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Old 01-31-2014, 07:32 AM   #1
EmersonNZ
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Purchasing a prepay SIM

I few years ago (2010) I made post regarding obtaining a Prepay SIM card for an iPhone in the US (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2394461). Back then it seemed Prepay SIMs weren't easily available in the US like they are in most countries (All carriers here in New Zealand for example have a prepay plan and SIM packs are available readily).

I was wondering if things have changed in that time? Is it possible to get a prepay SIM for an iPhone 5s in the US? It would be great to be able to use our cellphones (and especially data) would be great. We are in the US a few times each year for one thing or another (work and/or a Disney trip) so it'd be great to have a couple of SIM cards to swap in when we are there instead of paying exorbitant international roaming charges which is what we do when we are over in Australia or in Asia or Europe etc.

If anyone knows of any options... especially on that we can order online and get delivered to our hotel it would be much appreciated.
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Old 01-31-2014, 08:42 AM   #2
lost*in*cyberspace
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In the US, you can't easily pick up a SIM card the way you can in other countries. You have the option of buying a pre-paid phone, which are sold in many places. If you do an online search, you will find places which sell US SIM cards (such as usasims.com).

Make sure your iPhone is unlocked. You should also check with your carrier to see if it would be easier to temporarily add an international plan to your service. That is what I do when traveling internationally. That way, you keep your regular phone number.
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Old 01-31-2014, 08:54 AM   #3
EmersonNZ
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Thanks *lost in cyberspace*. Every phone sold in NZ is unlocked so there is no problem there. We do have international roaming on our accounts but it is pretty expensive compared to what you'd get in the local country (I use it work work all the time but normally not for pleasure unless it is only a couple of days).

I did have a SIM from MR SIM at one stage which worked well so we might go down that path again. Anyone have any other recommendations for different options?
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Old 01-31-2014, 09:25 AM   #4
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The options are better and worse than what they were 3 years ago in the prepaid SIM area. If you are planning on using any significant amount of data you are looking at a monthly prepaid "plan" and not a "pay as you go" plan.

The biggest decision up front is which network do you want/need AT&T or T-Mobile. You need to look at both what company has coverage where you are traveling and what frequencies they use compared to your phone.

AT&T's Coverage Map is Here
T-Mobiles Map is Here
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Last edited by johde; 01-31-2014 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 01-31-2014, 09:58 AM   #5
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You can get a prepaid sim from T-Mobile. I don't know if they'll ship overseas, but you can probably get it delivered or go into a store when you get to the States. You can try here if you filter by sim: https://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/prepaid-phones

You can then buy normal top-up cards to load value to the sim. If you load $100, the value will be valid for one year; anything less will be valid for 90 days. If you load the $100 once, any time you load any additional funds that one-year expiration is reset. I loaded $100 four years ago and kept topping up with $10 each year to keep it all valid.

You can get a pay-as-you-go plan that charges by the minute, or you can get a prepaid plan with included minutes, texts, and data. I think you can pay a daily charge for a certain amount of data.

This plan works great for calling each other or other U.S. numbers (the rate is the same nation-wide), but I don't know if you will be able to call home with those plans. I know that was the main value when we were in Europe; calling internationally with a prepaid sim was sometimes cheaper than calling local.
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supersnoop View Post
You can get a prepaid sim from T-Mobile. I don't know if they'll ship overseas, but you can probably get it delivered or go into a store when you get to the States. You can try here if you filter by sim: https://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/prepaid-phones

You can then buy normal top-up cards to load value to the sim. If you load $100, the value will be valid for one year; anything less will be valid for 90 days. If you load the $100 once, any time you load any additional funds that one-year expiration is reset. I loaded $100 four years ago and kept topping up with $10 each year to keep it all valid.

You can get a pay-as-you-go plan that charges by the minute, or you can get a prepaid plan with included minutes, texts, and data. I think you can pay a daily charge for a certain amount of data.

This plan works great for calling each other or other U.S. numbers (the rate is the same nation-wide), but I don't know if you will be able to call home with those plans. I know that was the main value when we were in Europe; calling internationally with a prepaid sim was sometimes cheaper than calling local.
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Old 01-31-2014, 06:56 PM   #7
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Excellent!!! Thanks Supersnoop and Wiigirl. Looks like TMobile is the way to go to.

Since we are interested in Data as well as talk (Actually I think the part of my phone I use least... is the 'phone' part. It's mostly Data and a bit of Text) it looks like one of the prepay plans might be the best.

