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Buying/using pre-paid SIM cards



 
 
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  #1  
Old September 12th, 2003, 11:26 AM
Frank Slootweg
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Default Buying/using pre-paid SIM cards

Hallvard Tangeraas wrote:
Frank Slootweg wrote:

For Australia:

Communic8 (is Telstra):
http://www.communic8.com.au/connected/ppm/index.asp

Vodafone "no plans":
http://www.vodafone.com.au/voda_help....jsp?gs=foryou

I used Communic8. That worked fine, but could not SMS to Europe (The
Netherlands). SMS messages went to the bit-bicket, but were charged. :-(


Bummer! :-(
I need to SMS mainly (phoning home will only be once in a while because
of the cost), so the above probably won't be any good for me.


If you really mainly need SMS to/from Europe, then I advise to use
your normal SIM most of the time and only use the local (Oz/NZ) SIM when
you need to.

For my normal Dutch pre-paid Vodafone (iZi) SIM, SMS messages from Oz
to The Netherlands cost EUR 0.75 (about AUD$ 1.35). Considering what the
rest of an Oz holiday costs, I can live with that! :-)

I did not try if I could *receive* SMS messages on my Oz Communic8 SIM
(because I could not *send* any, nobody was going to reply, were they?
:-)). If that works, you could leave your Oz/NZ SIM in your phone and
only change it when you need to send an SMS message.

Also realize, that, at least in the 'outback' areas of Oz, you will
have *no* coverage, so mobile phones will not work at all. What we used
as an alternative is a *normal* Telstra phone card, i.e. (mainly) for
use with a normal phone. They have free-of-charge call-in numbers and
you can enable voicemail on the card. That way people can leave a
message for you (you will have to give them your voicemail box number
and (Oz) call-in number. When you call the free call-in number, you will
be notified if there are any messages for you. You can easily add money
to these cards (also by credit card). You can transfer the balance and
voicemail box of one card to another, and if you look carefully you can
have a card with a long expiration time (my current one is somewhere way
in 2004). You can use there cards from/in most countries, often with
free-of-charge call-in numbers. So for example, I can call free-of-charge
from The Netherlands to check my balance. Telstra is by no means the
cheapest (in per-minute rates) card, but is very convenient for
occasional use. If you want to call frequently, then *also* buy a cheap
but less flexible card, for example the "Super Saver" cards from Coles
supermarkets (AUD$ 30 for *500* minutes to most countries in Europe and
North America).

I hope this helps.

[deleted]
  #2  
Old September 13th, 2003, 03:51 AM
Daniel Bowen
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Default Buying/using pre-paid SIM cards

"Hallvard Tangeraas" wrote in message
...
But I don't understand how this can be cheaper when you also have to pay
partly for the person who calls.

....
I assume the same applies for someone sending me an SMS message.


Generally (at least for Australian subscribers) you do not pay any extra to
get an SMS delivered, no matter where you are.

Sounds expensive.
Sending SMS messages domestically in Norway is very expensive compared
to most countries I've heard. We pay NOK 1.00 for each message here
(around EUR 0.12) while other European countries supposedly pay only a
fraction of that.


Australian telcos typically charge between 20 and 25 Australian cents per
message.

Anyone else know if it works? I assume as long as someone is providing
SMS services they work all over the world as long as you've entered the
international dialing code correctly. I hear you should add a "+" in
front of the country code, then the phone number, which should ensure it
working in every country, such as calling a mobile phone in Norway with
the number "12345678" you enter the following in the phone's
phone-book: +4712345678
....and can call him/her wherever in the world you are.


From my Telstra (postpaid) phone, it works to my friends in the UK,
including when they are roaming elsewhere in Europe and the US.

But you really need to check, either with the phone companies concerned (to
ask if they have reciprocal SMS delivery arrangements) or by trying it.
Theoretically it should work any phone to any phone, but this is not always
the case.

Also realize, that, at least in the 'outback' areas of Oz, you will
have *no* coverage, so mobile phones will not work at all.


I understand. So in case of emergencies you're stuck as long as you
don't come across someone else who can help.


