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Topic # 27457 26-Oct-2008 22:26
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I'm heading to the US at the end of Nov for three weeks and wondered if anyone has any advice about getting a US sim card in the US or to simply stick with my existing VF one?

I popped into a Voda store and found out that calls with international roaming are $4.80 a minute, data is a whopping $30 a meg and texts are 80 cents. As I'm heading to the UK after the States, I'll be getting a UK sim when I get there, but while I am in the US, I wondered if I should just grin and bare it or go with a US sim.

I probably would only want to send a few texts, make the odd call but it would be very handy to be able to check my gmail while on the go and maybe the odd travel website. $30 a meg is prohibitive! Foot in mouth

Any and all advice appreciated!

TIA

Foo

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  Reply # 173774 26-Oct-2008 22:49
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best bet would probly be to pick up a prepay sim over there, it certinly wouldn't be $30 a meg :p

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  Reply # 173775 26-Oct-2008 22:52
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When I went earlier this year, I just got a T-Mobile SIM card to stick in my vodafone mobile.
Cost 10USD for the card (with 10 min calling preloaded) plus 25USD of talktime, which gave (I think from memory) a couple of hours of national talk time.
TXT's cost 10c/txt (both to send AND recieve)
When topping up, you buy minutes, not a $ amount. Therefore the more minutes you buy at once the lower the $/min becomes.
Your minutes are used up for both making and recieving calls. Therefore if someone calls you, it costs YOU as well as the calling party.
I have no idea about about data options, as I never needed that.

Note that International calling is still very expensive compared to national calls, your minutes are used up at an alarming rate when calling, or recieving calls to/from international numbers.

The above was with prepay.

I imagine that other providers have similar pricing.

You will not be able to use Verizon Wireless, or Sprint, as they both use CDMA, not GSM.

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 173777 26-Oct-2008 23:11
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Thanks shermanp! That's really helpful.Smile

I've got a few more questions (sorry!)

Do you just pop in to a T-Mobile store and get a card when you get over there?

Do you buy data in the same way? Any idea on the cost for this?

Do texts to NZ numbers cost 10 cents to send or is it more? How exactly does texting work if you purchase minutes rather than a dollar amount?

I guess I should check out the T-Mobile web site!

Cheers


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  Reply # 173796 27-Oct-2008 00:45
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1. Yep, just popped in. no trouble. Although even with pre-pay you have give name etc and sign a form. Takes about 10 mins tops.

2. Have no idea about data sorry, I wasn't interested in that.

3. Not sure about intl txts sorry, although I don't think it's that much more. It is mostly int calls that use up the $.

Basically all you're doing when you top up is determining what your rate/min will be based on how many minutes you choose. The appropriate amount of money will then be loaded onto your prepay balance. (it will work out to a round figure like $25) Your calls will then be charged at that rate/min, anf any texts you send/recieve will also be taken off of that balance.
So basically what you are doing when you buy minutes is determining the MAXIMUM length of time you can call if you do not incurr any other charges.

It's all a bit complex - I actually prefer NZ's method of doing things myself. If only calling was cheaper here!!

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  Reply # 173800 27-Oct-2008 05:26
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We were up there in September and went to an AT&T store in San Francisco to buy a prepaid SIM card. The best deal for us (they have two options) was the one that cost 10c per minute for calls within the US, unlimited mobile to mobile calls, 25c per text back to NZ (but 20c to receive an international text), and 89c per minute calling back to NZ. There is also a US$1 daily access fee, but only on the days you use the phone. We pretty much just used it for texting, and the US$25 prepaid amount was enough to cover us for the 10 days we were in the country.

You can go to www.att.com and click through to their wireless section (just make up a zip code if it asks for one, 94118 is one of many for San Francisco but the rates are the same regardless of where you are) and you'll be able to get all the details.




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  Reply # 173801 27-Oct-2008 06:38
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Yeah AT&T is the way to go.  But I bought a Prepay phone with SIM card for $30 so that I could leave my NZ phone on all the time to receive calls from NZ, and then used the Prepay to call / txt NZ.  I think I had to top up once during the 10 days I was in the US.

I still have the phone, but it's locked so haven't been able to use it here.




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Reply # 173805 27-Oct-2008 08:05
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I bought an AT&T card on the $1 a day plan - it charges you only if you actually use the phone for a voice call on that day, otherwise there are no charges.

Much cheaper than roaming.

