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Best Sim Card for travel to the USA

19 May 2012 hayleyw asked


Headed to the USA in Sep for the Best of USA tour. I've been trying to research what the best sim card would be to get but I'm just so confused and want to hear travellers personal experiences. I have an Iphone 4S and I prob won't call a lot but I do want to be able to message and use data. I have looked at T-Mobile, Simple and Tru Sim. Any suggestions on which one is the best one to go with?

  • Read the responses 32 responses so far
  • 26 May 2012 sarahjayne said


    Not sure if this will be much help, i went into Optus the other day as thats my carrier and they said buy a prepaid simcard when you are over there and pop it into your iphone because international roaming is crazy $$. Just make sure your phone is unlocked :)

  • 28 May 2012 hayleyw said


    Hi, thanks for the info. I had heard it was ridiculously expensive to use Optus in the USA (cause I’m with them too) and my is unlocked so I had planned to get a prepaid sim, I just don’t know what carrier over in the USA to go with. I’ve just read so many mixed reviews and I just want to hear someones personal experience. I’m leaning towards T-Mobile atm, but still not sure!

  • 28 May 2012 Taylormac said


    ive been researching too and im just going to buy a sim and a phone while im over there.. There should be shops that will tell you what the better one is to go for =] are you starting in NYC or LA? =]

  • 28 May 2012 hayleyw said


    I can’t be bothered to buy a new phone when mine is unlocked and iphone 4s takes pretty decent photos, so i figured it’d be handy to have on me. i’m def going to buy a sim, you can buy certain ones before you go such as t-mobile on the website, that’s the one i’m leaning towards. it has pretty good reviews and you can pick a prepaid plan for your sim and theres one for $60 for a month and you get unlimited calls to aus landlines, unlimited data (even though it is on the slower 2g network) and unlimited texts to mobiles in aus.

    I’m starting in LA on the Best of the USA tour that starts 6 Sep :) You?

  • 29 May 2012 Taylormac said


    Yeh fair call =] i dont want to risk losing my iphone =] That one your talking about though sounds really good. i might have a look at that one also.

    Im starting NYC on the 12th =]

  • 29 May 2012 jarks said


    I’ve heard T Mobile and AT+T offer SIM only prepaid deals (that’s something that seems to be lacking in the US), so my plan is to just go into the stores when I get in and find it there!

  • 29 May 2012 hayleyw said


    @Taylormac Oh what a Shane your not starting in LA we’d prob be on the same tour!

    @jarks I’m leading towards T-Mobile, I have heard good reviews and you can buy it off before you go so you can give friends/family your number beforehand :)

  • 30 May 2012 jarks said


    My only issue with US SIM cards is that you get charged to receive text messages. It makes me wonder who exactly is worthy of knowing my number as I fear people will text me to no end!

  • 30 May 2012 hayleyw said


    Yeah some that I have looked at do. But the deal I was looking at with T-Mobile you don’t get charged for calls or texts and get unlimited calls to Aus landlines and unlimited text messages and data (at 2G speed)

  • 30 May 2012 jarks said


    Which one is that? Do you have a link I could look at? It sounds very good!

  • 30 May 2012 hayleyw said

    hayleyw I think. The sim card costs $29 and you can pick what prepaid plan you want. There’s one for $60 and that’s the one I was talking about and that lasts for a month

  • 17 Jul 2012 sarahjayne said


    did you decide what you are going to do? :)

  • 18 Jul 2012 talbots said


    Im going to be in Canada for a year, im taking my phone with me. So whats the best deal to use for my phone. Visit here to get more information hcg platinum

  • 20 Aug 2012 GeekGuy said


    I’ve just gotten back from the USA and thought I’d share myy experience:

    1. There’s a lot of free wi-fi in the USA. Most budget type hotels have free wi-fi. Airports and more expensive hotels tend to have paid wi-fi, so for that reason maybe think of signing up for a month with – they roam on most paid wi-fi in the USA.

