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Pre paid SIM card in US

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arun

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Sep 5, 2002
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In April, I was in New York (Mid town) and checking about pre-paid GSM SIM only card.
For some reason, the first two shops (T mobile and Cingular) said that I have to buy the phone as well as part of the pre-paid package. To be honest, when I think back now, I am not sure if I have made clear to them or they understood me correctly.
However, without giving up, I went to another Cingular shop, they happily got me a pre paid SIM. The girl said that usually they charge a connection fee but she is waiving it (some kind of promo must be), and she said I can buy a card in $10, 30 or 50). As she did not have a $10 in stock I bought a $30. That was just great. It is just 10 cents per minute within US, and 15 cents to Canada. I did not check the Australian rate, but I made a couple of short calls. I did not use it heavily, but after two weeks in US, I still had about $15 left in the card.

I was very very pleased as if I did not get this, I would have had to use Roaming, which would have cost me about $1.00 to 2.00 per minute.

Great value. I would strongly recommend.

BTW, GSM is gaining popularity. My phone is a tri-band Nokia 6600. It is worth buying a tri-band as they do not cost much extra nowadays.
 

luckydog

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Aug 7, 2004
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Global roaming is a killer!

I happily used my triband Nokia in the US.... until I got home and saw the bill and nearly died! Global roaming is a great way for phone companies to make money.

Getting the local SIMM is absolutley the way to go.

BTW... triband is useless in Japan.
 

NM

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Re: Global roaming is a killer!

luckydog said:
I happily used my triband Nokia in the US.... until I got home and saw the bill and nearly died! Global roaming is a great way for phone companies to make money.
I always divert all incoming calls to messagebank, and use my phone as an SMS pager to tell me someone has left a message (no cost there). Then I use a calling card or an IP Softphone on my laptop to retreive my messages and call the person back.

I use my phone for short intra-USA calls, but not for international calls home.
 

RTWFF

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Aug 12, 2005
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Prepaid T-mobile & Cingular

I can assure you that you do not need to buy a phone to get a pre-paid card. The big HOWEVER is that you have to go to a Cingular- or T-Mobile owned store to get it - their franchisees know nothing about it
 

serfty

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Re: Prepaid Mobile/Calling card in US

RTWFF said:
I can assure you that you do not need to buy a phone to get a pre-paid card. The big HOWEVER is that you have to go to a Cingular- or T-Mobile owned store to get it - their franchisees know nothing about it
NM said:
I always divert all incoming calls to messagebank, and use my phone as an SMS pager to tell me someone has left a message (no cost there). Then I use a calling card or an IP Softphone on my laptop to retreive my messages and call the person back.

I use my phone for short intra-USA calls, but not for international calls home.
OK you LOTFAP regulars, I'm off there very soon. Seem to be great ideas. :idea:

Where's the best place to get either of these?

I'm starting off at LAX then DFW ...
 

NM

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Re: Prepaid Mobile/Calling card in US

serfty said:
OK you LOTFAP regulars, I'm off there very soon. Seem to be great ideas. :idea:

Where's the best place to get either of these?

I'm starting off at LAX then DFW ...
Who is your home phone with, Telstra or Optus? Give them a call and see if you can get a Calling Card attached to your home phone.

Here is the info on the Optus card I use.
 

serfty

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Re: Prepaid Mobile/Calling card in US

NM said:
Who is your home phone with, Telstra or Optus? Give them a call and see if you can get a Calling Card attached to your home phone.

Here is the info on the Optus card I use.
I already have a Telstra telecard and have used it often. It gets billed with my home 'phone.

I also get 4 Qantas points per $1 spent. :)

What I was looking for is something like the SGD10 "HELLO" card I purchased last year where I could call back to oz for SGD16¢ per minute!
 

gshirley

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Jun 14, 2006
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Anyone know if there is a suitable store for getting a pre-paid SIM in LAX? (too much to ask I know).
 

Maca44

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gshirley said:
Anyone know if there is a suitable store for getting a pre-paid SIM in LAX? (too much to ask I know).
Welcome to the forum gshirley. Haven't used them buy a quick search found http://www.triptel.com/ which states TripTel now offers pre-paid SIM cards to nearly every country in the world. Also, have a look at http://www.cellularabroad.com/index.html

As I said I haven't used them, but after racking up a huge mobile bill whilst in the USA last year I won't be using my Telstra sim card in two months when I return there.
 

James

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7th June 2006 03:30 PM serfty

What I was looking for is something like the SGD10 "HELLO" card I purchased last year where I could call back to oz for SGD16¢ per minute!
I use AT&t calling cards or similar to call back to AU. The AT&T ones cost 7.8cents / min to landlines (mobiles higher). I buy mine from Target but they are available in quite a number of stores.
 

serfty

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James said:
I use AT&t calling cards or similar to call back to AU. The AT&T ones cost 7.8cents / min to landlines (mobiles higher). I buy mine from Target but they are available in quite a number of stores.
Thanks James.
 

Soundguy

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Jun 15, 2006
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I bought calling cards from Walmart last time I was there, can't remember the rate to AU but it was quite reasonable. Like some others here I got stung with roaming charges the first time I was there.

