On my trip to London earlier this year, I had the opportunity to test out a Mobal International SIM card which I was very pleased with. A few months later I was on my way south to Ecuador and was given another opportunity to test out the card.
There was a difference in using my SIM card in Europe vs. South America so I wanted do a write up of when and how it worked and the possibilities of what you can do with a Mobal SIM card during your own travels.
I also share several photos and ideas for a trip to Ecuador, so hope you’ll be inspired to visit!
You can use your Mobal SIM card right when it arrives at your door. When mine arrived, I first took note of my new number associated with the Mobal SIM card. A cool feature is that the card has both a US number and a European number so you can give either one to any of your contacts that you need to contact during your time abroad.
After taking note, I switched out my usual SIM card with the Mobal one and my phone immediately began searching for surrounding networks. The card works in 190 countries so I could begin using it while in the US before I traveled. Just note that fees begin to apply once you begin using it even if you’re in the US as it is a pay as you go plan.
Also, it’s really important to note that you should set up your device to be able to connect to cellular data before you travel. Your SIM card will arrive with the necessary details and it is also available online but remember to do it so you’ll be able to use data!
With everything set up, I was ready to test out my Mobal SIM card. At JFK airport the connection was a bit slow and spotty but it still got the job done with checking my email and a little on social media.
When I arrived in Quito at Mariscal Sucre International Airport, I turned airplane mode off and my phone started searching for available networks. Once it picked it up, I was able to load some of my emails through cellular data and receive incoming texts.
The airport is about 45 minutes away from Quito’s historic city center, where we were staying for three nights. The SIM card was handy to have as we were driving into the city center. The driver wasn’t sure how to get there so we had to call, using the SIM card.
When I got to Casa Gangotena, I found the SIM card wasn’t picking up any networks. A few things you can do when this happens is to restart your phone. You can also do a few things that Mobal suggests in the troubleshooting section of their user guide that comes with the SIM card. If none of these things work, it could just be that the area you are in simply doesn’t have any network coverage.
Meanwhile, I spent my days revisiting and exploring more of Quito’s historic center. I took a tour with Metropolitan Touring where I experienced “Quito Like a Local”, walking through Quito’s oldest street in the La Ronda neighborhood.
And visiting hat shops and getting to practice my Spanish with shopkeepers and my tour guide.
After the time in Quito, we headed about an hour and a half away to Cotopaxi.
Surprisingly, the farther we drove south out of Quito, the better the service got! So I was able to share some photos using cellular data while on the road.
— Bethany Looi (@bethanylooi) June 15, 2016
When we got to Cotopaxi there was no service, which we were notified about by the hostel we stayed at in a remote area.
After a full 24 hours, we headed south again for Riobamba. Cellular service worked at some points while driving on the Avenue of the Volcanoes, the highway where there are volcanoes surrounding the landscape.
In the city of Riobamba, service wasn’t too great. But when we drove out again towards Alausi, I could use my cellular service. This small town is where you can board what is called the Devil’s Nose Train. The train ride offered so many incredible views that I couldn’t wait to share it!
— Bethany Looi (@bethanylooi) June 17, 2016
Thankfully the Mobal SIM card data worked while driving away from Alausi south again, this time towards Cuenca. So I was able to share the photo of myself on the train just a few minutes after arriving back to the train station.
While on the way south about four hours to Cuenca, I found the Mobal SIM card could pick up service at random stretches of road that we covered at a time. During one part of it, we stopped by a restaurant and got manjar de leche con queso fresco sandwiches (a dulce de leche like paste with fresh cheese) and I was able to share that on Twitter right before I took a bite!
— Bethany Looi (@bethanylooi) June 17, 2016
When we got to Cuenca, we were staying just a few minutes away from the historic center and service worked great everywhere around Cuenca!
When I went for a wedding reception about 30 minutes away from Cuenca in a town called Tarqui, there was no service.
And also in another small town I visited where it seemed only the locals go to.
It is expected that going to remote and very small towns wouldn’t have any cellular service. But back in the city center, I was able to share photos really quickly on social media and make any phone calls necessary.
With phone calls, it’s important to note the dialing procedure which is also included in your user guide that comes with the Mobal SIM card. I initially had trouble making phone calls but then realized you must put a + then the country and area code and phone number. After dialing, I would get a phone call back and when I picked up that phone call, it would connect me to the number I was trying to reach.
For full details on this, please see your user guide when you get your Mobal SIM card.
I spent the rest of my time in Ecuador in the city of Cuenca where the Mobal SIM card picked up strong network connections everywhere I went. I just had to make sure I knew how much I was using (and therefore how much I would be spending)! Mobal sends texts to you to update you on your usage.
You can also check your usage so you don’t go over how much you want to spend. Check Mobal’s International SIM card page for full details.
All in all, my Mobal International SIM card provided me the freedom to stay connected through making phone calls, texting and using data. The SIM card works in over 190 countries and does not come with a contract or monthly fees. This allows for flexibility and if you ever have any issues with not being able to get service connection, you won’t be charged.
As with traveling, you may not always know what to expect, so I’ve tested out this card for you to see the possibilities of using a Mobal SIM card.
Get your Mobal International SIM card here so you can do the same!
Note: Thank you to Mobal for providing a SIM card for this review. As always, all views and opinions are my own.