Prepaid SIM Cards & Additional Airtime
In this section we list some commonly asked question and answers regarding SIM cards and how they can turn a GSM world cell phone into an international cell phone with local rates. If you do not see your question listed here, please also view our other FAQs or feel free to contact us
1.What can you do with a prepaid SIM card?
2.What is service life of prepaid sim card, and how to calculate its expiration?
3. Can I keep my SIM card and use it later?
4. Whether a prepaid sim card is ready to use while I arrive in the destination country. Do I have to activate the SIM card?
5. Can I extend additional airtime for my SIM card?
6. How can I purchase additional airtime?
7. When I add airtime does my GSM cell phone number stay the same?
8. What phone number will I get with PandaSIM SIM card?
9. How can a prepaid SIM card be charged?
10. When does the charging start?
11. Can I buy the GSM SIM card on my own phone?
12. Will I have voicemail?
13. Do I need a SIM card?
14. When will get my phone number?
15. Where is the cell phone number of my prepaid SIM card?
16. Are all incoming calls free? Does that mean "from anywhere"?
17. What is a PIN?
18. What is an airtime voucher (recharge card, top-up card)?
19. If the SIM card costs $30, do I get $30 worth of talk time?
20. Can I purchase additional airtime with my SIM card?
21. Can I go to other countries (roam internationally) with my prepaid SIM card?
22. Are the incoming calls really free?
23. Do I keep the same phone number when I switch pre paid service for the next destination?
24. Can I call internationally?
25. How many minutes come with the SIM card?
26. Can somebody else use my SIM card?
27. Can I retain my US cellular phone number?
28. Will I have voicemail?
29. Can I use multiple SIM cards with my phone?
30. If I run out of call credit, do I buy another SIM card?
31. Can I use a country-specific sim card to roam internationally?
32. Is there a way to have the airtime billed to a credit card?
33. How do I check the remaining minutes / dollars on my sim card?
34. What is the airtime credit of prepaid sim card and how to use recharge voucher to add airtime or talk time ?
35. What about email and internet (SMS, WiFi, GPRS)?
36. Can I use a prepaid sim card for Sony Ericsson K3001?
37. What is IP code and how can I obtain it?
38. Can I come to your office to pick-up the cell phone I rent in case my destination is not far from there?
39. What is the caller ID for the sender. Can we use alphanumerics for the caller ID?
40.Regarding activating the phone, you say to insert the SIM, enter PIN, and call 121. My question is, can this be done anywhere in a country by dialing the same number, take 121 in India for example?
41. What is the validity of recharge voucher?
42.Second question is information regarding any issues or procedures to be completed for ID proof or residency proof since as per Government of India rules from 1-2 years ago generally speaking SIM cards are available only to local India residents with proof of id and residency. Is this SIM card available only to Indian citizens? Or to everyone including tourists without permanent address in India?
43. How a sim card would be charged while out of its original country. For instance, if I purchased a sim for the Philippines, but were in the US and were to receive an incoming call from the Philippines from a Filipino number, would it be free (or what would it cost)? Also if I were to use the same sim to call the Philippines from while roaming in the US? Or can you think of a better solution to receive/make international calls while residing in the US?
1. What can you do with a prepaid SIM card? Top
With about the size of a postage stamp, the prepaid SIM card provides you with a cell phone number and determines what features or services will be available to you, as a subscriber, on a particular GSM network.
A prepaid SIM card is prepaid with a small amount of airtime rates. It activates a GSM cell phone without a contract and consequently requires the prepaid subscriber to purchase airtime credit prior to use.
2. What is service life of prepaid sim card, and how to calculate its expiration? Top
There is often a service life of 3-9 months for different prepaid SIM cards. but exactly 30 days of experation after activation date. You can decide on activation date. Prepaid sim card will reach you within one week or 10 days. You don¡¯t worry about the experation of unactivated prepaid sim card. You just order the card some days in advance. There are always valid sim cards for you to call to activate whenever you want to use.
Prepaid calling plans provide users with the easiest commitment-free way to obtain a cellular phone number. For obvious reasons, service providers only have a limited quantity of phone numbers to distribute and it only makes sense to diable an account which has remained dormant for a reasonable amount of time. Most carriers refer to a service life as the time from activation (or recharge) of the prepaid account to a pre-designated cut-off time whereby there has been no additional recharge credit applied to the prepaid account. (Account activation usually takes place at the time of the first outgoing call.)
Different carriers take different actions at the end of the service life. Most choose to decommission the SIM card, effectively disassociating the phone number from the SIM. Afterwards, the customer may be able to reactivate the account but will need to obtain a new number. Many services SIMply force the customer to obtain a new SIM card if the service life has lapsed. As long as regular recharge credits are being applied to the prepaid account (within the service life period), you should be able to keep the account active and retain the phone number associated with the account.
