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Topic: Recs for US sims for mob phone (on US trip & ideally future)?  (Read 1735 times)

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Recs for US sims for mob phone (on US trip & ideally future)?
« on: November 26, 2017, 04:29:55 PM »
I'm going back to the US for the holidays, after a number of years, and need recommendations for a pay as you go sim card I can get from a US company (once I get there) with no hassle. Ideally I would like to keep the phone number (for banks etc), and find a way to keep it "active" for future.

For years I had a T mobile US pay as you go sim. I listed that number for US banks etc, as no bank seems capable of keeping my UK number in their databases. But unlike today's sims it would not work in the UK, so to keep the number I had to top it up every year, or it would expire. Last year the expiration date and grace period occurred just as I gave birth very early. So the sim and number (and like $80 of my money) expired.

My understanding is these days US sims can roam in UK so if you need to keep it active, you can just pop it into your phone and send a text or something. Is that true?

I just got a new unlocked quad band phone, so like my old phone it should work fine in the US.

But any recs of pay as you go US sims from reputable cos you can get cheaply, and ideally keep the number easily from the UK? And with as little hassle/stress as possible?
Thanks!


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Re: Recs for US sims for mob phone (on US trip & ideally future)?
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2017, 02:41:04 PM »
I switched to 3 in the UK so I can use their "feel at home" option when in the US.

For a US phone number I use Vonage, but there are lots of alternatives like Google Voice.


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Re: Recs for US sims for mob phone (on US trip & ideally future)?
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2017, 11:00:31 PM »
Im trying this for the holidays https://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/prepaid-international-tourist-plan

I'll have it sent ahead of time to where I'm staying or somehow call T mobile and see if they will set it up on my TMobile pay as you go SIM card I have from my old US number.


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Re: Recs for US sims for mob phone (on US trip & ideally future)?
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2017, 11:47:56 AM »
Im trying this for the holidays https://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/prepaid-international-tourist-plan

I'll have it sent ahead of time to where I'm staying or somehow call T mobile and see if they will set it up on my TMobile pay as you go SIM card I have from my old US number.

I've done this twice before and it works really well. However, you get a new number each time, which is kind of annoying. And I don't think you can extend it past the 3 weeks.
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Re: Recs for US sims for mob phone (on US trip & ideally future)?
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2017, 05:27:05 PM »
Thanks so far. The T Mobile tourist plan sounds useful, but I'll be going for more than 3 weeks. And ideally I wouldn't want to tell my friends a different number each time.

Groover, I looked at Google Voice, it seems interesting but a bit complex- that you can get and receive phone calls to and from a (free) US number. While (if necessary) keeping your UK sim in your phone, both in US and UK. But looks like you can only sign up from the US using a US internet IP address. This sounds great, but it would mean I would need to always have wifi access to make or receive calls. If I'm walking down the street, I would need constant mobile data access. So how would you do it? Ie  1) sign up for Google Voice while in the US, and 2) find a US cellphone provider who will offer a sim for data only? Thanks in advance for sharing your strategy.

I am just about to switch to Three network on Pay as You Go for my UK coverage. I looked at Feel at Home and got confused; I will look again. It sounds like an option to call out, but seems the disadvantage is that US people would have to call a UK number to connect with me.

I looked at Vonage website, but it's unclear what option you're choosing. It seems to only have business or residential accounts.

I have friends that just use Whatsapp in the US- but then you're tied to only communicating with people who have cell phones, and cant call restaurants, venders, landlines etc. (And like Google Voice, you're tied to needing wifi access).

So far it seems like Google voice might be a good option. Especially as I will likely need to keep in touch with a number of people and venders (and banks etc) after returning to the UK. It would be great for them to be able to call a US number even if I'm in the UK. But I'd love advice about the best cheapest way to get mobile data via a US sim provider. Thanks!


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Re: Recs for US sims for mob phone (on US trip & ideally future)?
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2017, 05:40:49 PM »
I looked at Feel at Home and got confused; I will look again. It sounds like an option to call out, but seems the disadvantage is that US people would have to call a UK number to connect with me.

