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Wolfbln (talk) 08:42, August 23, 2019 (UTC)

Hi. Hybridace101.

Thanks for your edits to this Wiki. I recently found very little time to do this and we should update the offers much more often. This requires a lot of time that I don't currently have.

About your table on registration requirements:

Most of the countries of the world now have some sort of registration for prepaid SIM holders (I guess around 2/3). So this is more of a problem for users coming from countries that don't register like the UK and the US.

For others it's very straightforward. Just show your ID document and you are registered. At Aldi stores in Austria (called Hofer) it takes 10 seconds. The concept of having a local ID card all the time handy with you is not foreign to many countries. In most of Europe and Latin America its required by the law.

The growing registration scheme affects surely the online distribution of a SIM card. They can't be sold on the internet unless it's a non-registration country. Or one of the few countries that sell SIM cards and do the registration otherwise like e.g. in Germany, Austria or Australia.

So you can't say a SIM of a country where it's required to be registered is not sold online. It's mostly not as easy as going to Tesco in the UK and find the country's portfolio of PAYG SIM cards for 99p. But in the free (non-registration) countries SIM cards are sometimes only sold by the providers or in appliance stores, not kiosks or tobacconists - like e.g. in Portugal.

So the registration scheme says very litte about how and where a SIM card is actually available in a country. Most visitors come to this country by showing a piece of ID - so it's not a big deal to show it again at the point of purchase. Lately, we took some more time to explain the rather complicated registration schemes in Germany and Austria - which are really unusual and should be explained in detail.

Actually, I've avoided a chart like this for a few reasons: In some countries it's illegal to buy a SIM card on the Black Market, but nevertheless possible without further ado. For instance Russia, which is very delicate. If we say it's allright to buy it at a Metro station we will encourage behaviour that is outlawed- If we say it doesn't exist we will surely get a comment from someone having bought it there. There are a couple of countries which are tricky in this context and Westeners too: Spain for instance requires the presentation of the ID document at the point of purchase. But some merchants sell it online and ask for the information through WhatsApp or want a scan copy of the passport (which is illegal).

Having said this, I don't think it's a good thing to squeeze this into a chart or table. For instance Peru: the Government says illegal SIM cards are responsible for extortion crimes and kidnapped tourists while the Black market is blooming. How would you explain this very situation in a table?

In many countries there are debates about registration going on: some argue that it's needed for security and more countries have moved into this direction recently. Others - like the UK or US, but some continental European countries too - have declined to establish a registration scheme while again others in Latin America or Asia now are in the process of adding biometric data like a fingerprint or a face pic. This wiki doesn't want to take sides in this debate. We only want to show it like it is and possibly why. We don't want to endorse buying an "anonymous" SIM card for roaming in a specific country while the same country is fighting hard against this very principle.

That's why I think it doesn't make so much sense to feature this issue in a table. It's better when it's included in every country's article at the top of the Basics section. So a visitor is informed about the legal requirements there before his/her visit. A chart would only be helpful, if we want to compare different schemes between countries. But in many countries you simply don't have a choice. Your chart is actually playing the different countries (and their registration systems) against each other. And I don't think this is a good thing. We have made some exceptions when we suggested that a Kong Kong SIM card may be better for mainland China or an EU-based can be bought anywhere in the Union. But we should not go further down this road here.

If you like to make a useful list for this wiki, I'd suggest to compile a list of countries with their country codes, IDD prefixes and possibly trunk prefixes. There are hardly any complete lists of this together on the internet. While we focus on data, it's often handy to know your country code and it's not included in the articles. Here a long chart with the numbers associated to each country can be very helpful indeed.

P.S.: I've edited some of your other tables recently to make them less broad. That's because more than 70% of the users here access this content through a mobile editor on their rather small displays of handhelds. Here the presentation of tables spanning all over the page is not good and very hard to comprehend as it's not shown without much scrolling. Check it on your mobile phone and you will know what I mean.

Wolfbln (talk) 19:23, August 25, 2019 (UTC) (admin)

EDIT: I have another idea which makes more sense for you. The chapter on the EU[1] is now quite outdated. I've written it almost 2 years ago and I'm waiting what happens with the UK to update all of the chapter. Here a comparison of different member countries and their registration schemes really makes sense as you can (theoretically) use "roam like at home" in the region. But in most other regions without any competitive offers what is a user to do when he learns from your table that in this country that he may need to show an ID and in that may be not as long as roaming remains so expensive, it's simply not interchangeable.

On the contrary, under roam like at home for the European Union (+EEA) a chart with registration requirements of each country together with the roaming options (and applied FUPs or restrictions) of that country can quite helpful and I can assist you with that. That's why I propose to confine the country list to the EU/EEA states only (I can add a map) and eventually integrate it into the new EU chapter which will be published when the UK finally decides which way to go. It would essentially replace the section about compliance with the rules.

Wolfbln (talk) 19:46, August 25, 2019 (UTC) (admin)


Hi Wolfbin,

Thanks for your message and comments on a table of country's registration requirements.  I do not intend to spark a debate here except on providing 'legitimate' suggestions to make a subscriber be able to acquire SIM cards as easily as possible whilst at the same time not making that subscriber be caught off guard.  If the authorities of a particular country outlaw anonymous SIM cards, then we will say so.  I hope I leave the impression that if it will be up to the user to think whether it is worth going through the efforts.  

Hybridace101 (talk) 20:08, August 25, 2019 (UTC)

EDIT: Further to my messages, I am happy to consider your suggestions for a table to the EU.  I think the trick though is to distinguish which of these are borne out of national policies and which ones are business practices of individual telcos.  Hybridace101 (talk) 20:11, August 25, 2019 (UTC)

Hi again Hybridace101

To be honest. I simply don't care why an operator/provider does this or that (if it's his own idea or based on a regulation). The user is interested in which policy is implemented by this provider (for instance for roaming) and how it affects him/her when he/she buys a product of this operator.

Let's take Three UK: You get their SIM cards everywhere, on eBay, in stores ..... They have "70" countries in their surcharge-free "Go roam" area and now've added LTE to most of them .Good roaming, I'd say. But Three requires an UK-based credit/debit card for top-ups (or vouchers that you only get domestic). So if you don't have a credit card registered to an UK-address you'll end up paying much more.

What I want to say, it's not only registration that hampers things. It can be a factor, but it's only one of many. In the EU under roam like at home: it's FUPs, domestic-only plans, surcharges, exceptions, top-up rules, expiry rules, availabilty and many more. You keep on insisting that registration is the major hurdle and I don't agree to this.

In other regions you simply don't have choice if you want cheap data. You can only think of getting a roaming card or hotspot before as an alternative to a local SIM. I don't really understand your intentions when you say to "acquire SIM cards as easily as possible". The easiest way is to use your roaming of your home provider. When it comes to overseas we both know the bill. I've travelled more than 100 countries so far and in none (zero) I was not able to find a local SIM. I know of many stories of merchants who had tried to sell overpriced SIM cards online who said it's impossible. This mostly turned out to be untrue. But I think it's fair to feature the more "difficult" countries in our greylist and the very few where it's impossible too in the blacklist.

So I'd suggest to leave your table like it is to have the main part integrated in the EU section later. There are some additions I will make. For instance the national ID card is recognized all over the EU as an ID document, even at British borders (at least until October).....

Wolfbln (talk) 20:37, August 25, 2019 (UTC)

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