Travelling Overseas With Australian iPhone 5

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by peterbb, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. peterbb macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2013

    In the next few months I will be travelling from Melbourne to the United States. I currently have a Samsung Galaxy S3 which I am not crazy over, and a friend of mine has offered to buy it, so I can purchase an iPhone 5 before I depart. I am seriously considering taking this offer, but my main concern that has yet to be resolved is basically the SIM card situation.
    My original plan was to buy a prepaid sim (perhaps at the airport itself) and use it with the phone. After remembering the iPhone 5 uses a nano-sim, it led me to wonder if the nano-sim had reached a sort've full-mainstream status yet, eg. could be easily acquired and not have to be ordered specially. Please forgive me if that sounds rather ignorant, but I simply do not know. Would I perhaps have to go to the AT&T store to get it sorted out?
    Any help/advice is hugely appreciated, thanks :)
  2. hafr macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    Pretty much any cell phone/operator store would have tools to cut a regular or micro sim into a nano sim, so don't worry :)
  3. peterbb thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2013
    Thankyou so much, after I looked it up, it appears the nano-sim is only a cut-down micro-sim anyway. Thanks again :)
  4. lordofthereef macrumors G5


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    If you are worried, you can also buy said tool on eBay prior to your departure. They are quite cheap.
  5. BruiserB macrumors 65816

    Aug 9, 2008
    T-mobile would probably be the carrier most likely to be helpful to you. ATT is like Telstra and doesn't really care about you...T-mobile is more like Optus in that they are hungrier and more customer friendly. Carriers don't seem to have US airport locations as much as they do overseas. I know you can't hardly get out of Sydney or Melbourne airports without passing a Vodafone or Optus shop! Just find a T-mobile store close to where you are staying and go there. Look for a corporate one and not just an authorised dealer.

    You can search at that link. The ones that come up with the magenta T in front of them are actual T-mobile owned stores.

    They can get you set up with a SIM card. I assume you'd just want a prepaid plan. You can see their plans here:

    Depending if you are here for a full month or just a week you may decide to use a monthly or daily plan.

    The $30 monthly plan on the left is only available for online signup, so if you want it you need to convince the store just to give you a SIM and the activation code and tell them you'll sign up online. Any of the other plans they can help you get signed up for in the store. The $3/day plan is great but can add up if you are here for a long time.
  6. AnorexicPig macrumors 6502


    Dec 12, 2012
    Winnipeg,Canada/New Delhi India
    You can even cut down the sim yourself, when I go back to India, I cut down the Indian sims myself :cool::p
  7. peterbb thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2013
    Thankyou so much for your very detailed reply. I understand what you're saying about going with T-Mobile, even looking at their website and from my aunt's experience with them, they [AT&T] seem very similar to Telstra. However I'm going to need reliable coverage, does T-Mobile use AT&T's network or it's own network? If they use their own, is it reliable/fast? Thanks again, especially because you seem to know what you are talking about from an Australian perspective.
    Also thanks to lordofthereef, I didn't actually think of that, thankyou so much :)
  8. BruiserB macrumors 65816

    Aug 9, 2008
    I lived in Albury, NSW for 3 years so l formed my opinions on your carriers based on my experience with ours! ATT doesn't really care about prepaid so you will struggle with them to get much help. Tmobile should work pretty well for you at at least 3G speeds if you will be mostly in major cities. You will get voice coverage and at least 2G speeds if you will be wandering far rurally. If that's the case you may want to sign up with one of the resellers of ATT service like Straight Talk.....I think a SIM card and startup kit are available at most WalMart stores here (Like Big W there!.....oh and here Target is good and Kmart sucks....the opposite of my experience in Australia!). for more info will have much wider 3G coverage with them (pretty much everywhere but extremely rural places), but the $45 plan they have isn't really unlimited data like they claim. They will cut you off if you go much above 2GB per month or if they notice that you are streaming audio or video.

    So you really need to consider where you will be most of the time and how you want to use your data. I stream audio all the time on T-mobile with no issues.
  9. peterbb thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2013
    Oh that's cool! Ah I see, I remember a few years ago I tried to get a prepaid sim from Telstra and the charges were astronomical!
    I should have mentioned, I'm not going too rural at all, I think the furthest out from a major city I will be is 50 minutes out from L.A., but I'll still be in a somewhat large town. And thankyou for the additional info on Straighttalk and & T-Mobile. My data usage would probably only be minor, eg. Checking Google Maps, TripAdvisor and the like to get around, maybe a few song downloads off iTunes. Other times I should be using (hopefully) reliable accomadation-provided WiFi. Thanks again :)
  10. BruiserB macrumors 65816

    Aug 9, 2008
    For the kind of things you're doing, probably either T-mobile or StraightTalk would work out for you. Just decide which has the plan that better suits you as far as pricing goes. You may find yourself in some 2G areas for T-mobile occasionally, but even then for the things you're doing, it would still be pretty functional. Not sure if you'll have any hassle getting a SIM as a foreigner...I think it'll probably be less than it was for me in Australia! I needed to have so many "points" to establish service....a completely new concept to me at the time. So many points for passport, bank statement, lease, etc....I remember I somehow just barely made it on my second day in the country! I would guess you'll need some sort of ID# and address. Not sure if you'll run into any problems using a non-US credit card online to start service....that's where it may be better to be in-store with your card or even cash.
  11. peterbb thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2013
    Oh God, our 'points' system is tiring indeed, good to know that it was foreign concept to you and I probably won't run into it! And yes, to be quite honest, I'm going to try and get as much done in-store as possible, I'm not sure if i'll have to activate the SIM online though. Thanks again for all this info :)
  12. PFC15 macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2012
    Chester VA
    Bruser B is on the money, I am an Aussie living in the States and we use our Aussie iPhones with T-Mobile on pre-paid. I recommend you do that. Whilst we have a points system for post paid (for a credit rating), the US system will want a SSN or $300+ to start a post paid account as you will not have a credit rating. Can get expensive.

    From memory, you will get 3G/4g and E, but I dont think the LTE bands will work. That said, the US is very very wifi friendly (well on the East coast anyway), so Starbucks, Macca's your hotel will have free wifi - even tourist buses in some capitals have it. So look for a free wifi spot when you are out and take advantage of that.

    Finally the T-mobile website has a number of pre-paid plans you can choose from - and you should be able to top up online and with your Aussie card.

    Bruser B - if you lived in Albury for 3 years I am guessing you are Mil. What years?

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