Monday, January 26, 2015

Truphone Mobile SIM Service Review

Since I'm currently in the US on vacation, I thought that I would write about my experience with the Truphone Mobile SIM. I purchased a Truphone mobile SIM after reading that Lycamobile was changing their airtime balance extension/rollover policy such that regardless of the date of the last billable charge, the airtime balance would expire 90 days after the top-up. Since I go to the US regularly but don't go there often enough to exhaust $10 worth of airtime in a period of 90 days, I opted to search for another US prepaid SIM card. I search led me to Truphone.

What I like about Truphone is that the airtime balance will rollover as long as you have a billable charge in the last 180 days. For me, this was perfect.

In my opinion, here are the pluses of Truphone:
1) The airtime balance will only expire if you don't have a billable charge in 180 days. As long as you have a billable charge, the balance will rollover for 180 days.
2) The Truphone SIM roams in other countries (at higher rates). What this means is that if I don't go to the US within 180 days, I can still make a billable charge on my account and have the remaining balance rollover for 180 days.
3) Truphone allows "unlimited" free incoming calls while in the Truphone countries. Currently these countries are: the US, UK, Australia, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Germany, or Hong Kong. I'm sure that the "unlimited" has a fair usage policy.
4) Truphone allows "unlimited" free SMS anywhere in the world.
5) Truphone charges the same rates for all the Truphone countries which can be substantially lower than other travel SIM cards (or local SIM cards)
6) Customers get a US phone number. They can opt for 2 additional Truphone country phone numbers tied to the account but this would involve monthly charges
7) The Truphone SIM uses both the AT&T network as well as the T-Mobile network.
8) They use direct dialing so there is no need to remember any special codes to get a preferential rate.
9) The activity log on their website for the account not only shows the phone numbers for the outgoing calls but it also shows the phone numbers for the incoming calls which I find very unusual.
10) The phone offers data (but in my opinion it is expensive)

The minuses with Truphone (in my opinion) are:
1) The number of rings can't be increased. I timed it and it is under/roughly 15 seconds. I'm not sure about most people but it will take me a few seconds to realize that my cellphone is ringing/vibrating when it is in my pocket when I'm walking and there is background noise. It will then take me a few seconds to get the phone out of my pocket and look at the display to see if I want to answer. By the time I do all of this, a lot of the time, the caller has been sent to voice mail.
2) You can't remove/disable voice mail from the account but you can contact customer service so that you don't have a voice mail box. Does this sound confusing? What I mean by this is that when someone calls your Truphone number, if they reach the maximum number of rings (~15 seconds), they will get a message and it will count against them as a completed call where they were routed to the carrier's system message. With some other carriers, if the caller reaches the maximum number of rings and they get the system message, it isn't counted against the caller as a completed call.
3) The startup cost to become a Truphone customer is somewhat high when purchasing the SIM card (~$30). However, they give you $15 worth of airtime credit so in effect, the SIM card really only costs $15. However, even at $15 for the SIM card, I still find it somewhat expensive.
4) The rate for Truphone is higher than a lot of other MVNOs. At the time of my blog review, they charged $0.09US/minute to make an outgoing call to a Truphone country. They also charged $0.09 per outgoing SMS to a Truphone country.
5) The rate to call Canada while in the US with Truphone is $0.27/minute (which I consider to be high for an MVNO).
6) Data is available for Truphone users but it is expensive ($0.09/MB which would be $45 per 500MB).

I used my Truphone for ~1 week while on vacation in the US and didn't have any issues with reception or sound quality. In fact, I would say that it functioned "better" than my Lycamobile SIM (which I also had with me) because in the area that I was visiting in the US, AT&T has better coverage than T-Mobile.

Depending on your roaming and traveling needs, you can check out their rates *HERE*. For example, to use the phone in Canada, it will cost $0.40/minute (incoming/outgoing) and $0.45 per outgoing SMS. While in Italy, to use the phone, it will cost $0.25/minute for outgoing calls, $0.08/minute for incoming calls, and $0.09 per outgoing SMS. The rates that I've mentioned above depend on what country you are calling.

I have no issues recommending Truphone for travelers to the US as well as any of the other Truphone countries.

If you have any comments/questions regarding this blog entry, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section below. Please note that the comments are moderated and any comment containing a URL link (whether embedded or not) will automatically be flagged as spam and will not be posted.

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