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How many SIMs cards do you have?

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Between my partner and I we seem to be on a SIM collecting spree!

My latest trip to Malaysia added yet another SIM. But what a pleasure – For approx $10 and 10 mins, was up and running on email, BBM, WhatsAp, etc!

Simple getting a SIM card!

Simple getting a SIM card!

All I needed was my passport.

In a puzzling irony, discovered that it is cheaper to call India from Kuala Lumpur than it is to call someone within the same city?! As in half price? Now… how is that logical?

That I later ran into all sorts of network and other issues had more to do with the fact that my Blackberry was on its last legs than the service provider.

Even getting a SIM in Indonesia is quite simple – though I was lucky my colleague picked up my card so it was ready and waiting on my arrival – nice, eh?

What a contrast with the hassles of getting a ‘proper’ connection in Índia… We now keep a spare SIM active for international guests to save them the trouble. We’d rather our guests have a simple way to make & receive local calls / SMS rather than flounder about wasting time figuring out the requirements of passport photos, signing over 1st born, etc!

And forget trying to disconnect a post-paid if you leave the country… one friend who shall remain forever nameless and I struggled to get his SIM connection responsibly closed (ie don’t just run out of the country and leave unpaid bills). This process took 1.5 years… hmm….

There is a reason for all the extra requirements – the ease of acquiring pre-paid mobile connections was linked to terrorist activities. The challenge is that all the extra steps harass the average person whereas do little to deter those with more nefarious communication purposes!

Colourful SIMs from US, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong

Colourful SIMs from US, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong

But I digress from our growing collection… For several years my partner extensively toured Europe, North America and Asia. Along the way, he collected SIM cards from all over. We wonder if his European SIMs or our New York SIM can be brought back to action with a few dollars!

I’m under no illusion that my Hong Kong Sim can be re-activated and gave my Singapore SIM back to my former company.

However I do hope to revive my Indonesia SIM. I’ll be back in Jakarta in March and – fingers crossed – no issues getting my Telkomsel SIM fatted up with more Rupiah and functioning! And if not my earlier SIM, I’m not worried about getting a new one.

Oddly, we have a tough time in Canada. Picking up a pre-paid isn’t so simple… At least one that will work in our Blackberries (as ironically the country that created Blackberry barely uses them now!)

Thankfully during our last trip to Canada, our friends came to the rescue and we were equipped with both phone + card to survive keeping connected at the Winnipeg Folk Festival.

However as I started shopping for a new handset, discovered all the fancy new handsets use micro SIMs… so perhaps it is time to retire all our old SIM cards? No matter how colourful the international collection!

How do you keep in touch when traveling?

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