Deciding Between Mobile or Data SIM: Which One Should You Get?

17 January, 2023 by Sanchita Mondal
Deciding Between Mobile or Data SIM: Which One Should You Get?
Deciding Between Mobile or Data SIM: Which One Should You Get?

So, you were planning to get a new SIM card and found out that data-only SIM cards are available too! If you are unfamiliar with the latter, it’s only normal to feel a bit confused about what it is and what purpose it serves. Well, that is exactly what we will be finding out in this article, along with the differences between a regular SIM card and a data SIM card. 


How does a data SIM card differ from mobile SIM card?

You are familiar with mobile SIM cards already - they are the regular SIM cards that you usually use on mobile phones. Mobile SIM cards help you make phone calls, send messages and connect to the internet. Meanwhile, data-only SIM card, also known as data SIM, does not support SMSs and regular calls. It serves only one of the functions of a mobile SIM card – connecting to the internet. A data SIM offers you a monthly allowance of data for a fee. 

So, if you need a SIM card to make calls and connect with friends, family, or colleagues then go for a mobile SIM card. Even if you switch to internet calling apps for these purposes, a mobile SIM card is necessary for account verifications, to receive one-time passwords (OTPs), as well as for business needs. 

This means a data SIM may not serve your requirements if you don’t have a regular SIM card already.

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Which devices support data SIM cards?

Data SIM cards fit into some slots as regular mobile SIMs. You may use your data SIM in your smartphone, in place of a regular mobile SIM. However, data SIMs are also supported on certain other devices like tablets, portable Wi-Fi hotspots, and car infotainment systems. You might want to note that these devices do not support regular mobile SIM cards.  

Is there any way to make calls or send messages from a data SIM?

Unfortunately, you cannot use a data-only SIM card to send SMSs or make calls. However, it's still possible to use the data connection to use the numerous calling and messaging apps available on smartphones. 

So, in a way, it is indeed possible to get around the restrictions over calling and messaging to some extent. Don't get this wrong - direct calls and SMS without the use of online apps are still more convenient and reliable. A mobile SIM card is a more versatile choice in this regard. 

Factors that you should consider when choosing a SIM card

When choosing a SIM card, it can be difficult to decide which network carrier is the best option as not all offer data-only SIM cards. Here are some factors that you should consider:

•Coverage and data speed

When selecting a SIM card, coverage and data speed are two important factors to consider. Coverage refers to the availability of cell service in your area. If you move around frequently, it is wise to choose a carrier with wide-reaching coverage that covers wherever you go. Data speed is another key factor – the faster the speed, the better your user experience. Network carriers often advertise their speeds, so make sure to compare them before making a choice. 

•Range of plans

Another important aspect that you should consider while choosing a network provider is the range of plans, they offer. The more options you have while recharging, the better. The costs of the data plans matter too as some network providers offer cheaper plans than the rest.


You should also consider the roaming facilities offered by the network provider. Especially if you are a frequent tourist or have to travel for work or academic purposes, this is very important. The roaming plans can vary greatly, so it’s best to make an informed choice.

•Features and benefits

In addition to coverage and data speed, the price of a SIM card should also be considered when making your selection. Lyca Mobile is one network carrier that offers competitively priced SIM cards with great features and benefits such as unlimited international calls and discounts on roaming charges. 

Lyca Mobile’s 30-day mobile SIM card plans

In case you are thinking of getting a mobile SIM card, you might be curious about the costs and how much expensive it would be compared to a data-only SIM card. Lyca Mobile is one of the best and most affordable service providers in the US. Let’s have a look at their range of 30-day mobile SIM card plans.

1.$10: This is the cheapest plan you could recharge with and offers unlimited national calls and SMS. You’ll also enjoy 250 MB of high-speed data and unlimited calls and tests to over 75 countries. You may also recharge this plan for 12 months at once, for $120.

2.$19: If you are looking for a cheap unlimited plan, this is it. Priced at only $19, it offers unlimited 4G data and 2GB of data up to 5G speed. Like the previous plan, this one offers unlimited calls and texts too – both domestically and internationally (to 75+ countries). You would also get a $1.50 calling credit.

3.$23: Yet another plan with a $1.50 calling credit, this one comes with similar benefits as the last one. You’d enjoy unlimited data, unlimited nationwide calls, texts, and endless international calls. However, it also comes with another GB of 5G data over what you’d get with the $19 plan.

4.$29: With 6GB of 5G data for only six more dollars, this plan is particularly cost-effective. It also comes with a calling credit worth $5 and additional bonus minutes, besides the unlimited calls, text, and data benefits.

5.$39: Priced at 39 dollars, this is a well-rounded plan offering a bit of everything. You get to enjoy bonus international credit worth $10 and unlimited data, including 15 GB of 4G/5G speed data. The unlimited calling and text benefits that come with the other plans are available with this one too.

As you can see, all mobile SIM card plans offered by this carrier include international calls and texts to more than 75 countries – even the most affordable plan. This is an excellent perk that’ll help you stay connected to friends or family living in another country. While the plans are already quite cost-effective, you could get them for 3, 6, or 12 months at once.  

Mobile SIM vs data SIM: Which one should you get?

Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose whether you want a regular SIM card or a data SIM card. This depends on your requirements and the device in which you plan to use the SIM card. It’s advisable to have at least one mobile SIM card so that you can make and receive calls. 
If you already have a mobile SIM card, a data SIM card is a viable option. A mobile SIM card is a much better choice if you plan to use it only on a mobile phone. On the other hand, you should get a data SIM card if you think you might use the SIM on other devices, even in the future. 
So, that’s it – you now know the difference between mobile and data SIM cards. Hopefully, you found the article helpful and can now make the right decision.