Basic Guidelines Edit
We make this wiki to inform travellers about the offers of prepaid SIM cards with data in a given country or region. It’s all about information not manipulation or advertisement for specific products.
Certain basic guidelines need to be respected:
- Language here is English and English only. You can add the local name of the product or keywords in the local language (preferably in italics.) But you should always stick to English. Most of us aren’t native speakers and far from perfect, but it should be at least understandable that a reader or editor can figure out what you want to say.
- Strictly no advertisements: Even when you are affiliated to a product, try to present it with plain facts, not ad talk. Try to show all prices and fees in real terms, not “from….”, skipping essential issues, and don’t hype it by unreachable promises. When taxes or other fees are on top, make them clear. There is a language to inform and a different language to manipulate, which is often used by the industry. Better to choose the first one.
- Avoid buzzwords: Don’t try to call a throttled package “unlimited” or UMTS-based technology “4G” as it has been done often by providers. This is to mislead consumers. If you can’t avoid using these arguable terms, please label them with "quotation marks" to show the discrepancy.
Subject of this Wiki Edit
In the introduction of the main page we have shown, what this Wiki is all about:
We stick to prepaid (at some places called pay-as-you-go) tariffs, not postpaid contracts. Edit
We are totally aware that postpaid contracts can offer better rates for data users in many countries. But they are very inconvenient for visitors, as you mostly need a local payment system linked to it and sometimes a local credit history and proof of residency. For foreigners, the fine print and how to terminate the contract is often not clear. That’s why all contracts are excluded from our guide.
We only make a few exceptions in countries where you can suspend a contract anytime by free will. This makes it more comparable to prepaid and easier to handle for travellers. At the moment only some contracts in France and Israel fulfil this criteria. Remember, they still have to be accessible by an international payment system and without living in this country (see criteria below).
We focus on data here, not text (SMS) nor talk (voice). Edit
The reasons are given in the introduction as well. So voice or text rates should be only displayed, if they are part of a combined package. It’s absolutely impossible to give out all prices for any voice tariff: call rates domestic, abroad – incoming, outgoing, to different country zones etc.… So for the clarity of the article stick to data rates only and don’t add prices for voice or texts. There are other forums on the internet caring for these requirements.
GSM-providers only Edit
In the Requirements section it is shown that only GSM-based devices can make you swap SIM cards. That’s why we list only GSM-operators and ignore all other providers on CDMA or WIMAX or whatever system they might be on. Showing choices that users simply can’t get, confuses them more that it explains in the end. CDMA-operators are only listed, if they are an option like having 3G on UMTS or to show that they are not an option. We are aware that 4G/LTE technology has the potential to bridge this gap and many non-GSM-providers start to give out “world phones” with a GSM SIM card slot too. This opens up GSM to CDMA users, but not the other way round.
Further guidelines Edit
As we make this wiki for travellers, even if you are a local resident, try to put yourself in the position of a visitor to your country. This leads to some rules that need to be explained further as well as the exceptions we make:
Only offers open to the general public Edit
We list only offers that are open to everyone no matter where he/she comes from. Special offers, e.g. for young people, certain domestic regions, army members, particular groups or holders of local IDs only, are excluded from the list as well. You need to have a chance to get this SIM card on location no matter who you are. The only exception is made for “Tourist” SIM cards that are aimed directly at visitors and sometimes even locals can’t get hold of.
No online-only operators Edit
Online-only operators that don’t have any physical stores in the country can save some expenses by not building up an own distribution system. Their SIM card and payments can only be ordered online and not paid by any vouchers sold at outlets on location.
This makes them very inconvenient for travellers: First, you need to have a local postal address in the destination country to get the SIM card by mail, as most providers won’t send it abroad. Hotels or B&Bs proved not to be reliable and delivery date is hard to calculate.
Then you need to be sure that your payment system is accepted by their online platform to top-up as with some operators only domestic electronic payment systems are accepted (see below).
That’s why we have banned all online-only offers of providers who don’t have any physical outlets or shops in the country from the list. Exceptions are made so far only for:
- providers that send their SIM cards abroad e.g. to your home address, which is quite rare
- providers that send out free SIM cards without any value as a loss becomes negligible
- providers that offer Freemium services
Payable by cash or an internationally accessible payment system Edit
You’ll always need to pay the bill: a starter pack or a reload. The different ways are explained here. Obviously, this may pose a problem if you are on a contract (always linked to a payment system) or use a SIM card of an online-only operator (see above). Being a visitor, in many countries payment by credit/debit card online is hit and miss. Many providers accept only certain issue countries or payment systems for their online top-ups. But you will be always able to buy vouchers, if they are distributed locally. We don’t list operators who don’t have a verified payment system open to all users no matter where they come from.
