One of the more extraordinary things in life is the amount you can be charged by your mobile carrier on ‘international roaming’. It’s completely extraordinary with amazing stories of people downloading serious amounts of data – eg for a movie and getting back to find bills for $60,000. I travelled to the UK and Paris a couple of years ago and used my phone sparingly. Probably spent about ten or fifteen minutes a day on it – making various calls back home and or organising things. About 8-9 days useage cost $400.
Anyway, you’d think that this would be easy enough to bypass. You’d think you could buy SIM cards here for overseas. When the VirginMobile Australian site tells you that
Another option worth considering..
Is using a local Pre-Paid SIM card that they have purchased overseas, you’d think they might offer to sell you one – after all, that’s just more money to be made. But alas no.
So Oh Troppodillians, I’m heading to Washington DC next week and my son Alexander is going to Paris the next week (this is pretty normal for us – we’re very cool people – very very cool).
Now you can say ‘just head to your country of choice and buy a SIM card there. Well yes, you can, but it’s surprisingly difficult. In the US, the land of the free and the home of the brave, there’s a special committee which arose in the wake of the House Unamerican Activities Committee called the House SIM Card (Protection against easy access) Committee. Since it is implausible that no newsagent in any American airport would have heard of it, I presume this committee has prohibited SIM cards being sold in airports (after all it would just fuel terrorism, and making the terrorists go down to the local AT&T store has pretty much fixed (domestic) terrorism and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
In fact when I was last in Washington, I did go to a local AT&T shop and bought a SIM card, but it was a poxy SIM card with I think US$25 or perhaps US$50 on it which charged about 30-40 cents a minute including incoming calls, which was a bit – well Unamerican.
So, oh Tropposphere, I’m all ears for your suggestions.