By Terry Gardner, Special to Tribune Newspapers
7:35 PM EDT, July 23, 2013
Name: Tru SIM card from Truphone
What it is: A SIM card that works in most unlocked smartphones for data, voice and text connections in 220 countries with the ability to assign local numbers for the United Kingdom, United States, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Australia all on one SIM card, so travelers can make calls like a local while visiting. You order the SIM card and swap it for the home SIM card in your unlocked phone. Truphone sent me an unlocked BlackBerry to test a TRU SIM card because I am a prisoner of a locked iPhone. I tested a card with both a British and a U.S. phone number with a Basic Essential Pro Plan that costs $41.25 per month and provides 100 voice minutes and 100 MB of data in all the above-listed Truphone "local countries" and 50 voice minutes in Europe or Canada. A basic consumer plan costs $29.99 and includes a phone number for one country plus $15 of use for calls, texts or data. Local numbers for additional countries cost $8 each. After setting up their accounts, users can pay as they go for additional minutes, text and data.
The good: I tested the Tru SIM card on a Hurtigruten cruise through Norway and was amazed at the stellar reception whether I was changing planes in London or sailing in the Norwegian Sea. Though I primarily used the Tru SIM for phone calls, it was handy for occasionally checking emails on a tour bus when no Wi-Fi was available. I spent less than $4 with calls and data roaming outside the Basic Essential Pro Plan. The Tru SIM seems like a great way to avoid the risk of exorbitant international cellular and data-roaming charges that most U.S. carriers assess.
The bad: I wish international data roaming costs were less expensive. Approximately $2.50 for 14 MB of roaming data seems steep, so I would recommend using Wi-Fi to limit data roaming.
Cost: A Tru SIM kit with both a U.S. and a U.K. number starts at $37.99
Available from: truphone.com
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