5 valuable tips for using an international SIM card

From the Travel Mobile Blog | March 01, 2021
We've assembled our top 5 tips for using an international SIM when traveling outside your home country, including confirming your phone is unlocked, that you have the right configuration settings and you know how much data you use.

1. Make sure your phone is unlocked

If you choose to purchase a prepaid SIM when traveling abroad, whether it is a local or international SIM, be sure your GSM phone is unlocked.

If you don’t know if your phone is unlocked you can:

  • ask your operator, or
  • try and place another SIM in your phone and see if it recognizes the other operator network, or
  • use one of the many sites on the web to check your phone’s IMEI – a unique number that identifies your phone. Simply dial *#06# on your phone and the IMEI will be displayed on the screen.

2. Check your APN settings

It may be necessary to configure the APN of the operator for your phone's data network to function. If you cannot access data after inserting the SIM, then simply follow the APN configuration instructions that were delivered along with your SIM, or consult the FAQ for the operator SIM you purchased.

  • You can use one of the many sites on the web to check how to configure your phone. Just select the manufacturer and model of phone, and then the operator you will be using.

  • Recommended site: https://apnsettings.gishan.net

3. Know how much data you use

We suggest that you install an application to keep track of your data use and identify which applications consume data. There are several options available, for example My Data Manager, which has a user-friendly interface and supports multiple languages.

  • The app performs monitoring of all processes on the phone that are making use of the Internet connection, and can help identify if the data plan purchased will meet your needs based on your normal data consumption.

  • The app also gives you the option to customize notifications, view historical data consumption and assess which applications consume more data.

  • For more information on controlling your data use check out our blog post on data use.

4. Don't update your WhatsApp

You do not need to register your new phone number to use WhatsApp.

  • Wait until you arrive in your destination.

  • When you open WhatsApp the app will identify a new network and a new number, and will ask if you want to update the telephone number.

  • We recommend that you choose not to update, so all of your existing conversations and groups will be kept.

5. Using dual-SIM phones

If your phone is a dual-SIM model and you have difficulty accessing the internet or receiving calls, you may need to remove the SIM from your home country and leave only the international SIM you purchased in slot 1.