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AKT

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  Reply # 845177 25-Jun-2013 18:41
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lchiu7:
zaptor:

I was considering using Viber and Vonage while in the US (Viber for contacts who only use Viber for VoIP).

Is there anything particularly compelling about using Google Voice (over Vonage)?


It all depends I guess.

They all do the same thing basically. With Vonage you can call anybody for free (so long as you have 3G or wifi). I think the deal is still on for 3000 minutes free/month.

GV is really US centric but it does allow you to have one number in the US that you can direct to any other. So if you travel frequently to the US and end up with different prepaid SIM cards each time, then you don't need to worry about it - just always provide your GV number and direct calls to the current cellphone number you are using.

It means for your local or US friends/rels who don't use Viber, they can reach you with one number.

I find GV handy in NZ since it means I can send SMS to my daughter in the US for free. She prefers SMS since all her US friends use text and so she only has one place to look for messages and to send them (even though she has a smartphone). And she is on an unlimited text plan.


dickytim: Please note that I could not find prepaid sim cards at Walmart, Target, Walgreens etc.

Don't bank on being able to get one there.

If you have transport, or are in a large city it wouldn't be an issue, but I had a lot of trouble in Vegas finding a place to get a AT&T sim card. I ended up at the Fashion Mall next to Caesars where there was a mobile phone accessory shop, but they were a rip off!


I have never purchased the ATT card in a store - always bought it online with ATT and had it delivered. But I have been able to find TMO cards in the malls. They usually have a booth in the mall (not a store) where you can buy phones and cards. The last time, before they officially supported the iPhone, they even sold me a regular SIM and punched it out for my wife's iPhone!

Anyway if you plan things properly it's easier to buy the SIM from home and have it delivered to your hotel/friend's house.

And if you can't buy the SIM card at Walmart, you can certainly buy the $30/month plan (unlimited data, text and 100 minutes online)

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tmobile-30-Wireless-Airtime-Card/15443357

and have it e-mailed to you.

But interestingly TMO won't sell that to you.


We’re going to the West Coast next month and have therefore been following this thread with interest.  We’re planning to take an iPhone 4, 5 & iPad.  Does anyone know if I’d be able to buy a nanosim for the iP5?  I have a cutter for MicroSim so will pack that just in case.

TMO seem to be winning as far as I can see.  

Going to set up GV too but I can’t seem to do that until I have a US number :(

A

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  Reply # 845323 25-Jun-2013 22:15
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AKT:

TMO seem to be winning as far as I can see.  

Going to set up GV too but I can’t seem to do that until I have a US number :(

A


I was going to leave that as an exercise for the reader but perhaps it's too hard!

Go to www.callcentric.com amd get a SIP account. Download their SIP client for Windows or use perhaps the inbuilt SIP app for Android (maybe one for IOS also).

Then you can get a free US number from the same site (normally area code 639).

Make sure that if you call that number it will ring on your SIP phone. You can use Vonage to make the call for free.

Setup a VPN to the US using Tunnel Bear which is free.

Sign up for GV and provide the number above as your first number. GV will call that number and ask you to enter a single digit number into your phone (SIP phone) to confirm that it's yours.

When that's done you are golden. You can go to GV online and route your Google Voice number to any phone (US) you wish.




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  Reply # 845351 26-Jun-2013 00:48
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dickytim: Please note that I could not find prepaid sim cards at Walmart, Target, Walgreens etc.

Don't bank on being able to get one there.

If you have transport, or are in a large city it wouldn't be an issue, but I had a lot of trouble in Vegas finding a place to get a AT&T sim card. I ended up at the Fashion Mall next to Caesars where there was a mobile phone accessory shop, but they were a rip off!

Good to know. I think I'll follow Laurence's lead and order the SIMs directly with T-Mobile to be sent to my hotel.

lchiu7: Anyway if you plan things properly it's easier to buy the SIM from home and have it delivered to your hotel/friend's house.

And if you can't buy the SIM card at Walmart, you can certainly buy the $30/month plan (unlimited data, text and 100 minutes online)

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tmobile-30-Wireless-Airtime-Card/15443357

and have it e-mailed to you.

