Travelling to Florida

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by awadeee, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. awadeee macrumors 68020

    awadeee

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Location:
    Viper City
    #1
    I live in Eastern Canada and make a yearly trip to Florida. Last year, I brought my iPhone with me and simply purchased a talk and text international roaming package from my provider. The rates were really good and I was satisfied with what I was paying. However, I was only getting 1 or 2 bars in the best of service areas while using AT&T's network. I was in Disneyworld and had a chance to sneak a few peeks at other people's iPhones who were using AT&T as their actual network (and not roaming, like me) and they were getting 4 bars in places I was getting none. I decided that this was simply because I'm an international roamer and these people actually are on AT&T and therefore get the better service. And no, this is not a hardware issue.

    So I guess what I'm trying to say is that next year I'll be purchasing the same package from my provider (Telus) on my iPhone 4 and will also be bringing an unlocked 3Gs with me. I'll end up buying a pre-paid SIM from either T-Mobile or AT&T to use in that 3Gs. All I want is unlimited texting and maybe a little talking but that's not necessary at all.

    I will be staying in Orlando as well as Cocoa Beach and I am essentially wondering who has the best coverage for those areas. Thank you!
     
  2. PNutts macrumors 601

    PNutts

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest, US
    #2
    My quick answer is that you already know AT&T has good coverage so you could stay with the known and not roll the dice with T-Mobile. But, I've not priced either and assume T-Mobile is cheaper. You could probably call the House of Mouse and they might make a recommendation to a guest on what carrier has the best signal, and same with your digs in Major Nelson's backyard.

    Have fun!
     
  3. awadeee thread starter macrumors 68020

    awadeee

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Location:
    Viper City
    #3
    Thank you very much! Yeah, I'm guessing that I'll probably just go with whatever is at the airport or whatever is closest to my hotel! I'm not too concerned with what is cheaper, I just need good coverage. Last Florida visit, I would have to leave my phone in the windowsill of my hotel room just so I could get text messages! Otherwise I'd get them up to six hours late. It was a nightmare!
     
  4. profets macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    #4
    I was in Florida recently, in Disney mostly as well. I brought my iPhone 4 down which is unlocked, and grabbed a sim card from AT&T on pay as you go for voice+text. You can purchase feature packs which include data options (I think $5/10MB, $15/100MB or $25/500MB). They'll tell you that the data feature packs are not compatible with the iPhone (AT&T blocks it for whatever reason), but you just need to set the proper APN for cellular data and it'll work fine. I used mine quite a bit and never had an issue with signal or data rates. Very easy as well, sim card was free and any money you put on the account is used strictly for pay as you go features.
     
  5. awadeee thread starter macrumors 68020

    awadeee

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Location:
    Viper City
    #5
    I appreciate the input! Now if I were to walk into an AT&T store, what would the process of getting a prepaid SIM with texting/talking be like?
     
  6. profets macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    #6
    Extremely easy. Just ask for a sim for paygo. I think there's 3 options. $0/day and every call/txt costs money, $2/day for unlimited call/txt (only triggered if you make a call or a text), and $50/month for UL call,txt,data.

    I was using mostly data and making calls to canada, so I just went with the first option and put some credit on the account. Any calls home were 19c/minute and added $25 for 500MB data. Any money you put on the account for paygo use will expire in 90 days if not used.

    The whole thing was super easy, you can monitor/add/change stuff online, and I noticed they never even asked for ID or a name when they signed it up.

    Edit: Here's a link with the plans: http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-phone-service/cell-phone-plans/pyg-cell-phone-plans.jsp
     
  7. awadeee thread starter macrumors 68020

    awadeee

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    Jan 21, 2011
    Location:
    Viper City
    #7
    Awesome! Thank you so much. :)

    Now all I need is someone who's used both ATT and T-Mo in these areas!
     
  8. profets macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    #8
    Not sure the pricing for t-mo, I guess you'll be interested if you're not worried in data. Doesn't hurt to try both yourself if you're going to travel there regularly and need to see what suits you best.
     
  9. awadeee thread starter macrumors 68020

    awadeee

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Location:
    Viper City
    #9
    I'm not too concerned about pricing, I just want the least amount of dead zones! :p
     
  10. wordoflife macrumors 604

    wordoflife

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    #10
    I was also curious to know how you were receiving low service in Orlando because AT&T has covered that place up pretty well (I go there every year). Maybe your carrier, Telus, only had roaming agreements with certain towers. Regardless, best coverage in major cities in FL is definitely AT&T. You can buy a SIM from AT&T, but they will not let you activate it on the iPhone. What you need to do is, activate the SIM on a dumb phone and then transfer the SIM to your iPhone. The last time I went to Walmart, AT&T was selling a Nokia looking dumb phone for $11. That would do (or you could just bring your own). If the AT&T folks give you a hard time (for whatever reason ... they shouldn't), I'd just buy one of those cheap phones I mentioned from Walmart or Bestbuy. They come with a SIM that can be activate online.

    Have fun in Florida!
     
