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Next month I am traveling to country X, where I would need Y minutes of calls, Z text messages and most importantly Q megabytes of data. How can I find the cheapest/most reliable SIM card for my needs?

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  • NB: this is intended as a canonical question for all future (and past) questions about buying SIM cards.
    – JonathanReez
    Sep 13, 2017 at 8:32
  • I do not really like that instead of getting the useful answer this "canonical question" drives all readers into third party site that immediately throws half page ads into face. Many much more useful, country specific answers have been closed. I cannot do much but I downvote the question, answer an raise the flag
    – h22
    Oct 16, 2022 at 16:50
  • @h22 the frequency at which plans change is staggering and way beyond the ability of StackExchange members to update. Previously all we had to offer was dozens of severely outdated answers that were no longer of much use.
    – JonathanReez
    Oct 16, 2022 at 22:58
  • The possibility to pre-order in some website is not the only and may not be the most convenient one if the card is also sold right in the airport.
    – h22
    Oct 17, 2022 at 5:59

2 Answers 2

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Your best bet is to check the massively useful website called "Prepaid Data SIM Card Wiki". They have an article on pretty much every country in the world and it's kept relatively up to date thanks to their volunteer editors.

There is also a new website called eSimDB that provides comparisons between eSIM cards by various virtual operators. The advantage of those is that you can configure everything before leaving. Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with this website in any way.

After you visit country X and check out their prepaid offers, make sure to go back to the Data SIM Wiki and update the respective article if something is missing or outdated, so that future readers can use your experience as well.

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For your usecase I would consider getting a phone which supports eSIM. This will at least in some countries (see list on Apple's website) put your in a position to sign up with a GSM operator purely over the Internet (which also means: prior to arrival) and have your plan activated when you arrive. This can be handy if you arrive in places or at times when shops are not open or hard to find.

Yet in some countries GSM operators require a proof of identity in order to sign you up, like Germany or Switzerland for example. In that case, the eSIM enabled operators will usually also allow you to do some kind of remote identification, so you can still prepare prior to arriving.

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  • I've found a great website called esimdb that compares virtual eSIM operators, most of which don't require identity verification even for countries like Germany, as they provide a roaming service.
    – JonathanReez
    Jan 21 at 13:14

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