Prepaid/Pay as you go plan for mobile internet?

Lis

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 3, 2010
2
0
Hi,

I will stay in New York and Miami for the next few weeks. I am now thinking about getting a prepaid / pay as you go plan for mobile internet, because roaming is kinda expensive (I'm from Germany). I want to use this sim with an iphone 4, so I would need a microsim. Can anyone help me out with a quick idea which plan to choose? I already had a look at t-mobile, but I heard that I wouldn't be able to use 3G on their network, right? Any recommendations? I only need a few hundred mb during this time, and I don't want to have to search for open wifis forever. I wouldn't text or call anybody with this card.

And a second question, before opening a second thread for this: Any suggestions for an offline navigation app? I am kinda pleased with navigon, but it seems to be unavailable for the us.
 

pastrychef

macrumors 601
Sep 15, 2006
4,520
1,026
New York City, NY
T-Mobile's 3G runs on 2100MHz and, therefore, is not compatible with iPhones. However, you can still use T-Mobile on 2G.

AT&T is the only other carrier in the US that runs on GSM. AT&T SIMs are fully compatible with iPhones. I don't know if you will have difficulty finding a MicroSIM, but if you do, you can always just purchase a regular sized SIM and cut it down to MicroSIM size. There are instructions on the internet on how to do this.

I don't know anything about being able to get data service on a Pre-Paid SIM.
 

Chupa Chupa

macrumors G5
Jul 16, 2002
14,834
7,394
Possible workaround -- you'll just have to do the math to see if it works for you:

Bestbuy sellss a a Virgin branded PayGo MiFi hotspot for $150. I believe it uses Sprint's 3G network. 5GBs is $60/mo.

When you go home you can sell the MiFi for $125 or so, so you'd be out $25 + tax there, so total cost would be $85. Again, not sure if that is worth it, plus you have to carry the MiFi around w/ you and keep it charged, but it's one of the few PayGo options in the US. I believe Cricket also has PayGo, but not sure if they have a MiFi hotspot.
 

Darwin

macrumors 65816
Jun 2, 2003
1,082
0
round the corner
T-Mobile's 3G runs on 2100MHz and, therefore, is not compatible with iPhones.
Actually it is the 1700MHz that the iPhone will not support, in most of Europe 2100MHz is used as the standard band for UMTS 3G.

Still never can tell where they have 1700 and where they have 2100.
 

Lis

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 3, 2010
2
0
Is it possible to get an at&t microsim for the ipad without actually buying an ipad? Or are they only sold in combination?
It should be possible to use these with an iPhone, right?

I think the MiFi approach would have a bit to much overhead for me.
 

PaperQueen

macrumors 6502
Possible workaround -- you'll just have to do the math to see if it works for you:

Bestbuy sellss a a Virgin branded PayGo MiFi hotspot for $150. I believe it uses Sprint's 3G network. 5GBs is $60/mo.
As someone who's ready to throw her (fill in your favorite explative) Virgin Mobile USB in a trash heap, I suggest thinking long and hard before jumping on board with them. The connections have been non-existent, even in areas they claim to have full coverage. In the past 36 hours, I've supposedly burned through 30+ hours of use, but have only successfully checked email twice and posted Facebook updates a half dozen times, all in a 30 minute period. No downloads or uploads, beyond checking email.

Customer service is equally horrific. After 25+ minutes on hold, I finally hung up out of sheer frustration (was calling to ask how it's possible I've fried all this usage when the blasted thing won't connect).

Time for the recycling bin. :mad:
 

Music_Producer

macrumors 68000
Sep 25, 2004
1,626
0
As someone who's ready to throw her (fill in your favorite explative) Virgin Mobile USB in a trash heap, I suggest thinking long and hard before jumping on board with them.
Strange - I don't know about their usb broadband products (they run off the sprint network) but I have the LG touch with a $25 unlimited text/data plan and 300 minutes - the phone works very well on 3g. I was out of town and I was able to connect to my home network camera server - check videos - etc - not as fast as AT&T's network, but reasonable.

I bought this package just to try it out for fun - thinking it would be useless, but turns out to work great. Maybe its a driver issue with your usb modem?
 

MacInTO

macrumors 65816
Apr 25, 2005
1,171
184
Canada, eh!
I use the AT&T GO Phone prepaid service with my unlocked iPhone. Officially, AT&T doesn't allow you to use data on iPhones, but you can get around it by going to this site on your iPhone (via wifi)...

http://www.unlockit.co.nz/unlockit/

I am in the US about 4x per year, for about a week each time. I mostly text and use data. I pay $20 for 100mb of data and pay for a text plan each time. I spend about $30 each time I'm in the US.

You can also buy wireless refills at this site (at a 7% discount) with your foreign credit card. If you search for a discount code, you can usually get a 10% discount.

http://www.callingmart.com/

If you shop around when you are in NYC, you can probably get the sim card for free with a minimum purchase of airtime. Go to some of the not so popular places such as Radio Shack or J&R instead of Best Buy or AT&T.

I had a traditional sized AT&T sim card and I tried to cut it down to fit in my iPhone 4. Sadly, it didn't work and I'll have to go buy one next time I am in the US. :(

ps. The AT&T GO Phone service will likely only come with a regular sim card. You'll probably have to purchase a microsim afterwards.

 

PaperQueen

macrumors 6502
Strange - I don't know about their usb broadband products (they run off the sprint network) but I have the LG touch with a $25 unlimited text/data plan and 300 minutes - the phone works very well on 3g.
That's an option if you want a monthly plan, but like the OP, my needs are pay-as-you-go. Typically, my clients pay internet through hotels when I'm on the road, but once in a while, I'm on my own dime, which means only occasional need for internet access.

Really wish someone in the US market would fill this gap (in a way that functions). There are a lot of us out here who require "now and then" internet access for whom an annual data plan is overkill.

Of course, if the rumors of a possible Verizon iPhone in January are untrue, I may break down and pop for the Droid X to get the hotspot option.
 

Giuly

macrumors 68040
The iPad has prepaid plans, allover the world, with MicroSIM, which should also work in the iPhone 4.
You need a credit card, in case you don't have one already, most german banks provide prepaid credit cards. Any kind of credit card is recommended anyways when traveling to the US, as americans seem to pay even their hot dogs on the street by credit card.

As for the navigation, there is Skobbler for <10€ on the AppStore, which should work allover the world. It's not offline, but if you consider the 2GB iPad plan, you should be fine. Else, there is TomTom for North America.
There is also Navigon MyRegion East US, which covers the states CT, DE, FL, GA, IN, KY, MA, ME, MD, MI, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VT, VA, WV. It's $25 and suites you.
 

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