Travel Tip #2: Bringing along a Dual-SIM phone overseas

A dual-SIM phone allows you to stay contactable to your regular contacts yet enables you to take advantage of more affordable local data/voice rates to avoid expensive overseas roaming charges – without having to carry two separate mobile phones.

The Motorola Moto G (2nd Generation) is one of the increasing number of smartphones that support a dual-SIM capability.

The Motorola Moto G (2nd Generation) is one of the increasing number of smartphones that support a dual-SIM capability.

Nowadays, it is increasingly easy to get a local SIM card when one travels overseas for work or leisure.

The local SIM allows you to make/receive calls at affordable local rates and more significantly, to stay connected via mobile broadband – without chalking out a huge bill.

But most mobile phones allow only one SIM card to be installed – so if you put in the local SIM card, you’ll have to remove your regular SIM card and become uncontactable to those who call you on your regular number, unless you forward those calls to your local number.

Otherwise, you’d carry a second single-SIM card phone, which is a hassle.

I brought along a Motorola Moto G (2nd Generation) dual-SIM card phone during my short break to Thailand and it was such a blessing.

There are two micro-SIM card slots so I could keep my regular SIM card in one slot and plug in the prepaid local SIM card that I bought at Suvarnabhumi Airport in the other.

The guy at the True Move counter did all the set up for me.

So after five minutes of queueing and five minutes of installation and payment, I was as connected in Thailand as I was at home back in Singapore.

I could receive roaming calls on my regular number from my friends back in Singapore and other parts of the world, while at the same stay connected on email and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram via the mobile broadband on the local SIM card.

When making/receiving voice calls to/from numbers within Thailand, such as hotels or sightseeing destinations, cooking classes, I could use the local SIM card to enjoy local rates.

The Motorola Moto G (2nd Generation) runs on Android 4.4.4 KitKat and is available in Singapore for S$298.

The Motorola Moto G (2nd Generation) runs on Android 4.4.4 KitKat and is available in Singapore for S$298.

In fact, incoming calls were free, and my wife could call me at local rates – instead of a double overseas-call rate.

Usage was really intuitive, as the Moto G has seamlessly integrated the use of both SIM cards throughout all aspects of the smartphone usage.

Motorola Moto G (2nd Generation)

I was really impressed with the seamlessness of using both SIM cards at the same time on the Motorola Moto G (2nd Generation).

It was as hassle-free as using a single SIM card in the phone, even though it enabled me to enjoy the contactability of my regular number and the affordable connectivity of a local SIM card.

In terms of other smartphone functions, the Moto G was as good as any other smartphones – it was fast and smooth and the camera was surprisingly good pictures considering the inexpensive price (S$298) of the smartphone.

Even in Singapore and using a single SIM, the Moto G is good enough to serve as the main phone.

So if you travel a lot, there is even more reason to check out this affordable smartphone.

For example, when I dial a number or retrieve a number from my contact list, the phone asks me which SIM card I’d like to use to make the call.

There is a checkbox for you to tick if you want the phone to memorise your choice so it doesn’t even ask you in the future when you call that number.

Turning on/off the data connection for each SIM card was also easy.

Within the Setup app of the phone, there are separate tabs for each SIM card.

So when I returned to Singapore, I just touched the tab for my Singapore SIM card and turned my data connection back on.

The Moto G runs on Android, so if you’re a Windows Phone user, you can look to the Lumia 530 which offers dual-SIM capability.

I haven’t tried it personally, but it’s a really affordably-priced phone at S$199.

And if you’re driving, the Here Drive app on all Lumia smartphones rock – it allows you to download driving maps for free so you get turn-by-turn navigation without even needing a data connection!

So if you’re travelling and intend to stay connected with a local SIM card – and don’t want to carry a second phone, you should really bring along a dual-SIM phone like the Motorola Moto G or Windows Lumia 535.

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