Go Back  British Expats > Living & Moving Abroad > USA
Reload this Page >

Getting a US phone contract?

Getting a US phone contract?

Old Jun 25th 2014, 9:23 am
  #1  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 3
mpaiton is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Getting a US phone contract?

Hey Everyone,

I'm moving to New York in early August and with Visas and shipping sorted we're now beginning to think about the smaller aspects of life.

One of the big challenges I keep coming up against is finding a decent mobile phone contract, how have other expats handled getting phone contracts while having no US credit rating?

And also do Sim only contracts exist and are there any tips on finding great deals?

Cheers,
Matt
mpaiton is offline  
Old Jun 25th 2014, 10:58 am
  #2  
Often not so civil...
 
civilservant's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: The Boonies, GA
Posts: 8,363
civilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Getting a US phone contract?

You won't get one right off the boat, since you won't exist on the credit rating companies systems. After a couple of months you will, with a large (think $400) deposit. Or you can PAYG.

Most companies offer a pre-pay PAYG with auto-pay that offers free minutes etc.

I paid $100 for an iPhone 4 on PAYG on Verizon. For that I pay $45 a month (auto-pay, so although I pay in advance it feels like a contract payment) and receive unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 1 Gig of data. That's enough for me, and it's far more reasonable than some of the $80 'smartphone' contracts.
civilservant is offline  
Old Jun 25th 2014, 12:53 pm
  #3  
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Oct 2012
Location: UK
Posts: 119
Suexpat is a splendid one to beholdSuexpat is a splendid one to beholdSuexpat is a splendid one to beholdSuexpat is a splendid one to beholdSuexpat is a splendid one to beholdSuexpat is a splendid one to beholdSuexpat is a splendid one to beholdSuexpat is a splendid one to beholdSuexpat is a splendid one to beholdSuexpat is a splendid one to beholdSuexpat is a splendid one to behold
Default Re: Getting a US phone contract?

I got a contract straight away with AT&T although I did have to pay a $500 deposit which was paid back to me.
Suexpat is offline  
Old Jun 25th 2014, 2:39 pm
  #4  
BE Forum Addict
 
Guindalf's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 2,903
Guindalf has a reputation beyond reputeGuindalf has a reputation beyond reputeGuindalf has a reputation beyond reputeGuindalf has a reputation beyond reputeGuindalf has a reputation beyond reputeGuindalf has a reputation beyond reputeGuindalf has a reputation beyond reputeGuindalf has a reputation beyond reputeGuindalf has a reputation beyond reputeGuindalf has a reputation beyond reputeGuindalf has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Getting a US phone contract?

Depending on where you live, there is more than likely no reason to tie yourself into a contract these days. PAYG is most certainly the way to go, IMO.

Walmart offers a plan with unlimited everything for $40/Mo and others offer the same or similar, with no contract and, with the cheap phone subsidies disappearing, you'll be paying full price for the hardware anyway!

Many PAYG companies allow you to BYOD, as long as it's compliant with their network and many can be found online at reduced cost, either new or used.

If you MUST have a contract, then you're likely to be tied into paying more for service with no option to trade up or get out of it for two years without penalty.
Guindalf is offline  
Old Jun 25th 2014, 6:55 pm
  #5  
Bob
BE Site Lead
 
Bob's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2004
Location: MA, USA
Posts: 91,798
Bob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Getting a US phone contract?

Loads of threads on the PAYG, discussing the merits of the different kinds. Worth a search.

Welcome to BE though
Bob is offline  
Old Jun 26th 2014, 3:01 pm
  #6  
Banned
 
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 5,154
hungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Getting a US phone contract?

Originally Posted by mpaiton View Post
Hey Everyone,
I'm moving to New York in early August and with visas and shipping sorted we're now beginning to think about the smaller aspects of life.

One of the big challenges I keep coming up against is finding a decent mobile phone contract, how have other expats handled getting phone contracts while having no US credit rating?
Some guidance:

1. ATT and VZW are the main players - by a mile. VZW is overpriced for what they offer. Ignore their 'LTE everywhere' claims. It's marketing nonsense. Whilst they do have the widest LTE coverage, they certainly don't have the best speeds - regardless of LTE coverage.

