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Ask Slashdot: A Cheap US Cellphone Plan With an Unlocked Phone?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the on-this-point-europe-wins-big dept.

Cellphones 288

metrix007 writes "I am a recent immigrant to the U.S. I am used to going to countries and paying a small amount, say, $30, for a simcard and using it with my unlocked phone. I can't seem to do that in the U.S., where the only options seem to be to buy a phone and buy minutes as I need them such as with Tracfone, or a contract where I pay an amount per month to pay off a phone and a certain amount of minutes. I have a Google Nexus One, which is better than any phone offered on the basic plans from all the cell providers. Is there any way I can use it as a cell phone in the U.S. for about $30-$50/month? It seems a shame to waste it and have to pay for a lesser phone."

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SimpleMobile (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41009941)

Simple Mobile. Enough said.

Re:SimpleMobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010029)

This is the answer.

Re:SimpleMobile (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010531)

Agree. Simple Mobile's whole business model is SIM card only, bring your own phone, pre-pay, no contracts. $40/month gets you unlimited talk, text and non-tetherable 3G data. For another $20/month you can get unlimited non-tetherable 4G data instead. (They have separate data-only limited plans that do allow tethering, but they're not necessarily the best value for plans of that type.) The quoted price is the price you actually pay, no taxes or mystery fees tacked on. Truly simple, no nonsense. http;//

Re:SimpleMobile (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010703)

T-Mobile has some good planless options too - especially if you bring your own phone.

*crickets chirping* (3, Insightful)

stillnotelf (1476907) | more than 2 years ago | (#41009951)

I love how long this post has gone without replies (25 minutes, unless there's some sort of database lag I don't see). I guess that's a damning indictment of the US telecom industry and their pricing practices...

Re:*crickets chirping* (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010175)

Nah, it could be the editors deleting posts. My FP to the Romney picking Ryan article got deleted.

Re:*crickets chirping* (2)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010821)

Then I really don't want to know how you manage that feat. I have managed to go from excellent karma to terrible in one thread but I have never had a post deleted. Ever. I thought there was exactly one incident that resulted in an outright deletion here, due to the Co$ so even if your GNAA trolling/whatever is being deleted it would be notable.

To bad you are just an AC, otherwise I'd ask if managing to get a post deleted unlocks an achievement. I know an epic karma burn doesn't. :)

Re:*crickets chirping* (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010189)

I love how long this post has gone without replies (25 minutes, unless there's some sort of database lag I don't see). I guess that's a damning indictment of the US telecom industry and their pricing practices...

This could also be due to the fact that this was posted before 9:30 this morning. All of the Slashdotters who could answer this post are still 'crashed out' on the sofa in their Mom's basement. Check back this afternoon.

Re:*crickets chirping*(must be dark out) (2, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010321)

Or an indictment of that damn sun, rising and setting, creating this silly "day" that we have to put up with, lots of people being "asleep" when this was posted.

Re:*crickets chirping* (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010855)

It still got more on topic replies in that time than those Malda articles. LOLZZZzzz!!!!
Suck it, CmdrTaco!!!

t-mobile (5, Informative)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 2 years ago | (#41009965)

get the online/walmart $35 plan which has unlimited data or pay by the minute at 10 cents a minute if you don't use it much. You can also get unlimited text/data/voice on at&t or t-mobile through net10 for $45/month - check their website as the deal is online only. tell it you are using an at&t locked phone if you want at&t otherwise they send t-mobile by default

Re:t-mobile (0, Flamebait)

doubleplusungodly (1929514) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010011)

One problem: T-Mobile does not really provide service. You're lucky if you get one bar on your cell phone with T-Mobile because too many times I've had to turn off/turn on my cell phone just to try to get service.

Re:t-mobile (2, Informative)

fragMasterFlash (989911) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010115)

For those of us who don't live way out in the boondocks T-Mobile service is on par with every other carrier.

Re:t-mobile (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010297)

I guess the second largest city in my state with 540,000 people is the "boondocks" as tmobile is utter crap here.

Re:t-mobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010403)

if the second largest city in your state is only half a million people, then yes. You live in the boondocks.