Yes. In some areas there is no GSM coverage. In areas where there is GSM
coverage, but not from the company you have a SIM card or roaming through,
you can still dial 112 to get an emergency operator.

I believe the most practical thing for me would be to buy an Australian
pre-paid SIM card and have people send me messages or call me using the
Australian mobile phone number. That way I don't have to pay for
incoming calls/messages and they can reach me at any time (unless I'm in
remote areas or have the phone turned off).


I think you're correct. If you want to make your friends pay (!) then this
is the way to do it. With the proviso that you should check if the SMS works
before relying on it.


Daniel
--
Daniel Bowen, Melbourne, Australia
dbowen at custard dot net dot au


  #3  
Old September 13th, 2003, 08:34 PM
Frank Slootweg
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Posts: n/a
Default Buying/using pre-paid SIM cards

Hallvard Tangeraas wrote:
Frank Slootweg wrote:

Hallvard Tangeraas wrote:
Frank Slootweg wrote:

For Australia:

Communic8 (is Telstra):
http://www.communic8.com.au/connected/ppm/index.asp

Vodafone "no plans":
http://www.vodafone.com.au/voda_help....jsp?gs=foryou

I used Communic8. That worked fine, but could not SMS to Europe (The
Netherlands). SMS messages went to the bit-bicket, but were charged. :-(

Bummer! :-(
I need to SMS mainly (phoning home will only be once in a while because
of the cost), so the above probably won't be any good for me.


If you really mainly need SMS to/from Europe, then I advise to use
your normal SIM most of the time and only use the local (Oz/NZ) SIM when
you need to.


But I don't understand how this can be cheaper when you also have to pay
partly for the person who calls.
For example, here in Norway -if I have a plan/subscription (not sure
what the proper English name is) with my mobile phone company and I
bring my phone abroad, then someone calls me -they just pay the normal
rate as if I'd still be in Norway (to them I also appear to be in Norway
since I still have the same phone number), but I have to pay the
additional costs of the call since I'm actually abroad.

I assume the same applies for someone sending me an SMS message.


No, as Daniel explained, the *sender* pays for a SMS message. If they
(the Norwegian party) send a message to a *Norwegian* phone which happens
to be in Oz, they do not pay anything extra (because they can not know
the phone is not in Norway). To be honest, I do not know who pays the
extra cost, because you also do not pay. Probably this is just an
arrangement because telephone operators because SMS messages are indeed
short.

If *I* call someone back in Norway from Australia for example I assume I
have to pay more as well, but I'm not 100% sure about how this works.


Yes, if you *call*, you will have to pay the costs from Oz to Norway.

For my normal Dutch pre-paid Vodafone (iZi) SIM, SMS messages from Oz
to The Netherlands cost EUR 0.75 (about AUD$ 1.35). Considering what the
rest of an Oz holiday costs, I can live with that! :-)


Sounds expensive.
Sending SMS messages domestically in Norway is very expensive compared
to most countries I've heard. We pay NOK 1.00 for each message here
(around EUR 0.12) while other European countries supposedly pay only a
fraction of that.


Yes, it is 'expensive'. We normally pay the same as you do (EUR 0.12),
but what does it matter? How many messages are you going to send? One or
a few per day? Big deal (compared to the rest of your costs).

So, are you saying that there's actually no good reason to buy a
pre-paid SIM card in Australia to keep in touch with people at home?
Only if you get to know people in Australia while being there and want
to call them (instead of using your Dutch operator to call back to
Australia again each time)?


Indeed.

I did not try if I could *receive* SMS messages on my Oz Communic8 SIM
(because I could not *send* any, nobody was going to reply, were they?
:-)).


Ah!!! So you didn't say that it actually didn't work, but you never
tried to use it because there was nobody back home in Holland to send
messages to!


No, I *did* test the *send* (Oz to The Netherlands) part. *That* did
not work. *Because* sending was not working, I also got no reply. But
if my relatives had received my messages, they would reply and after
some time I would know whether or not *that* was working, i.e.
*receiving* in Oz. Now I don't know.

