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  1. Default Can one get prepaid cellphone sim cards?

    Hi

    I was looking into this online a while ago and can't remember finding anything concrete. We'll be arriving in LA on June 3 and want to get a prepaid sim for our cellphone to use in the US. Where can one buy one? And if it's one with reasonable calling rates that would be a real bonus.

    Thanks!
    yaya

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default

    Yes, one can. A quick search shows that sites such as Amazon.com and NewEgg.com have these cards.

  3. Default Purchasing from a shop

    Thanks, MassTim. What I meant was physically buying them from a store. Ordering through Amazon etc. would mean having an address for them to send it to, and since I'm arriving from overseas and not booking hotels ahead that would be a problem.

    Are there are any specific shops that stock sim cards? I was told that prepaid sims are a rarity in the US.

    I found there is an AT&T/Cingular sim card, but again I can only find online sites that sell it.

    yaya

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by yaya View Post
    Are there are any specific shops that stock sim cards? I was told that prepaid sims are a rarity in the US.
    You are quite correct. They are even more scarce than hens teeth!

    From my experience over my last trips, if you want a mobile phone, you will have to purchase a phone. They somehow - I don't understand all that - have the sim built in.

    I found travelling with my small computer, and Skype both cheaper, and more convenient. Remember, in North America they make you pay, even when you receive a call. If you can get mobile reception, you are usually not far from free wifi.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
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    9,270

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    The only carriers here that use SIM cards are AT&T and T-Mobile. All the other carriers do not use GSM and everything is built into the phone.

    The best way to handle this is go to Walmart or other big box store and buy a whole prepaid phone. They can be had for as cheap as $10 and refills are available everywhere - just buy a minutes card and enter its code into the phone. One example is the "AT&T Go-Phone".

  6. Default

    Thanks Lifey and glc! I guess I'll go to a Walmart then. I will be carrying my laptop for skyping with relatives/friends etc. so that should keep my costs down, but one does tend to need a phone on the road sometimes.

    Speaking of free wifi, I somehow wasn't able to find much when I was in the US last. Where would one generally find free wifi, esp. in remoter areas?

    yaya

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

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    Free Wi-Fi is very common here. McDonalds and many other fast food chains have it, as do many sit-down restaurants. Of course, there are also libraries, most hotels, and many many other places.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    Depends on when your last trip was. In 2009 it was available in many States at most rest areas and along the interstates, at most accommodation, even at campgrounds, at many stores such as Starbuck and Panera Bread, some truck stops/ travel plazas and virtually all libraries. Where it was not free, it was quite inexpensive, but still available.

    Having said that, and seeing where you are travelling, you are not likely to find wifi, let alone free wifi, in much of central Idaho, neither was there much mobile phone coverage. I do know that wifi is available at the library in Stanley. This tiny library is only open for a few hours, but the wifi can be picked up 24hrs from outside the building (which is the case at most libraries). [My friend lives about 6 miles out of 'town', and does not have access to anything other than his landline phone and dial up internet].

    And in some places you can sit in your car, just anywhere, and find 'unsecured' wifi. Basically, it is a case of 'seek and ye shall find'.

    Edit: I just put free wifi hotspots into google and came up with a long list of sites. You might like to check out some of these sites. And you will probably be able to find more.
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 05-08-2011 at 05:05 PM. Reason: add info

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    It generally would not be wise to use a prepaid cellular phone for international calls. That can get very expensive very quickly. Skype is much better for that.

  10. Default Thanks

    Thanks again Lifey and glc for your inputs. I think that probably using the prepaid sim together with cheap calling cards would be a sensible thing to do.

    yaya

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