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Add Ons in USA

SMARTY Maverick
SMARTY Maverick

Anyone else feel the international add ons get used up mega quickly??? On my 4th night in USA and have received a text to say I only have £3.26 left of a £15 add on!! I have been using WiFi wherever I can so no idea how the data has been used so so quickly.  Used Google maps a couple of times but for limited minutes.  Smarty chat off line til tomorrow cos of time difference!! Thanks for your thoughts! 


SMARTY Motivator
SMARTY Motivator

This is the Smarty community forum, we are customers, just like you, we do not work for Smarty.

When you say you used Google maps for “limited minutes”, the minutes doesn’t matter at all, it’s the amount of data used in those minutes that matters.

YOU CAN, and should, download Google maps for offline use, which can eat up a lot of data initially, but then there is no further cost. 

The USA is in roaming band 1 in the Smarty Price Guide, data costs 10p megabyte. That may not sound like a lot, but, as there are 1, 024 megabytes in 1 Gigabyte, that’s a whopping £102.40 per gigabyte!

Over four days, you have used 117.4 megabytes, costing £11.74

As someone who spent most of March in Northern California, this is what you should have done before your trip, but also, WHAT YOU SHOULD DO NOW, even if you only have a few days left of your trip :

If you have an eSIM compatible phone, download a specialist travel data only eSIM, such as HOLAFLY, which offers unlimited data as standard. So, with unlimited data, that would be “one and done” for you. (Other travel eSIMs, such as Airalo, offer various “buckets” of data, such as 5 GB, 10 GB etc. which if used up, have to be topped up with another “bucket” of data, so that’s why I suggested Holafly, with its unlimited data, to you.)

As travel eSIMs are data only, you would need to use WhatsApp for any calls and texts. 

If you don’t know much about travel eSIMs, there are plenty of videos on YouTube videos about them, I recommend searching for “Project Untethered” travel eSIMs on YouTube, but of course, ONLY when connected to WiFi 😉

Another option, and one which I used, was to download an eSIM from the American MVNO, “Tello”, which offered an American number, and therefore minutes and calls in addition to data. Tello is an MVNO on T-Mobile in the USA, in the same way that Smarty is an MVNO on Three.

If you have a look at Tello and decide it’s the way to go, feel free to send me a message, and I can give you my referral code, which gets us both $10 Tello dollars credit. I won’t openly post it in this reply to you, as I don’t want to potentially break forum rules, and in any case, as much as I would appreciate the $10 Tello Dollars, as I am keeping my Tello eSIM active ahead of emigrating to Arizona, I feel that Holafly is probably your best option.

Either of the options which I have outlined will give you “cost certainty”, with no further unwanted surprises re costs.

To sum up - Using Smarty outside the UK and EU is simply too expensive, as you have now found out. You should always use a specialist travel eSIM, or a local SIM or eSIM in the country you are visiting. Sorry Smarty, I love you like jelly tots, or should that be smarties, but you are too expensive to use outside the confines of Europe !


Oh, and that remaining £3.26 ? If you manage to preserve it by using a travel eSIM or Local network SIM or eSIM, you can convert it to account balance, and partially pay your next monthly smarty plan with it, so you haven’t lost the money. 

If this has helped you, please like, share and subscribe. Just kidding, that’s YouTuber speak, Jane. 😂 

thanks for great advice!  We are moving into Canada today, so will chat to my cousin about options there - or just use her phone 😆!! Thanks again 


@JaneCicc_260381 As well as the useful info from @JJP2RidesAgain , have you considered looking in your phone settings to see how much data has been used and by what apps.? Also perhaps consider whether any updates were carried out on the phone as these are often likely to use more data. 

thanks for the tip.  Have switched various apps off now which I don’t need while away, so hopefully my data usage will reduce - data roaming also switched off!! 

@JaneCicc_260381 I strongly suspect that you may not be able to buy a local sim due to security issues. If your phone accepts it, an Esim should be a really good option.

I recently used a Global Esim from Airalo while in S. America and it worked very well at a reasonable price - with the option to top up easily if necessary. It worked via their app.

Hi @MSF @JaneCicc_260381 Whilst a valid photo ID, such as a passport would be needed, foreigners can easily buy a SIM card from a Canadian network, should they wish to do so. 

It’s probably a similar system to that used in Poland and elsewhere, even for PAYG SIM cards - Go to retailer, ask for SIM card, who will then ask for your ID and register your ID against the phone number attached to the SIM card. Then, in the event that anything happens to you, and you have your phone on you, your identity can be traced from your phone number. 

Of course, a travel data eSIM from Holafly or Airalo would dispense with the need for the above process.