Again thanks heaps :-)
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Old 02-01-2014, 01:11 PM   #8
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Sorry I had to cut my previous reply short. I think you can do it with either AT&T or T-Mobile. T-Mobile is Cheaper but has a smaller coverage area. With either company $100 will last 1 year. AT&T's plans are here http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/pla...paidplans.html . With either company I think you'd want to get a $100 card for the 1 year expiration. When you get to the United Stated pick the plan you want based on how many days you'll be here and what you'll be doing. Then before you go, switch the plan back to pay as you go so it doesn't continue to take money from your account while you're away.
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Several Trips off site and at Grandma house going back to 1976
Dec 2002 OKW; Dec 2003 OKW; Sept 2004 BWV&OKW; Dec 2005 OKW Sept 2006 BWV: Sept 2007 BWV & AKV
Dec 2009 AKV & BWV: Sept 2011 VCG and the Disneyland Half Marathon: Jan 2013 OKW and AKV New years at Disney. Jan. 2015 AKV/ Cabana Bay?
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Old 02-01-2014, 07:52 PM   #9
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Excellent thanks johide. I just checked T-Mobiles site and it looks like the have coverage in all the places we'll be so they look the best bet (They partner with someone in one location but I'm sure that'll be fine)
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Old 02-13-2014, 10:44 PM   #10
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Iam just about to make an order for a T-Mobile SIM and $100 credit but have one question I thought someone might be able to help em with...

How does the 'Pay by the Day' Plan work? http://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/prepaid-plans

Once I have have my prepay credit associated with the account do you get the 1000 minutes + the $100 credit you can then use for addon's such as the 'Pay by the Day' or is the 'Pay by the Day' a separate plan?

Every country seems to do prepay a little differently so any help would be appreciated (In NZ you'd get the 1000 minutes and then add packs on such the data with the credit etc but I am not sure this is what they mean here).
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Old 02-13-2014, 11:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EmersonNZ View Post
Iam just about to make an order for a T-Mobile SIM and $100 credit but have one question I thought someone might be able to help em with...

How does the 'Pay by the Day' Plan work? http://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/prepaid-plans

Once I have have my prepay credit associated with the account do you get the 1000 minutes + the $100 credit you can then use for addon's such as the 'Pay by the Day' or is the 'Pay by the Day' a separate plan?

Every country seems to do prepay a little differently so any help would be appreciated (In NZ you'd get the 1000 minutes and then add packs on such the data with the credit etc but I am not sure this is what they mean here).
You'll have $100 to spend. By starting with that amount, your per-minute rate will be $0.10. You can elect, instead, to pay the $2 or $3 per day, which will come out of your $100 balance. Or you can choose the $30 or $35 plan for a month. But remember to change back to the pay-as-you-go plan, or you'll keep getting charged even on days you don't use the phone.
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Old 03-04-2014, 03:21 AM   #12
EmersonNZ
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I just thought I would update this post for those that might look or search for it later on our experiences....

We ended up getting T-Mobile SIMs and added a $100 prepay card to them and had no issue. The coverage in WDW was pretty good on the whole with only parts of AoA being an issue (Which I hear it is for most carriers). Speed of data was good as was call quality and text delivery times etc.

As we landed in US in San Francisco and had a few hour before out connection to Orlando so ended up heading to the 'Shops at Tanforan' which is one BART stop from the airport and got a SIM there. We had excellent service at the T-Mobile store there and were both se tup in less than 10 minutes.

In the end I went for the $3 daily plan and my wife went for the $2 plan. The basic difference is you get more 4g data with the $3 plan than the $2 plan. With the $100 credit you get 1 year to spend it and they charge 'per day' so if you don't use your mobile for the day (i.e out of the country) you don't get charged.

I did try and order it before we left NZ and found out that T-Mobile won't accept non US credit cards for some silly reason. Easy enough o get around if you really wanted but we decided we'd head to the mall in San Fran (if we had time) or in Orlando etc

Thanks to every one who posted to this thread and gave suggestions and help it was very much appreciated.
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:29 AM   #13
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We are going to Grand Cayman Island from the US in April. We would love to bring our phones. Our carrier is Verizon and we have 2 iPhone 5C and one droid Razor I believe. Is there a way to use SIM cards there?
Any help is appreciated.
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:48 AM   #14
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We are going to Grand Cayman Island from the US in April. We would love to bring our phones. Our carrier is Verizon and we have 2 iPhone 5C and one droid Razor I believe. Is there a way to use SIM cards there?
Any help is appreciated.
No, Verizon does not use SIM cards in their phones.
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:51 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by J'aime Paris View Post
We are going to Grand Cayman Island from the US in April. We would love to bring our phones. Our carrier is Verizon and we have 2 iPhone 5C and one droid Razor I believe. Is there a way to use SIM cards there?
Any help is appreciated.
Unfortunately, Verizon is not a good choice of carriers if you travel internationally and want to use your Verizon phone because they use mainly CDMA rather than GSM phones.

However, it appears that your phones will work in the Grand Caymans if you activate a global plan:

http://www.verizonwireless.com/wcms/...d-pricing.html
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