combination of both. You can see the available options along with the prices on their site.
2. This sim card works in more than 43 countries in Europe including Albania, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia,Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey, UK, Ukraine. Since it is prepaid, there is no rent or monthly minimum usage.
3. After you come back from your trip and expect calls from Europe, you can opt for call forwarding to your India mobile or landline. You could choose to use this sim in India as using call forwarding. If there is any unused talk time and you wish to deactivate the sim, the amount would be refundable up to a year.
4. Easy to recharge – You can recharge online easily choosing their options on their website.
How to install & use?
Installing the sim and getting started is easy. Just insert your sim and restart, and you’ll see the details in the list of your networks. If you set it to automatic, the sim would start functioning once you land in any of the covered European countries. The mobile would automatically pick this as your network. If you opt for manual, you’ll have to go to networks and pick this manually once in Europe.
For data, set Access Point Name (APN) in your smartphone to “globaldata” without any username or password and save. You can do this set up before traveling or after reaching there.
My Review of Refundable Lifetime Europe SIM Card
I used TSIM Europe sim card for more than 2 months in 18 countries.
Here’s what I liked about the sim card:
Easy to install and use: I just inserted the sim before traveling and made the selection as above, and it started working, which was a breeze. Also, since we can get the sim even before we travel, we get the phone number in advance which I was able to share with my family(a relief for the family when you are out on your own for months!)
Very good network and internet speed: The sim worked very well for both incoming/outgoing calls without any lag/disruption. The internet speed was great and smooth to use. The only country where the sim didn’t work was Hungary although it’s given that Hungary is the coverage area on their website. So I found this strange.
You can tether and use your data to work on your laptop: For people like me working on the go, this option is definitely beneficial.
Very good delivery & customer service: Home delivery is fast with the express delivery, through which your sim is delivered at your doorstep. The customer care is quick to respond and help. Two factors that I found reliable when you are about to begin trips(yup, all the last minute packing and running around)
And here are the things that I found limiting:
Their various plans are confusing at first to understand. If you want, you can opt for only data or only calls(You’ll get a call once you place your order for choosing). However, if you choose both as I did, then it works like this. If you use 10 MB of data, it is equivalent to 1 minute of a phone call. It means that if you choose a 100 minutes/1 GB combo, your balance would be 99 minutes in this case. The other way around is also true.
Dealing with Toll-free numbers: I had to call toll free numbers(international) of my banks as I lost my wallet and wanted to block my cards. But I couldn’t call any and had to finally call India customer care. So international toll-free numbers don’t work.
Your phone number would be a UK number. It means that it would be a bit expensive for people calling you to this number.
Lastly, not a limitation technically, but rather an inconvenience. The sim doesn’t work in transit, which is obvious because anywhere out of Europe is out of coverage in this sim.
I have used both Tsim and Matrix once each and thought of giving a Tsim vs Matrix review for prepaid sim cards. Below is my experience:
- Matrix is expensive compared to Tsim. Tsim has better options to choose from – Global sim cards, Europe sim cards, refundable, limited/lifetime validity cards, country-specific cards and options to choose the least expensive ones.
- The internet speed and network seemed better with Tsim than Matrix. I experienced call disruptions in Matrix, something that was absent while using Tsim.
- Personally, I had difficulties in activating Matrix sim. It was just one-time install-and-use kind of easy experience with Tsim.
Where to buy?
You can buy Refundable Lifetime Europe Sim card on their Website or call them to order.
So if you are traveling from India to Europe, then I would say that TSIM is the best sim card for Europe. Especially if you are on a budget. If you rely mostly relying on Wifi, using this sim is greatly beneficial in navigation during travel, browsing and staying in touch with folks back home.
As an international sim card in India is too dear and cuts deep into your pocket, you would probably avoid activating. In that case, you can try Refundable Lifetime Europe Sim card maybe with a minimum plan. And you can always recharge online easily later if you like.
Hope this post helps. If you have some questions for which you couldn’t find answers, comment below and I would be happy to answer them. If you have already used TSIM Europe sim card, let me know how your experience was.
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