The service life may be extended indefinitely by purchasing airtime vouchers, which credit the prepaid SIM card with airtime. For example, in May, you bought a SIM card with the validity of 6 months, and added no airtime to it. it would expire after 6 months, in November. If you continue to add airtime before/by the end of November, then the card will be allowed continued service for another 6 months.
If you did not add any airtime to the card at this duration, your phone number and airtime credit will be forfeited.
3. Can I keep my SIM card and use it later? Top
Yes, but most countries will terminate the SIM number and unused time if you do not charge the card within a certain time limit. It will expire and you have to buy a new one for next trip.Please refer to the web page(s) pertaining to that particular country for specific details.
4. Whether a prepaid sim card is ready to use while I arrive in the destination country. Do I have to activate the SIM card? Top
No, the SIM card is delivered active and ready to use! All you have to do is following instructions to insert it into your phone.
To activate your talk time SIMply dial the number found on your recharge card, scratch the surface to reveal the voucher code and follow the automated instructions, entering the voucher code when prompted. Your talk time will then be automatically updated
Some carriers allow you to register your credit card with them and allow you to dial a local number from your phone to credit your SIM card with the credit card that you have placed on file, however the UK and Switzerland are currently the only 2 carriers with such a mechanism that accepts US bank based credit cards.
5. Can I extend additional airtime for my SIM card? Top
Additional airtime can be purchased for each prepaid SIM card respectively. However you may purchase additional airtime as much as needed for the SIM card.
6. How do I add more "talk time" to my SIM card? Purchase additional airtime? Top
Talk time may be added as much as you need by purchasing ¡®Top Up' or recharge cards that are available in varying amounts of the local currency. You may purchase additional airtime at PandaSIM.com or locally at most convenience stores in destination countries.
When you purchased a 25 Euro voucher, you would SIMply scratch of the silver peel to reveal a code. Then punched into your GSM cell phone and until it is prompted. It will automatically credit up your SIM card the amount of 25 Euro.
7. When I add airtime does my GSM cell phone number stay
the same? Top
Absolutely. Your phone number is based on your SIM card. What you add is just talk time and does nothing with the phone number. Besides changing or divert of your phone number, it is also an expensive way to add airtime.
8. What new phone number will I get with PandaSIM SIM card? Top
If you buy a global or international SIM card, you will get a number roaming in many countries. And you buy a country-specific SIM card, you will get a local number for use within the destination country. You can keep the same phone number within the validity of the SIM card. Your new cell phone number is a local number for the country pertaining to your SIM card. For example, if you have an Italian SIM card, your number will be a local Italian cell phone number.
9. How can a prepaid SIM card be charged? Top
Usually, the prepaid SIM card is charged on a minute basis. Per-minute cost is dependent on the call you made domestically or internationally to other countries. More detailed info at every prepaid SIM card page.
10. When does the charging start? Top
Charging starts as soon as the number you wanted to call answers. No charging before callback or while waiting for callback occurs.
11. Can I buy the prepaid SIM card on my own phone? Top
Yes, as long as you have an unlocked GSM phone.
12. Will I have voicemail? Top
If voicemail is available it will be noted on the specific prepaid SIM card web page.
All GSM cell phones are capable of voicemail but voicemail is a function of the network operator and so will be dependant on the SIM card in use. All of the prepaid SIM cards available through this site specify if voicemail is available.
13. Do I need a SIM card? Top
Absolutely. You will not have service for your GSM cell phone without a SIM card. Further, although you may be able to charge and power-up your GSM cell phone, however you may not be able to access any of the menu systems without a SIM card.
14. When will get my phone number? Top
A new phone number will come with the prepaid SIM card determines your GSM cell phone number several days before your departure or arrival at your destination.
15. Where is the cell phone number of my prepaid SIM card? Top
The phone number of your prepaid SIM card is usually located somewhere on the packaging. The number printed directly on the SIM card is a SIM card number and is NOT the phone number. When you order a SIM card from the PandaSIM, we provide with directions on the location of your GSM cell phone number within your SIM card packaging.
16. Are all incoming calls free? Does that mean "from
Incoming calls are free, regardless of where they originate from, for most GSM network operators overseas. However there are some exceptions and you should always check the web page of the specific prepaid SIM card that you are purchasing to verify that incoming calls are free.
If incoming calls are not free they are usually charged at the rates as domestic outgoing calls.
17. What is a PIN? Top
Some prepaid SIM cards have a security mechanism in place that requires the subscriber to enter in a PIN code every time to unlock the GSM cell phone. It is required that the Pin code must be correctly entered into the phone within 3 times in a row. So you have to memorize the code well.
