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Communications Connecting - internet cafes, laptops, Palm devices, cell phones - how to connect, use, which one, and Bike to Bike and passenger intercoms.
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  #1  
Old 18 Jun 2010
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USA Pay As You Go or Prepaid SIM Card?

Hi guys
I'll be doing a US bike trip this summer. Check out http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...-tat-cdt-50366

I'll carry an ASUS eee901 and use wireless hotspots whereever I can for email. Haven't bothered signing up with Skype/VOIP as I have no need for it in Europe.

It'd be useful to stay in touch with local friends and to receive calls from home as well as sending/receiving text messages, so rather than using my UK SIM and incurring big charges, I'd like to buy a US "pay as you go" or prepaid SIM card. Can anyone recommend any particular provider? FWIW, my trip starts in Phoenix, AZ and I'd ideally like to buy one there or get it mail ordered and shipped there in advance of my arrival.

Many thanks in advance for your input.
cheers
Chris
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  #2  
Old 18 Jun 2010
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I don't have any experience with prepaid SIM cards, but I do use Net10 phones which are cheap and have good service everywhere I've been. You can buy a cheap phone and minutes just about everywhere. Minutes range from $0.10 per minute to unlimited for $59.95 per month. I think you have to pay extra for service outside the U.S. though. TracFone is the same company, but I like the Net10 plans better. Cell phone service is highly variable in the U.S. depending on your location and your carrier. Net10 uses a variety of carriers so they tend to have service almost everywhere it is available. More remote areas sometimes do not have service except along interstate highways.
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  #3  
Old 18 Jun 2010
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I use Tracfone also. As mentioned, coverage can be spotty in some areas but has improved a lot in the last couple years. If you can get into any sort of town or up on a hill you can usually get signal.

Any chain drug store, (Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mart or dozens of other super stores) sell phones and top up cards for Tracfone and other companies. They often have deals where the Phone is like $20 and you can start with $20 worth of minutes (60 minutes) and a 90 day use period. Topping up takes seconds, works fine.

Other services also offer Pay As You Go. T-Mobile is one, there are several others too. Tracfone is widely available in the West at least. Not sure in other areas. My Tracfone even worked in Mexico near the border.
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  #4  
Old 21 Jun 2010
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Many thanks for the leads. Here: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...920#post293830 another HUBBer suggested a card from tuyo/T-mobile. i've ordered one. I'll let you know how I get on.

cheers
Chris
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  #5  
Old 22 Jun 2010
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cell phones for travel

We went with Net10 as we travel so much and wanted a reliable service with national coverage and no roaming fees. We now pay 10c per minute for all our calls and we also spotted some really good deals on NET10 Infectious Laughter we are going to look at!
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  #6  
Old 23 Jun 2010
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I bought a Net10 phone when I got to the states in April last year. I bought is from a WalGreens chemist, it cost $30 and it came with 300 minutes of phone time which lasts for 2 months before expiry.

It was easy to buy a new top up card as everyone sells them, once again, about $20 for 300 minutes.

The only small issue is when you buy these phones new, you need another phone to call up and activate it, but this was not a big hassle. Topping up is easy as the phone is still working and you get enough warning 'low time/credit' messages not to get stuck

I had no coverage problems and I rode most of the US including Alaska. It did NOT work in Canada, even though I was told it would, so if that is an issue, keep this in mind.

Nowhere in Canada will they sell a national coverage disposable phone, so in th eend I went without one as I did not want to sign up for an extended plan.

It did not work anywhere outside the US in fact, so Mexico and south I did without a phone and had no major dramas.

Cheers
TS
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  #7  
Old 2 Jul 2010
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Cheers for all the input. Somebody on a diffrerent thread suggested a Tuyo sim card. I've gone for that and will put it into my handset. It should be arriving at my contact address in PHX,AZ. If it doesn't, a net10 phone seems like a good deal too.

Many thanks
Chris
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  #8  
Old 2 Jul 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravellingStrom View Post
It did not work anywhere outside the US in fact, so Mexico and south I did without a phone and had no major dramas.
Cheers
TS
My friends that live in Mexico say they actually have Tracfone there ... uses a different SIM chip than USA. But Mexico have a few "pay as you go" plans in available. I think most work nationwide (where cell towers are available)

Good luck. You could go deluxe and buy yourself a SAT phone. Expensive monthly charge but works worldwide, no waiting! $$$$

We ride our dual sport bikes places (US deserts/mountains) where NO Cell phones work. The SAT phone always works but pricey, but I hear rates have dropped a bit. Dunno? My buddy was paying $50 a month plus cost of each call. Said he averaged $100 a month even with minimum calls.
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  #9  
Old 3 Sep 2010
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Feedback on Tuyo mobile sim cards in USA after using one for 8 weeks: In large latino urban areas like PHX AZ, LA and SFO it worked fine. Everywhere else, virtually no cover what so ever: So for a CDT, Oregon and TAT trip virtuually useless. A total waste of money. Best to pay more for something from Verizon or ATandT.

HTH
Chris
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