How to get global data roaming with your Apple SIM iPad

By David Flynn, July 1 2015
How to get global data roaming with your Apple SIM iPad

Global roaming with your iPad Air 2 or iPad Mini 3 just got a lot easier, although rather expensive too.

Those tablets, and likely future models such as the rumoured iPad Pro, can come fitted with the Apple SIM – a unique nanoSIM card developed by Apple.

Available with new iPads or as a cost-extra accessory, the Apple SIM lets travellers choose and sign up for a prepaid data roaming plan directly from their iPad as soon as they land, instead of visiting a local telco store at the airport or in the city.

Apple has partnered with GigSky – which touts itself as "the first global mobile network designed for travellers" – to offer short-term data plans in over 90 countries.

Switch on your Apple SIM-equipped iPad, choose Set Up Mobile Data and tap the GigSky option to see the plans available – then pick your plan, pay up and start surfing.

(GigSky isn't always the only game in town: you can also choose T-Mobile in the USA and the UK).

However, such simplicity comes at a cost.

GigSky's plans tend to be more expensive compared to buying a local prepaid SIM, so it pays to do a little research before you travel.

For instance, GigSky's options for Canada start at A$10 for a barely-useful 20MB, with A$35 for 120MB and A$50 for 250MB.

But Canadian telco Bell offers 250MB for just A$15 – less than a third of GigSky's ask – with 500MB for A$20 and a meaty 5GB for A$35.

Also read: Beat the global roaming rip-off – buy your overseas SIM in Australia

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Nov 2011

Total posts 244

That's great idea. Most of my travel, I only wanted data access since I enable global roaming on my phone just for calls/sms which I barely use. I relied heavily on free Wifi hotspots for data access.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards Plantium

19 Jun 2013

Total posts 119

No access within Indonesia, Malaysia or Singapore which where 90% of my travel is.  Ahhh well have to stick with hotspot / free WiFi

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Jul 2011

Total posts 184

I bought a Starhub Happy Sim for $18SGD last week which came with 100G of data...  And people dont think we get ripped ofo in Oz.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

03 Jul 2015

Total posts 1

With the structure of telecommunications around the world, there is no simple solution to this problem. As stated by other readers, the most cost effective solution is making sure your device is not network locked and using a prepaid option from the country you are travelling to. If it simplicity you want and you are prepared to pay for it then something like this product will work, but not everywhere...

16 Jan 2014

Total posts 2

Use Vodafone $5 a day but not available in every country.

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