Next US visit (next week) I will definitely buy a SIM card and use it in my tri-band phone as has been suggested - thanks for the tip. I found the calling card good but the problems are:
  1. Have to find a phone to call from
  2. Have to enter lots of numbers
  3. They often have hidden charges (eg connection fees etc) so don't go as far as you might think.
I don't think I will be able to do the messagebank / pager thing NM suggested as I only have one tri-band phone. Plus Telstra can't even sort out my regular messagebank service properly far less trying to divert messages to a different O/S number....
 

serfty

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Last month, I did as NM suggested. I did a "Call Forward - All Calls" to my message banks and used my Telstra telecard to call home. Still received SMS's about new vm's.

Havn't received my 'phone bill yet but Telecard have deposited over 600 ff points into my QFF account. and yes, you do need to enter lots of numbers ... I had memorised the AT&T number and my telecard number and pin by the time I departed. Also used it with dail up.

I may try the Walmat/Target options next time.

One point of interest is that there was no roaming phone service in ANC.
 

thatwouldbher

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Aug 7, 2004
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Hi y'all.

Re the prepaid SIM cards, you are best to go onto ebay www.ebay.com and buy these.. you can get them for around .USD99 cents plus postage. The triband phones are now way out of date and some places in USA they cant be used. The quad band phones are the way to go these days.. eg: the RAZR phones. I had this problem when I first came to live in USA so I know what I am talking about. Some places Cingular GSM is better other places Tmobile GSM is better. Hope this helps you all out..
 

thatwouldbher

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thatwouldbher said:
Hi y'all.

Re the prepaid SIM cards, you are best to go onto ebay www.ebay.com and buy these.. you can get them for around .USD99 cents plus postage. The triband phones are now way out of date and some places in USA they cant be used. The quad band phones are the way to go these days.. eg: the RAZR phones. I had this problem when I first came to live in USA so I know what I am talking about. Some places Cingular GSM is better other places Tmobile GSM is better. Hope this helps you all out..
You can also get on ebay pre paid refill cards from time to time. I dont know about cingular as it dont work it my area, however, T-Mobile refills I quite often get for around 89.00 and they email me with the pin code to upgrade my pre paid account.. once you have 100.00 with T-Mobile you get what they call Gold Rewards where your 100.00 refill gives you 1000 minutes and is good for 12 months. to get 100.00 refill thru t-mobile direct will cost you around 107.00 so ebay is good for that also.. I just saved the search so they send me daily updates on new lsitings as thats the best way. I also currently have a t-Mobile sim card with 150 minutes on it that has a Californian phone number if anyone would like it for 1.00 plus postage to wherever you are...Just send me an email if interested. thanx
 

Jim

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Nov 17, 2003
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I just returned from the USA. I bought a COOL pre-paid sim with 60 min of talk time for $9.99 and had it sent to a friend in USA. COOL buys time from cingular and re-sells it cheaper. Worked great almost everywhere on east and west coast. Only problem is when you want to top up time they don't take non-USA credit cards so you must go to many stores which sell AMEX gift cards (look like credit card) in $20 or $50. Then phone the free number at COOL to top up time. I think this is the guy I bought my SIM from http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170006364870
 

Tiki

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Jul 21, 2004
Messages
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Last year, I bought a pre-paid SIM card for the States on Ebay. It was a California number. It worked quite well in my triband phone. You can talk while driving over there, it isn't illegal like in Oz. But be aware that in the States both calls you make and calls you recieve come off your credit-very annoying!

I also bought a Vodaphone pre-paid SIM while in Egypt, that also worked quite well so I could text my pet sitter back home.
 

Soundguy

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Jun 15, 2006
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Just did the rounds of the phone companies in California today looking for a prepaid GSM SIM card as I will be in the US for a month. Both Cingular and T-Mobile can supply them but Cingular worked out much more expensive - especially on calls to Oz; US$2.50 per minute versus US$0.34 for T-Mobile. Call costs within the US were similar at around the US$0.15 per minute except that Cingular charges an additional $1.00 per day (on that plan, or if you pay US$0.30 per minute they drop the daily charge).

Using a calling card may work out slightly cheaper than the T-Mobile deal when calling Oz but it is not nearly as convenient. I am about to put Skype on my new laptop which will give me a further cheap option.
 

Soundguy

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Jun 15, 2006
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Updating that last post.... chewed through my prepaid T Mobile credit AWFULLY fast so I checked on the net and it seems I was given wrong information by the sales person. Calls to Oz are running at over US$1.50 per minute, not US$0.34!! :mad:

So back to calling cards and Skype, although T Mobile prepaid is the easiest for calls within the US which are fairly cheap, just not to O/S.
 

Tiki

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Jul 21, 2004
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Soundguy, you may have also been caught out because calls you receive are taken off your prepaid credit too. I thought I was sorted, I texted my T-mobile number to my friends, they all have some kind of plan with unlimited calls so they didn't mind being the one to initiate the call. But I burned through recharges at an alarming rate. And they won't take Aussie credit cards so I had to give my friends cash and they recharged my phone on their credit card or buy top-up cards at a shop.
 
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