Fully roaming SIM card

Hi all. Well I have to admit it I have just bought an Android smartphone and am now reviewing my options for the SIM.
firstly I am not sure why there appear to be : SIM cards and Data SIM cards. If someone can clear this up for me that would be a good first step.
So, I am looking for a truly roaming service - this means I want the best signal available at any time. I do not want to loose my credit if I don’t use it up in time and as it is a smartphone, of course I want to both make calls and have data.
I make and receive calls very infrequently so a package with loads of minutes included would not attract me especially.
Thanks in advance

Hi Geoff,

I do not want to appear rude or dismissive, but is there a reason that you cannot research the meanings of some of the info you are after - or maybe you have, but just haven’t said.
I do get some in France may have been through the washer obtaining quotes for best “deals” ; which actually change monthly from supplier to supplier.

As far as the difference between a Sim & a Data Sim is concerned; it is slightly a red herring.
I believe sims are exactly the same in what they do. When a sim is designated a data sim, it will be the service that the supplier , applies to that sim.
So a data sim, as far as i can tell, is used only to provide the internet. ie…you place the sim in a router, and it provides the internet to devices connected to the router.
A “normal” sim, is used in a mobile phone.

The term “roaming” was coined in a service that allowed you to have voice and usually data…ie the internet, download email…on a smartphone when abroad…via usually another service supplier, that partnered your home country mobile service.
A quick google , also found this quote from Wikipedia…which is subtly different.
“A roaming SIM is a mobile phone SIM card that operates on more than one network within its home country. Roaming SIMs currently have two main applications, least cost call routing for roaming mobile calls and machine to machine.”

Most people just get the best deal for their main country of residence…and enquire about roaming costs / capability if the travel.
The supply of a truly roaming sim is almost counter intuitive; as each supplier of a sim, will expect you to sign up for one of their services - not someone else’s.
Therefore the add-on of not losing unused minutes etc does not even come into it.

Without knowing more of your situation… i would say buy a sim from the supplier which has the best signal in the area you work/live.

As regards package…go for one that has low minutes that roll over…some do…but again, they may not be in the supplier who provides the best signal in your area…
I suggest pick a supplier, then google their rates for sim only.




You say you want to ‘roam’ but not where! Basically first decision is where you actually want your mobile number to be - for example living in France with a UK mobile may stop people living in France from phoning you as they will not want to pay.

You say that you make/receive very few calls, so at the end of the day, whatever decision you take will not make much financial impact. The new European rules mean that you can phone in Europe using your minutes and text allowance from your home country - and the same applies to data. This makes the ‘roaming’ part of the equation quite easy - at least for now. What happens to the UK when they leave the Europe Zone is presumably on the rather long list of things still to be negotiated!

So my recommendation would be the same as Glenn - chose a SIM provider that gives excellent cover where you live, and forget the rest.


I found this website with good information about prepaid SIM cards, roaming costs, and advice/descriptions of the different services in France. Had you already seen this: http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/France

Regarding best option for roaming service, the recommendation seems to be Orange.

I liked the descriptons of the different services, and the info seems pretty up-to-date.

Hi Mary, thanks for this extremly comprehensive site. I had not seen it.
In the meantime, I have just obtained (for free including £5 credit !) a GiffGaff SIM from UK. Looking at their packages (they call them ‘goody bags’ ! ) they seem to offer around three times as much data/minutes/SMS per euro than do Orange here in France. What I do not know however is whether the cost of using this Uk card will be more here in France and thus erode the price difference.

1 Like

Hi Sandra and thanks for your reply. I am sorry if I was not clear, but when I speak of roaming, what I mean is that I want my phone to find the strongest signal available (both here in France and when in UK) and not select preferentially the signal provided by that SIM provider. In other words, If I am using an Orange SIM card, my phone will always use the signal provided by Orange even if another provider is offering a better signal at that location.

My present SIM is not allied to any service provider so just finds the strongest signal wherever I am in the world. It is however expensive.



I am not aware of any cheap SIM cards that you can get here in France that ‘roam’ in this way in France - they will, however, do this when you are in the UK….

Good luck in your hunt!