Review: Telestial’s JT Data SIM Card
I was planning a month-long trip across three European countries, but was perplexed on how to stay connected abroad. I own an unlocked iPhone 6 but my American provider, Verizon, does not offer economical international calling and data plans. After doing research and speaking to friends who live in Europe, including my sister, I was even more confused – it seemed many plans for one country could not be used in another; many had different and expensive rates for talk-minutes and data; and others required a long-term commitment. Fortunately, I discovered Telestial, a telecommunications company that offers numerous solutions for global and business travelers.
Since I wasn’t going to be making many phone calls and needed my mobile primarily for research and navigation, I tested Telestial’s 1GB Data SIM Card. It was an invaluable resource during my trip, especially when I needed to email my AirBnB hosts about delayed flights or find my way around new cities.
Who It’s Good For
International travelers who need up to a month of coverage.
How it Works
The card comes in three sizes: standard SIM, Micro SIM, and Nano SIM (which is what I used for my iPhone 6). The SIM is perforated into a larger wallet-size card that contains instructions and identification numbers. To install the card:
- Turn off your phone.
- Carefully remove the SIM card at the size you need and insert it into your phone. Save the wallet card, you ‘ll need the PIN, global, and serial numbers to manage the account.
- Start up your phone.
- Set your APN and enable the data roaming per the instructions on the back of the wallet card.
- To manage your account and purchase additional data, go to rechargeminutes.com or download the free JT Travel App.
Since I was traveling for an extended period and would occasionally be using map and navigation features, the company sent me the 1 GB Data SIM Card that goes for $99. There is a 200 MB Data SIM Card for $50 that’s ideal for lighter uses like checking email. The great thing about Telestial’s International SIM is that it offers coverage in 55 countries that includes most of Europe plus the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Ghana, and several nations in Asia.
Telestial also offers Europe and International SIM Cards that come with pre-loaded credits and the ability to purchase more at low, pre-paid rates. To compare SIM plans, visit www.telestial.com/international_sim_cards.php. For an idea of how much data each type of online activity consumes, refer to the chart below (courtesy of Telestial).
How to Buy It
The best way to get hold of Telestial’s SIM cards is to purchase them online at www.telestial.com. I recommend getting the card in advance so that you’re mobile-ready as soon as you arrive at your destination and to verify that everything works correctly. If you’re using a plan with cellular service, ordering ahead of time gives you the opportunity to inform family and friends of your number as well.
Telestial’s SIM cards are available in some select stores and airport retail centers, but not everywhere at present. If you’re already on the road, contact customer service for assistance in mailing the SIM to your hotel or hostel.
- Telestial’s SIM coverage lasts a month from the start of its activation, so don’t install the card until it’s close to your departure date. Also, don’t be scared to use up leftover minutes toward the end of your trip as you cannot save them after the month has expired.
- When not using your phone, turn off data and roaming settings. Use WiFi whenever available to conserve credits—it’s easy to find free hotspots at hotels and cafés.
- Enabling location information—often used for map applications—can quickly consume data. Likewise, apps like Facebook and Instagram are set to automatically download and play videos in your feed. This can get costly, so users may want to change the apps’ settings or close them when not in use.
- Contact your current provider and see if your mobile phone is unlocked to accept another carrier’s SIM card.
- If you do not have a cellular plan, place voice and video calls on apps like Skype, Google Chat, and Facebook Messenger.
- Remember that Facetime and iMessage can be used for free between other Apple devices anywhere in the world using an internet connection.
- If you prefer texting, try What’s App—a cross-platform mobile app that allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. You’ll need to verify your phone number to activate the account so download and install it before you leave.
How do you stay connected abroad? Share your advice in the reply section below.
Lara was instilled with the travel bug at an early age and has visited over 25 countries. Her mother’s job as a flight attendant enabled a childhood of exploring the world. In addition to being the founding editor of En Route Traveler, Lara also works as the Art Director for the branding firm, Belmont Inc., in Alexandria, VA. In her spare time, she instructs high-energy Zumba dance classes, contributes as a Local Expert to AFAR, enjoys vegetarian cuisine, dabbles in photography and, of course, travels as much as possible.