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SIM card for visit to the USA
Posted by: Billiken
Date: August 24, 2014 04:02PM
I will be flying to the USA (from Europe) in a few weeks for a 3.5-week vacation. The rates for roaming in the USA are very high, so I plan to take along an old unlocked Nokia E51 and buy a SIM card in the USA so as to have a temporary number there and be able to make and take domestic US calls as necessary. (There will be a lot of moving around and needing to coordinate with people.)

Can I get some suggestions as to which carrier would have the best pre-paid options to look at?

I'll have my iPhone along too, but will keep that on my European SIM to be able to send/receive text messages.

Thanks for any help or advice!
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Re: SIM card for visit to the USA
Posted by: rgG
Date: August 24, 2014 04:11PM
Where in the US will you be?
Without knowing that, I would suggest looking at Cricket, which uses the ATT network.
TMobile has good rates, but coverage can be lacking, if you are anywhere outside of a large metropolitan area.

[www.cricketwireless.com]





Roswell, GA (Atlanta suburb)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/24/2014 04:12PM by rgG.
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Re: SIM card for visit to the USA
Posted by: Billiken
Date: August 24, 2014 04:12PM
It's a coast-to-coast trip, starting from NYC and ending up in SFO. First chance to buy anything will probably be in Michigan or Ohio, as I'll have only about 24 hours in NYC before leaving on Amtrak for the Midwest.
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Re: SIM card for visit to the USA
Posted by: rgG
Date: August 24, 2014 04:15PM
Quote
Billiken
It's a coast-to-coast trip, starting from NYC and ending up in SFO. First chance to buy anything will probably be in Michigan or Ohio, as I'll have only about 24 hours in NYC before leaving on Amtrak for the Midwest.

Yeah, if you are going to be all over the place, I would definitely stick with the ATT network, since you have a GSM phone. You can also check out the ATT Go Phone rates, but Cricket is owned by ATT and should be cheaper.





Roswell, GA (Atlanta suburb)
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Re: SIM card for visit to the USA
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: August 24, 2014 04:42PM
Your odds of getting just a SIM card are better in NYC than anywhere else. Most places just want to sell you the phone and all... TRAC phone being the most common.

Welcome to the US ! Enjoy your visit !
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Re: SIM card for visit to the USA
Posted by: space-time
Date: August 24, 2014 04:44PM
Can you activate a SIM in USA without a SSN? I got my Tmobile prepaid phone long ago, I don't recall if I had to use a SSN to activate, but I would think they require some ID or SSN these days to prevent terrorists from using disposable cell phones.
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Re: SIM card for visit to the USA
Posted by: silvarios
Date: August 24, 2014 04:45PM
Good advice thus far. Don't think the E51 supports proper USA 3G frequencies, so any GSM carrier with EDGE will work.
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Re: SIM card for visit to the USA
Posted by: DRR
Date: August 24, 2014 05:06PM
Quote
space-time
Can you activate a SIM in USA without a SSN? I got my Tmobile prepaid phone long ago, I don't recall if I had to use a SSN to activate, but I would think they require some ID or SSN these days to prevent terrorists from using disposable cell phones.

Well you should be able to buy a SSN in New York also if you need one. grinning smiley

For a pre-paid option, all you usually need is a credit card, no SSN needed. (Unless they've changed it recently)
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Re: SIM card for visit to the USA
Posted by: rgG
Date: August 24, 2014 05:10PM
You should not need a SSN to get a prepaid SIM and number.





Roswell, GA (Atlanta suburb)
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Re: SIM card for visit to the USA
Posted by: testcase
Date: August 24, 2014 05:25PM
I don't know if Walmart will ship a SIM card to you in Europe but, it wouldn't hurt to ask.

[www.walmart.com]
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Re: SIM card for visit to the USA
Posted by: mattkime
Date: August 24, 2014 09:19PM
This looks interesting - [www.truphone.com]

but it would help to know how much talk time, texting, and data you'll need.







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/24/2014 09:21PM by mattkime.
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Re: SIM card for visit to the USA
Posted by: Billiken
Date: August 24, 2014 11:51PM
I'm a US citizen, so I have a SSN. The E51 will work in the USA, as I've used it on previous visits (it picked up T-mobile and AT&T networks).

Frankly, I thought it would be much easier than this. Here I can buy a starter kit and SIM from any of the major carriers even in a news kiosk!
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Re: SIM card for visit to the USA
Posted by: silvarios
Date: August 25, 2014 01:06AM
I agree the phone will work here, but AT&T doesn't support 3G or faster speeds on the 2100 MHz frequency and AT&T's coverage for 850 used to be worse than their 1900 coverage. Not sure what the network looks like today. T-Mobile doesn't offer coverage on the 850 MHz band and their 2100 MHz coverage is actually 1700/2100. Your phone uses 850/2100 MHz for 3G according to the specs. Hence my warning about 3G. 2G coverage should work fine, but only an AT&T based SIM will grant the possibility of 3G.

As far as difficulty. It wouldn't seem to be terribly difficult. Pick a carrier and plan and then buy a SIM.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/25/2014 01:12AM by silvarios.
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Re: SIM card for visit to the USA
Posted by: Bimwad
Date: August 25, 2014 04:31AM
Doesn't Cricket charge a fee and have some other nonsense regarding their activations?

There are other AT&T MVNOs, and one doesn't necessarily have to buy the SIM direct from the carrier.
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Re: SIM card for visit to the USA
Posted by: dk62
Date: August 25, 2014 05:25AM
It is simple once you decide on a carrier. I recently did this for a couple visiting from Europe, just walked into T-mobile store and got two starter kits and activated based on the number of days they were staying. 10 min for the whole process, walked out with fully functional phones.
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Re: SIM card for visit to the USA
Posted by: Gutenberg
Date: August 25, 2014 07:07AM
Buy a cheap Tracfone and card at a supermarket or drugstore when you get here. There's no sense searching around for a SIM to fit a particular phone--you won't save that much money.
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Re: SIM card for visit to the USA
Posted by: Billiken
Date: August 25, 2014 08:47AM
I don't want to create more electronic waste, especially as I have a phone I could use.
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Re: SIM card for visit to the USA
Posted by: space-time
Date: August 25, 2014 11:43AM
Quote
Billiken
I don't want to create more electronic waste, especially as I have a phone I could use.

Donate the phone when you leave.
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Re: SIM card for visit to the USA
Posted by: 3d
Date: August 25, 2014 12:01PM
Quote
Billiken
First chance to buy anything will probably be in Michigan or Ohio, as I'll have only about 24 hours in NYC before leaving on Amtrak for the Midwest.

Amtrak in NYC leaves from Penn Station. Manhattan has such a high concentration of cell phone stores you can walk two blocks in any direction and find a store to sell you a SIM card. It'll take what,, 15 mins from the time you walk in the door(?)
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Re: SIM card for visit to the USA
Posted by: Billiken
Date: August 25, 2014 01:38PM
Having never been in NYC, I don't know the situation. If that's the case, it shouldn't be a problem.
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Re: SIM card for visit to the USA
Posted by: silvarios
Date: August 25, 2014 01:49PM
Quote
Gutenberg
Buy a cheap Tracfone and card at a supermarket or drugstore when you get here. There's no sense searching around for a SIM to fit a particular phone--you won't save that much money.

Doesn't compute. Plenty of places sell SIM cards. Not hard to find one. SIM should be $10 or less most places. My old carrier wanted $25 but it was credit free postpaid and that's where they made some extra money.
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