But interestingly TMO won't sell that to you.


Thanks.

The only (possible) issue is that I don't have a US credit card. However, according to the Walmart payment options page I can pay via PayPal, or (apparently) even use my NZ credit card directly.

The only downside with the $30 unlimited (apparently it's 5GB - still a lot though) data is that it's not hotspot/tethering data. The hotspot device would be a non-JB iPhone 5. One (more expensive) option is to go with the $60 prepaid plan (2.5GB data - all of which is hotspot "enabled" I think).

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  Reply # 845363 26-Jun-2013 06:53
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T-Mobile sell Iphone5's so I would have to say that it makes sense that they have nano sims, in fact while I was at the store another customer ticked up an Iphone5 and the guy set it up and installed the sim instore, so they definatelty do them

AKT

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  Reply # 846335 27-Jun-2013 18:19
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lchiu7:
AKT:

TMO seem to be winning as far as I can see.  

Going to set up GV too but I can’t seem to do that until I have a US number :(

A


I was going to leave that as an exercise for the reader but perhaps it's too hard!



Thanks,  it fell into the can’t be arsed/takes too long to sort out vs 5 mins once I’m there….

I may get round to it before we go though as it would be handy.  I’ve been giving out our Skype number for the time being.

A

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  Reply # 846352 27-Jun-2013 18:52
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GV is a bit of a pain to setup, but once done you are set.

Works best with an Android phone, but still well with iPhone I understand.

The benefit with Android is it can integrate itself into the OS/dialler. You can set it for example, to send all of your outgoing calls via GV (Only in the US of course).

It's not a VoIP call tho. My understanding is that it sends a data packet to Google with the number you want to call, then calls a Google pilot number silently. Google then answers that call, and forwards it to the number you're calling silently.

To the person making the call, it just seems like you're making a normal outgoing call from your phone.

You can also make/receive calls within Gmail, and send/receive SMS from the web. (as well as their App)




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  Reply # 846478 27-Jun-2013 22:44
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AKT: We’re going to the West Coast next month and have therefore been following this thread with interest.  We’re planning to take an iPhone 4, 5 & iPad.  Does anyone know if I’d be able to buy a nanosim for the iP5?  I have a cutter for MicroSim so will pack that just in case.


It might be an idea to contact T-Mobile directly.

Have already spoken to a very helpful T-Mobile CSR. I used Vonage, so the 1 hour call I made was free (less the insignificant data usage).

They can and do sell all three SIM varieties (including nano). This is when ordering from the T-Mobile call centre (you actually speak to a real American with decent English, she didn't have any issues with my Kiwi accent).
However, I can't vouch for the retail outlets (I guess you could just call the one you intend to visit directly anyway?).



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  Reply # 846481 27-Jun-2013 22:55
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Hmmm.... with all the discussion regarding prepaid plans, I've forgot to ask if anyone knows of any issues setting the APN for T-Mobile - using a non-JB iPhone (4 and 5) of course?

TIA.

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  Reply # 846520 28-Jun-2013 07:02
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zaptor: Hmmm.... with all the discussion regarding prepaid plans, I've forgot to ask if anyone knows of any issues setting the APN for T-Mobile - using a non-JB iPhone (4 and 5) of course?

TIA.


No issue at all.

Go to www.unlockit.co.nz and create a profile, couldn't be easier, I can vouch for it working.

Or just go to settings/General/Cellular/Cellular data network and enter their APN, the store or the online customer services people will be able to give it to you.

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  Reply # 846971 28-Jun-2013 23:07
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zaptor: Hmmm.... with all the discussion regarding prepaid plans, I've forgot to ask if anyone knows of any issues setting the APN for T-Mobile - using a non-JB iPhone (4 and 5) of course?

TIA.