Re:t-mobile (0, Troll)

AwesomeMcgee (2437070) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010469)

540k people city *is* the boondocks. Sorry. If your city doesn't crack a million it's not even in the top 50 cities, that's 50 markets where carriers put up a tower and get signal to at least twice as many people as a tower in your town, the ROI on small towns for many things just doesn't pan out. Know that you chose to live in the middle of nowhere, so don't gripe when you don't have the services of people who've gone for the group discount model on services which afford them much more.

Re:t-mobile (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010593)

Elitism: it takes many forms.

Re:t-mobile (1, Informative)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010759)

The tenth largest city in the US is San Jose, with a population just under a million. 540k would be the 33rd largest city in the country. Don't know what you're smoking.

Re:t-mobile (4, Informative)

drummerboybac (1003077) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010803)

540k people city *is* the boondocks. Sorry. If your city doesn't crack a million it's not even in the top 50 cities

Is Boston then a boondocks city? It has 625,087 people as of 2011. How about San Francisco or San Jose? You are way off base that if a city doesnt crack a million its not in the top 50, only 9 cities actually crack a million, a city with 540k would be #33 []

Re:t-mobile (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010525)

Yes, T-Mobile is still evaluating service in North Dakota...don't cha know...

Re:t-mobile (-1, Troll)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010735)

Yes, that would be the boondocks. It sounds like your entire state must be the boondocks.

Re:t-mobile (3, Insightful)

khr (708262) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010359)

No kidding... My wife just got T-Mobile last weekend for her unlocked cell phone. As we live in the boondocks of midtown west Manhattan, it's pretty much useless... There's no signal in our apartment or many other places around.

In fact, the guy at the T-Mobile store in the boondocks, across 14th Street from Union Square didn't get a signal in the store after we paid for it. I joked about what a great sign that was, but he said it was probably because it wasn't fully activated yet. Turns out it was probably just bad service from them.

Re:t-mobile (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010381)

In the particular branch of backwoods I inhabit, T-Mobile is actually pretty good signal wise.

Sprint is the no-go here; too bad, I really like the way the set up their plans...

Re:t-mobile (2)

guises (2423402) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010137)

This, obviously, depends on where you are. I have a Nexus One, with T-Mobile, and have no trouble whatsoever. I use the pay-as-you-go plan, incidentally - I get no data, but since I don't use it all that much it is by far the cheapest option. Way less than the $30-$50/month that the original poster was asking for.

Re:t-mobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010139)

Maybe where you live. I've heard similar stories of AT&T's coverage. Where I live (metro boston) t-mobile was about as good as AT&T.

And to keep this from being a total feed-the-trolls fest -- I bought a cheapo t-mobile burner phone and put the sim into my nokia E51. I don't remember the details of the plan but it was a typical terrible pre-pay plan with a small amount of data and minutes per $.

I eventually switched to virgin mobile where I've got a terrible android phone for $25/month with unlimited data and 300 minutes. The weird thing is they don't offer that plan anymore but they honor the plan for me. I don't understand why virgin doesn't just raise the prices on me since I've got no contract with them, but I'm not complaining. It'll be too bad when sprint goes out of business.

(coverage on sprint has been about as good as t-mobile, maybe slightly better; not quite as good as verizon)

Re:t-mobile (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010533)

Because, like me, you are "grand-fathered" in. Just keep paying your $25 each month and shut up! It's the best deal around and if you keep talking about it everyone will want in, then there goes the neighborhood, don't kill the golden goose! :)

Re:t-mobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010209)

I'm guessing you're on an iPhone...?

Re:t-mobile (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010263)

That depends in where you are, of course.

My experience in Colorado is that I get full HSPA+ in most parts f Denver, but in any city in the mountains, I get 2G at most.

I have had great reception in Boston, New York, Portland, etc.

Re:t-mobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010675)

This is so weird. America must be opposite land. In Germany T-Mobile is the operator that always tries to get you into 2 year commitments, has the best coverage but also the highest rates.

Re:t-mobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010167)

SIMPLE cell phone plan is $40 for SIM card based plan with unlimited use. I think they piggyback on AT&T cell towers.

Re:t-mobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010185)

Be sure that your version of the phone supports the AWS band for 3g before using T-mobile. I discovered this with my iPhone a while back and was relegated to EDGE for data.

