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Topic # 25216 15-Aug-2008 10:31
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A relative is about to travel to the US, and is looking for the best method to get mobile data access while over there.

In NZ, she's been using a Telecom NZ mobile data card (Sierra datacard, PCMCIA I think, I'll check the model number and post back) for travel around NZ and is generally happy with it. Her laptop is Vista.

She's been advised by a Telecom rep that her best bet for roaming access in the US is to switch to the new T-Stick. I've been asked to look into the options - looks like the T-Stick is a fine device from the reviews on the forum here, but will it really give her any advantages when roaming?

Apart from the security of knowing she has a renewed 24-month contract with Telecom? ;)

I can see some alternatives:
  • She has her existing Sierra datacard, which is probably best unless there are known issues with it in the US. Her laptop already works, and reconfiguring it the day before leaving for a new device introduces the chance that she'll need support when she gets there.
  • Telecom have suggested the T-Stick, but this might well just be an auto-response from the Sales department rather than technical input. If there's a good reason to switch, I'd be keen to hear it.
  • I have a disused Vodafone HSPDA card; she could take that and grab herself a local GSM connection stateside. (They do have GSM, don't they?)
  • Land in the US, sign up with a local mobile provider and get a data card there. If so, which is the best option? And will that hardware be of any use to her on return to NZ?
I'd appreciate any input from people who have travelled to the US and tried any of these options out, or can give some knowledgeable input on the best approach for a Kiwi travelling to the US to get roaming data access.

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  Reply # 157154 15-Aug-2008 10:34
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Or, if you have a fifth alternative - buy a Kindle! install linux! pair and roam free! - then please suggest it. I'm all ears. (I don't think she's really going to want to be loading linux onto a Kindle in the airport lobby, though!)

BDFL - Memuneh
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  Reply # 157161 15-Aug-2008 10:58
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First advice: don't use data roaming. Unless you have money to burn at $8/MB rate. You can find plenty of cheap Wifi almost everywhere. From US$1.95 per hour at McDonald's, a bit more from AT&T at Starbucks, or from your hotel room (even US$29.95/day is cheaper than NZ$8/MB anywhere).

If you still want to go ahead, forget about current Telecom data cards as they are CDMA and Telecom doesn't have CDMA mobile broadband data roaming in the US.  Instead what you can do is borrow one of their HSDPA cards (or use your own HSDPA card) and with a Telecom-supplied SIM card have data anywhere on AT&T or T-Mobile.

Contact the Telecom Roaming Help Desk to borrow equipment and get a SIM card linked to your account.

Another option once you have HSDPA card (borrowed or Vodafone) you can buy an AT&T prepay SIM card, call 611 and follow the menus to add the mobile data pack. It's US$19.95 for up to 3GB (or 5GB can't remember) for 30 days from the day you call. The fee comes out of the prepay balance. Then insert the SIM card in your Vodafone card, configure the correct APN and use it away (read that whole discussion for more information on this option).









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  Reply # 157361 16-Aug-2008 10:00
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thanks freitasm

any idea whether i need to "unlock" a purchased Vodafone Huawei E800 for use on AT&T?

much appreciated!

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  Reply # 157363 16-Aug-2008 10:03
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In all my talks to Vodafone I always had the impression the data cards were not locked. I have a Vodafone XU780 and I used it with a Vodafone Netherlands SIM card while in Europe - but I am not sure it is just because it was another Vodafone operator or just no locked.

To be sure you should contact Vodafone perhaps? Or post in our Vodafone Forum?






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  Reply # 157371 16-Aug-2008 10:27
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  Reply # 157964 19-Aug-2008 13:01
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With respect to the recommendation to use a Telecom T-stick for roaming in the USA. 

This will not work as this device, nor any other Telecom CDMA or WorldMode device is able to roam in the USA.

The T-Stick (nor any other Telecom CDMA data card) will not roam as Telecom do not have Data roaming agreements in place with other CDMA operators. The WorldMode devices will not Data roam in the USA because of the previous CDMA limitation and because the GSM frequencies in the WorldMode devices are 900 & 1800MHz only whilst the USA GSM operators use 1900MHz for GSM.

Neal




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  Reply # 158014 19-Aug-2008 14:57
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Thanks NealR. So glad we sought a second opinion via GeekZone before travelling, rather than just swallowing Telecom's "technical support" advice whole!

Nate wants an iphone
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Reply # 158037 19-Aug-2008 16:40
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Most of Telecoms loan devices (that use the worldmode SIM cards) are quad band, and can advantage of EDGE.

I used one when I went overseas and only had to pay for the usage.




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Reply # 158058 19-Aug-2008 17:20
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cokemaster: Most of Telecoms loan devices (that use the worldmode SIM cards) are quad band, and can advantage of EDGE.

I used one when I went overseas and only had to pay for the usage.


Yes, at $8 per MB. I bought an AT&T SIM card tought, $25 and used $19.95 to buy an unlimited MediaNET pack (US$19.95). It's actually "fair use" but at 5 GB/month it's a deal!




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  Reply # 158059 19-Aug-2008 17:26
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cokemaster: Most of Telecoms loan devices (that use the worldmode SIM cards) are quad band, and can advantage of EDGE.


Make sure you use the Telecom SIM (Worldmode SIM card is a redundancy) but not the Worldmode handsets. That's because the Worldmode don't have 850 MHZ so they must be still used as CDMA in the U.S., hence no data roaming as I posted before (and NealR confirmed).




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Reply # 158150 19-Aug-2008 21:25
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freitasm:
Make sure you use the Telecom SIM (Worldmode SIM card is a redundancy) but not the Worldmode handsets. That's because the Worldmode don't have 850 MHZ so they must be still used as CDMA in the U.S., hence no data roaming as I posted before (and NealR confirmed).


I'm talking about the loan phones - like the Palm Treo 750 and Sierra Wireless 880u. Both are quad band GSM.
Providing the network allows roaming from Telecom, you should be able to connect to it.

Unlike the worldmode (Samsung i325, Blackberry) devices which are dual band GSM.




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