I have 3 with Feel at Home. It allows you to use your inclusive minutes, texts and data in the US at no extra charge... however, you can only call/text UK numbers for free. If you call or text US numbers, it will cost you. It's free for you to receive calls from US numbers, but I don't know what it would cost those people to call you.

I don't use my phone much for calling - I just use FaceTime and iMessages, so it's most useful to me for the 3G data allowance.

The costs of using Feel at Home in the US are:

Calling a UK number: Free within your allowance or 3p per minute outside your allowance      
Texts to UK: Free within allowance or 2p per text outside your allowance

Calling an United States number: £1.40 per minute.
Texting an United States number: 2p per text

Receiving calls from any number: Free.
Receiving texts from any number: Free.

Using internet and data: Free within your allowance or 1p per MB outside your allowance (up to £42.50 Data roaming limit).

Using voicemail: Free within your allowance or 3p per minute outside your allowance.


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Re: Recs for US sims for mob phone (on US trip & ideally future)?
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2017, 11:22:05 AM »
I have a Vonage number (old US home phone number I ported before we left). When in the US I set that to forward to my Three UK mobile number so people in the US can call me. If they leave a message then it is emailed to me with a transcription.

If I want to make US calls then unless it is urgent I wait until I am back at a hotel with wifi then I use the Vonage app on my phone to make the call over wifi. Costs one cent per minute.


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Re: Recs for US sims for mob phone (on US trip & ideally future)?
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2017, 03:13:34 PM »
Thanks. It looks like the solution for us might be to 1) get Three's Feel at Home plan. and 2) to also get a Google Voice number.

I still found both options confusing. For the Three plan, it seems one has to purchase an expensive PAYG option; or the Essentials PAYG plan plus an extra 'bolt on' for it to work. Does one then contact Three to activate Feel at Home?

Google Voice, and its relationship to Google Hangouts, is still a bit confusing. But if I can use Three's free data, that would enable me to use it to (hopefully) make calls to US numbers from a Google Voice US number. I'm still unclear if it would let me do that once back in the UK though. That would be great, if my banks etc had a number they could always reach me at. (Instead of not being able to reach me, because my US sim was in a box in the closet).




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Re: Recs for US sims for mob phone (on US trip & ideally future)?
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2017, 03:41:48 PM »
I still found both options confusing. For the Three plan, it seems one has to purchase an expensive PAYG option; or the Essentials PAYG plan plus an extra 'bolt on' for it to work. Does one then contact Three to activate Feel at Home?

Yes, you need one of the more expensive plans for Feel at Home to be included on it. If you only have an Essentials plan, you won't get it included.

There's nothing you need to do to activate Feel at Home itself... it's just part of your plan, but you may need to set up international roaming on your phone before you go abroad.

I have a Three plan with Feel at Home, but my mum only has an Essentials plan... we were travelling in Asia a few months ago, and we didn't realise her plan didn't include Feel at Home until after she'd used her 3G data to check her emails - she was charged £10 just for checking and sending an email!

I find Feel at Home really useful because I travel a lot and often go to countries that are included in the plan. When I was in the US for 2 weeks in September, I apparently saved over £1,200 in data usage fees (which is what my usage would have cost without Feel at Home). I'm living in Gibraltar at the moment, which is also included in Feel at Home so I can use my phone for free here too.


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Re: Recs for US sims for mob phone (on US trip & ideally future)?
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2017, 10:39:58 PM »
I got Feel at Home (it turns out it's valid even with a £10 add-on). Let's see how that works...

I was hoping to get a US number via Google Voice, but it's very confusing. Especially to connect it to a UK phone number.

Has anyone used Google Voice in the US and UK? If so, how did you set it up for your UK sim phone? Thanks.


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Re: Recs for US sims for mob phone (on US trip & ideally future)?
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2017, 06:23:38 PM »
I am on a 3 PAYG plan. Last 3 trips to the US I simply used the phone as normal. Didn't buy an add-on or anything extra. Since my calls were only back the DH in the UK, it was no different than calling home from wherever when I am out and about in town.

If you absolutely need a US phone number, why not get a cheap phone with a prepaid card. And by cheap, stay cheap as possible - basic phone, cheapest 30 day card you can get.

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