What Is Prepaid SIM?

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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 May 2020
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A prepaid SIM card is nothing more than a prepaid mobile phone account. The difference is that the information concerning the account is not kept on board the cell phone, but rather the information is kept on what is known as a SIM card. A prepaid account works the same way any other prepaid cellular account would work.

Whether it is a prepaid phone or prepaid SIM card, the ability to prepay offers a number of different benefits. There are no contracts. You pay only for the minutes you use, and many may come with additional perks, such as unlimited night and weekend minutes for an additional fee. For those who want to travel overseas, a prepaid account may also be a good option for other reasons.

One of the benefits of a prepaid SIM card is the card's ability to be used with a number of different phone systems. As long as a phone is considered "unlocked" the card can be inserted and the user will then be talking on their own account. This solves the problem of taking the cell phone a traveler may use for daily personal use overseas, where it may or may not work on foreign networks.

Like any prepaid cellular service, there are certain conditions that should be understood when purchasing minutes for a prepaid account. First, understand that minutes may be lost if not eventually used. Second, it is good to find out when the phone number may become invalid. Usually, this will happen after a period of months of inactivity. In some cases, it may be possible to inform the provider that there will be inactivity and have them hold the number open for you -- for a fee.

Those who are buying a prepaid account should be careful to understand they are easy to rip off and use in many different phones. In some ways, this may make them a tempting target for thieves. In those situations, it may be possible for the thief to get other personal information off the card as well, as the SIM card may hold the list of contacts and other such information. Therefore, the prepaid SIM card should always be kept secure.

The charge per minute for a prepaid SIM may vary based on carrier and country of use. Therefore, it is important to check all the terms and conditions before using. Also, there may be other fees associated with the card, such as activation fees and even a phone fee, if a phone is needed for use with the SIM card. Buying more minutes for the prepaid SIM may be done over the Internet, through a retailer, over the phone or other ways.

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Post 2

@slowwalker: There are two things that could prevent this. The first is that the network in the US is predominantly CDMA and not GSM which is used almost everywhere else. The second is that phones can be locked into the domestic network eg verizon or AT&T. Phones can be unlocked but if they are CDMA then they simply won't work. You will need a prepaid sim and a world phone that works in the uk and throughout Europe.

Post 1

Can a US prepaid phone be used in the UK by just adding a new SIM card?

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