Re:t-mobile (2)

Chris Grundy (782254) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010261)

I agree, T-mobile is the way to go As a foreigner who had the chance to live in Seattle for 2 years, I faced a similar situation, and found out that while AT&T wouldn't offer any soltions, T-Mobile was a lot more friendly with international travelers.

Re:t-mobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010311)

Note: T-Mobile uses the "AWS band" 1700/2100 MHz, for HSPA+ internet access. AT&T uses (I believe) 850/1900 MHz. So make sure your phone supports the bands that the carrier uses, or you'll be stuck on EDGE.

Straight Talk (4, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010695)

T-Mobile's coverage is extremely limited, AND their 3G network is incompatible with most phones sold by them. The only non-TMo phones that work are the HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus and AT&T LTE devices running hacked radio firmware.

Straight Talk provides MVNO service on both T-Mo or AT&T networks (you choose when you purchase the SIM).

$15 for initial SIM purchase, $45/month thereafter. Plan includes unlimited voice and texts (with no apparent "stealth limits") - the one disadvantage is that they claim "unlimited" data but it's really 2GB.

Personally I only use 500MB or so a month, so I'm going to them when my AT&T contract is up.

ST's BYOD plans are a fairly recent development, not many people are aware of them.

Try straighttalk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41009987)

www.straighttalkcom Unlimited voice, data and text on AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon network for $45 a month($51 after taxes and fees). You can buy and AT&T network SIM and use any GSM phone that supports the proper bands.

Re:Try straighttalk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010367)

Does anyone else have experience with these guys? Their website seems to detail some nice options. How do they compare?

Re:Try straighttalk (1)

BriggsBU (1138021) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010479)

I used them for a while. They're fine if you don't need customer service. It's outsourced to India and I never got one that spoke decent English or could fully understand what I said.

Also, their data speeds are limited a fair bit. About dial-up speeds in my experience.

Re:Try straighttalk (2)

the plant doctor (842044) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010629)

I just bought one of their SIM cards with their $45 unli everything plan and popped it into my Nokia N9 when I was back in the States for a few weeks recently.

Process was straightforward enough to set it up. I had decent coverage (AT&T, YMMV), unlimited everything was nice to have. Unsure what experience the previous poster had with their 3G speeds. I found it to be quite speedy. Able to watch YouTube, etc. as fast or faster than my connection at home in the Philippines.

Overall, if I were living in the States, I'd surely go with this company as I like my phones unlocked and without the bloatware of the mobile companies.

Even at that, I'll still use them when I return the US so that I have a mobile number where friends and family can reach me, while I'm there.

Re:Try straighttalk (1)

Dunega (901960) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010805)

I'm using them right now with a Galaxy Nexus. So far so good. It's been great being free of a contract. I had some issues porting my number over due to the zipcode not matching the area code of the phone number I was porting. Their customer service was extremely helpful in getting it resolved. Once they made the needed changes everything was up and running within an hour.

Welcome to Americorp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41009993)

Welcome to Americorp, where corporations pay politicians big $$$ to pass laws that screw the people and make Corporations Billions of $$$$

What a consumer wants, thinks is fair and equitable is the last think Americorp needs. Please stop spreading these double ungood ideas and get in line. And if you continue to spread these ideas, Americorp will have your twitter, facebook and slashdot accounts suspended.

Wal-Mart Family Mobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41009999)

~$45 a month, no contract, unlimited talk, text, web (service slows after 250 mob per month)
Uses the T-Mobile network. Check service in your area obviously...

T-Mobile Sim Card? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010005)

T-Mobile (1)

JorDan Clock (664877) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010017)

T-Mobile have a Value series of plans specifically for people who own their phone already that have a discount on the monthly rate. It's actually the plan I'm on right now. Also I'm 99% sure both T-Mobile and AT&T offer the ability to buy pay-as-you-go SIMs that include data.

Re:T-Mobile (1)

gtbritishskull (1435843) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010523)

T-Mobile also has a pay-as-you-go plan that tends to be $10 more per month but does not require signing a 2-year contract. But, at this point you might just want to go with simple mobile or other company that piggybacks on the big carrier's network.

google is your friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010025)

those are your only 2 US wide choices. there may be other options that are local to wherever you are in the US

Straight Talk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010031)

It would depend on where you are in the US but you could check out Straight Talk.

