TSIM Global SIM card with lifetime validity-Detailed Review - eNidhi India Travel Blog

TSIM Global SIM card with lifetime validity-Detailed Review

While traveling abroad, mobile connectivity is very crucial. We need to stay in touch with our family, need mobile data to navigate the streets and so on. There're multiple options available to us- from activating international roaming on our India sim card to buying a sim card locally in each destination country. So far, my default option was to buy a tourist SIM at destination airport. It had its pros and cons- recently I tried TSIM's Global SIM card with lifetime validity. This post is a detailed review of this new way of mobile connectivity.

Before we proceed, let us have a quick comparison of various connectivity options available to us while on travel:

Relative Cost/Convenience
Activate international roaming on your India connection
Very High/High
Can receive calls from India Number
No sim change
Cost of international roaming has come down over time- now reasonably cheaper compared to 5 years ago

Anyone calling you will be able to call you cheap as per their local/within India rates.
Most expensive option

Lose money on incoming calls as well- particularly spam marketing calls

Difficult to control usage- might get slapped with huge bill upon return

Buy a local sim card
Can be bought with passport at airport, counter staff would help insert sim n activate it.

Price varies from country to country n based on package

Many countries may have discounted rates to call India

Can be retained as a souvenir

Free incoming calls
-Unused data goes waste
Need to top up if usage exceeds
-Different SIM for different countries
-Some countries like Singapore have limitations on how many sim cards one can buy
-You may be tricked into buying a more expensive package than necessary claiming cheaper ones are out of stock
-Airport purchase is usually a bit expensive compared to city but we buy anyway due to convenience
Buy postpaid sim from Matrix etc
Good if your expense is reimbursed by your company

Can call right after landing

Number known in advance
-Have to pay rent irrespective of usage

-Extra hidden charges like “Airport Convenience fee”, tax, service charge etc

-Lots of paperwork-Buying local sim card is usually cheaper n less complex process than this post paid option

-Sim card and number changes for each trip

Prepaid, refundable SIM like TSIM
One card for many countries- convenient for frequent travelers

Unused balance can be used for next trip or refund can be claimed

Call forwarding feature when in India
Can be used in transit countries as well

Just top up before next trip

Worked perfectly in China where locals SIMs have lots of restrictions
Check fine print- in some expensive countries usage is restricted- like a 1 GB recharge would get you only 0.25 GB in UAE

If someone has to call you on phone it will be via a UK number, so will cost them a lot

Difficulty calling local toll free numbers
Manage with free WiFi

 Zero cost

Might work in some cities with extensive coverage or if you don't plan to go outdoors much
Not practical in most cities if you have lots of outdoor travel/ activities

WhatsApp calls only, hotel, taxi driver or others won't be able to call you

Of all the options, activating international roaming on your India connection is the most expensive one and people avoid it at all costs. Realizing this, Indian telecom companies have reduced roaming charges considerably in recent time, but it is still an expensive option. Might be suitable for business people who need to keep receiving calls, but regular tourists are often better off with alternate options. Friends n family would know your schedule n can reach on WhatsApp and you will have a break from unsolicited telemarketing calls.

Buying local Sim card is what most tourists do. This looks like an easy thing. But often I have noticed that airport stalls trick tourists into buying an expensive package, claiming cheapest ones are out of stock. Unused data goes waste.  Services like Matrix are a modified version of this- they sell destination country's post paid SIM for a rent right here in India, charging extra rent. I tried it few times and didn't find it worth.

There is a better alternative- Global SIM Cards- one card that works in multiple countries and valid for lifetime. 

TSIM offers wide range of pre-activated international SIM cards- they have Europe specific card, UK, USA card and so on. One I tried was the Global SIM Card. So this review is about this Global SIM Card.

There’re some clear advantages of buying a TSIM Global SIM Card before your international trip. Here’re a few of them, as I have experienced.

1 Number is known in advance- you will know your international number as soon as you order and receive your SIM Card. You can give this number to friends and family or hotel. In other alternatives such as buying a local sim card at destination airport, you’ve to wait till you arrive, get a SIM and activate it. With TSIM Global card, you’re ready to explore as soon as you arrive- no activation, no waiting- just insert the sim card and there you go… (On one instance I had to restart the phone, but otherwise it worked like a charm)

2 Works in transit – TSIM is a global SIM Card, so if you need, you can use it at transit airports. This is not possible if you’re buying a local SIM only at destination. Of course most airports offer free WiFi, so for a short transit you may not need a sim card, but it certainly helps.

