SIM card keeps you chatting on the cheap
The SIM card – once known as WhatSim, and only offering Whatsapp messaging from around the world – has now been rebranded to include QQ, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Skype, Viber, Line, KakaoTalk, Telegram, Snapchat, Twitter, Google Hangouts and Apple iMessage in addition to WhatsApp.
“The initial €10 (R129.70) charge entitles you (within twelve months from activation) to exchange unlimited text messages and emoticons,” said ChatSim.
Though, if you want to do more than just send a message on those platforms, such as send videos or pictures, then you have to buy extra credits.
These credits translate into megabytes (MB) that you can use to surf the internet, or send photos to friends and family.
But be warned: Buying credits means that the non-messaging block (meaning that only messages, and no app updates, or photos can be sent or received) is switched off, and your smartphone can end up eating all the data.
Depending on the country you are in, each set of credits has a different cost. The countries have been split up into six different zones.
According to ChatSim’s website, for example, “with a €10 (R129.70) recharge you get 2,000 credits with which you can exchange around 200 photos of about 200 KB in size, or 40 videos lasting about 10 seconds in zone 1.”
According to Gigaom, an American based technology website, ChatSim has some limits on the supposedly limitless plan.
“If you’re traveling the world and spreading your usage among different countries, then you won’t face any restrictions. But if more than 60% of your usage is in one of six geographic zones, then ChatSim will start throwing up roadblocks,” said Gigaom.
For example, if you are travelling in the United Kingdom, which is Zone 2 and includes 30 other countries, you would be restricted to 25 MB of chat traffic before additional charges kick in, in any of those countries in that zone.
“That translates into about 12,500 messages, or 34 messages a day, according to Zeromobile,” said Gigaom.
Shipping and Activation
You can order the ChatSim straight off of their website. The initial 12 month fee (as stated above) is about R129.70.
While ordering the SIM, you can opt to top up with extra data, so that you can send videos and pictures. The website offers a minimum top-up bundle of €5 (R64.78) but you can buy up to €50 (R647.84).
If you choose standard mail delivery, which the site states will take between five to 25 working days, then there are no delivery fees.
With registered mail, which can take between five and 15 working days, it will cost €10 to deliver. With express courier for delivery between three and five working days, it will cost €40 (R518.27).
The ChatSim is a good option if you are thinking of travelling the world, as free WI-FI is not always accessible. Crossing time-zones, and boarders means that one country’s SIM card won’t work in the next.
However, if you are a heavy chatter, and want to keep in touch with everyone while away, then the limits imposed on each zone (without buying any top-ups) might not be the best for you.
It all depends on where you are travelling to, and what your communication needs are.
For about R129.70 for a year to keep you connected, the SIM card might be worth it.
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