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-   -   US Sim card Advice (https://britishexpats.com/forum/usa-57/us-sim-card-advice-595581/)

navman Mar 5th 2009 11:44 am

US Sim card Advice
 
Hi Guys,

Im off to USA in late April for a couple of weeks and would like to get a Pay as U go sim card and would like some advice as to which one to get and how much will it cost.

I am looking for a sim card which is easy to activate, I can top up online or buy credits easily and offers reasonable call charges back to the UK.

I went to the USA a little under 2 years ago and purchased a T-mobile pay as U go sim off Ebay. I still actually have this sim, does anybody know whether it will still be active by any chance?

If someone could advise where to purchase a sim card as I would prefer to buy one prior to my arrival but this is not neccessary of course, maybe a US website etc.

Thanks for help

newXgate Mar 5th 2009 5:30 pm

Re: US Sim card Advice
 

Originally Posted by navman (Post 7347675)
Hi Guys,

Im off to USA in late April for a couple of weeks and would like to get a Pay as U go sim card and would like some advice as to which one to get and how much will it cost.

I am looking for a sim card which is easy to activate, I can top up online or buy credits easily and offers reasonable call charges back to the UK.

I went to the USA a little under 2 years ago and purchased a T-mobile pay as U go sim off Ebay. I still actually have this sim, does anybody know whether it will still be active by any chance?

If someone could advise where to purchase a sim card as I would prefer to buy one prior to my arrival but this is not neccessary of course, maybe a US website etc.

Thanks for help

The sim you have will almost certainly not be active anymore.

T-mobile do a sim-only pay as you go deal via their US website. The sim costs about $10 or less with online discount, you get 10 'free' minutes bundled with the simcard. In theory you could order it in advance if you know where you will be staying in the US and can give a delivery address (they will deliver overnight if you are willing to pay more). You may also be able to purchase the sim from one of their actual stores when you arrive.

meauxna Mar 5th 2009 11:19 pm

Re: US Sim card Advice
 
Why do you say the sim card wouldn't be good anymore, newXgate? My T-mob PAYG phone is older than dirt but it still works. Just curious. :)

newXgate Mar 5th 2009 11:53 pm

Re: US Sim card Advice
 

Originally Posted by meauxna (Post 7349682)
Why do you say the sim card wouldn't be good anymore, newXgate? My T-mob PAYG phone is older than dirt but it still works. Just curious. :)

According to the T-mobile website you have to top up every 90 days to avoid losing your prepaid account, unless you purchase $100 minutes of airtime in which case you have a whole year before needing to top up again. I imagine you top up frequently enough to keep your account current. Unless the OP used his very recently or had the $100 deal I would imagine his old account is lost.

It occurs to me that the OP could try activating a new account with his old sim, but given my experiences with T-mobs useless PAYG customer service, it would be tough going. Might be easier just to order a new one since they're so cheap and come with $10 worth of minutes.

meauxna Mar 6th 2009 12:43 am

Re: US Sim card Advice
 
ah of course, I didn't think of the account timing out. I use it so little that the $100 lasts me a year. :o

I have to ditto what you say about their customer no-service; my last refill was purchased off their system and mysteriously disappeared the day after it was accepted. I'm still trying to get the rest of it back from them (different BS story every time). I guess that 15% discount wasn't worth it. ;)

Bob Mar 6th 2009 2:06 am

Re: US Sim card Advice
 
Depends where you'll be as to what's worth getting, if the service don't work, it ain't worth getting.

Around here, I'd just get a crap tracfone and use that, but international calls on the mobile won't be cheap on payg.

lansbury Mar 6th 2009 7:38 am

Re: US Sim card Advice
 

Originally Posted by meauxna (Post 7349889)
ah of course, I didn't think of the account timing out. I use it so little that the $100 lasts me a year. :o

Remember once you have reached the total of $100 in top ups any amount after that last 12 months.

I had a balance on mine when the year ended and extended it another 12 months for just a $10 top up.

Xebedee Mar 6th 2009 10:15 am

Re: US Sim card Advice
 

Originally Posted by navman (Post 7347675)
Hi Guys,

Im off to USA in late April for a couple of weeks and would like to get a Pay as U go sim card and would like some advice as to which one to get and how much will it cost.

