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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2002

    Default Global SIMs and Push Messages

    2 years ago I went half livaboard (6 months on boat and 6 months at home).
    At that time I switched my mobile to a Ďglobalí SIM (sim4travel).
    It works well for me. No incoming charges in Europe, most calls out at 25p min, and cost to people in the UK calling me, again 25p min.

    However, Iíve just discovered a snag......I have opened an online bank account with Abbey. They have a security procedure I have never come across before. They have a system called One Time Passcode and the way it works is like this. When you want to make a payment, they instantly send a text passcode to your mobile phone. You then enter it online into the payment details you are setting up, and hey presto, the payment goes through.

    Sounds like quite a good system...........except that they send the passcode by a system call Broadcast or Push Message. Apparently this is the system people use for sending spam texts....and yes, youíve guessed it, sim4travel do not accept this type of text.

    So, the question is, does anyone know of any similarly priced Ďglobal SIMsí that do accept Push or Broadcast Messages?

    Incidentally, one other problem if anyone is thinking of opening an online Abbey account, is that almost unbelievably, they donít support Internet Explorer 8, so you have to download Firefox! To find that out, you have to negotiate what must be one of the most frustrating call centres ever devised by man, and eventually, if you are really persistent and have the patience of a saint, you end up talking to a REAL PERSON, albeit in Delhi, who might finally give you the number of another call centre in Belfast who seem to know what they are talking about.

    As you can gather from my tone, my experiences over the last few weeks have not made me an Abbey fan. Heaven knows what they will be like when they are fully controlled from Madrid!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    Hi CaptainCava,

    I'm not sure I recognise the problem.

    My guess is that sim4travel is just an MVNO that has roaming agreements with a number of operators elsewhere. Although their website claims they operate their own network, the fact they mention support in 36 countries is a give away.

    Are you certain the bank is sending an SMS text?

    The normal way is for the bank to have a connection with a third party operator (probably somebody big like Vodafone, O2 etc, but could be abroad). They'll send each individual SMS onto the SMSC (SMS Centre) belonging to that third party - probably using SMPP (Short Message Peer to Peer) which is the dominant protocol.

    Because you are roaming, that SMS itself won't even touch your home network. The sending SMSC contacts your home network HLR (Home Location Register) to find out where you are and then sends the SMS directly via the MSC (switch) on the visited network.

    Because of this it is very difficult (pretty nigh impossible) for sim4travel to filter your SMS. The whole control of SMS spam relies on the originating network trusting the people they give SMPP connections too.

    Have sim4travel confirmed what the problem is from their side?

    MMS is significantly different and that does allow broadcast. Push is a term that also makes me think MMS. Of course the bloke who explained it to you may not have had a clear understanding himself so I don't want to read too much into that.

    Your best bet is probably to contact sim4travel and have them investigate. Make it clear that it is likely to affect whether you'll remain a subscriber. That's likely to focus their mind.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2001

    Default Santander

    As you can gather from my tone, my experiences over the last few weeks have not made me an Abbey fan. Heaven knows what they will be like when they are fully controlled from Madrid![/QUOTE]

    In fact nothing to do with Madrid, thank goodness, but in rational N Spain.
    It's probably one of the most solid banks in Europe (unless you include HSBC as European).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006


    We found that the cheapest option by far is to buy a local SIM - 25p is way over the top. Don't know if local SIM's accept Push messages, it would make sense that nobody does.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2002


    Quote Originally Posted by charles_reed View Post
    In fact nothing to do with Madrid, thank goodness, but in rational N Spain.
    The only thing that is Northern Spanish about Santander is the name. The empire is run from a purpose built campus on the outskirts of Madrid known as Santander City:

  6. #6
    vyv_cox's Avatar
    vyv_cox is online now Registered User
    Location : North Wales, sailing Aegean Sea or Menai Strait
    Join Date
    May 2001


    We bought Sim4travel a couple of years ago but experienced lots of connection problems. Finally I called them from Greece, to find that it would not work with several Nokia phones, of which mine was one. They sent me a workaround that was so complex and intermittent that I gave up.
    Answers to some technical queries at

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainCava View Post
    ... send the passcode by a system call Broadcast ...
    Do you mean

    If so it wouldn't surprise me if the one time password system doesn't work when roaming or with a local SIM. But I don't know. Abbey should be able to tell you.

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by vyv_cox View Post
    We bought Sim4travel a..., to find that it would not work with several Nokia phones, of which mine was one.
    I had that with Global SIM It wouldn't send the call setup messages. I had to get a cheap mobile from ebay to make it work.

    The service was poor - long delays on the line. Later it wouldn't transmit DTMF tones (the beeps you hear when you dial) so I couldn't work the answering machine. I abandoned it in favour of local SIMs.

    (That was all before they went bust and got resurrected. I have no experience of them since.)

  9. #9
    rivonia's Avatar
    rivonia is offline Registered User
    Location : on the move as live aboard
    Join Date
    Sep 2008


    Have you tried GYMSIM? it works for us.


  10. #10
    Cap'n Hubie is offline New User
    Location : Swallowed the anchor in the Algarve, maybe!
    Join Date
    Dec 2009


    I have had the same problem, the Abbey/Santander passcode system does not accept Spanish mobile numbers. After an incredibly frustrating time negociating their "help Line" was told must I have a UK mobile. Needless to say I will be transferring my dwindling resources elsewhere next time I visit the motherland. (but only if I can prove my identity!!)


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