  11. mpossoff macrumors 68020

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    Mar 21, 2010
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #11
    When we were in Disney World and other parts of Florida such as Clearwater and Tampa my iPhone was superb. It actually was better than where we live in Philly which is great service but Florida was superb.
     
  12. Nathan21585 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2010
    Location:
    Central Florida
    #12
    I live 45 mins from Disney and have AT&T. It works great all over besides some time in the parks (too many people). I have also had tmobile but it was in 2006 before I got a smartphone but from what I remember I never had a problem with them either. I would say go with AT&T though since I know they have great coverage all over Florida.
     
  13. miamialley macrumors 68030

    miamialley

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #13
    ATT in Orlando is good IMO. Can't speak for tmobile. Same for Cocoa Beach. I don't recall ever having an issue in that area.
     
  14. TC25 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    #14
    Have you looked at the coverage maps at the ATT and T-Mobile web sites?
     
  15. RafaelT macrumors 65816

    RafaelT

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Location:
    Lakeland, FL
    #15
    I live in Lakeland which is directly between Tampa and Orlando.

    AT&T generally has good coverage but in my experience over the last few years in this area the actual signal you are getting in a specific location can vary from day to day. I can have 4-5 bars for two weeks then have 1 bar over the entire city for the next month. My fiancee sees the same thing so I know it's not an issue with my phone.
     
  16. awadeee thread starter macrumors 68020

    awadeee

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    Jan 21, 2011
    Location:
    Viper City
    #16
    So I won't be able to just buy the SIM, pick a plan and put money on it like a previous poster said? :( I figured if they had a problem with me using an iPhone, I could just not bring it and say that I'm using an LG Rumor 2 or something equally horrible and say that I left it at the hotel? I'm only looking for talk and text so data provisioning isn't an issue.

    Honestly, no. I just figured I'd be better off grabbing some information from people who have real life experience using these services. :)
     
  17. wordoflife macrumors 604

    wordoflife

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    #17
    lol you definitely do not want to tell them you have an LG Rumor 2, because that's a CDMA phone (at least in the US), which doesn't work on AT&T. ;)

    You might be able to get the SIM just like that, but basically, you don't want to even mention you own an iPhone. AT&T wants iPhone users to have a data plan and AT&T wants to make sure iPhone users use a postpaid plan.

    You can just tell them you have a dumb phone at home, but I'm not sure if they'll let you slide like that. Anyways, like I said, if they give you problems, just buy a gophone from walmart. It comes with a SIM card and you just activate it online with the provided phone. Then you can transfer it to your iPhone. I just got back from walmart, they still had it for $11.

    Just to be safe, I'd bring a dumb phone with you to the AT&T store if you have one.
     
  18. profets macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    #18
    Maybe I had a nice rep at the AT&T store, but you can definitely get a sim without buying a phone. He saw me holding an iPhone and said "just to warn you, you can use pay as you go voice and text, but data is blocked from being used on iPhones". He literally handed me the sim card for free with a receipt showing some info, and then asked if I wanted to put any credit on my account or do it online. He actually even grabbed one of those sim ejector tools to put the sim in my iPhone to make sure it registered on AT&T.

    Worse case just be cautious about it. Tell them you have a gsm or AT&T phone and you want to get a pay as you go line.
     
  19. wordoflife, Sep 5, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011

    wordoflife macrumors 604

    wordoflife

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    #19
    Yeah, this is mainly it.
    You may find some AT&T employees who can work you with you, and some who will go by the books. I'm thinking if you smile and be polite, they should be able to give it to you without you having to prove "your dumbphone". I only mentioned what I said above as a "just in case" kind of thing.

    I think it would be easier to fill up the SIM in store because you might need a [US?] credit card and address if you do it online. not sure .. maybe someone can confirm that
     
  20. awadeee thread starter macrumors 68020

    awadeee

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Location:
    Viper City
    #20
    Oh my god, has it been a long day...

    I know this, I work for Glentel and sell this phone to people, literally every day. Kill me. :p

    I think I'll just end up going sans phone and asking for the SIM, say I forgot my phone at home and that it's a GSM dumbphone. If they refuse me, I'll go to Walmart and buy the aforementioned Nokia-esque dumbphone. :)
     
  21. wordoflife macrumors 604

    wordoflife

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    #21
    Sounds like a plan. :)
    But yeah, mentioning the LG Rumor is definitely a no go. :D

    Have fun in Florida :)

    edit: the phone I was talking about is the AT&T R225 phone
    http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-ph...ils.jsp?q_package=sku5100397&_requestid=83350

    if it asks you for a ZIP when clicking the page, just use 32807. I think the $2/day unlimited text/call would be good for you (unless you want data). But even so, data is only a bolt on option
     
  22. awadeee thread starter macrumors 68020

    awadeee

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Location:
    Viper City
    #22
    Thank you so much! I think the $2/day is definitely what I'll go for. That'll be perfect! :)
     
  23. profets macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    #23
    Good point here as well. Easier to do a quick fill in store. I had a lot of trouble trying to activate iPad data, but using a canadian credit card with canadian billing address did work for the pay as you go fill up.
     

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