Free calls and data when you’re aboard, but don’t stop looking for hotels with WiFi just yet
The concept is simple; use the same SIM card while you’re travelling that you use in everyday life back at home. Three’s Feel At Home SIM lets you use your existing minutes, texts and data is select countries around the world. Anyone with a pay monthly, Pay-As-You-Go or a SIM-only (which we tested) Three deal can benefit. ‘Free’ social media, web surfing, navigation and cals, wherever your are! What can go wrong?
Actually, not much, though in our tests using the Three SIM in Nevada and Arizona, USA, Gran Canaria (Spain) and in the Faroe Islands (in Denmark), we did have a few problems. With international roaming activated on an iPhone 5S, the Three Feel At Home SIM worked on the AT&T network in Las Vegas without any problems. However, when we caught the bus to Flagstaff in Arizona, there was not network coverage for the entire journey. Whether this is due to a lack of infrastructure, or the lack of a local partner for Three, who can say? The other limitation is that you can’t tether an iPad or a laptop to a phone using the Three Feel At Home SIM, which is a shame.
Choose your network
However, in the west of Flagstaff the iPhone defaulted to a local T-Mobile network, which allowed calls home, but not a web connection. On the east side of the town I managed to switch off auto mode and manually find the AT&T network, which then worked fine for calls and web. Was it the presence of a mountain that blocked-off access to the AT&T network? With similar random problems in both Gran Canaria and the Faroe Islands, it merely underlines how dependent you are on the quality of local networks; the Three Feel At Home SIM is always going to work best in foreign cities, not just anywhere – and rural areas are always going to have poor reception.
Where to roam
It’s not an exhaustive list, but it is eclectic: Spain, New Zealand, France, Switzerland, Israel, Finland, Norway, USA, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Macau, Australia, Italy, Austria, Hong Kong, Sweden, Denmark and Republic of Ireland. The ability to tweet, chat and roam in 18 countries is one that all travellers should embrace – and the addition of Spain this month is probably the clincher (13 million Brits travel there annually). Check-in on Facebook, anyone?