12
Aug
10

Getting a U.S. Cell Phone – Part 1 of 2

When we travel to the U.S., we have always purchased the Roger’s travel packages.  It involves 3 purchases…one each for cell phone calls, one for data roaming and the last for text messaging.  Ridiculous, time consuming and extremely expensive.  For our needs, we usually end up spending about $70 for each of our 2 phones.  The ‘minutes’ are only good for a month, so if we don’t use them all up in the week that we are away, we lose them.  This summer, we ended up taking a second trip to the U.S. the day after our previous trip’s minutes expired.

Enough.  I’ve always toyed with the idea of getting a U.S. pay-as-you-go phone just for this purpose.  I had an old unlocked phone and all I needed was a SIM card.  So I checked out the deals at T-Mobile and AT&T.  It was an education.  Both offered a similar deal.  T-mobile offered a SIM card for $25 and you could prepay $100 which would not expire for a year.  It ended up being about .10 a minute.  AT&T, though, offered a free SIM card and the same $100 deal.  But you could choose a plan that charged $3.00 per day (against the $100 prepayment) only when the phone was used and, for that $3.00, allows unlimited calling within the U.S..  So, we usually spend about 3-4 weeks per year in the U.S..  21 days of continuous use would cost $63 against the prepayment.  That would leave $37 for lots of texting.

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