It’s sometimes hard to draw a line here: which offer to list and which not. These guidelines have been developed by travellers according to their own experience. So they are supposed to make sense.
This wiki tries to be both, which is sometimes a kind of a balancing act:
- a market survey of all (or the most relevant) products in a given country and
- some guidance of which products a data user may prefer over others
So it’s all right to add some kind of a review or your personal experience with the product. But make it comprehensible for others. Try to describe what makes you feel good or bad and exactly why. This makes it easier for the reader to make a common-sense decision of which to buy and which not.
Guidelines for a country to be added Edit
All our country articles are thoroughly researched on the internet and on location, backed up by multiple sources and confirmed by travellers. We rely on local residents as well as visitors because both have often a different point of view. To keep an high standard and remain a reliable source, certain criteria must have been met before a country can be linked to the main page.
- Basic information needs to be available about all major operators, employed technology, coverage, speeds, availability of service, regulations, restrictions, etc…..
- This information needs to be backed up by travellers who we able to buy a SIM card and use this service on location or published articles. They may derive from travel forums, guide books, press material or own experience.
- Finally, all major operators need to publish their rates and offers on a homepage, Facebook page or anywhere else on the internet to be confirmed and checked for updates.
Unfortunately, in some countries these criteria are not met up to now. That’s why they haven’t been published yet.
Special guidelines for date, time and prices Edit
As stated above, the only language of this wiki is English. This does not mean that we follow textbook English in every instance, especially when different ways are used within the English language and local ways differ. To ensure the best readability and the least misunderstandings the following rules of quoting date, time, currencies and numbers have been established and should be followed:
What the calendar date is concerned there is a misleading difference between American and British English. Americans use often the sequence month/day/year whereas in the UK and most over the world the sequence day/month/year is used. This makes a quote like 7/11 hard to figure out, if the 7th of November or the 11th of July is meant. To solve this confusion, the European sequence day/month/year is employed in this wiki and the month is given as 3-letter code in the middle (e.g. 7/NOV/2019 or 11/JUL/2012) to clearly indicate the sequence.
A similar discrepancy exists between the 12-hour and the 24-hour clock to indicate the time of day. In some English-speaking countries the 12-hour clock with am and pm is still used in spite of the 24-hour clock mostly used worldwide. This wiki takes into account, that users of the 12-hour clock are more confused about the 24-hour clock than the other way around. To maximize understandablility in this wiki, the 12-hour clock is used (e.g. 8am or 10pm instead of 8:00 or 22:00). Because of the Latin terms am and pm short for before and after noon, 12am (for midnight) or 12pm (for noon) shouldn't be used and better 12 midnight and 12 noon instead, as many users of the 24-hour clock are not aware which hour '12am' really means.
This wiki uses the English way of displaying numbers. This means decimals need to separated by a point or dot as in 2.5 for 2 and a half. Optionally with large numbers, thousands can be split by a comma (5,000). In spite of most languages that do it the other way around, we need to stick to this rule to avoid further confusion.
Prices should be quoted with the currency attached to the number. The currency can be shown as:
- currency sign (if available): €, $, £ ...
- usual abbreviation of the currency: zł, Rp., Kr. ...
- or as 3-letter currency code according to ISO 4217 standard: USD, GBP, EUR ...
To ensure a coherent article, only one of the options above should be selected for each country.
There was much discussion in this Wiki about the position of the currency to the value/number. Most English guidelines require or recommend to put it in front of the number ($3) and not behind (3 €). This contradicts the way prices are displayed locally in many non-English speaking countries. Some contributors expressed discontent to convert a price locally advertised as '50 zł' to 'zł50' which disobeys all local habits. The English way sometimes also demands no blank between currency and amount. Some readers found it hard to figure out these values when a Singapore dollar is shown as 'SIN$1'.
So the following compromise was proposed. In all English-speaking countries and those where it's usual and common to display prices that way, it should be shown like this: $3 or HK$ 3 for three dollars. This refers to some other countries too like the Netherlands, Latvia, China or Japan. An optional blank between currency and number may be added especially in tables or in long strings to make the number more visible for those readers who are not so familiar with this price layout.
In other countries where it's common to show prices locally as number followed by the currency sign or code (e.g. 20 €, 50 ₽, 10 CFA) like in most of continental Europe, Africa and some more countries, this local way is maintained and used for these countries. The used sequence is possibly not completely in line with textbook English, but meets local habits and requests and shows prices indicated in the same way they will be shown to the visitor in the country.