Roaming data package, eSim or SIM card?
This is how you save on roaming charges abroad
If you want to surf the Internet abroad, you need a roaming data package. Some users pay exorbitant prices for this. Alternatives are usually cheaper.
The local prepaid SIM card is the cheapest way to save when roaming abroad.
Samuel WalderRingier journalism student
If you want to post a picture on your skiing holiday abroad or show friends and families the beautiful view of the Alps via cell phone video call, you need an internet connection. For this purpose, travelers can buy special so-called roaming data packages from the mobile phone provider.
Ralf Beyeler is a telecom and money expert at the Moneyland comparison service. He says: “Today, many mobile phone subscriptions are already equipped with roaming data packages.” That makes sense if someone travels a lot. That means you pay for the mobile phone subscription every month and you already have surfing, calls and text messages included, for example, throughout Europe.
Otherwise you would have to buy a roaming data package that is limited to a certain number of gigabits (GB) or a period of time.
These are the most popular roaming data packages for Europe
|Sunrise||30d||Unlimited data usage||49.90 francs|
|Salt||365d||3 gigabits (GB)||34.95 francs|
However, depending on the length of your stay abroad, the roaming data packages may not be sufficient. If the data is used up, you have to buy a package again. This could get expensive.
A cheaper alternative is the eSIM, says Beyeler. An eSIM is a digital SIM card that you can load onto your cell phone. “You can load an eSIM onto your mobile device online using a QR code from mobile phone providers abroad.”
Similar to the data packages, these are limited to a certain time or to a certain data volume. On the Maya Mobile website, customers pay CHF 11 for 5 GB for 30 days. However, Beyeler recommends: “Before you travel, you should find out which providers are available in the desired country. Then you should compare the prices of the different eSIM providers.”
There are also very expensive eSIM cards that can cost up to 46 francs.
Prepaid SIM cards are the cheapest solution
However, the eSIM has one disadvantage. «Mainly the eSIM cards are only supported by Apple. Android users have a disadvantage there,” says Beyeler.
Another option for effortless surfing abroad is the local prepaid SIM card. This can be purchased in the relevant travel country. If travelers buy a local prepaid SIM card with 5 GB for the Europe zone for 14 days, they pay CHF 26.94 from the “Travel Sim” provider. “The prices on the Internet differ significantly from the prices in a local shop,” says Beyeler.
In South America, for example, there are SIM cards that you can buy for as little as 1.50 francs, says Ralf Beyeler. So it’s worth waiting and only worrying about a SIM card when you arrive at your destination.