More on Straight Talk (1)

rwade (131726) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010647)

The great thing about Straight Talk is that is uses the AT&T network. Because most unlocked phones are built to use AT&T frequencies for 3G, you'll generally get faster data speeds than T-Mobile -- if your phone is built to use the AT&T frequencies. This would generally be an argument against using Simple Mobile.

It's $45 a month for unlimited everything.

ting (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010037)

You cant take your nexus to them but they and republic wireless are about the best bets fro cheap reliable phone service.

Page Plus (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010041)

Hard to beat. 3000 minutes, 3000 txt, 100MB data - $29.95 and plenty of 5% off coupons to go with it.

Requires Verizon type phone.

iWireless - unlimited (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010043)

Pre-Paid, Unlimited everything: $57.83/month.

I have an apple 3gs with an iWireless Sim - I get 3g everywhere I go, no bandwidth caps, or slowing. Hard to beat for the cost.

Simple Mobile for $40 per Month (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010047)

Just buy a SIM from them like you do in most other countries and recharge as needed by the month

pre-paid is what you want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010055)

Just look for pre-paid from your favorite carrier. I liked T-Mobile ( and was very happy with it until I moved to a place that didn't get good reception. I had to switch to AT&T Go Phone ( but their billing system sucks and I recommend avoiding them.

Let me google this for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010073)

T-Mobile or AT&T would be happy to sell no commitment service on your existing GSM phone. There are also resellers of these networks doing the same thing at lower rates.

Check out T-Mobile pay as you go bring your own phone (sim only plans) or AT&T GoPhone pre-paid SIM cards.

Sorry I don't have any reseller names handy.

Re:Let me google this for you (3, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010407)

"T-Mobile or AT&T would be happy to sell no commitment service on your existing GSM phone."

At full price. He asked for "CHEAP". and nothing AT&T is cheap.

Walmart T-Mobile 4G (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010075)

At Walmart you can get a Samsung Exhibit II 4G smart phone for about $175. They also have a $30 4G plan with 5G data (2G rates after that) and 100 minutes (10c/min after that).

Re:Walmart T-Mobile 4G (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010497)

To clarify - the $30/mo plan is a no contract plan.

h20 wireless or red pocket (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010085)

Both are between $40-60..h20 is on att and red pocket is t-mobile.

Downgrade. (1)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010099)

They don't advertise it via the Web, but T Mobile appears to be the vendor of choice among people who want minimum commitment mobile phones. Devices start at $20, unlimited SMS is $15 month to month. []

We downgraded from smartphones to unlimited text + pay to talk, and haven't looked back. I already carry a 4G wifi and a laptop at all times, so the ~$100 a month for a fragile device (hardware and software) with 4 hours of battery life and probable spyware just seemed insane in hindsight.

Straighttalk or T-Mobile. (4, Informative)

aetherspoon (72997) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010105)

Those are pretty much your only options on the GSM front. T-Mob has a 30 USD/month plan for 100 minutes and unlimited text/data, but all of their other plans are more expensive than straighttalk for smartphones (probably featurephones as well).

Re:Straighttalk or T-Mobile. (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010505)

T-Mobile also has pre-paid only plans. No contract, and you only pay when you run out of minutes. Using this my cell bill averages around $200 a year for voice only. But YMMV for your usage and requirements.

Re:Straighttalk or T-Mobile. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010679)

I recently switched to Tmobiles $30/m plan. I use google voice for all of my calls/texts so I could keep my old number (they won't port cell numbers to prepaid plans) and I haven't had any issues with reception. Data is extremely fast, and it feels a lot better saving $50/m over my old verizon plan.

PlatinumTel = $10 every three months (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010107)

My new favorite plan is PlatinumTel. I just bought an Android handset for $60 and signed up for a plan that only requires a minimum of $10 every three months. Texts are 2 cents, voice is 5 cents, and data is 10 cents/MB. However, it's an Android phone, so anyplace that has wireless is free. (e.g., it's a great phone for the wife and kids)

My personal phone is currently an Android handset on a $25/month unlimited data + 300 minutes Virgin Mobile plan, but I'm pretty sure that plan's not available for new folks. I dropped the family's last TracPhone (too expensive) last year. I also used Net10 for a while, but Virgin beat that, and now it looks like PlatinumTel is the least expensive one out there.