2. ATT's HSPA+ network (VZW went straight from 3G to LTE, missing out HSPA+ / UTMS) is often faster than VZW's LTE network.

3. T-Mobile are making huge inroads into the cellular market here since John Legere took over. Be aware that outside of metro areas their coverage can be pretty patchy data wise (I saw 2G for the first time in 10 years when using their network). However, they are committed to migrating their 2G network to LTE by 2015.

4. In NYC T-Mobile is *very* competitive network wise. Both ATT and VZW suffer hugely from slow down and network issues.

5. ATT's prepaid is called 'GoPhone' and is very competitive - mainly due to losing customers to T-Mobile's offerings. Their $60 2.5GB LTE / unlimited txt / calls is a good choice, though you cannot roam on this plan either domestically or nationally outside of Mexico or Canada. If you use them renew through callingmart.com - $54 all in including taxes.

6. You may also wish to consider Cricket (formerly AIO wireless) though be aware they are a budget prepaid offering, but they are backed by the ATT network which is vast. They route everything through a proxy server which results in high latency (300ms here in Boston) though on the West Coast it's <80ms in my experience.

And also do Sim only contracts exist and are there any tips on finding great deals?
SIM only doesn't exist here, not in the same way you and I know it existing in the UK. The closest alternative offered here is 'prepaid', which is the equivalent to PAYG.

I wish SIM only contracts were offered, but as you'll soon come to experience, the US cellular market is essentially a duopoly.
hungryhorace is offline  
Old Jun 26th 2014, 10:57 pm
  #7  
IRJ
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 46
IRJ is just really niceIRJ is just really niceIRJ is just really niceIRJ is just really niceIRJ is just really niceIRJ is just really niceIRJ is just really niceIRJ is just really nice
Default Re: Getting a US phone contract?

The carriers such as Verizon, AT&T are very expensive. It works out less expensive if you buy you own phone then take one of the prepaid (monthly) services such as:|
Straight Talk (Walmart sells it)
or
Cricket (owned by AT&T)
or
GoSmart (T-Mobile
Personally I think that the new Cricket provides good coverage and great prices.

The HowardForums are a useful resource for services:
HowardForums: Your Mobile Phone Community & Resource - HowardForums Home
IRJ is offline  
Old Jun 26th 2014, 11:28 pm
  #8  
Banned
 
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 5,154
hungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Getting a US phone contract?

Originally Posted by IRJ View Post
The carriers such as Verizon, AT&T are very expensive. It works out less expensive if you buy you own phone then take one of the prepaid (monthly) services such as:|
Straight Talk (Walmart sells it)
or
Cricket (owned by AT&T)
or
GoSmart (T-Mobile
Personally I think that the new Cricket provides good coverage and great prices.

The HowardForums are a useful resource for services:
HowardForums: Your Mobile Phone Community & Resource - HowardForums Home
Myself, personally, I would avoid Straight Talk with a barge pole. They are truly awful. You are FAR better off with Cricket. I don't see any benefit in going with GoSmart when you don't get access to T-Mobile's domestic roaming, which is absolutely vital.

+1 to the Howard Forums.

Last edited by hungryhorace; Jun 26th 2014 at 11:35 pm.
hungryhorace is offline  
Old Jun 27th 2014, 12:19 am
  #9  
Account Closed
 
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 0
scrubbedexpat027 is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Getting a US phone contract?

I'm on a $35 a month prepaid deal with Virgin Mobile (300mins, unlimited data & texts). It was the cheapest I could find. Coverage isn't great everywhere but a good deal if the coverage is ok in your area.
scrubbedexpat027 is offline  
Old Jun 27th 2014, 12:32 am
  #10  
Banned
 
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 5,154
hungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Getting a US phone contract?

