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Thread: US prepaid, networks ... Hudson valley, NY

  1. #1
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    US prepaid, networks ... Hudson valley, NY

    Hello there,

    I am working for IBM in Germany ... and I am regularly travelling
    to the IBM sites in Endicott, Poughkeepsie, and Fishkill to work there
    for several weeks. Up to now, I used my old Siemens mobile ...
    and had my German SIM card with me. That one costs me 1.49 Euro
    per minute when calling to Germany. So its OK to say "hello, all fine"
    when leaving the airport; but it is way too expensive in general.

    Thus I am thinking how to improve my situation in the future ...
    leading to some questions to you folks. Hope this is the right place ...

    First of all; I am going to buy a new GSM phone soon.
    Question: is there any benefit for me when buying a quadband device,
    like the Samsung C6112? Up to now I was using a triband; and that
    seemed to work ... well, most of the times. Is this new "4th" band a big
    thing within the GSM based networks in the US?

    Then: I am staying for some weeks only; so I am looking for a prepaid SIM
    that is cheap ... and doesnt require a social security number.
    Are there others than TMobile that would work for me and my GSM phone?

    Last: the Tmobile prepaid rates to Germany arent much better; so I
    remembered "the good old days" where I would buy a simple "phone card"
    in some drug store that allowed you to dial a 0800 number ... and make
    calls to Germany for a recent price.
    Do these still exist? And can they be used from a "prepaid" Tmobile SIM?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nsw42
    Hello there,

    I am working for IBM in Germany ... and I am regularly travelling
    to the IBM sites in Endicott, Poughkeepsie, and Fishkill to work there
    for several weeks. Up to now, I used my old Siemens mobile ...
    and had my German SIM card with me. That one costs me 1.49 Euro
    per minute when calling to Germany. So its OK to say "hello, all fine"
    when leaving the airport; but it is way too expensive in general.

    Thus I am thinking how to improve my situation in the future ...
    leading to some questions to you folks. Hope this is the right place ...

    First of all; I am going to buy a new GSM phone soon.
    Question: is there any benefit for me when buying a quadband device,
    like the Samsung C6112? Up to now I was using a triband; and that
    seemed to work ... well, most of the times. Is this new "4th" band a big
    thing within the GSM based networks in the US?

    Then: I am staying for some weeks only; so I am looking for a prepaid SIM
    that is cheap ... and doesnt require a social security number.
    Are there others than TMobile that would work for me and my GSM phone?

    Last: the Tmobile prepaid rates to Germany arent much better; so I
    remembered "the good old days" where I would buy a simple "phone card"
    in some drug store that allowed you to dial a 0800 number ... and make
    calls to Germany for a recent price.
    Do these still exist? And can they be used from a "prepaid" Tmobile SIM?
    Consider O2 wireless, which you can find here:
    http://www.o2wirelessservice.com/

    They are a small MVNO that will put your phone on the AT&T network. You can buy the SIM card at any Best Buy retail store, or have it mailed to you. Calls cost a uniform $0.14 per minute, and likely calls to Germany cost the same as long as you call through an 800 number. I don't know which bands they use in that area - I'd just buy the quad band phone to make sure. Who knows where else you will travel?

  3. #3
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    Consider the Truphone Local Anywhere SIM. The rather unique feature of these compared to nearly all other prepaid companies is there is no expiration or need to buy minutes periodically. It will give you a US number. The rates are USA to USA $0.15 / minute, USA to Germany $0.15 to landlines or $0.35 to Germany mobiles. You can also roam in other countries with that SIM.

    Also O2 Wireless and Red Pocket Mobile have decent rates to Germany. All 3 of these companies charge about $10.00 one time to buy the SIM. I think that all of them use the AT&T network in the USA. There are only two national GSM networks in the USA, T-Mobile and AT&T.

    Yes the phone cards still exist, but not really the best option in your case. Shop for a mobile provider with a very low surcharge instead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nsw42
    Hello there,

    I am working for IBM in Germany ... and I am regularly travelling
    to the IBM sites in Endicott, Poughkeepsie, and Fishkill to work there
    for several weeks. Up to now, I used my old Siemens mobile ...
    and had my German SIM card with me. That one costs me 1.49 Euro
    per minute when calling to Germany. So its OK to say "hello, all fine"
    when leaving the airport; but it is way too expensive in general.

    Thus I am thinking how to improve my situation in the future ...
    leading to some questions to you folks. Hope this is the right place ...

    First of all; I am going to buy a new GSM phone soon.
    Question: is there any benefit for me when buying a quadband device,
    like the Samsung C6112? Up to now I was using a triband; and that
    seemed to work ... well, most of the times. Is this new "4th" band a big
    thing within the GSM based networks in the US?

    Then: I am staying for some weeks only; so I am looking for a prepaid SIM
    that is cheap ... and doesnt require a social security number.
    Are there others than TMobile that would work for me and my GSM phone?

