Step One: Get yourself a dual SIM handset
Anyone planning to visit next week’s [February 2014] Mobile World Congress (MWC) show in Barcelona will be faced with a dilemma. Unless they are a Spanish delegate, of course. Besides Spaniards (and Catalans), everyone else will be roaming onto an overseas network. Despite the EU attempts to drastically cut the prices, this exercise is always going to be more expensive than making calls and surfing with on your regular tariff. You could, of course, buy yourself a Spanish prepaid SIM card (as GoMo News did last year) and give the new number to all your close associates. What GoMo recommends is swapping over to a dual SIM card handset, though.
Whilst Dual SIM handsets are readily available in developing and emerging markets – think India and Africa, they have until very recently been rare in developed regions like Europe and North America.
That meant if you acquired a Dual SIM handset, it would inevitably be a featurephone or a very low specification smartphone. Hardly ideal.
Well, all of that has changed. GoMo News has been testing out several Android based smartphones and they are in no sense inferior to single SIM devices.
The first such device we tried was the CAT B15 and then we moved onto the Prestigio PAP4500 Duo. Very useable they are too.
The beauty of dual SIM handsets is that they are highly configurable. So in Barcelona you could insert a local SIM card into one slot and your regular SIM card into the other.
A word of warning. All the dual SIM handsets we have seen take a regular sized SIM whilst most smartphone makers have gone over to the micro SIM sized card.
So take a SIM card adapter with you because buying one in a phone shop in Barcelona could prove more expensive than you think.
Now you have a choice. You can either set the local SIM card to make all of your calls and provide web access, whilst still receiving calls on your roaming SIM. or you can set the handset to present you with a choice of both cards either time.
Either way, you can make calls, send texts and surf the web in the most cost effective way. Whilst still taking calls on your home SIM from people who don’t know you’re in Barcelona.
Sadly, we didn’t get our handsets on the dual SIM version of the HTC One which the Taiwanese manufacturer now markets in the UK.
Nor did we get a Dual SIM Moto G from Motorola – even though we have firmly established that such a beast does exist in India, for example.
Incidentally, if your handset of choice is a BlackBerry – you’ll have to ensure that your local (Spanish) SIM card is set up for BlackBerry operation – otherwise you won’t get your emails via the cellular network!