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Old Nov 14, 2012, 01:31 PM   #1
andyleonard
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4S/ATT Living Overseas with Occasional US Visits

My son is moving overseas indefinitely, with 3-4 one-week-long US visits a year, and he wants to keep his long-time US number and have the use of the phone on his trips back here without the running expense of keeping a monthly account going....while he's using the phone overseas with a different SIM card and number.

QUESTION: Can he transfer his existing number to a pay-as-you go account on any other carrier and then park the SIM card until he lands in the US again and then plug and play? ATT is behaving erratically and has told him "yes, we can do that...but not with an iPhone???" Other carriers are telling him the accounts are only good for 90 days. Any tips to solve this issue? Thanks.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 01:41 PM   #2
Daveoc64
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Officially AT&T doesn't allow you to use the iPhone on a prepaid plan.

As for the expiry period, most prepaid SIMs will only stay valid if you use them (by doing something that costs money) regularly enough (perhaps 90 days).

If you don't use the SIM, it'll expire and you'd probably lose the number as well as any credit on the SIM.

US carriers tend to offer limited international roaming on prepaid plans (although I understand that T-Mobile does now offer that in some cases). If he used a plan like that, he could just send a text message (from abroad) once every 90 days to keep the SIM active.

Alternatively, someone in the US could do that for him (but they would need the SIM when he is away).
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 08:23 PM   #3
andyleonard
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How about Virgin? Anyone?
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Old Nov 17, 2012, 02:01 AM   #4
Mrbobb
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As long as the phone is out of contract or u pay EFT.

Then go to Walmart and do a straight talk plan when ur in the U.S, that's month-a-time.

Am not absolutely sure, but u can go to any ATT and buy a pay-go sim card, tell them it's for a dumb phone, the card is $25 and u cut it down to micro size to fit iPhone, and pay ATT for their Pay_Go, as low as $15 bux and lasts 30-90 days or amount$ used-up, whatever comes first.

Now when they say 90 days expiration, I think that's the ATT max duration for any Pay_Go plan. So whatever you pay (10c/min, 5c per MB) if you don't use it up by the 90 days whatever balance remaining is gone, but do they ACTUALLY cancel your number? I kind of doubt it, not right away aways. Try it, won't hurt. Let us know!
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Old Nov 17, 2012, 06:27 AM   #5
Breaking Good
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I've been looking at the AT&T prepaid options recently.

According to AT&T's Web site, if you prepay $100 it will last for 365 days.

Another option is to port your number over to Google Phone or Voice or whatever it is they call their VOIP service. You then can get a prepaid SIM card from any GSM carrier when in the states and forward the Google number to the prepaid number.

The Google option lets your son continue use his number as a VOIP number when overseas. So with the right app (I don't know which one, sorry), you can call him when he is overseas and not pay overseas rates.

On a slightly related note, I've read from several sources (including AT&T's own Web site) that they don't allow iPhones on prepaid plans. Frankly, I don't how they can get away with this as my understanding is that part of the GSM standard requires that their SIM cards work in any GSM enabled phone.
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Old Nov 17, 2012, 11:46 AM   #6
andyleonard
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The issue here is keeping the 15-year-old number that everyone already has alive... without maintaining a full-pay monthly account here while (mostly) out of the country and paying for a second overseas setup at the same time. Making calls with a recently-bought SIM card is fine, but he needs to keep the old number.

ATT is full of **** and will not allow pay-as-you-go with iPhone.

Porting to VOIP works functionally...but you need an account to hook the number to.

He's pretty good at this stuff and says Virgin is making promising noises.
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Old Nov 17, 2012, 08:51 PM   #7
Mrbobb
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How about bypassing the whole 19th century phone thing and procure a permanent SKYPE number?
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Old Nov 17, 2012, 10:10 PM   #8
andyleonard
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He has a Skype #. HAs had it for years. But he's also got 15 years of people calling his cell and no long-term way to forward them.
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