One of the most exciting hacks you can do older Amazon Kindle supporting 3G was to use it global sim card emergency situations via SSH. As U.S. telecommunications companies shut down their 3G networks for years, that ability expired. However, there is a way to get a truly global SIM for £22.99 (or around $28): here’s how we did it.
RWG is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) based in Wales that specializes in IoT (Internet of Things) connectivity. IoT is a general term for connected things like e-scooters or smart meters, many of which use data-only SIM cards.
The one that caught my attention is called Only SIM card data for 5 years (opens in a new tab), which gives you 100MB every month for 60 months for a one-time price (£22.99). You can buy more than one, and RWG says the SIM card will never expire – although you can’t carry over any unused data. A cheaper UK-only SIM card is available for around half the price.
Now 100MB per month doesn’t sound like much. Netflix, even on the lowest settings, consumes 170 MB of data per hour (opens in a new tab) but if all you want to do is send text messages (not SMS) or small packets of data (which is what IoT is all about) then this is a great solution. 1 MB is enough to send about 10,000 Whatsapp messages if that’s your thing (or about an 8-minute voice call in our rough test). Videos and photos consume a lot of data and should therefore be avoided.
In a quick conversation with the RWG Mobile support team, we were told that we can use the SIM card in most global territories, with the exception of a few countries (Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Venezuela and Yemen). Note that Russia and Cuba are not part of the list, while Venezuela is a surprising addition.
Since you can buy more than one SIM card, you can technically install two of them in your mobile device (there is no restriction on using it in smartphone or tablet we were told) or in Mi Fi/ /4G Hotspot device and swap them (although it might make a mess).
Anyone – even living outside the UK – can buy a SIM card, the only restriction is that it must be activated in the UK before traveling abroad. Accepts various international credit cards (JCB, Discover, Diners) although, interestingly, no American Express.
You also don’t need to register a SIM card, which means you don’t have to pay extra if you go over the 100 MB limit.
How to use a global SIM card?
The obvious answer is that you can use it as a fallback data SIM, but note that it will be useless on landline phones because (a) it’s a 4G SIM (b) you can’t use it to make calls or send messages messages.
If you travel frequently or are a business user, it will provide you with a pass-through SIM which will come in handy for booking a taxi or finding directions, but note that it won’t replace Wi-Fi if you can find it. However, there is no alternative to eSIM.
A global SIM card can also be used in a GPS tracker as well as for various things like baggage tracking in case of the worst.