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Sunday, January 03, 2010
when in Roam

the cheapest solution to having a cellphone in Europe is (I think) to rent in-country

that has two issues: hassle / language barrier, and you don't know your phone # before you start your trip

There are lots of different options for getting SIM cards in advance of travel.

I've tried eKit, which works ok but is a big pain because firstly, it's a dial-back system (you make a call, then it calls you back with the connection) and secondly, it's pre-paid, so you have to keep filling it up.

I like RoamSimple better - it's post-paid directly to your credit card and their support was very patient with me when I couldn't get my SIM to work (it turned out that my unlocked phone had gotten locked somehow).

UPDATE 2010-03-08: I got a RoamSimple SIM (Orange network) for France, but when I went to use it, the line had been deactivated. RoamSimple support is always responsive, but they have no way to fix the problem, so I'm reluctant to recommend them in future. In theory any SIM they provide should work in North America, if you want to test before you go somewhere.

UPDATE 2010-06-14: RoamSimple is no longer providing country-specific SIMs for France, Italy, Ireland and Germany. Since a country-specific SIM was the main benefit, I no longer recommend RoamSimple. You can get SIMs in-country (although it is a bit of a hassle, particularly if you don't know the language and you don't know how to get the best deal).