18. What is an airtime voucher (recharge card, top-up card)? Top
An airtime voucher is a piece of paper often printed with its denominational value on one side and code that is covered and must be scratched with a coin to be revealed. Once exposed the code is punched into the keypad of your international cell phone crediting up your prepaid SIM card with the respective denomination of voucher that you purchased. Additional airtime is purchased locally and usually available at or near face value. For example, a 25 Euro voucher will credit your SIM card 25 Euros. The remaining cost for the SIM card is a set-up fee which pays for service on this particular pre-paid account.
19. If the SIM card costs $30, do I get $30 worth of talk time? Top
When you purchase the prepaid SIM card, you are buying the brain that inserts into your GSM cell phone and makes it work. As a subscriber, there is always some credit included with new SIM cards, this credit is subject to the local GSM network operator. but the amounts vary from country to country. For example, you bought a prepaid SIM card at a price at $ 30, except the starter airtime credit and some international dialing fees are paid, the rest of the amount is charged for your talking time.
20. Can I purchase additional airtime with my SIM card? Top
Additional airtime may only be purchased at PandaSIM.com or at most convenience shops locally in the respective countries for each prepaid SIM card. However you may purchase as much additional airtime as needed for your prepaid SIM card.
21. Can I go to other countries (roam internationally) with my prepaid SIM card? Top
Many of the country specific or ¡®local' prepaid SIM cards do offer some form of international roaming but there may be calling restrictions such as not being able to make international calls to any country other then the originating country of the SIM card. Also when you roam you will be charged a significantly higher tariff rate so do not expect free incoming calls and finally there may not be a mechanism for adding, as an example, airtime to a Australian SIM card in New Zealand, where they would only sell airtime vouchers for New Zealand SIM cards. For details on the services offered including roaming please visit the web page of the respective SIM card.
The global prepaid SIM card from PandaSIM provides the most robust coverage and consistent service for roaming internationally but the airtime rates reflect this.
22. Are the incoming calls really free? Top
Yes, all incoming calls are free and the caller SIMply pays their standard international long distance rate.
However there are some prepaid SIM cards for countries like the Ukraine and Hong Kong where incoming calls are not free but are charged at the domestic outgoing per minute rate.
23. Do I keep the same phone number when I switch pre paid service for the next destination? Top
No. You get a new phone number every time you swap SIM cards in your GSM cell phone. However, your phone number and voicemail will continue to function.
24. Can I call internationally? Top
Yes. As long as you have talk time available you can call anywhere in the world. You may use a local access number or dial directly from your cell phone.
25. How many minutes come with the SIM card? Top
The SIM cards usually come with call credits measured in monetary units such as euros rather than increments of time. This is because rate charges for calls vary depending on time of day, destination of the calls and other discounts or charges the carrier may apply. Also, with most GSM carriers providing free incoming calls to the user, the number of minutes on the SIM card could be substantial without the need to add more call credits.
26. Can somebody else use my SIM card? Top
Anyone can use your card. If you lose your phone with the SIM card inside, you can usually call customer service to deactivate the card so that nobody can use the remaining credit, though they won't be able to issue you a new card. You can also safely lend your phone and SIM card to friends without worrying about incurring any out-of-pocket costs. If they need more talk time, they can SIMply add some by purchasing a recharge card and using it with your SIM card.
27. Can I retain my US cellular phone number? Top
Unfortunately you cannot. We recommend that you leave your overseas cellular number on your domestic voice mail. This way, whoever needs to reach you while you are overseas can still do so. You might be able to forward calls, providing someone can program forwarding for you back in the States. The problem with this is that all wrong numbers, telemarketers and everyone else you don't want to hear from when you're abroad will be able to reach you and that will end up being a nuisance.
28. Will I have voicemail? Top
Most GSM phones have voicemail capacity, but it depends on what services are available through the local provider. In almost all cases voicemail is included with your service.
29. Can I use multiple SIM cards with my phone? Top
Since we offer only unlocked phones, you can swap SIM cards as often as you like. However if you are traveling to multiple countries, you might consider that each SIM card has its own unique phone number. In the case of traveling to many countries during one trip, an International SIM card is the optimal choice for many travelers as you keep the same phone number regardless of your position on the globe. Note that you will be roaming when outside the country of origin for the card.
30. If I run out of call credit, do I buy another SIM card? Top
NO! Remember, the SIM card is the "brains" of your phone and is rechargeable. Once you have a SIM card all you need to do is add credit for more talk time. Make sure that you do not wait beyond the service life of your SIM card to add more call credit.
31. Can I use a country-specific sim card to roam internationally? Top
When you use a country-specific SIM card outside of its home country, this is known as "roaming". While this is often possible to do, there are some problems that make this undesirable for longer side-trips. First of all, the rates are much more expensive for making local and international calls and you don't get free incoming calls. Also, if you run out of credit, you rarely can purchase recharge vouchers outside of the country of origin.
