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Old 12.10.2009, 10:06
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Re: Mobile phone to use in the US

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As my iPhone is currently locked, I'm looking for the best way to organise a cheap mobile phone to use in an upcoming trip to the United States. Has anyone got any good ideas of how it can be done from over here before I go, or is it better to wait until I get there and pick up a cheap PAYG one?

I've always used an unlocked phone for trips abroad until now, and as this will be my first trip to the States I'm not yet up to speed on any clever ideas or shortcuts to do this.
Hi,

It depends a bit where in the US you go to. If you stick to the bigger cities, you might be able to bring a (quad band) GSM phone from Switzerland and try to get a SIM card (T-Mobile or AT&T - those are the only major GSM networks) in the US. The problem is that (like here), you need to register for SIM cards and they might not even sell you one if you don't live in the US. Last time I simply gave them my hotel's address and they never checked :-)

Unfortunately, GSM coverage pretty much ends as soon as you leave the metro areas. Outside it's predominantly CDMA (Sprint, Verizon and a plethora of smaller providers). Those networks don't use SIM cards so there's no point in bringing a phone (should you find one that does both GSM + CDMA)

If I needed a phone there again, I'd pick up a PAYG with country-wide free roaming and free access to 1-800 numbers (so you can use calling cards to place calls to Switzerland / Europe).

Peter
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