International SIM CardsBack to Forum
Anonymous19 Sep 2011
I suspect that many on this forum do not even think about their mobile roaming call and data costs when travelling, but others, like me probably do.
The simple solution has been not to make calls and rely on free WiFi, however circumsances are now such that keeping in touch with home is becoming essential when away.
Later this year its back to the USA and it seems that an International SIM, bought here in the UK, might provide some relief from the charges imposed by all the main service providers when roaming.
The question is, which one?
Have you any suggestions?
Ideally for both calls and data?
I understand SIM only PAYG is not available in the USA but again if thers have better information please let me know..19 Sep 2011
Always buy a local sim card for calls and a data card for mobile internet.
I have a couple of unlocked phones and find that solution is better than the international sim route.19 Sep 2011
Yep, I have two solutions. 1. I have Verizon and AT&T phones in the US with cheap foreign calling so I pay about 3.5p a minute to UK and virtually nothing domestic. I also have Chinese, Japanese and Brazilian phones though these required the help of local clients (particularlly in Japan). My Iphone from AT&T supports Skype so I make most calls from Hotels, Airports and clients using Wifi and skype which from Brazil, China and Japan can save you serious money on long calls.19 Sep 2011
to use in conjuntion with the sim card try
I have been using them for the past few years. Phoning back to the UK from the States is something silly like 1c a minute.
Be careful on some calling cards as they charge an access fee, even when the phone line is engaged.
Unless I have missed something, VIP do not charge an access fee from US to UK.
Certainly a case of read the small print, not just the price per minute.
Obviously Skype is useful, but sometimes the call quality is just not good enough or the internet connection not strong enough.19 Sep 2011
using the iphone app I have had no probs with skype to skype or skype to phone (often better than cellphone quality.) Would never try videocalling though, diastrous on Hotel wifi. Interestingly my Verizon Blackberry allows me to use skype on 3G but not on Wifi or outside Verizon coverage area.19 Sep 2011
I use a service called Operator One. Operator one.com Voice quality can sometimes be an issue, but overall it’s very good. There’s a handy App for iPhones and Samsungs and it’s very easy to use.20 Sep 2011
Would liek to go down the local sim card route but understand this is not easy in the USA. Any thoughts. Is it difficult or can I just pitch up at a phone store and walk out with a sim card and number?20 Sep 2011
Binman, could not be easier. But you will get phone normally not just SIM as SIM is GSM. Best buy or any electornics styore or phone companies.
Two things to watch out for:
Make sure the company you choose has coverage where you will be. (No one winner but I find Verizon works most places and Nextel (Boost) is the worst. (Neither of these are GSM). AT&T ans Tmobile are major GSM carriers.
A lot of prepay will stop you calling overseas or raoming. Make sure you can use to call overseas if you need to. Also good idea to check how you can refill. Can you do on net or by phone and can you use foreign credit card. IF yuo visit regularly you can normally do in phoen company store if you do not have US credit card. Some systems will accept foreign cards on net some will not. (Same rubbish is happenign in UK with websites refusing non UK cards to stop fraud).
AT&T looks like it could work for you.20 Sep 2011
Rich – I think you will find, but I may be wrong, that Verizon do not use sim cards, you can only use their phones to get onto the network.
I use T-Mobile as in the main they cover all areas I need.
Just pitch up to either ATT or TMobile stores, seem to be as common as Starbucks!20 Sep 2011
Hi Martyn, Verizon is CDMA so most us phones do not have sims (I belive Virign pay as you go in US is using Verizon or Sprint towers), as i posted. the details are coded on phone. The only exceptions are international phones such as my Verizon Blackberry which does not use the sim for cdma but does for gsm edge gprs or umts. The sim is brnaded VErizon but suplied by Vodafone s they own part of Verizon. This has the unfortunate effect that the phone switches to Vodafone in many countrues whereas ny AT&T Iphone allows far better roaming.
As I posted Nextel (Iden) which uses boost for its prepaid branding and Verizon, Sprint and US Cellular (CDMA) do not use SIM cards and even AT&T and Tmobile are more used to selling you a chgeap pre pay phone than just a sim card. Assumign your UK phone though is unlocked you can swap the SIM though any MMS and Intenret connection data may get lost.
I am assuming that the request is to use phone in the US as for UK based travellers it makes no sense toi use a US phone to make calls from UK or Uerope if you have a UK phone. I use my AT&T and Verizon for mail, web and incoming but call out on local numbers.
Had Tmobile for a while as well as Nextel but the coverage in Hawaii is terrible once you leave Oahu and had issue in other rural areas so that is why I suggest Verizon or AT&T (they are still trying to buy tmobile as the germans are divesting their Tmobile investment worldwide). Sorry to be such a Phone nerd (and type so badly) but I spend a lot of time on this stuff. Let’s not gte into Japan as that gets really complicated with domestic regulations 🙂
Verizon CDMA (EVDO and 1x) Bands 850 and 1900
AT&T GSM and UMTS 850 and 1900
TMObile GSM and UMTS GSM 1900 UMTS 1700 (Need to check whether there is still some legacy GSM 850)
Fort he real nerds, you can buy phones in Far East and on web that accomodate multiple SIMS so you can swap or even use at the same time (I think Orange in UK may have one). I remember reading a realt techy post about combining HSDPA across 2 sims to double speeds… I know, get a life…20 Sep 2011
Hi Rich, sorry I did not read your post as thoroughly as normal. Its the thought of the M1 and I am only posting now as I cant bear the thought!
I tend to use T-Mobile for all things main land USA. I have no problems buying SIM cards for voice and data and jumping in and out of contracts. If you dont need a phone, the stores are just happy to sell you anything.
As a further tip, if you take a contract, dont accept the first price. Its a highly competitive market. I went contract as it turned out cheaper than using PAYG, where you get charged for the phone ringing, even if its not answered.20 Sep 2011
Yes Martyn, this is a good point for UK and European cell phones users to understand, in the US you are charged for incoming calls as well as outgoing. WHen you call a cell phone in the US there is no premium on the call, it costs the same as a landline however the cellphone gets charged for the cellular part. This is not an issue for the vast majority of peope with large call allowances or even unlimited but if you are on pay as you go it could be. Apart from wrong numbers you can get a lot of cimputer calls telling you this is your credit card company calling to save you money, you need to refinance your mortgage, you have won a cruise etc. My phones are all registered for no cold calling but the spivs and crooks still call. I always use caller ID and do not pick up if I do not recognize number.
Enjoy the M1 and I am sure you will not use your cell phone and drive. Was in WI for 4th and interestingly you cannot text and rive but you can still talk. Some states you cannot talk but you can email. I think Dallas you cannot talk but you can polish your guns20 Sep 2011