    2. Get a local sim card for the USA! If you’re using an iPhone or iPad then AT&T is the ONLY USA network where you can get 3G/4G data on prepaid. Try to get the sim card before you leave Australia. Comes with instructions on how to activate the sim card, get your USA number, add credit, add a data pack etc.

    AT&T plans I think the best one is $50 which gives you:

    Unlimited calls in the USA
    Unlimited SMS in the USA
    Unlimited SMS to Australia

    Also add on a 1GB 3G/4G data pack for $25.
    Also add on a $10 international call pack for 250 minutes of calls to Australian landlines.

    So all up $85 gave me:

    Unlimited calls in the USA, 250 minutes to Australian landlines, unlimited SMS in the USA and to Australia, and 1GB data!

  • 20 Aug 2012 Taylormac said


    wish i had known that ^^ before i got my gotalk global sim hahaha

    hope it works alright =]

  • 24 Aug 2012 Bec said


    Is it really worth going through AT&T for the 3G/4G?
    Will I still be able to use my iphone on the 2G network? (probably a stupid question). I assuming yes it’s just slow?
    I’ve heard most places haven’t even updated the network so it would be pointless getting 3G/4G?

  • 24 Aug 2012 jarks said


    My plan was to just rock up to USA and go to a TMobile store, explain what I want, ask them how much it would be. Go to AT+T, do the same. Think about it overnight, then buy one the next day.

    I want the opinions of the people selling it too. They will be able to tell me exactly what I can do with the credit on the account.

    Researching it has proven to be confusing but I think I found that the AT+T 10¢/Minute Plan was the best for me.

    It’s basically the one most like Australian prepaid in that you load up your credit and pay for what you use. I will mostly be texting, so it works out well for me.
    *International texts (i.e. to Australia) are $0.25 per message sent.
    *Local texts are 20¢ /message.
    *Calling Australia is $1.09 a minute.
    *Calling US numbers is 10¢ /minute.
    *Receiving texts is 20¢ /message.
    *Probably a fee for receiving too, but I can just never answer my phone?

    The thing I like about this one is that it just uses the refill credit, you don’t have to then ‘lock-in’ to a $2 a day or $25/$50 a month. I’m going to be in the US for 40 days, so the month limit is awkward. My other option is to start on the refill credit and if that goes quickly, switch over to a $25/$50 for the rest of my time in the US.

    That extra AT+T international package to me is worthless. I will only be calling Australian numbers (mobile phones only) if people on my tour have an Australian number with. The package only works for landlines in terms of calls.

  • 24 Aug 2012 GeekGuy said


    Bec: AT&T 3G is everywhere across the USA. Exact same coverage as like Optus or Telstra. 4G is in major cities but no iPhone has 4G anyway.

    Jacquelyn: The 10c plan is great value! However you can’t add a data pack which means you’ll pay casual data rates ie expensive. You must be on the $25 or $50 plan to add a data pack.

    The $25 plan is good value: 200 mins of calls, unlimited SMS in the USA and unlimited SMS to Australia.

    Try to get the sim card before you leave Australia so you can activate here in Australia and add credit. I got my sim from or maybe try eBay.

    If you’re travelling to the UK I recommend Three or Vodafone. Great coverage and really really cheap 3G data. Much cheaper than Australia!

  • 26 Aug 2012 Michael Dalz said

    Michael Dalz

    Speaking from experience I’ve done 2 tours of the states and got a T Mobile Sim Card each time i’ve been over there. $50/$100 which included pretty decent overseas calling rates, some 4G data and then unlimited 3G data which meant I could call anyone and sms anyone for free off Viber etc. Worked perfectly. Just make sure your phone is unlocked before you go. All it took was 10 minutes in a T Mobile store. Enjoy your tour!

  • 26 Aug 2012 jarks said


    Oh yeah @GeekGuy, probs should have said I don’t need data – wifi will suffice. I’ll be on holiday, no need to spend all my time on the internet!

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