GigSky and the iPhone XS

I write this post sitting in an apartment overlooking the marina on the last day of my holiday in St Lucia. It’s been an amazing experience here as I’ve never previously been anywhere like it. The sun, the sea, the rainforest, it’s all incredible and I’d recommend it to everyone, such a beautiful place.

Now, being a tech nerd, I was a little concerned when I discovered that my UK carrier wanted to charge me around £5/MB for data while I was out here! That would have been a pretty painful bill to return home to, or it would mean I was disconnected from the world for 10 days, also not an option…enter GigSky.

I bought the iPhone XS shortly after release date and I’ve been waxing lyrical about it to lots of friends since. It’s a great handset and the camera is particularly good. But one feature jumped out as potentially being very useful, the built-in eSIM. It’s in integrated SIM card that means you can run two lines on the phone at the same time, provided that is supported by the carrier. I had hoped to be able to use this to combine my personal and work phone lines into a single handset but sadly GiffGaff does not currently support eSim so I haven’t been using this feature…until now.

GigSky provide local data tariffs for use in most countries around the world. You simply buy a pre-paid amount of credit and off you go. Whenever your credit runs out you can just top up through the app. I believe it was originally designed to cater for iPads and other similar tables with cellular antenna so that you could have a data tariff for them. They provide SIM cards like any carrier so you can pop one in any device. However, they also work with the eSIM in the iPhone XS.

Setup is an absolute breeze. You download their app and create an account. The phone auto-detects the current country you’re in and offers you the local tariff options and simply bills you through in-app purchase. After a few on-screen instructions about configuring your eSIM you’re away. You can manually select the country if you’re doing this before you leave where you have access to data, or you can obviously connect to a wifi hotspot usually available at airports or many other tourist traps wherever you arrive. I think it’s probably worth doing just before you leave so that you have data from the moment you land, mostly so you can stream Spotify whilst waiting in that long Passport Control queue.

When you have the eSIM activated the status bar on your iPhone changes a little to show two sets of signal and carrier. This is pretty neat as obviously the signal level can be different for each and obviously the carrier will be.

So yeah, my top travel tip for countries that don’t offer roaming via your existing tariff for a reasonable amount, grab the free GigSky app and check it out, you never know when it might come in handy.

www.gigsky.com

I guess it’s also fair to say that GigSky might even be useful in your own country if you have a limited amount of data on your contract, it may be worth comparing the cost of the pre-paid tariffs they offer against the price of adding data to your contract. Personally in the UK I don’t think you can beat GiffGaff for their tariffs, well worth checking out. If you want to pick up a GiffGaff sim (you never know when it might be handy) then use the banner below.

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