T-mobile value plan (1)

kaplong! (688851) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010111)

BYOP (bring your own phone) T-mobile value plan. Here in Chicago the coverage seems better than AT&T (e.g. no holes at Lake Shore & Monroe and near UIC).

AT&T gophone sim is prepaid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010113)

Gophone from AT&T has prepaid sims here is the amazon link

Straight Talk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010129)

Just switched to Straight Talk myself. It's on AT&T's network without having to deal directly with AT&T. $45 unlimited everything. 1.5GB data cap, kind of.

T-mobile (1)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010193)

T-mobile prepaid plans can cost as little as $10/year. Once you have bought $100 worth of minutes, the top-up period increases to 1 year with the smallest amount being $10. No, there is no data, but if you're on a budget you can always find free wi-fi somewhere.

AT&T Prepaid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010203)

Just walk into AT&T, ask for a sim card, and select a prepaid plan. Done it before, they will just hand you a SIM. You could then activate it over your phone later if you want.

AT&T Sim Card (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010213)

I did a quick search on the AT&T site and came across this. []

You can buy the SIM, enter the IMEI of your phone and then choose what plan you want. Seems like you'd be able to do this in stores, too, but I have no idea.

There's also this support page ( for getting a SIM card for a phone you already own.

Re:AT&T Sim Card (1)

DizTorDed (164355) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010575)

I did this exact thing. Bought the SIM card, put it in my unlocked phone, $50 a month for unlimited calls and messaging. No contract. Not the cheapest up front but at the end of the month, I do not have to worry about how many calls or txt msgs I made.

T-Mobile Monthly4G Prepaid (1)

King InuYasha (1159129) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010219)

Your Google Nexus One is T-Mobile compatible for high speed data access, so check out the Monthly4G [] offering.

They offer unlimited talk, text, and web for $50/mo, and a plan with 100 minutes of talk, unlimited text and web for $30/mo with additional minutes for $0.10/min.

Also, if you are willing to spend a little money to get a more advanced phone later on, I'd recommend picking up either a Samsung Galaxy Nexus [] ($349) or the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G [] ($300). Both options do not require a contract and are compatible with T-Mobile's HSPA+ network.

T-Mobile (1)

Shompol (1690084) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010753)

I second that. T-Mobile is the only major carrier in US to allow buying a phone elsewhere. It's coverage does not match that of Verizon but I was fine everywhere in NE save some wild mountain ranges.It also offers best bang for the buck compared to AT&T and Verizon.

I believe this is the correct link: []

TruPhone (1)

chris098 (536090) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010221)

I use a provider called TruPhone. They are pre-paid and charge $0.15 per minute, and $0.15/MB for data in the USA. If you spend a lot of time talking on your phone or using data while you're out, this isn't the option for you. If you're within wifi 90% of your day, paired with google voice, it could be an option.

I'm in the same boat, and solved this problem (5, Informative)

Brad_McBad (1423863) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010247)

Go to the T-Mobile web-store and buy a SIM activation kit for $1. When you receive it, follow the activation instructions on the web and when it asks you to choose your plan, select "Monthly 4G $30"

* Unlimited internet*
* Unlimited Text
* 100 minutes talktime

It's basically a prepay deal where the available balance will drop by $30 a month, so you just need to top-up once a month, and make sure you have enough credit to cover any calls you make over the 100 minutes No ongoing contracts.

Deal is web-only.

*Unlimited internet means up to 5GB at HSPDA+ speeds.

SIMple Mobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010277)

I have no idea if Simple Mobile supports your Nexus, but they deal entirely and only with unlocked phones. I just checked and found the Nexus 1 is on their compatible phone list. They'll sell you a simcard for $10 and then $40 a month for unlimited talk, text and 2GB of data per month - no contract, cancel or keep it at your convenience. I took an old Blackberry to them, found out they couldn't guarantee compatibility, but I got everything working without a fight (costs $50 a month for Blackberries, $40 a month for all other phones).

