Travelling to USA from UK - 3G help

Discussion in 'iPad' started by stringthing75, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. stringthing75 macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2010
    Hi There,

    First time poster here......

    I am travelling from the UK to San Francisco in September, and I plan to take my iPad 64gb 3G.

    Simple question - Can I use the 3G service while in San Fran?

    1. I am currently on o2 - they don't seem to do iPad roaming.

    2. AT+T say they only offer prepaid micro SIM's. Is this an option? Would I need USA registered card etc?

    I have looked around and there seem to be hundreds of similar threads all over the net but I can't seem to find a definitive answer.

    So, how do I got about using my 3G while in San Francisco?

    All help greatly appreciated! Thanks

  2. b.c. macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2008
    A: yes
    I live in Canada and recently visited US with my 3G iPad. following is my experience.

    0. Data roaming seems to be extremely expensive with any carrier. so take out your O2 sim card, and...
    1. get an AT&T microSIM card for the iPad.
    you can get it at any AT&T retail store or Apple Store once you arrive in US.
    I bought mine at AT&T in a shopping mall for $15, but heard others got one free from Apple Store. so perhaps try an Apple retail store first.

    2. insert AT&T microSIM card in your iPad. then turn on cellular data in Settings and you can sign up for AT&T data plan right on your iPad

    3. some foreign credit cards definitely won't work when you sign up for the AT&T plan. my Canadian VISA card did not work. Others have reported that a non-US AMEX card will work. YMMV

    4. prepaid VISA gift cards will work. There is no name or billing address associated with these cards. in my case, I bought a non-reloadable, non-expiring $50 card at a Target store.

    5. for billing and service address, you need to input a valid US address, otherwise signup will fail. I used my US hotel address for both.

    6. before the end of 30 days, be sure to cancel your data plan (you can do so directly on the iPad). Otherwise your credit/gift card will be charged a recurring fee when it automatically renews for another 30 days. It seems you can cancel any time after signup - the data plan stays active until 30 days or you run out of data. You will automatically get alerts on your iPad and via email if your data starts running low.

    7. note: AT&T will assign you a fake phone number associated with the account, they'll send it to the email address you use when you register for the data plan. Keep this number handy - while traveling around US, you may encounter some AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots. your data plan entitles you to free WiFi at these hotspots, but you need to sign in with your "phone" number.

    that's it, you should be online with 3G. have a great trip!
    note: 250MB is not a lot of data, I burned through it quickly on a 2wk trip.
  3. Tebailey macrumors regular

    May 28, 2010
    Nice response... Any tips on travelling to Canada?

    With an iPad 3G that is.....
  4. b.c. macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2008
    here in Canada there are 3 cellular providers with iPad data plans:

    Rogers - $15/250MB, $35/5GB
    Bell - $15/250MB, $35/5GB
    Telus - $20/500MB

    I only know about Rogers firsthand - the signup procedure is same as AT&T, i.e. via a signup dialog box on the iPad itself. Bell is the same (signup on iPad itself), but I heard for Telus you need to phone them or visit a Telus store to sign up for their plan.

    you of course need an appropriate microSIM card from whichever provider you wish to use. in my case I got my Rogers sim at same time when I ordered my iPad from Apple Canada, and they charged me $0.20.

    I'm told you can just visit an Apple retail store in Canada and get a microSIM card for free. Note that there are fewer Canadian Apple retail stores than you'd find in the US.

    as for payment, I'd guess you might run into similar credit card authorization problems with a foreign card & address as I did with AT&T, using the on-iPad signup. give your home credit card a try when you arrive here, but you could try a Cdn prepaid Visa gift card if you run into trouble. Perhaps with Telus, if signup is over the phone with an agent, there might not be any problem using a foreign credit card?
  5. JamSandwich macrumors regular

    May 19, 2006
    It would be interesting if someone could try to activate on AT&T using the trick Canadians had to use for Priceline bidding:

    Enter your address in this format:

    11 10th Street
    City: Toronto ON
    State: CA (Coincidentally, the two-digit country code for Canada)
    Zip: 99999 (or 12345?)

    I figure AT&T's system might be a little smarter, but it would be worth a try to avoid a few bucks in prepaid CC fees.

    My wife will be taking the iPad to the U.S. next month. Don't know if she'll have the patience to activate it, and her visit is fairly brief...
  6. saberahul macrumors 68040

    Nov 6, 2008
    Hmm... you can also just reply on wifi as well if needed. Many places like Borders, B&N, StarBucks offer it for free.

Share This Page