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Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 150585 27-Jul-2014 19:38

Got 3 weeks in the US (california and vegas)  coming up in September  Thinking a local SIM will be the way to go for economic data access, intermittent calls and messages back home and whenever we need a phone will out travelling.
Expect roaming will be prohibitive for anything more than the most frugal use.

Does anyone have any tips/experience.


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gzt

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  Reply # 1096725 27-Jul-2014 19:40
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Local Sims are cheap. But look at your telco's roaming rates anyway, the trend is downwards.

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  Reply # 1096727 27-Jul-2014 19:49
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Was in Vegas and southern cali for a few weeks back in April.  I just got a roaming data top up from Vodafone and didn't use it all as all the hotels I stayed at had WiFi (the majority were free).


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  Reply # 1096728 27-Jul-2014 19:54
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redjet: Was in Vegas and southern cali for a few weeks back in April.  I just got a roaming data top up from Vodafone and didn't use it all as all the hotels I stayed at had WiFi (the majority were free).



Agreed. I have just come back from San Francisco and was able to get free wifi in my hotel, at the airport, and in major gathering spots. I was able to get by without any 3G.

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  Reply # 1096746 27-Jul-2014 20:31
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With $5 roaming I don't see any point in bothering with local SIMs any longer. I always used to, but just don't see any reason to bother when I can get all my calls to and from NZ as well as local, and data for $5





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  Reply # 1096960 28-Jul-2014 10:19
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Might have changed since I travelled to the US last year.

But, local SIM was by far the most economical for us. We had 3 phones, only 1 was on post-paid (so could only roam with that number anyway - which we did by putting the SIM into another 'dumb' phone for receiving calls). The local prepaid package(s) suited us perfectly since we were out and about constantly, and having heaps of data and unlimited text/voice between us proved invaluable.
Also paid a very small premium for unlimited international calling to NZ for one of the phones.

Had no intention of signing up the other 2 phones on a post-paid monthly (VF) plan just for the sake of roaming.
Also, you don't have a choice of roaming partner - which may be an issue depending on where you roam.

Our US prepaid provider was T-Mobile.

Hotel WiFi - for where we were, was simply appalling. Thankfully 3G (I think we had LTE as well) coverage saved the day.

So, our requirements were strong (3G) coverage in the areas we were visiting, and unlimited text/voice between each other. The cheap international add-on was a bonus.

Having said that, you may have very different requirements.

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  Reply # 1097583 29-Jul-2014 01:05
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sbiddle: With $5 roaming I don't see any point in bothering with local SIMs any longer. I always used to, but just don't see any reason to bother when I can get all my calls to and from NZ as well as local, and data for $5






I think this is correct for short stays but not necessarily for longer stays. Depends on how long you are going to be in the US - there's a break even point where a local SIM becomes the cheaper option.

Two years ago we were there for a month and I got a local SIM from AT&T with 5 GB for USD50 for one month. OP is going to be there three weeks - 21 days roaming at $5/day = $105 = about USD90. Pricing in the US may have changed since then but I doubt if it would have got more expensve.

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  Reply # 1097592 29-Jul-2014 04:54
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  Reply # 1097606 29-Jul-2014 07:23
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eracode:
sbiddle: With $5 roaming I don't see any point in bothering with local SIMs any longer. I always used to, but just don't see any reason to bother when I can get all my calls to and from NZ as well as local, and data for $5






I think this is correct for short stays but not necessarily for longer stays. Depends on how long you are going to be in the US - there's a break even point where a local SIM becomes the cheaper option.

Two years ago we were there for a month and I got a local SIM from AT&T with 5 GB for USD50 for one month. OP is going to be there three weeks - 21 days roaming at $5/day = $105 = about USD90. Pricing in the US may have changed since then but I doubt if it would have got more expensve.


There is a break even point, but it really depends on usage. I rely on voice a lot while I'm away so having that included for $5 becomes a no brainer. To me it's not just about price, it's also about convenience.

The biggest problem with US networks is that they're absolutely terrible performance wise. As we use data for vastly different applications while roaming it also leads to the problem of traffic routing via the home network - in the old days this wasn't an issue for email and basic browsing, but becomes a bottleneck for some services.
 

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  Reply # 1097632 29-Jul-2014 08:13
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The $5 a day Vodafone roaming is extremely compelling, I just wish I still had a current on account plan that I could use it on, it's way better value than Telecoms $10 plan + voice $$$

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  Reply # 1097664 29-Jul-2014 08:57
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I used T-mobile on a recent trip. $3 per day for unlimited calling, texting and data (data was 4G for the first 250meg per day)

Was a good option for me as Skinny doesn't offer any roaming specials

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