Anyone else know if it works? I assume as long as someone is providing
SMS services they work all over the world as long as you've entered the
international dialing code correctly. I hear you should add a "+" in
front of the country code, then the phone number, which should ensure it
working in every country, such as calling a mobile phone in Norway with
the number "12345678" you enter the following in the phone's
phone-book: +4712345678
....and can call him/her wherever in the world you are.


It did not work for the Communic8 SIM. It worked just fine for my
Dutch Vodafone pre-paid SIM. Communic8 says that they do not guarantee
international SMS messages. I know why! :-(

If that works, you could leave your Oz/NZ SIM in your phone and
only change it when you need to send an SMS message.


So sending SMS messages from Australia as opposed to "roaming" between
countries is more expensive?


Sending SMS messages from your Norwegian phone is more expensive from
Oz than within Norway, because *your* phone company knows your phone is
in Oz as hence charges you accordingly.

However SMS messages will still be cheaper than "roaming" (I assume
you mean *calling* by that), because a EUR 0.75 *mobile* phone call will
be a very short one, both for a Norwegian SIM and for a Oz SIM and for
calling and for receiving a call. The only differences will be *who*
pays *what*, but they total cost will quickly be over EUR 0.75. See also
the notes about the time-difference below.

Maybe this is a better solution for you since you're using Vodaphone
back home as well, so the networks will be the same company when abroad
as well, but there's no Vodaphone here in Norway, so my phone company
will be paying Vodaphone to use their network. I imagine this to be more
expensive than buying a local pre-paid SIM card in Australia, but I
might be wrong.


When *calling* you always have to pay Oz - Norway. When *receiving a
call*, it depends: If you have a Norwegian SIM, *you* pay most of the
received call, because the caller might not know you are in Oz, so he is
only charged for a local Norwegian call. If you have an Oz SIM, the
*caller* pays, because he has to dial an Oz number (+61-...).

Also realize, that, at least in the 'outback' areas of Oz, you will
have *no* coverage, so mobile phones will not work at all.


I understand. So in case of emergencies you're stuck as long as you
don't come across someone else who can help.


And in case nobody comes, we have a satellite safety beacon, which is
a one-way alarm signal (no message), which includes the (GPS)
coordinates of where you are. It is of course only for real emergencies
(not for "We are out of beer!" :-)) and abuse will be punished with a
hefty (thousands of dollars) fine.

What we used
as an alternative is a *normal* Telstra phone card, i.e. (mainly) for
use with a normal phone.


You mean a public phone-booth?


Yes, but don't take the 'booth' part too literally. I.e. just any
normal phone which you can use.

They have free-of-charge call-in numbers and
you can enable voicemail on the card. That way people can leave a
message for you (you will have to give them your voicemail box number
and (Oz) call-in number.


Wow!! If someone from i.e. Norway should send me a voicemail message,
would they pay the same rates as having a phone conversation with me?


Yes, but it is a *normal* phone call, not a *mobile* phone call.
Normal phone charges from Norway to Oz are probably very low. Again:
Who cares if it costs a (AUS) dollar or so (for the whole call)?

When you call the free call-in number, you will
be notified if there are any messages for you.


But I assume that if there are new messages you will have money deducted
from your card in order to read them?


Yes, but that is a local Oz call, so the same as if you would for
example call your next accomodation to make a booking.

You can easily add money
to these cards (also by credit card). You can transfer the balance and
voicemail box of one card to another, and if you look carefully you can
have a card with a long expiration time (my current one is somewhere way
in 2004). You can use there cards from/in most countries, often with
free-of-charge call-in numbers. So for example, I can call free-of-charge
from The Netherlands to check my balance.


Cool! So now you also have an Australian phone number. Kind of exotic
and cool ;-)


Well, not really an Australian *phone* number, but an Australian
*voicemailbox* number.

Telstra is by no means the
cheapest (in per-minute rates) card, but is very convenient for
occasional use. If you want to call frequently, then *also* buy a cheap
but less flexible card, for example the "Super Saver" cards from Coles
supermarkets (AUD$ 30 for *500* minutes to most countries in Europe and
North America).