I am looking for a sim card which is easy to activate, I can top up online or buy credits easily and offers reasonable call charges back to the UK.

I went to the USA a little under 2 years ago and purchased a T-mobile pay as U go sim off Ebay. I still actually have this sim, does anybody know whether it will still be active by any chance?

If someone could advise where to purchase a sim card as I would prefer to buy one prior to my arrival but this is not neccessary of course, maybe a US website etc.

Thanks for help

Tracfone is the closest you will find to a UK type service.
Bear in mind that you pay for incoming calls here also regardless of which you choose.

Manc Mar 6th 2009 11:05 am

Re: US Sim card Advice
 

Originally Posted by Bob (Post 7350043)
Around here, I'd just get a crap tracfone and use that, but international calls on the mobile won't be cheap on payg.

but a $10 pennytalk card though will last about 2 weeks or so

notacrime Mar 6th 2009 3:15 pm

Re: US Sim card Advice
 

Originally Posted by newXgate (Post 7349779)
According to the T-mobile website you have to top up every 90 days to avoid losing your prepaid account, unless you purchase $100 minutes of airtime in which case you have a whole year before needing to top up again. I imagine you top up frequently enough to keep your account current.

I have a t-mobile paygo SIM, and the minutes do indeed expire in 90 days until you've topped up with $100. However, the SIM and number aren't deactivated. I've only ever left it unused for 6 months, so things may be different for the OP. But having your minutes expire does not equate to the SIM being deactivated.

If you'll be doing a lot of calling back to the UK you'd be better off with AT&T wireless "GoPhone". They are $0.39/min for UK calls (http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/po...ance-rates.jsp) whereas t-mobile are $1.60/min (http://www.t-mobile.com/shop/plans/prepaidrates.aspx)

newXgate Mar 6th 2009 4:02 pm

Re: US Sim card Advice
 

Originally Posted by notacrime (Post 7351522)
I have a t-mobile paygo SIM, and the minutes do indeed expire in 90 days until you've topped up with $100. However, the SIM and number aren't deactivated. I've only ever left it unused for 6 months, so things may be different for the OP. But having your minutes expire does not equate to the SIM being deactivated.

That's interesting. The T-mob website does say "If you don't refill within 90 days after your last refill expiration date, you will lose your account", but there is no definition of what that actually means. Perhaps there is a secret grace period before they truly deactivate your account and free up your number for someone else.

If you'll be doing a lot of calling back to the UK you'd be better off with AT&T wireless "GoPhone". They are $0.39/min for UK calls (http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/po...ance-rates.jsp) whereas t-mobile are $1.60/min (http://www.t-mobile.com/shop/plans/prepaidrates.aspx)
TBH if the OP is doing a lot of calling to the UK they should really buy a random phone card from a liquor store or gas station, $.039 per min is certainly cheaper than $1.60 but it is still a hell of a lot more than what you would pay using a phone card.

notacrime Mar 6th 2009 5:21 pm

Re: US Sim card Advice
 

Originally Posted by newXgate (Post 7351666)
TBH if the OP is doing a lot of calling to the UK they should really buy a random phone card from a liquor store or gas station, $.039 per min is certainly cheaper than $1.60 but it is still a hell of a lot more than what you would pay using a phone card.

Can you use those with a mobile? Presumably it would consume minutes on your mobile plan, but at a domestic rate?

lisa67 Mar 6th 2009 8:07 pm

Re: US Sim card Advice
 
The OP can have my phone if he wants, I've just found it in my trouser pocket...unfortunately my trousers were in the washing machine :(

50 cool 50 Mar 7th 2009 5:18 pm

Re: US Sim card Advice
 
Get metro PCS its the USA version of 3 in the U.K, costs 4o0 bucks a month pay as you go unlimited calls Fabulous!!!!:p

BritishGuy36 Mar 7th 2009 9:41 pm

Re: US Sim card Advice
 
You can pick up a cheap AT&T Go-phone from any Wal.Mart for $15, throw the crappy phone away and use the SIM in your unlocked tri-band phone. Top up on the phone, online, or loads of petrol stations.


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