Small Carrier (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010301)

There are a few smaller carriers that lease AT&T's GSM network.
Boost [] (They seem to cater to people with bad credit)
Cricket [] ($55 unlimited everything but data is throttled after 2.5GB.)
Consumer Cellular [] (Great if you just make phone calls, data costs an arm and a leg)

Re:Small Carrier (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010373)

Correction: Boost and Cricket both use the Sprint CDMA network.

Re:Small Carrier (1)

dammy (131759) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010445)

If your not using Data, Consumer Cellular is the way to go since they will ship you a simcard for free. $17.50 for 100 minutes, 100 SMS.

Re:Small Carrier (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010559)

Tru [] offers a European style plan in the US.
SIMPLE Mobile []
Pure Talk [] Not much in the way of data.

Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010325)

One thing that is great about America is that there is either a Starbucks or McDonalds on every street corner. Download Skype for your mobile phone and use the free wifi at one of these (and other) fine establishments to place a call online. An additional benefit is that you'll get to see the real America where obesity and poverty exist in the same sentance.

T-Mobile USA is the usual way (1)

fifers (75959) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010349)

It is much harder in the USA to just get a sim-card and go. T-mobile do offer it though. It was funny when the salesperson tried to sell me a phone tooand I pulled out my Galaxy S (which was unavailable there at that time) and said I was covered. It was better than any phone in the store so that upsell attempt was quickly over.

You might confuse them but they'll figure it out.

meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010355)

This is the way the US cell phone market is. Expect to pay about 3x more than any other place. The cheapest way is get a cell phone is to buy a cheap walmart cell phone (straight talk, virgin, verizon, etc.) and purchase minutes for it. Unlimited is typically between $45-50 a month. So, a cheap phone will be between $30-200, and $50.00 a month + taxes on top of that.

Welcome to capitalist America!

Sure, the Nexus One is great and all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010363)

or it was 2 years ago when it was released. T-Mobile (if the coverage in your area is ok) regularly has pretty decent phones from the previous 6 month cycle for no cost up front. Right now it looks like:

is the up (a few weeks ago the Galaxy Nexus II was free) and it has 2x the memory and 2x the processors and a better screen etc. than your Nexus One (but that hits the $60 end of your price range with the small data plan.)

500 min of cell phone time, no data $35 a month. $40 if you want 200mb of high speed data, and all the low speed data you can use.

Re:Sure, the Nexus One is great and all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010515)

Getting the Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ from Google Play is probably a better plan. It has a pentaband radio so it will have 3G on both T-Mobile and AT&T, and will continue to have 3G when T-Mobile refarms its spectrum to make room for LTE next year.

Straight Talk (1)

StrifeJester (1326559) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010405)

Buy the sim for 14.99, then for 49.99 you get unlimited talk and text, they claim unlimited data but they warn and bitch if you use too much.

Re:Straight Talk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010613)

Agree - get Straight Talk SIM using ATT service - you'll actually have coverage around the nation unlike the Sprint and T-Mo MVNOs.

Use SimpleMobile (1)

bakoolguy2 (1010901) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010427) [] I use simple mobile with my unlocked/jailbroken iPhone. It's $40 for unlimited voice/text/data. Best deal on the market. Only downside is that I don't get 3G data speeds because iPhone is intended for AT&T. But you can get full 3G if you use a phone that was intended for use with T-Mobile. Also, don't buy the SIM card through SimpleMobile -- get one on eBay for $1 (plus free shipping)

Pay as you go $25 for 250 minutes (1)

shking (125052) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010449)

On my last couple trips to the US, I've picked up a $25 SIM for my unlocked iphone at an AT&T store. It's good for up to 3 months, with 250 minutes and unlimited SMS. No data, but wi-fi is everywhere. You can buy more time if you need to

If the stores won't sell you a sim for $30 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010451)

If the GSM stores won't sell you a sim for $30, call the 1-800 number, it is quite common to get a sim for $20 + a small activation fee (20-30$) then pay a standard post pay month to month plan fee ($30-$50) for a decent amount of voice and text. Just tell them you have a non-smartphone cause then they get all data plan happy with you and want to charge you an additional $30-40/month for that.

Stuff that matters? (2)

cheesethegreat (132893) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010453)

Sorry, but is this really a Ask Slashdot-worthy story? Better placed to ask on any of a dozen different travel forums, or to raise it in mobile phone forums (of which I hear the kids these days have quite a few).

