Be it a regular traveler or someone on a small vacation, being connected is a necessity today! You don’t want to be left uninformed about the happenings in the lives of your loved ones nor about any official plans in the work environment.
Whenever you plan to travel internationally, the first thought that strikes your mind is about your connectivity with others while you are there. In most cases, people activate extremely high-priced international Roaming services provided by their Cellphone Carriers. But, there are some other affordable options too!
Rather than activating international roaming services, you can get an international SIM card from your homeland which will help you have a new local phone number in the foreign country. And one such product which I used and really liked was the XIM card.
XIM card is an international Roaming card which I received in India itself before I left for USA. One of the guys from their offices delivered the card personally to my place and explained everything about setting the card up and activating it.
Let me take you through the entire process and give my experiences with this product in detail.
Setting up and Activating the XIM card
There is nothing extraordinary required to be done for activating the XIM card. It just needs to be activated on the basis of the locale of the country you are visiting. In my case, I was visiting the USA and I needed to activate it for USA.
P.S. For ordering the XIM card, you will need to send a scanned copy of your Passport and Visa via Email to the XIM officials for verification of your international travel.
There is an activation PIN code which you need to enter for registering on local Carriers in foreign countries. For USA, the registration number for XIM card is 30000, so whenever I restarted my phone I needed to enter 30000 for my device to understand that it has to register my XIM card in USA and connect me to the nearest cellphone tower.
Once you enter this code, you get connected to the local network partner (AT&T and T-Mobile in my case) for XIM and are good to go according to your usage plan.
Features offered by the XIM service
Unlike all the international SIM cards, XIM didn’t just give me a US number to use. It gave me 2 phone numbers in a single SIM card which are smartly used using an internal algorithm.
One phone number was a local UK number and the other one was a local USA number. Whenever I used to call anyone in USA, it used my US number and the person receiving the call would get my local US number on his Caller ID.
On the other hand, if I made an international call, it used my UK number and the person receiving the call would be flashed with my UK number on their screen. Now, this is done to help you save money! Wondering how?? UK has very low international calling rates when compared to the US, so using the UK number for making/receiving international calls has its own benefits. I also gave my UK number to all my folks back in India, so even they can call me anytime they want and receiving calls would be free for me!
Note that they could also call me on my US number, but that would be chargeable for me as US service providers charge you for incoming calls and SMS unless you have a special tariff-plan exclusively with them.
Using Data was not a big problem as I could connect to the T-Mobile Data Network with ease just by tweaking my current APN settings.
Experience with XIM card
I used the XIM card as my primary connectivity option for about a week and I was pretty happy that it was getting things done for me.
I remember how easy it was to just insert the XIM card in the phone and just type the Registration code of “30000” to get started. Initially, the SIM card was registered on AT&T and I could make domestic calls in the US along with international calls to India.
The Call quality was never a problem for domestic USA calls but there appeared to be a small lag of about 1-2 seconds between the voice transmissions during International calls. Never faced any Call drops and the clarity of voice was good!
The XIM card usually connected to the T-Mobile network which is pretty good in the Chicago area, but it did shift to AT&T in some places. I sometimes faced a weird issue where the network got locked to AT&T and T-Mobile alternatively while I was sitting in the same room without specially switching it. Also, there were a few network issues with the XIM card where it refused to connect to any network for a short while even when the other phones using the same local network were working without any issues. No other major issues with the reception or network were observed and I could manage with the connectivity it offered!
International as well as Domestic SMSs were delivered at proper times within a couple of minutes of sending it.
The Data download speed offered in my plan was for 2G, but I didn’t have to rely on it heavily as WiFi is available at most places in the US for free.
XIM Card Tariff rates (for the XIM USA plan)
Incoming calls on UK Number: Free
Outgoing calls from UK number: Rs. 20 per minute (including International)
Outgoing SMS charges: Rs. 35
Incoming calls on US number: Rs. 10 per minute
Outgoing calls (local) from US number: Rs. 20 per call
Data Usage: Rs. 20 per MB
Considering the affordability factor, I would surely recommend XIM card to people who want to visit foreign countries for a trip. It was priced at just Rs. 1500 and I received an effective usage value of Rs. 1000 at the tariff rates mentioned above. Please note that I would not recommend it for someone who would want to shift to a foreign country permanently or for a visit which lasts for over a couple of months. It is always suggested to get a local SIM card from your country of visit so that you can get local services and better options for add-on facilities.
I give it a good 3.5/5 rating!