Loading up a profile is easy. There was a bug a little white where once you removed it (Ie. when back home), the profile details were still stuck. I assume Apple has fixed it now (this was like Dec last year), but if you get back and your phone wont connect at home you just have to reset your network settings (There is an option in the menu to reset all network settings)




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  Reply # 855530 14-Jul-2013 21:58
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Currently in Chicago USA for a month. Went to AT&T and they sorted me out for iPhone data plan. For $US65/mth unlimited national calling, free text includes to NZ, one GB data. The other plan for $45 had 0.25 GB data. Just need to present your passport. Data coverage so far is good as been inside various large buildings shopping with wife.



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  Reply # 855584 15-Jul-2013 04:35
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In LA (Hollywood) right now.

Signed up with T-Mobile yesterday. All prepaid, 1 x phone with $60 unlimited calling + text, 2.5GB data with tethering, plus $10 international add-on (allows me to call NZ for free using my unlimited minutes, mobiles cost extra). 2 x phones on $3/day unlimited calling/text, 200MB data.

Whole setup took less than 30 minutes in T-Mobile store on Sunset Blvd. I did everything once I got here, because you need a US credit card to do anything online or over the phone.

Had minor issues with data on the iPhone 4 and Xperia, but, that was because I was using the wrong APN (LTE version). Also, needed to specify an additional APN for tethering on the iPhone 5. After that was all sorted everything was sweet.

As long as you know exactly what you want then using a T-Mobile store is a painless experience.

I'm glad I've got data via mobile, hotel Wifi is just appalling.

AKT

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  Reply # 855960 15-Jul-2013 16:24
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zaptor: In LA (Hollywood) right now.

Signed up with T-Mobile yesterday. All prepaid, 1 x phone with $60 unlimited calling + text, 2.5GB data with tethering, plus $10 international add-on (allows me to call NZ for free using my unlimited minutes, mobiles cost extra). 2 x phones on $3/day unlimited calling/text, 200MB data.


We arrive next Saturday.  I was going to go for T-Mobile and the Wal-Mart $30 deal for one phone and then tether the iPad and use a $3/day for the other phone as for the most part we will both be together.  I have a couple of questions:

Does anyone know if you can tether with the $30 Wal Mart deal?
Is the $3/day $3 if you have your phone switched on or just if you receive calls or use data?
Do you get charged for incoming calls in the US (I’m thinking of using Google Voice for calling)?

Cheers

A

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  Reply # 855969 15-Jul-2013 16:41
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AKT: Do you get charged for incoming calls in the US (I’m thinking of using Google Voice for calling)?


Yes. Incoming and outgoing calls are treated the same by US mobile networks. This is true even if you use Google Voice (which basically does a call forward to your actual number for incoming calls)




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  Reply # 856092 15-Jul-2013 20:00
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AKT: I have a couple of questions:

Does anyone know if you can tether with the $30 Wal Mart deal?
Is the $3/day $3 if you have your phone switched on or just if you receive calls or use data?
Do you get charged for incoming calls in the US (I’m thinking of using Google Voice for calling)?

Cheers

A


Tethering is not allowed with the $30 plan. I would've gone with with this for the other phones if not for the fact that you only get 100 mins talk time.
Any phone activity for a new day (voice, text, or data) will trigger the $3 charge. If you have the phone off for the entire day's billing period, then you won't get charged.
You'll get charged if you're roaming. If you have a US number (in the US), you won't get billed if you receive a non-local call. However, it may cost the caller a non-insignificant fee to call you on your US number.
We have number that we roam on (has to be postpaid). I deliberately choose a number for a regular SIM, because I could simply install it into the lightweight non-smart R100 phone we use as a hotline if anyone in NZ needed to contact us. In that instance it costs $1 USD per minute (rounded to nearest minute) for us to receive a call. Because of the free minutes back to NZ, I hang up and call the caller back once they've contacted me. Good postpaid plan (if you wanted cheap roaming), is Vodafone's $10 mobile plan for ex-TC customers, assuming it's even still available.

I'm thankful I opted for the unlimited voice plans - whenever we split up we end up calling each other, and I've also had to make a number of non-family calls for other things (taxis, hotel, stores), in addition to touching base back at home for other things.
Btw, $3/day plan can't have add-ons applied (i.e. international calling, $15 day big data add-on).

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