A quick LMGTFY link to help wrap up the conversation []

Frequency bands (5, Informative)

Megane (129182) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010489)

I'm surprised to see that nobody has mentioned frequency bands yet. It sounds like your phone is a European model. The problem is that different parts of the world use different frequencies for mobile phone service, and now even different technologies, too.

From what I understand, pretty much all of Europe uses the GSM on the same frequency bands, so you can shuffle around SIM cards all day. But in the US, the frequencies are different from Europe. Even more of a problem is that GSM isn't dominant here. And now 3G and 4G are coming.

So sure, you could stick in a SIM card, but can your phone even talk on the right frequencies? If it is a "quad band" [] phone, you may be in luck.

Re:Frequency bands (1)

the plant doctor (842044) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010701)

Pentaband would be the best. I'm not sure if the Nexus phones are equipped as such or not. I know Nokia makes some that are.

If it doesn't get 3G on AT&T it should on T-Mobile, should it not?

Re:Frequency bands (3, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010773)

Many high-end international smartphones support AT&T's frequency bands.

However - almost no devices support T-Mobiles 1700 MHz AWS band used for 3G service. The only ones I am aware of:
Devices sold by T-Mobile USA
HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus
AT&T LTE devices that have had hacked radios installed. (Effectively, flashing T-Mobile firmware on an AT&T device that had identical hardware - examples are the AT&T Skyrocket and AT&T Galaxy Note.)

However, plenty of international devices support AT&T's bands:
Samsung Galaxy S2 (GT-I9100)
Samsung Galaxy Note (GT-N7000)
Samsung Galaxy S3 (GT-I9300)

Probably plenty of others - I just happen to be most familiar with Samsungs.

Page Plus Cellular (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010641)

I've been using Page Plus Cellular for years. The rates are really low and the coverage is very good; they subcontract from Verizon. Page Plus works with pretty much any Verizon phone except Blackberry's. Google the phone and page plus just to make sure someone else is using the phone on Page Plus. I have a Droid X and my wife has a HTC Incredible; we got both these phones on craigslist.

I don't call much so I pay $25 (taxes included) for 400 minutes which lasts 120 days. Texts are 5 cents each which just gets deducted from my balance. Minutes rollover as long as your plan doesn't expire.

My wife has the $29.95 plan (taxes included) which gets her 1200 minutes/3000 texts/100 MB a month. They have other plans too. See

StraightTalk Sim is 14.99 - Service Pretty Good (1)

dgerding (413138) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010677)

I'm using both StraightTalk and T-Mobile sims on unlocked gsm phones. The StraightTalk coverage has been surprisingly good. The T-Mobile is good too, but more expensive. Based on my experiences with both I'd go with StraightTalk.

jitterbug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41010729)

get a jitterbug phone, as simple as it gets and it uses the verzion network.

Straight Talk (1)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010731)

A SIM car for an unlocked phone costs $15. Unlimited talk, text and web costs $45 per month.

I dumped AT&T and T-Mobile a few months ago and haven't looked back. This is cheaper and the same networks.

Avoid T-Mobile compatible phones for this service. Straight Talk is an MVNO [] and T-Mobile is a bunch of dicks. They won't let outside SMS messages thru. AT&T doesn't do that to MVNOs and SMS/MMS works fine.

I currently have a Google Samsung Galaxy Nexus and a HTC Glacier (MyTouch 4G) using this plan.

If you don't need unlimited, and it isn't a smartphone, ST has a $30 plan that might suit you. No commitment or contract, just get a new card at Walmart or refill online.

HowardForums: Your Mobile Phone Community & Re (3, Informative)

FeatherBoa (469218) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010745)

This really is a topic for mobile phone specific forum. My favourite is HowardForums. Here is a link to the US pre-payed/MVNO forums: []

There are lots of people there who know what's up with pre-paid and low-cost options. (1)

lazyron (1051796) | more than 2 years ago | (#41010813)

You can get an Android phone for less that $100, plans start at $35 for 300 minutes, unlimited data/text. Data gets throttled after 2.5GB. They piggybank on Sprint's network. I've had it for nearly two years and can't really complain.
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