So PandaSIM does not support roaming out-of-country with country-specific SIM cards.
32. Is there a way to have the airtime billed to a credit card? Top
I do not think so, if we could not offer the recharge voucher, we suggest that it's very easy for you to purchase it from the store or somewhere.
33. How do I check the remaining minutes / dollars on my sim card? Top
You can always check your remaining call credit. The instructions vary from country to country and are always provided with the SIM cards you purchase from us. They can also be found in the introduction of prepaid SIM card Typically you either call a special number or send an SMS message and the carrier answers back with your remaining credit.
34. What is the airtime credit of prepaid sim card and how to use recharge voucher to add airtime or talk time ? Top
Generally, a prepaid sim card works as service subscriber to decide the phone number and the airtime credit. The starter airtime credit is charged during the activation of prepaid sim card. The amount of starter airtime credit varies from card to card. Not all amount in a sim card of 30$ is airtime. A recharge voucher does nothing with phone number and airtime credit. It just adds more airtime to the prepaid sim card. You can buy recharge voucher at convenience store locally in destination country or at Pandasim.com.
35. What about email and internet (SMS, WiFi, GPRS)? Top
These options depend on the local service provider and the hardware (phone handset) being used. Almost all GSM providers support SMS (Short Message Service or "text messaging"). And in countries where incoming calls are free, incoming SMS messages tend to be free. A general rule of thumb is that SMS rates are usually about half the cost of an outgoing per-minute rate, whether local or international.
GPRS-enabled phones can access the internet when used with the SIM card from a carrier that offers that service. Rates and configuration are obtained through the carrier and can vary widely. Some GPRS phones can be used as a modem when connected to a laptop computer. Again, rates and services offered vary and are determined by the carrier whose SIM is being used in the phone at the time.
For full connectivity, a laptop computer with a WiFi access card will work in some destinations. Wireless access is becoming more prevalent in all countries, though accessing it will vary depending on the terms of the service provider. A great book on the subject is "Global Mobile - Connecting without Walls, Wires or Borders" by Fred Johnson.
Just SIMply email PandaSIM. It's unique little Composer isn't much larger than a phone and stores outgoing email that you compose when you want to record memories of sightseeing from a sidewalk caf¨¦, for example. To send outgoing emails and download incoming emails, SIMply dial a local access number from any phone, hold the device to the phone and the messages are sent. It's cheap, light and has a calendar and other organizational features.
Additionally, internet cafes and terminals are not hard to find almost everywhere. We've seen coin operated terminals in beachside convenience stores and an internet caf¨¦ in the Andes Mountains of Colombia. These are great for logging on to the internet to check emails and catch up on the news or to research the next destination. Rates are often only a few dollars an hour.
36. Can I use a prepaid sim card for Sony Ericsson K3001? Top
If it is unlocked. If it is locked then you will need to unlock it.
37. What is IP code and how can I obtain it? Top
You know the international call in china is from $0.48 to $0.52 if you use the IP code, if you dial international calls without IP code, it will be $1.38 per minute.
If you want to dial your friend in US, the way is: IP code+001+area code+phone number.
38. Can I come to your office to pick-up the cell phone I rent
in case my destination is not far from there? Top
You are supposed not to do like that. Referring to security, we just offer delivery to the address you offer.
39. What is the caller ID for the sender. Can we use alphanumerics
for the caller ID? Top
We could not offer the caller ID of most of the international call.
40.Regarding activating the phone, you say to insert the SIM, enter
PIN, and call 121. My question is, can this be done anywhere in a country by
dialing the same number, take 121 in India for example? Top
41. What is the validity of recharge voucher? Top
Different recharge voucher has the different expiry date, but it is generally more than 3 months.
42. Second question is information regarding any issues or procedures
to be completed for ID proof or residency proof since as per Government of India
rules from 1-2 years ago generally speaking SIM cards are available only to
local India residents with proof of id and residency. Is this SIM card available
only to Indian citizens? Or to everyone including tourists without permanent
address in India? Top
This sim card registered by our Indian partner, all of our customers can use it securely in India.
43. How a sim card would be charged while out of its original
country. For instance, if I purchased a sim for the Philippines, but were
in the US and were to receive an incoming call from the Philippines from a
Filipino number, would it be free (or what would it cost)? Also if I
were to use the same sim to call the Philippines from while roaming in the
US? Or can you think of a better solution to receive/make international
calls while residing in the US?? Top
Most of the country-specific prepaid SIM cards can roam in other countries. But it's very trouble possibility for us to set up the international roaming, and the roaming fee is expensive, so we do not offer this service to our customer.