Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Matrix SIMCards review-not always your best bet

Matrix has been advertising a lot about their Multi country sim cards. But is it really worth going for Matrix Multi country sim card?

When travelling abroad, being able to call home or make local calls will be a critical requirement. Its well known that carrying our own local sim cards with international roaming will be very expensive. Because of  this, companies like MATRIX have come into existence, offering pre-activated sim card of destination country, for which you pay a rental. Matrix executives claim that you’ll save a huge amount by purchasing their sim cards. This post acts as a fact finder.

Points to note before buying Matrix sim card:

Buying a local sim card at destination country could be cheaper:
Yes, international roaming will be very expensive. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t buy a sim card at your destination country. Matrix Representatives cleverly hide this aspect. Almost all countries allow visitors to buy a local sim card, usually pre-paid at airport or other places. When we went to Thailand, we picked up a preactivated sim card from our tour guide for 100 baht (INR 190). It came with some 45 baht talk time and we could manage our 5 day stay within this amount- couple of calls to India (at 1 baht per minute by prefixing 0060091) and few local calls.

if we'd opted for Matrix sim card, we would have paid minimum INR 1000 (Rs 500 rental, plus call charges as explained below + airport charge + taxes and service charges and so on. Call to India would have costed Rs 40 per minute (15THB+5THB) as against INR 2 in our local sim card. Why Matrix cards are 20 times expensive and still they claim to be cheap?

Similarly, when in Singapore, I picked up a SingTel sim card for 50 SGD. It came with some 42SGD worth talk time, 6 months validity and also I got a SingTel bag free. I could call India at very low rate by prefixing 001991

Local sim cards will have validity of several months 9which will extend after a recharge) and we can use same number in each trip. With matrix, number changes every time. Local sim card will also serve as Sovereign.

Related: Read all Singapore related posts

Airport charges apply on top of regular rentals
When we went to Srilanka in 2011, my first international travel, I did the mistake of buying Matrix sim card. It was just a 2 day trip and we could have managed without a sim card, but I was tempted to have a phone so that we could communicate with rest of the team. Picked up a Matrix issued Dialog SIM Card at Chennai airport. If you buy a Matrix sim card at airports, an additional amount of INR 150 + tax will be charged. Matrix representative at airport will not disclose this fact, but it will be written in small letters at bottom of the sheet.

The sim card kept looting me of my money all through the dialog-mobile-robberyjourney, through their unsolicited schemes, forcing me to literally switch off the phone. There was No option to SAY NO to these schemes and I would get an alert stating the amount charged. No proof (like SMS) was available, hence I clicked screenshot using camera.  My friend Praveen Kumar bought a local sim card in Colombo airport and he got a cheaper and trouble free deal. May be this is an isolated case and we shouldn't conclude all matrix issued sim cards will be same. But my first experience with Matrix wasn't pleasant. After this, I decided to avoid using Matrix Sim card again.

Related: Read Srilankan posts

There're a few positives using Matrix SIM

Their USA package seems cheaper than buying a local sim card. When in US, I had the option of buying a prepaid SIM for 65$ or 35$. I didn't feel the need to spend that much and managed with a US$ 10 prepaid calling card. I had to look for a payphone to use this card and it wasn't so convenient. My hotel and places in NJ didn't have a pay phone on which I could use this card. For another type of card (Cost US$ 2) I had to register first with a phone number, which again wasn't viable for me.

May be there were some other options I wasn't aware of, but Matrix US offer at $1 per day looks good. Similarly, there could be some other countries where buying a prepaid card is not cheap or not easy and matrix might be better solution.

If your office reimburses your telephone expense, matrix will work out fine, as they'll send a detailed bill.  Difficult to claim otherwise.

matrix guys will come to your home/office and will give you a sim card- this is a better option than buying at airports. So next time you plan your international trip, study about availability of local sim card at your destination. If available at decent amount, it would be a better bet than matrix sim card. 

Matrix also supplies data cards and ipad sims. These are not as easy to find as a regular sim card. 

Also read: Using Opera browser may save your data bill


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Anonymous said...

Beware of their Service.
Known to do fraud billing even if sim is not working. They are not interested in listening & give standard replies, avoiding the issue. As they have your credit card you are at their mercy.

Mrs. D. Patel.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Mrs D Patel

Agree. That is quite possible.Thanks for sharing your experience.

Sushmita, Dibyo Jothi: Thanks

Anonymous said...

This is 100% true. Matrix will hide so cleverly about their charges. It is very very expensive. Please go for local cards or internet facilities which are very much available easily everywhere.

Shrinidhi Hande said...


JK said...

I have a bad experience with Matrix Cellular. I used their service for 4 months in the US and paid them a whopping Rs. 40,000 bill. No issues. But at the end of 3rd month they stopped my service for about a week. Then they got it back and at the time of last bill cycle I asked them to NOT charge me for that seven days, they reduced Rs. 1000 which is ok but I still get emails from them about late payment charges of Rs. 100 per month since last one year now the bill is about Rs. 2000. I contacted one of their guys and also the guy who provided me the discount both of them do not answer my questions and calls. A better alternative is needed. People are ready to pay but customer service matters! I will be moving consumer court if they harass me by sending more emails.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

I find it more practical to buy a local sim card, than deal with matrix's complex paperwork and call rates

Shrinidhi Hande said...

