US SIM Card for UK Traveller's iPhone?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by nomad01, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. nomad01 macrumors 68000

    nomad01

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2005
    Location:
    Birmingham, England
    #1
    I'm travelling to the US (New York) for a couple of week later this month and want to use my iPhone 4.

    It's already unlocked but I was wondering if anyone could recommend which US sim card I should look to buying when I arrive?

    I have a sim cutter so I can trim it down to fit into an iPhone 4.

    I want something that will include a data allowance in particular.

    I've searched already on these forums and can't seem to see a clear answer.

    Any advice would be REALLY appreciated.

    Steve
     
  2. wordoflife, Aug 1, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2011

    wordoflife macrumors 604

    wordoflife

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    #2
    In the United States, there are only two [dominant] GSM carriers: T-Mobile and AT&T.
    Either will work, however, only AT&T will provide 3G service. If you want a fast connection, AT&T is the carrier to use and is subsequently the one I would recommend.

    I'm not exactly sure how you would go about setting up a AT&T PAYG SIM (falls under the "Gophone" branding - if you see that). I believe you can buy a SIM from a store (ranges from $0 to $15 at most) and activate it online. I think you will need to activate the SIM using the IEMI of a dumb phone ... not your iPhone (as AT&T will not activate iPhones under PAYG) and then you can transfer the SIM into the iPhone yourself. So, make sure you have a dumbphone you can use for activation.

    Check here to see the rates of PAYG It will ask you to enter a zip code, so just use the one from the place you plan on staying at. If you don't have a zip, just put in a random one. They only ask for a zip to confirm if there is service in that area ... the rates are (generally) the same. You can just type in 10001 for the zip code (New York City).

    It looks like the rates for data $5 for 10MB, $15 for 100MB, $25 for 500MB.

    Enjoy your trip in New York. Hopefully someone can clarify or confirm what I posted above.
     
  3. nomad01 thread starter macrumors 68000

    nomad01

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2005
    Location:
    Birmingham, England
    #3
    Thanks very much for all that info. the only issue I have is that I don't have a "dumb" phone to activate the SIM. All I'll have is my iPhone. :(

    Speed isn't a massive issue so would it be easier to go via T-Mobile? Can I activate on an iPhone with them?
     
  4. wordoflife, Aug 1, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2011

    wordoflife macrumors 604

    wordoflife

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    #4
    Well the iPhone is only going to run on a 2G (Edge) network if you use T-Mobile. I don't know how fast/slow 2G is on T-Mobile, but I imagine it's pretty slow.

    Unlike AT&T, if you take your iPhone to the T-Mobile store, I want to say that they will have no problem setting you up. I also believe T-Mobile may be cheaper, but I haven't looked at the rates. (edit: i think they have a $50 unlimited everything plan ... so yes, cheaper).

    With AT&T, you basically activate a 'dumbphone' and then transfer the SIM to the iPhone. If you don't have a gophone, that's a big problem. You could buy a gophone from a place like bestbuy (http://www.bestbuy.com/site/AT&T+Go...2359&skuId=1450113&st=AT&T go phone&cp=1&lp=4 ) but that is up to you. Or if you have a friend with a dumb phone that will let you borrow it, you might be able to use that.

    I think it will be easier to use T-Mobile since they will be able to set it up for you in the store and it is cheaper, but AT&T is only takes a few more steps for 3G coverage. It's totally up to you. To be honest, if I wasn't from the US, I'd probably just go with T-Mobile because 1) they can set it up in store and 2) it is cheaper. As someone who is traveling from abroad, I'm not sure how intrigued I would be if I had to find a bestbuy to buy a dumb phone. T-Mobile would just be quicker and more convenient, despite not having 3G

    It just depends how far you want to go to for cell phone service. I think, as a traveler, I'd just recommend T-Mobile even though AT&T isn't as hard as it sounds.

    You can read the reviews on Amazon for the AT&T SIM. People are basically saying the process I mentioned for AT&T works perfectly fine
    http://www.amazon.com/AT-Micro-Card...SXYO/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1312191018&sr=8-4

     
  5. nomad01 thread starter macrumors 68000

    nomad01

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2005
    Location:
    Birmingham, England
    #5
    Ahh... so I can buy a GoPhone for 10 dollars? Activate on that and then switch to the iPhone? Hmmm... sounds like a plan.

    Failing that, the T-Mobile route sounds easier and I don't need fast data. I just want to be able to use Google Maps mainly and some quick google searches while out and about for info I've forgotten to note down so I'm sure Edge will be managable.

    Thanks VERY much for your advice.

    Steve
     
  6. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #6
    What Happened To

    Verizon? or are they the same as Tmobile?
     
  7. nomad01 thread starter macrumors 68000

    nomad01

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2005
    Location:
    Birmingham, England
    #7
    Verizon are CDMA... so no sim card.
     
  8. wordoflife macrumors 604

    wordoflife

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    #8
    Sure, but the problem is that you need to find a Bestbuy. Some of them may have them, and some of them may not. There are also two more AT&T Gophone models that are available

    Nokia R225

    Nokia 2320

    I'm sure you'll find at least one of these three phones at Bestbuy. I'm not sure where you will be staying, but you might want to just check the availability of a bestbuy store around you through the store locator

    T-Mobile should work fine for your uses. If you want, you can just disable 3G data on your iPhone right now to simulate the speeds of loading maps, etc.

    Also, just take a look at my updated post if you havent

    Verizon is a CDMA carrier which does not use SIM cards.
    T-Mobile is a GSM carrier which uses SIM cards. They are completely incompatible with each other
     
  9. isabellaadamz macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2012
    #9
    Pre-paid SIM cards are generally an excellent way to ensure the user gets mobile phone system which works towards your budget. You will have to pay for prior to to the items on the mobile. Most pre-paid SIM charge cards permit you to include the services for the mobile phone for the placed time period.
     

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