So the Telstra card is best if you want to have the ability to let
people leave message for you, but if you want to call people back home
you buy one at Coles supermarkets?


Yes. But only if you call a lot. I don't know how much you call when
you are on holiday. We only call very little, especially because of the
time difference (i.e. when you are awake, they are sleeping, and vice
versa). So that is why we use SMS (if we have GSM coverage). Having said
that, during our 10-week holiday in 2000, we used less than AUD$ 30 of
the 'expensive' Telstra card, both for calling in Oz and for calling
home. Again: Big deal!

Which phone company is used for those cards? Or perhaps it's enough to
ask for a super-saver phone card....


Yes.

Unless phone costs from other countries to Australia is a lot cheaper
with the Telstra card as opposed to using my mobile phone for receiving
calls I wouldn't need that public-phone card.

I believe the most practical thing for me would be to buy an Australian
pre-paid SIM card and have people send me messages or call me using the
Australian mobile phone number. That way I don't have to pay for
incoming calls/messages and they can reach me at any time (unless I'm in
remote areas or have the phone turned off).
But since I'm new to all of this I may very well be completely wrong.


Yes, that would be the most *practical*, but it would also be the most
*expensive* for the people calling you, i.e. the Norwegian rates to a Oz
*mobile* phone are probably quite high.

But just try it. As mentioned the pre-paid SIMs are about AUD$ 25 and
include (about) that amount in call-credits. If it works, great. If it
doesn't, bad luck and you have 'wasted' AUD$ 25. Big deal.

I hope this helps.


Sure does. Useful to hear others' experiences from places I haven't been
yet.

Hallvard
--
Atari Launchpad : http://launchpad.atari.org
Notator/Creator SL : http://www.notator.org

  #4  
Old September 14th, 2003, 03:16 PM
David James Spillett
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Buying/using pre-paid SIM cards

"Daniel Bowen" wrote in message ...
Sounds expensive.
Sending SMS messages domestically in Norway is very expensive compared
to most countries I've heard. We pay NOK 1.00 for each message here
(around EUR 0.12) while other European countries supposedly pay only a
fraction of that.

Australian telcos typically charge between 20 and 25 Australian cents per
message.


www.CheaperText.co.uk offer SMS far cheaper than that. Prices for
Norway, Austrailia and many other locations are 4 UK pence [less than
0.06 euro, and less than 10 austrailian cents] per text.

We are primarily a UK outfit, but people from other countries are
welcome to join!
  #5  
Old September 14th, 2003, 10:27 PM
Daniel Bowen
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Buying/using pre-paid SIM cards

"David James Spillett" wrote in message
om...
Prices for
Norway, Austrailia and many other locations are 4 UK pence [less than
0.06 euro, and less than 10 austrailian cents] per text.


Where's Austrailia? :-)

And I'm afraid nothing beats the portability of sending SMS from a mobile.


Daniel
--
Daniel Bowen, Melbourne, Australia
dbowen at custard dot net dot au



  #6  
Old September 15th, 2003, 10:56 AM
Jason
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Posts: n/a
Default Buying/using pre-paid SIM cards

On Sat, 13 Sep 2003 12:51:34 +1000, Daniel Bowen wrote:

From my Telstra (postpaid) phone, it works to my friends in the UK,
including when they are roaming elsewhere in Europe and the US.


I had the same experience as Frank trying from a Telstra Communic8 phone
to the UK. The only time it did work was when the recipient was also
roaming in Oz, probably on Telstra.

But you really need to check, either with the phone companies concerned (to
ask if they have reciprocal SMS delivery arrangements) or by trying it.
Theoretically it should work any phone to any phone, but this is not always
the case.


But it seems that even if they do have an agreement, and trying to get
this information out of mobile phone companies isn't easy, it still might
not work.

I think I would probably try using Optus. SMS messages when roaming on
them worked back to the UK and they have a bigger network than Vodaphone.
I think Virgin is also a possibility as they use the Optus network.

And in answer to the original question. You don't need a triband phone for
Oz. They don't use the 1900 Mhz band. This is only used in North and South
America. I don't think they use the 1800 Mhz band much in Oz either. J

Jason

 




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