When I’m travelling, I use local SIMs for my unlocked phone. These wouldn’t be the most convenient, however, for layovers or short stays (23 hour stopovers). There are many international SIM’s available out there, but they generally charge a flat rate per day, usually with a minimum number of days required, so local SIM cards have always been more useful for me.
I had yet to find a solution for connecting during short layovers until I was contacted by a great Toronto-based startup called KnowRoaming, which has a super cool solution for roaming.
How KnowRoaming Works
The KnowRoaming SIM is actually a sticker, which you apply on your home SIM (or any other SIM). The sticker contains some technology that activates when you’re out of your home country.
You can see in the picture above, that the KnowRoaming SIM is attached to the SIM on the right. A left sim is a “regular” micro SIM. The package that KnowRoaming comes in contains an applicator to attach the SIM sticker to a SIM of your choice.
As well, the SIM comes with an app on your phone that tracks your usage, and installs any necessary profile on your phone to allow you to roam on their network while abroad. As well, you can set up number for call forwarding, and calling while you’re abroad, but I didn’t utilize any of that.
The KnowRoaming website has a list of all rates, so you can know what you pay before you leave the country.
For example, I was in Germany just for a day a while back. I keep the KnowRoaming SIM sticker attached to my T-Mobile prepaid SIM which I use for US trips. (With US trips, I use T-Mobile as you really can’t beat $3 a day for Data, Calling, and SMS). After installing the profile, I’d get a text message when my flight landed abroad.
I ended up using around $2 for 15 MB of data. I tend to use data extremely heavily, so I had to pace myself to avoid overspending.
My thoughts on KnowRoaming
While I don’t use it as a permanent roaming solution, you can if you want. After all, it’s still 90% off regular roaming rates with most carriers. What I like about KnowRoaming though it is that it has the ability to roam worldwide without using multiple sims, while being able to charge a reasonable rate calculated by usage.
There is absolutely no global SIM, local SIM, or roaming package that could allow me to pay this little for a few hours of connectivity abroad. A few weeks I recall that they were selling the SIM stickers for $25 plus shipping, but it seems they’re out of stock or something like that and taking positions on a waitlist.
However, if you in any way need to stay connected while on your travels, I strongly recommend this product, not as your sole solution to roaming abroad, but in tandem with local SIMs, prepaid international SIMs, or any solution you currently use. I wouldn’t use KnowRoaming when I’m spending 3-14 days in a place as I can find cheaper rates from local SIM cards, but for quick layovers or stopovers of a day it’s an unbeatable option.
Full Disclosure: I’m not being compensated or paid in any way for this review.