Bear in mind AT&T is phasing out the $19.95 for 5GB of mobile data packs from this month. That was really handy... I still have the SIM card here and will use it again soon.

And you can check your usage online. Very good actually.




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  Reply # 173828 27-Oct-2008 11:15
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As I'm going to the US in December, too, I also looked for prepaid SIMs with cheap international rates and found Tuyo, who charge only $ 0.13 to NZ landlines and $ 0.38 to NZ mobiles and also incoming calls are way cheaper than any competitor's costing $ 0.10. International texting costs only $ 0.10 per message.
The only issue with Tuyo is their relatively poor coverage in rural areas as they use only T-Mobile's 1900 MHz network and they do not offer any data service except for?their?WAP-portal featuring ringtones and pictures.

There's an ongoing discussion on Tuyo at http://www.prepaidgsm.net/forum/recommendations-fl-usa-cheap-intl-calling-and-data-t4437.html





router: AVM Fritz!Box Fon 7390 with Huawei K3765 USB modem attached as GSM voice gateway
VoIP-providers: intervoip.com | sipgate.de (German DID) | sipgate.co.uk (British DID) | sipcall.ch (Swiss DID)
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  Reply # 173832 27-Oct-2008 11:40
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Thanks everyone for your advice, I think getting a US sim card is the way to go.

Anyone know about data? I would probably only be looking at using a meg or two at the very most a day, so all up would be looking at 30-40 megs or so in the three weeks we are there.

I also saw that T-Mobile costs 5 cents to receive a text not 10 cents, although I guess overseas texts are something different again.

It sounds like AT&T (or Tuyo) is the preferred option - anyone know if either do prepay data? The texting cost for Tuyo to NZ is very good.

Reception wise, I'm going to be in LA for a week, then head to Death Valley/Las Vegas for four days, then a couple of days driving to San Fran and will spend a week there. I guess reception in Death Valley will be poor, but that's bot a biggie - looking forward to seeing a giant desert!

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  Reply # 173845 27-Oct-2008 12:27
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Why not just check Tuyo's coverage at http://www.tuyo.com/coverage/ ?

The available prepaid data options were discussed in the linked thread at prepaidgsm.net - as long as AT&T don't launch a new data pack (like the one Mauritio mentioned) a reasonable prepaid data tariff seems to be inexistent.





router: AVM Fritz!Box Fon 7390 with Huawei K3765 USB modem attached as GSM voice gateway
VoIP-providers: intervoip.com | sipgate.de (German DID) | sipgate.co.uk (British DID) | sipcall.ch (Swiss DID)
connection: 100/5 MBit/s (DOCSIS 3.0)
mobile devices: Huawei P6 | Nokia Lumia 630 Dual SIM | Huawei: E5832, E1762, K3715, K3765 | Qualcomm Gobi 2000 in Sony VAIO VPC-Z12X9E/X

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Reply # 174035 28-Oct-2008 12:34
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I'm a very regular visitor to the US, and switched from tMobile's prepay to AT&T, specifically because AT&T now offer unlimited data on prepay, and tMobile offer no prepay data at all.

You can buy service bundles on AT&T's prepay service, going all the way up to unlimited texting, and unlimited data. Unlimited data was only introduced very recently, around April of this year. Unlimited data costs $19.95 for 30 days.

A couple of points to note about AT&T. Much of their network is on 850 Mhz, so be sure you have a phone that offers this band or your coverage may be very poor to 0 in some areas. If you don't have a phone that does 3G at 850, then you'll get GPRS or Edge.

Also, you will have to put up with annoying pop-ups that tell you your prepay balance after every call and data session. There is no way to disable them.

Other than this, I am very pleased with the AT&T prepay. Paying $19.95 for a bundle of 3000 nights and weekend minutes, plus getting free calls to other AT&T customers, is a very good deal.




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Reply # 174074 28-Oct-2008 14:15
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jmosen: I'm a very regular visitor to the US, and switched from tMobile's prepay to AT&T, specifically because AT&T now offer unlimited data on prepay, and tMobile offer no prepay data at all.

You can buy service bundles on AT&T's prepay service, going all the way up to unlimited texting, and unlimited data. Unlimited data was only introduced very recently, around April of this year. Unlimited data costs $19.95 for 30 days.


No more. They are retiring this plan from end of this month and not introducing anything else to replace it.




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  Reply # 177691 13-Nov-2008 07:50
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I noticed much better coverage with att in rural and up in the mountains. Been with tmob for 5yrs and 3 yrs with att. 

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