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|Unlock your compatible phone or buy a compatible, unlocked phone
Install a native SIM card* for each country you are visiting
|Receive a new local service number for the country you are in. No roaming charges for calls from that country.
||New phone number.
|Normally includes free incoming calls.||May not be able to roam from country to country with the SIM card. |
|When calling within that country, local dialing pattern and domestic rates apply.||Must know international dialing pattern to the U.S. and elsewhere.|
|International rates may be less expensive than U.S. service plan providers.||May need to recharge the service for both local and international service. |
|If your carrier won't unlock your phone, unlocking services are available.||To unlock you phone, you may need to ship it to an unlocking service.|
|Pre-paid or pay-as-you-talk payment formats may be suitable for short-term visits.||Acquiring and replacing SIM cards may be too much hassle for some.|
|Your carrier may be able to forward calls from your U.S. number to your international number.
If not, there are retailers available who do this for a fee.
(Internet search: toll free forwarding)
|Additional expense and setup if you want this feature and your carrier will
not forward calls to an international number.|
|Text and data may be included.||Text and data may not be included. |
The SIM card is a chip usually located in the battery compartment. It stores location area identity (local phone number), subscription information and the phone contact list.
Native SIM cards work on the local country's network at that country's rates, so users do not incur roaming charges they would if using a US-based SIM on the foreign network. SIM cards are available online or from SIM card retailers.
(Internet search: International SIM)
When you switch SIM cards, your local US number is temporaily disabled (voice mail may still work) and you will receive a local phone number on the
foreign network where you are located. Be sure to insert the native SIM before arriving in the destination country. This will insure that your phone will not be registered as a U.S. SIM and possibly incur international roaming charges.
Phones purchased from regular U.S. service providers are often locked, which inhibits the phone from accepting a different SIM card. Information on purchasing an unlocked phone or unlocking a locked phone, as well as how to insert a SIM card can be found by searching the web.
(Internet search: phone unlock)