When we first “met” KnowRoaming, a service committed to making global connectivity simple and inexpensive; they offered a sticker that one would place on a standard SIM card to connect when traveling. It always made me a bit uneasy. Since then, the company has greatly expanded their offerings and, when we travel this summer, we’ll be relying on them!
KnowRoaming is all about letting you “roam smarter.” They offer affordable calls and data in over 200 countries, free WhatsApp data usage and 4G LTE connectivity. They offer a long-term data package that, for example, gives you 5GB of data for just about a penny per MB. (We’ll look more closely at their pricing in a moment.)
I previously mentioned the KnowRoaming Global SIM sticker. It is the approach Judie has used while traveling for Mobile World Congress and IFA. (Read her posts.) They still offer the Local SIM sticker for $29.99 which includes $10 in credit.
As they explain, you apply it to your SIM card just once and then leave it on the SIM on your phone or tablet. After setting up your account, each time you travel the SIM sticker activates and lets you connect to your local network. With it, you not only get the $10 in credit, but you also get free WhatsApp usage, including calls and photo/video messaging, worldwide. This approach lets you save up to 85% on international voice and data roaming, and it means you don’t need to worry about finding WiFi, unlocking your mobile phone, buying a local SIM card, or paying through the nose to stay connected.
To use the SIM sticker a device must be unlocked. It works with iPhones and iPads running iOS 8.0 and newer, Android devices running OS 4.0 and newer, Windows phones, and BlackBerries running Android OS. It will not work with devices from Sprint or Verizon.
They offer pay-as-you-go rates in over 200 countries and, for just $7.99 per day, unlimited data packages in over 100 countries.
Other rates break down this way.
European Countries: If you are in any of these European countries you can get 5GB of data for $54. This plan is valid for up to two weeks. For $90, you can get 10GB of data, and it is good for a full month.
The United States: In the US, you can get a 5GB package for $110 or 10GB for $180. The plans are each valid for 30 days. Or, if you are in any of these countries, you can purchase unlimited connectivity for $7.99 a day.
Know Roaming offers a subscription service called ReachMe which allows you receive incoming calls to your home number while traveling.
All that is great if you are comfortable putting a SIM sticker on your daily phone’s SIM card. Judie did so successfully, but this approach has always made me a bit squeamish.
That’s why KnowRoaming’s Global SIM card looks like such a great solution to me.
A bit of personal background might come in handy here: I travel to Israel at least once a year. I used to rent a phone each time I went, but I eventually purchased a SIM card from an Israeli company that, each time I traveled, I would pop into an unlocked phone and activate. It worked, but I never loved working with those companies. That’s where this SIM will come in quite handy when I head over later this year.
The KnowRoaming Global SIM card will work with any unlocked GSM phones so long as they are running Android OS 4.0 (or a more recent version), running iOS 8.0 (or a more recent version), or if th phone is a BlackBerry running Android. They offer the same rates as the KnowRoaming sticker. The cool thing with the KnowRoaming Global SIM card is the fact that it comes with a free US phone number while you can also purchase additional foreign numbers. That means you can give that one number to friends, family or business associates, and then, no matter where you travel they will be able to reach you. Of course, the SIM card also comes with free WhatsApp usage.
Setting everything up is simple, and instructions are included with the SIM card.
First, you download the KnowRoaming app. Before inserting the Sim card, you want to make sure your devices connected to Wi-Fi. Next, you want to select the size of the SIM card that your phone takes. The same KnowRoaming SIM card can serve as a NanoSIM, a MicroSIM, or a MiniSIM. Depending on your device, you’ll then need to select which size you want. If you are unsure, you can simply Google your device to quickly find out which size SIM to choose.
Once you have the app, you can register the SIM card and create an account. From there you determine what services you need – you can either select a prepaid account or you can go with unlimited daily data and voice. Once you’ve purchased the package and are almost ready to go. The app will register your SIM card and then load the amount that you want into the account. As a matter of convenience, you can select auto to reload, and it will automatically reload your account when the balance falls below five dollars.
In the app, you can also see your SIM’s number. That’s the number that will be displayed when you call someone and will appear as your caller ID. Finally, you have the option to subscribe to additional numbers if that is more convenient for you.
Finally, thanks to the KnowRoaming app and 24/7 available support, you can always know what you are spending and, in the event of an issue, get help resolving it.
For me, the ease of using the KnowRoaming Global SIM card, the transparency of the service, the free WhatsApp usage, and the great rates make it a winner. In fact, I’ve taken the SIM card and put it into the phone I use while traveling. That way, whether it is my trip to the Galapagos this summer, or my travel to Israel in December, I’ll always have a phone that is ready to let me connect. You can check out KnowRoaming here.