GYM SIM, call me up in Liechtenstein
Global Yacht Mobile (GYM) is a new company whose first product is a pay-as-you-call SIM card service designed to help international voyagers manage their cell phone costs. $60 gets you the card with a phone number theoretically in Liechtenstein—apparently a principality that’s friendly to global cell talkers—and $20 of calling credit. You add credit to, or “top off” in Brit talk, the GYMsim using their Web site and your credit card. GYMsim claims significant savings over international roaming and also claims to be competitive with local country SIMs without the hassle of changing cards and numbers from country to country. All rates for some 121 nations are clearly spelled out, including special GYM-to-GYM discounts (hello megayacht crews), and supposedly there are no hidden costs whatsoever. Sounds good for voyagers, or even just scribblers who get to go on exotic press junkets once in a while.
Of course you need to have an unlocked GSM phone, preferably quad band, to use a GYMsim, which is exactly what I ended up with after my phone search a couple months ago. (I got a Motorola V190, above, not the smart phone I was dreaming of, but I like it). So I’m ready to try a GYMsim, which is “in the mail”, but meanwhile I’m curious what you all think of this service, or other ways to do cellular in foreign waters without nasty surprises?
The “Free” incoming calls is very attractive, but read the fine print. Incoming calls if you’re in the US, Mexico or Bermuda will cost you $1/min.
But there are lots of areas that are free. Obviously this transfers the cost to the caller, but calls to a cellular number in Liechtenstein are about $.14/min from AT&T and only $.11/min if you use 3U Telecom. So a quick call to the person you want to speak with back home, who calls you back while you’re in Antigua is going to make for a fairly cheap call.
The outgoing calls are not so attractively priced, a call from Mexico to the US will cost a little more than $2.00/min, that’s more than an Iridium call. But a call from Australia back to the US will be only $.50 / min.
So if you’re calling your kids and they’ll call you back, it may be cheap. If you’re calling for support on your watermaker, be careful.
It might argue for having one of these in a phone dedicated to receiving calls, and another to use for country by country sim’s for outgoing calls.
It’s still the SIM game as played by global travelers today, have the right sim for any given call.
Ben, it is a good idea for those who travel a lot or roam around Europe. Not a big deal for US travel.
The rates are not a bargain at all
I have been using United Mobile for about a year for worldwide roaming with pretty good luck. It is also a Liechtenstein based number. My service was orginally from an offshoot of their company called “Riiing” – but they gave up on that and its just United Mobile now. I have found Telestial to be a pretty reference and retailer of worldwide SIM cards from several suppliers as well: http://www.telestial.com/. Just my two cents – I am no expert. Curt
I notice that there is no data capability, a major limitation.
I spoke with Sean at GYM the other day; they are working on a SIM that does data. But it’s hard to do.