Four tips to get the most out of your SIM cards

16 Apr 2014 by Clement Huang

WHERE: Hong Kong

WHO: Smartone

OUR TIP: Call more, text less

WHY: The cost of SMS is typically more expensive in Hong Kong than the cost of calling.

SAVINGS: Smartone charges HK$0.7 per text (to other local networks) while the cost of voice calling is only HK$0.12 per minute (at peak hours). Might as well anyway – you have been to Hong Kong, you’d know how crazy pedestrian flow gets in this city. Better talk and spare your eyes for watching the incoming traffic.


WHERE: Singapore

WHO: Singtel

OUR TIP: Budget by the length of your stay

WHY: Some prepaid top-up cards expire within 30 days, while others are good for a period of six months. So check the fine print of the card to take note of how long the value of each top-up card will last.

SAVINGS: If you are only in town for a short time, and have no immediate plans to come back, some short-term cards, with value valid for about a month, offer bonus benefits such as extra call time and free data. But if you are a regular traveller to Singapore, consider buying the standard prepaid cards which, although offering no extras, last up to 180 days.


WHERE: Australia

WHO: Telstra

OUR TIP: Pick a prepaid plan that best caters to your mobile phone habits

WHY: Telsta offers four different types of prepaid offers. Cap Encore allows users to recharge their SIM value and gain bonus credit. Beyond Talk is a jack-of-all-trades deal that offers a mix of talk time, SMS and data. Simplicity allows calls and texting at a flat rate. Finally, Long Life offers mobile credit plans that can last for a maximum of 12 months.

SAVINGS: Varies based on the plan, and depending on your mobile usage habits



WHO: Lebara

OUR TIP: Those who make frequent international calls from the UK should consider Lebara’s “pay as you go” SIMs

WHY: International calls to selected countries start from just 0.01p a minute.     

SAVINGS: Let’s compare Lebara’s rates to another UK carrier. The standard charge for a phone call from the UK to Hong Kong costs £0.03/min for Lebara, while O2 charges £1.50/min.

More more tips on how to save on telecommunications while overseas, check out the “Smart traveller” in the May issue of Business Traveller Asia-Pacific. To subscribe, click here.

Clement Huang

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