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95 posts

Master Geek


#148502 21-Jun-2014 10:48
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Hi 
My daughter will be in the USA for 4-5 months and I am checking into cellphone options  for her. 
Have done a quick look it seems that the prepaid options are not overly cheap... not if you compare then the the $19 or so data/text/talk packs here.

My queries are

- if you have an telecom XT phone here... could she take it and expect to be able to put in a USA provider SIM and have it work ok over there?
- if she purchased an unlocked phone here (that was from the USA originally)  that could worl on any newt work in the States?
-  there seem to be half a dozen major networks in the States.  Any recommendations as to some being better than others.  Where she is going (Montana) it sees that Verizon has decent coverage .. which apparently is not necessarily the cse fgor them all.
- no issues with taking an existing phone and setting it up over there?

Any input appreciated.

 - thanks
 

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  #1071516 21-Jun-2014 10:56
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Verizon still uses CDMA2000 so it's very unlikely that any NZ phone will work. Sprint will only activate phones sold by Sprint. That leaves AT&T and T-Mobile as the remaining major options.

I've heard good things about T-Mobile recently so I'd advise checking coverage in Montana. As for phone compatibility, do you know the supported frequencies of the phones that you already have?



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Master Geek


  #1071575 21-Jun-2014 12:11
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Thanks for the info... daughter needs another phone.. has been holding off and until she knows whats she doing in the States..

 
 
 
 




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Master Geek


  #1071576 21-Jun-2014 12:12
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I assume that also means that a Verizon phone is unlikely to work here?

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Ultimate Geek


  #1071596 21-Jun-2014 12:30
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As I recall from many moons ago, a Telecom XT phone, should work fairly well on AT&T due to the majority of AT&T's 3G deployment circa 2009 was done on the 850MHz WCDMA band (i.e. the same as Telecom NZ).

There is no such thing as an any network US phone really because of Verizon using CDMA still, if she's staying at Motels/Hotels/Friends/Work/etc, maybe ask if they can kindly recommend a carrier that they use themselves so you don't fall for the tourist/marketing traps?

If you listen/watch the US ads, each of the 4 networks have the largest and/or best coverage, 2-3 of the networks are lying, it's just a question of who and with which statement and exactly what moment of time you measure.

My 2c.

Edit:  Unless the Verizon phone also has a GSM chip (I don't think any of them do) it'd be dead in water here as Telecom decommissioned it's CDMA towers long ago.
Edit 2:  Verizon do have Roaming Agreements in NZ (likely with Vodafone (common owner iirc)) but only for 'global devices' which as stated, ones with GSM chips in addition to their main CDMA bits (Verizon devices are 'special'), list: http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/store/controller?&&item=phoneFirst&action=viewPhoneOverviewByDevice&capId=85&sortBy=RATING&zipRdr=y Roaming rates: https://scache.vzw.com/dam/businessportal/content/assets/files/Available_Global_Services.pdf (Spoiler Alert: Expensive)

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  #1071618 21-Jun-2014 12:37
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pjays: I assume that also means that a Verizon phone is unlikely to work here?

This is where things get tricky. If the Verizon phone supports LTE on band 13 and has a WCDMA (aka UMTS) chipset then it should work in NZ on 3G.

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  #1071664 21-Jun-2014 13:49
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Behodar:
pjays: I assume that also means that a Verizon phone is unlikely to work here?

This is where things get tricky. If the Verizon phone supports LTE on band 13 and has a WCDMA (aka UMTS) chipset then it should work in NZ on 3G.

 

Safer not to count on that and go for a AT&T or T-Mo.   AT&T 850 and 1900 Meg, T-Mo 1900 and AWS (1700 up /2100 down)  Most good named brand fone will work in those two US carriers  and here OK 




Regards,

Old3eyes


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Master Geek


  #1071669 21-Jun-2014 13:57
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So slightly off topic.
My NZ Telecom Samsung Note2 should work in most places in the US.
Going to Nevada, Arizona, California etc Christmas and New Year and need to have good data connections during that time (assuming there is coverage of course)

 
 
 
 


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  #1071709 21-Jun-2014 14:28
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Google straight talk and cricket prepay. Look at the AT&T version of straight talk SIM card. I believe they have an imei checker to check your phone's compatibility.

I think it costs something like US$40 a month.

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  #1071727 21-Jun-2014 14:49
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Here is the compatibility checker of Straight Talk

http://www.byopfinder.com/byopfinder/straighttalk/index.html?fullscreen=true

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  #1071728 21-Jun-2014 14:55
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Pricing is here

https://www.straighttalk.com/wps/portal/home/shop/serviceplans

Note:  I have not try them before.

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  #1071757 21-Jun-2014 16:12
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Where in MT is she going? That makes a big difference.
Overall Verizon, followed by AT&T.

BDFL - Memuneh
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  #1071860 21-Jun-2014 19:31
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AT&T and be done with it... Most NZ mobile handsets will work on their network.





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  #1071864 21-Jun-2014 20:14
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AT&T is probably the best bet from everything I have heard however you will want to check coverage in the area, And by that I mean speaking with people from the area and confirming who gets decent coverage, Coverage maps give a small idea but may not be correct.



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Master Geek


  #1071931 21-Jun-2014 23:59
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In answer to an earlier query. .....she is Going to Bozeman in MT

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  #1071943 22-Jun-2014 04:25
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pjays: In answer to an earlier query. .....she is Going to Bozeman in MT


Montana's a neat state.
Half again as big as NZ but quarter the population. The few "cities" are just large towns.

Verizon's CDMA used to be the only option, now AT&T's coverage is much better.
There's still a LOT of the state and plenty of highway with no coverage of any sort.

I was in Bozeman this time last year.

A cheap Walmart prepay -TracFone/StraightTalk (Verizon) as mentioned above, worked there.
An Aussie guy with me had a PureTalk (AT&T). I'd told him it wouldn't work, but I was wrong and it did.
Good signal there, and intermittently all the way along I90 to Billings.

So, if she's in Bozeman, AT&T should cover her. Is she there to go to MSU? If so she'll need a WIFI option.
Walmart, Bestbuy even gas stations sell cheap prepays if it's for mainly local/emergency use.

I'm across the border in AB, Canada and using a 7 eleven 'speakout' phone I just picked up from a 24 hour convenience store. Surprisingly good local rates & coverage for a throwaway phone (incoming calls are also charged to your phone).

Hope she enjoys her time in Bozeman.. Yellowstone's amazing.. and if she has the chance to get further West into the Rockies.. wow..

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