I'm often asked which the 'best' roaming data option is[1. Typically the absolute 'best' option is to buy a local pre-pay SIM card, but as described previously this can be difficult if you don't speak the local language.]. Often that depends on where you're travelling to, so I've put together this comparison of the four providers covered recently. All beat current UK network operator tariffs[1. Unless you are on a tariff which includes roaming data - currently Vodafone's Data Traveller package is the only one I'm aware of offering 25MB per day 'free' in Europe on some higher tariffs.] and operate on a pre-pay basis which is an effective way to avoid 'bill-shock'[1. Although pre-pay tariffs prevent you spending more than the credit value loaded onto a card before travel care should still be exercised when using devices like laptops which often perform large downloads which users may not be aware of.]. I've also produced a PDF version of the coverage data below for offline reference and easier searching.
I welcome suggestions in the comments of other services or errors / omissions.
'Pay per megabyte' Services
In price order:
- Maxroam offers data at €0.49 per megabyte in 39 countries. It's a well-established independent operator with 24/7 telephone customer service and good customer feedback. See my write-up for more details.[1. Although Maxroam offers data in more than the 39 countries listed here I have only included those available in the €0.49 per megabyte tariff. Other countries only offer older 'standard' rates are not generally competitive with the specialist tariffs listed here.]
- Abroadband offers data at €0.59 per megabyte in 64 countries. It's run by Telekom Austria with telephone customer service Monday to Friday, 0900 to 1700h (CET). Customer feedback is mostly good with a few users reporting activation issues and poor telephone service. See my write-up for more details.
'Pay per day' Services
In price order:
- Europasim offers a €6 per day service (up to 150MB) across 33 European countries. It's a very small operator with few reviews and no customer feedback I can find. See my initial write-up for more details.
- Maxroam offers three bundles which can be added to their 'pay per megabyte' SIM (above): €9 per day (30MB), €29 per week (100MB) and €55 per month (200MB).
- XCom Global offers a $14.95 per day service (genuinely unlimited data) across 195 countries. The service is used with rented hardware so must be ordered for each trip. Support is 24/7 for customers. Customer feedback is good, but my pre-sales enquiry has not been answered. See my write-up for more details.[1. Non-US customers should note that additional shipping charges may apply and that rental fees start from the time of dispatch, not receipt by the customer.]
USA and Canada