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macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 17, 2012
Hopefully someone can help me here.

I am travelling around San Francisco and Las Vegas in the summer and was thinking that I could pick up a pre-paid micro sim to use whilst there. I have an iPhone 5 that I use on 3 in the UK and was hoping to avoid massive call, text and data bills whilst I travel.

Any help and advice would be appreciated. Thanks.


macrumors 603
May 6, 2008
Your best bet would be to visit a local WalMart and pick up a Straight Talk SIM card. They have a $45/month prepaid plan for unlimited talk, text and web (although I believe 2GB is is when they will slow your connection). Net10 is another option to go with.


Jul 2, 2012
The prepaid market here is not as favorable to travelers as it is in the UK, especially for data. You can pick a prepaid monthly plan from tmobile and att. I would not recommend the mvno carriers as they offer zero customer service. When I went to the UK I got a Vodafone SIM and topped up 10 pounds. It's not that flexible here in the USA.


macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 17, 2012
Good to know that there are pre paid options for while I am there.

If I use my Uk 3 sim, I know it will cost a fortune for data in particular and having never visited the USA before I want to use my phone as a sat nav for driving and obviously looking up local landmark, tourist info., etc. $45 doesnt sound too bad. The key I presume is that I will be limited with carriers due to my handset being UK. I presume I will need a GSM carrier?


macrumors 6502a
May 3, 2009
London, UK
When I was in the states last week I picked up a T-mobile sim with 500mb of data.

I was told that I wouldn't be able to access 4g (and that was my understanding too, due to the bandwidths a UK iPhone 5 can pick up), but was able to.

$50 + $10 for the SIM card wasn't bad, and I will be able to top up next time I return. Paid in cash, no ID, nothing needed. Easy as.


macrumors 65816
Apr 14, 2011
Have a look at red pocket. I've got a sim off the UK ebay and then signed up to the service on the red pocket site. They use the AT&T network. I've used them on several trips to the USA and had no problem. You will also need a nano sim not a micro sim if you have a iPhone 5.


macrumors 601
Apr 30, 2012
You could try Tracfone on AT&T's network. Should be the same frequency as what you use in the UK.

At&t is 850/1900, Europe uses 900/1800. the phone is quadband for GSM/EDGE so it will still pick up the basic US frequencies anyways. but its not really the same as the UK.


macrumors member
Jun 15, 2010
On a trip to NYC in April, I wanted to do the same thing (i.e. pick up a US sim card to use in my unlocked iPhone 5). I walked into the first phone shop I saw, which happened to be an AT&T store on 5th Avenue. I picked up a prepaid SIM for about $40 absolutely no problem.

The service in the shop (as is usually the case in the US) was fantastic, about 1000x better than you get in your typical UK phone shop.


macrumors 65816
Nov 16, 2011
Go to AT&T Store and get the Prepaid $60 plan. Its the best deal you will get, your iPhone 5 will get 4G HSPA+ access but not LTE.

Its got the best coverage and data! 2GB...far better than Straight Talk (Uses T-Mobile network - All new sims to those wondering).

AT&T store should be able to give you the SIM for free.


macrumors newbie
Nov 6, 2008
If it was unlimited data I probably would but I can't see 2GB lasting long if I'll be using the sat nav for near 1000 miles?
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