3 Use globally with lifetime validity: With TSIM global card, no need to buy one sim card at each country you visit. Just top-up existing SIM card if required and you can roam the world. This is convenient for frequent travelers- unused data/voice can be used for next trip (or we can take refund) on a TSIM (unlike a local tourist SIM in which unused data/voice goes waste), saves time at airport as we don’t have to scramble for new sim in each country and can track our usage online or through alerts.
4. Possibly cheaper/more convenient than buying local sim card: The countries I visited recently- like New Zealand- mobile data is very expensive. Even Auckland airport gives only 45 mins of free WiFi, most hostels give free WiFi only in reception area OR give a limited use WiFi (like 300 MB per day). As you can see in below picture, a 3 GB data costs 46 NZD or roughly INR 2300. Voice calls extra. If you hunt well you might get a bit cheaper one, but you get the idea- 1 GB Data roughly costs INR 700+. In comparison, you can get a TSIM Global Card with 3GB Data or 300 mins Local/India/incoming calls for about INR 3000. Prima facie TSIM may seem expensive, but TSIM includes a gift and has following advantages over local SIM Card
TSIM Global Card
NZ Local prepaid SIM Card
Cost for 3GB Data
2789 + GST
46 NZD (INR 2300 approx)
3 GB Data or 300 Min calling (incoming/ outgoing)
Free gift worth Rs 300-500
3 GB data, 200 min local call/SMS (Australia & NZ)
60 days
Unused data/voice
No refund, goes waste
Global (165+ countries)
Australia & NZ only
Cheaper calls to India
Can use in transit
Unused voice/data can be used in future travel
Free incoming
Calling local numbers/toll free easy
Can’t call local toll free
Your number will be a UK one, expensive for people to call
India call very expensive
Unused data/voice goes waste
Limited validity
5. Refundable: Say you've recharged for 6 GB and have used only 3 GB- the balance you can either use for next trip, or file a request for refund.

6. Call forwarding facility: TSIM offers a call forwarding facility- in case you're back in India for sometime and someone calls you from your previous trip (say Hotel calls to say they have processed the refund), you can receive such calls on your India local number. 

7. Free Gift: At present TSIM is offering a free gift- an electronic scale, or a power adapter etc with high value SIM Cards.

8. TSIM Global card is very useful for short visits or multi country tours- for example, if you're visiting Malaysia for just 2-3 days and then say proceeding to Thailand, spending money to buy SIM Cards in both countries is not worth it. Similarly when you're traveling across Europe, it will be a pain if sim card bought in one country doesn't work in another.

9. Worked like a charm in China
China has lots of restrictions on internet access. Google maps, facebook, whatsapp and many services are banned in China. However when I visited China TSIM worked perfectly- most probably because it was a UK issued number

Some limitations of TSIM Global SIM Card to keep in mind:
While I find TSIM global card very convenient, there’re couple of limitations you should keep in mind-it didn’t bother me much, but do check for yourself.
1 UK Number, expensive for others to call
My TSIM  had a UK Number- +44.. If the local hotel or taxi driver in New Zealand were to call me, they will have to make an international call- will cost them lots of money, though both of us are in New Zealand only. Similarly your family will have to incur international call expense if they are to call you from India. Family members can call you on WhatsApp or you can call them instead to offset this disadvantage, but if you plan to use Uber etc extensively there could be an inconvenience. In most countries you can just hail a cab on the street, so this isn’t a bother, but you should know just in case.

2 Trouble calling local toll free: With the UK number, I couldn’t call AVIS Toll free number in New Zealand. I had to call their local office instead. TSIM support confirmed that calling toll free will be a challenge-Not sure if there’ll be any issue calling local emergency numbers (I didn’t have a need to try)- like 000 in Australia or 911 in US. Its not like you will have dozens of toll free numbers to call during your trip-but just FYI

3. Couldn’t avail local offers: In Auckland I installed LIME App for the electric scooters- they had one time offer like first 2 rides free- but the offer code wasn’t accepted on my phone, most probably because the number wasn’t local.

If TSIM could work with local telecom operators to assign a temporary local number in each country, all three of above problems will be solved.

4. Couldn’t tether my phone to connect laptop to internet- while my Airtel SIM Card works fine if I tether my phone to create a hotspot, trying the same with TSIM didn’t work. Laptop won’t connect to internet. At this point I am not very sure if the issue is with TSIM or my phone or my laptop or something else. So not complaining but use your discretion. Their website says tethering is allowed.

5. Know the terms and conditions- Do check TSIM’s terms and conditions. In some countries, such as UAE, your 1 GB package will only get you 0.25 GB, probably because data is expensive in that country. Similarly, the refund rules are also to be kept in mind, if you intend to seek refund on unused data.

6. Local SIM card might be lot cheaper in some countries: TSIM is highly economical in countries where internet is bit expensive. But in destinations where internet is not expensive- like say Thailand, Vietnam or Myanmar, a local SIM would cost just two third of what TSIM Data costs. So do some due diligence, use TSIM for voice instead of data in such countries to optimize benefits.

7. Do note that TSIM Package is NOT 100 mins AND 1 GB Data. It is 100 mins OR 1 GB data. If you call home for one min, data balance drops by 10 MB or vice versa. It is still fair, but you should know how the calculation works.

Overall, I am finding TSIM a good companion for my travel. If you are traveling often, you should check it out. Let me know if you have any questions, will be happy to answer, based on my experience of using TSIM during past 2 trips.

You can purchase TSIM few days before your trip begins, on TSIM Global SIM Card Express delivery is available, it will be sent to your India Address, you can insert it into your phone and start using right from transit airport or upon arriving at your destination. Don't forget to select your free gift!

May 2019 Update: read how TSIM helped me save 88% of my data expense


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