Originally Posted by dek View Post
I'm on a $35 a month prepaid deal with Virgin Mobile (300mins, unlimited data & texts). It was the cheapest I could find. Coverage isn't great everywhere but a good deal if the coverage is ok in your area.
Virgin (Sprint MVNO) are beyond awful. Cricket $40 ($35 with autopay) plan wins everytime.
hungryhorace is offline  
Old Jun 27th 2014, 10:28 am
  #11  
Banned
 
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 265
notshipman is a splendid one to beholdnotshipman is a splendid one to beholdnotshipman is a splendid one to beholdnotshipman is a splendid one to beholdnotshipman is a splendid one to beholdnotshipman is a splendid one to beholdnotshipman is a splendid one to beholdnotshipman is a splendid one to beholdnotshipman is a splendid one to beholdnotshipman is a splendid one to beholdnotshipman is a splendid one to behold
Default Re: Getting a US phone contract?

Yeah basically you need to buy a device outright as a newbie and it's better because subsidies for contract smart phones are crap with huge monthly tariffs!

Plenty of mvno options that use the AT&T or t mobile network e.g red mobile for att and spot mobile for t mobile etc their line rentals tend be lower than going with carrier direct. Bit like using tesco lyca giffgaff etc in the uk
notshipman is offline  
Old Jun 27th 2014, 11:54 am
  #12  
Banned
 
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 5,154
hungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Getting a US phone contract?

Originally Posted by notshipman View Post
Yeah basically you need to buy a device outright as a newbie and it's better because subsidies for contract smart phones are crap with huge monthly tariffs!

Plenty of mvno options that use the AT&T or t mobile network e.g red mobile for att and spot mobile for t mobile etc their line rentals tend be lower than going with carrier direct. Bit like using tesco lyca giffgaff etc in the uk
What is Red Mobile? Why would anyone go with an ATT MVNO when they don't allow access to ATT's LTE network (with the exception of Straight Talk), and offer no where near the value of Cricket or the quality & speed of GoPhone?
hungryhorace is offline  
Old Jun 27th 2014, 12:36 pm
  #13  
IRJ
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 46
IRJ is just really niceIRJ is just really niceIRJ is just really niceIRJ is just really niceIRJ is just really niceIRJ is just really niceIRJ is just really niceIRJ is just really nice
Default Re: Getting a US phone contract?

Originally Posted by hungryhorace View Post
What is Red Mobile? Why would anyone go with an ATT MVNO when they don't allow access to ATT's LTE network (with the exception of Straight Talk), and offer no where near the value of Cricket or the quality & speed of GoPhone?
The go with Cricket as it is now 100% owned by AT&T and the prices are excellent.
IRJ is offline  
Old Jun 27th 2014, 2:50 pm
  #14  
Banned
 
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 265
notshipman is a splendid one to beholdnotshipman is a splendid one to beholdnotshipman is a splendid one to beholdnotshipman is a splendid one to beholdnotshipman is a splendid one to beholdnotshipman is a splendid one to beholdnotshipman is a splendid one to beholdnotshipman is a splendid one to beholdnotshipman is a splendid one to beholdnotshipman is a splendid one to beholdnotshipman is a splendid one to behold
Default Re: Getting a US phone contract?

Originally Posted by hungryhorace View Post
What is Red Mobile? Why would anyone go with an ATT MVNO when they don't allow access to ATT's LTE network (with the exception of Straight Talk), and offer no where near the value of Cricket or the quality & speed of GoPhone?
Not everyone has a 4G phone to take advantage of LTE also RED has 4G data options if you want that. My colleague has it and uses with no problem. Take your pick.
notshipman is offline  
Old Jun 27th 2014, 3:07 pm
  #15  
Banned
 
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 5,154
hungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond reputehungryhorace has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Getting a US phone contract?

Originally Posted by notshipman View Post
Not everyone has a 4G phone to take advantage of LTE also RED has 4G data options if you want that. My colleague has it and uses with no problem. Take your pick.
If they're going to be buying a phone over here, it will have LTE connectivity. If they don't have an LTE enabled phone, they should obtain one given (Vo)LTE is the current best way to ensure good coverage.
hungryhorace is offline  

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.