THanks for sharing your experience JK

Anonymous said...

Who's got the time to buy SIM cards in every country you visit, your idea is good for vacation purposes but not for business trips.
Me and my friends travel to 15-16 countries in a month and no one can buy SIM cards in each country.


Shrinidhi Hande said...

Good point. But even matrix issues country specific sim card and not global one... AM I right? If money in not a problem or trip is very short one, international roaming on India sim card is also a hassle free option

Raj Malhotra said...


I recently traveled to Europe and purchased sim cards from Matrix, they assured me great service.

When I landed in Europe I didn't get any signal and the sims were unusable, I tried to call their customer service and they didn't offer any technical support and didn't show any concern to resolve my issue. I had to basically purchase another local sim card in Europe.

I received a second shock after my trip when I got a bill from the company and charged me credit card (NEVER PROVIDE UR CREDIT CARD INFO TO THESE CHEATERS), they charged me for extra data, phone calls which i didn't make and whole lot of hidden charges. I bill was 5X times higher than the amount they said I will be charged and i was totally shocked.

I tried to call the agent (MURALI in HYDERABAD) and customer service to find out about the bill, they initially said they will investigate and let me know. I kept calling them every week and they offered no resolution, they started hanging the phone calls and gave me lame reasons. They have the worst customer service.

This is a rogue company with horrible service and they will rip you off.


Rajeev Kumar said...

I have also been fooled by Matrix and will never recommend SIM of Matrix in future. They promise free calls to India and later charge you 70 Rs. per minute per call. I fully agree with idea of taking the card from the country you are visiting by showing your passport, which I did recently on my visit to dubai. All countries offer the SIM with instant activation at airport itself. Don't get fooled by claims make by Matrix.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Raja and Rajeev for sharing your experiences

Rohan said...

try for clay telecom unlimited call back to India free

Amit jain said...

I also agree that matrix is a fraud company.

I had recently gone to europe and taken a all Europe SIM for 3000 rupees. They told me that it will be valid in all west Europe.

But later on for calls made from one country of Europe to another country like from Germany to France or back they charged me 0.65 pounds per minute while it was nowhere mentioned either in my matrix tariff sheet.

When I asked this to customer care, they say that this is standard if you call from one country to other in europe but couldn't explain to me where this is mentioned.

I am planning to put the payment on stop at my credit card as I should pay for what they had mentioned on either customer agreement form or in Matrix tariff sheet and not whatever they want to charge.

Want your reviews about if the payment can be stopped thru credit card company.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Banks will have a dispute process, but won't give you an option NOT To pay. You will still be charged and you may have to go through a complicated dispute process, which may not be in your favor if Matrix proves that you've availed the services. Some fine prints hidden somewhere will be invoked to justify why you were charged more etc.

Try that route or tell matrix guy you will never give them business again if the excess charges are not refunded.

Anonymous said...

MATRIX is 100% Fraud, I had a very bad experience recently with a US Trip lasting 4 days. I had opted for a 1G data plan for 1999 + taxes, my total data usage was less than 40MB. Total bill was generate for around Rs 20,000.
100% Fraud company PLEASE AVOID by all means.
AND NEVER give your CREDIT card details to ANYONE .....

Karn Jeet Singh said...

I had taken Matrix card to Malaysia and got charged Rs. 1800 for 3 SMSs which I never sent. I tried to complain but customer center wouldnt pick up the call. Nor sort out the issue - in the end I gave up!

Bottomline: Avoid Matrix!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Karn and Anon

Anonymous said...

Guys..both matrix and clay are just small service providers who buy sim cards from interntional operators and white label it with their brand in India..they have no control over the network or support..they will only get the cdr and then they mark up their actual rates by 50% and bill to the people.. if u buy a local sim card in any country the call rates are as cheap as INR 1/- to call to india especially from usa ,uk europe and australia..
it is better to buy sim cards in international airports than get in trap of these service providers..
if u are from any company and ur company is blind or your admin gets gift from service providers than matrix and clay is the best option..

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Anon- fully agree

kumar said...

Matrix are big cheats, even a missed call costs Rs.75/- we had a horrible experience during our recent visit to Europe, they had deliberately switched cards and every call we were making was an International call as an UAE card was activated in Europe, deliberately by matrix. We finally landed with a wooing bill of Rs.79,000/- . Never fall into the trap of ever getting a service from matrix, it is always cheaper to get a card at the Airport.

kumar said...

We had a horrible experience with matrix, we had opted for 2 separate cards for Europe & UAE, which their staff deliberately mixed up and gave interchanged the sim while issuing, in the process all calls were going as International with even missed calls charged at Rs.73/- per call. We landed up with a bill of Rs.79,000/-a broad day light robbery. God forbids anyone going to this company, you are guaranteed to be cheated.