    Last: the Tmobile prepaid rates to Germany arent much better; so I
    remembered "the good old days" where I would buy a simple "phone card"
    in some drug store that allowed you to dial a 0800 number ... and make
    calls to Germany for a recent price.
    Do these still exist? And can they be used from a "prepaid" Tmobile SIM?
    Basically the two major GSM networks in the US are T-Mobile and AT&T. T-Mobile uses GSM 1900 which is what most tri-bands sold in Europe use. AT&T uses a combination of GSM 1900 and GSM 850 with some areas using only 850, If you use only T-Mobile you will not need a new handset if the handset you use now is Euro tri-band and unlocked. If you use AT&T you'll need a dual band 850/1900 handset or a quad band device.

    As for making calls to DE get an account with OneSuite at www.onesuite.com and calls to DE are only 2.5˘ per minute.
    Moderator yahoogroups forum T-Mobile-US http://groups.yahoo.com/group/T-Mobile-US

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by HF305
    Consider the Truphone Local Anywhere SIM.
    Also O2 Wireless and Red Pocket Mobile have decent rates to Germany.
    O2 sounds great as they offer free calls to Germany
    if I got that right ... but of course the SIM card will expire at some point.
    Red Pocket is 2 cent; and almost immediate expiration.

    So, three excellent hints ... I just have to make up my mind.
    Therefore: thank you very much.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by HF305
    Consider the Truphone Local Anywhere SIM.
    From what I gather reading through this blog on the Truphone website they are on the T-mobile network. That network has zero coverage at my house and at several other locations I frequent in upstate new york... and even a few places in San Diego - so it is out for me.

    Also - search through the blog for discussion of the inactivity fee. If one simply puts the phone in a closet between trips it's balance could dry up pretty fast at 2 euros per month. I guess all these pre-paids need some sort of maintainance... Perhaps it is best to simply let them lapse between trips and then bring them back to life before the trip. I wonder which can be reactivated onto the same old SIM card (with a new number) without the need to have one shipped to you.

    http://blog.truphone.com/2010/01/tru...available.html

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    To avoid the Truphone inactivity fee, while in Germany you would just need to put the SIM into a phone once every 90 days, get on the air and send a text. That would cost 16 cents. Or you could even have someone send a text to it (USA number) that would be free for you and according to the blog, still counts as activity.

    Note that the international rates on the Red Pocket table are in addition to their standard airtime rate for all calls which I think is 15 cents per minute.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HF305
    Note that the international rates on the Red Pocket table are in addition to their standard airtime rate for all calls which I think is 15 cents per minute.
    Important info; thanks. Ah, and I guess ... for O2 it is almost the same:
    they give you this 1-512 number ... where you can call for free ... but I guess I have to pay their usual 14 cents per minute when calling that number.

    I also checked the O2 coverage map ... the NY looks pretty covered, but I would prefer something that zooms better and gives more details. Any idea where one could find such information?

    For Tmobile, Poughkeepsie and the other places I am looking for look quite green.

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    For O2, go to the AT&T site and check their prepaid (GoPhone) map. The coverage of AT&T resellers like O2 will be the same.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nsw42
    Important info; thanks. Ah, and I guess ... for O2 it is almost the same:
    they give you this 1-512 number ... where you can call for free ... but I guess I have to pay their usual 14 cents per minute when calling that number.

    I also checked the O2 coverage map ... the NY looks pretty covered, but I would prefer something that zooms better and gives more details. Any idea where one could find such information?

    For Tmobile, Poughkeepsie and the other places I am looking for look quite green.
    O2 Wireless and Red Pocket should have the same coverage as you find here...
    http://www.wireless.att.com/coverage...41015625&sci=4

    I still have a Tmobile prepaid SIM and check periodically to see if I can receive a signal at my house - as of yesterday I cannot even though I am in a green area. I guess that means they have not yet turned on the tower that is planned a half mile away. You may wish to search the tmobile forum for information on how accurate their coverage maps are.

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    Something else:

    over here in Germany, I have "real contract" without a monthly minimum fee.
    This means: my SIM card / phone number NEVER expires (like a "real" service plan);
    but I just have to pay ... when I use it. So the phone can sit in the corner for 3 months ... and I dont pay anything.

    Of course, rates are a bit more expensive compared to "real" service plans; but
    they are still OK.

    Are there similiar things in the US?

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    All the US companies have some mechanism in place that effectively requires you to pay them periodically whether you use the phone or not. The difference is probably that Germany is a "caller pays" country, where even if there's no money on your phone there's still an incentive to keep the number alive so someone can call you, then they charge the caller.

    Another thought I had since you've had your phone in those NY locations and apparently noticed it had signal, you could ask your German company which network they use for roaming in the USA. Then choose a service that uses that network and you know you'll be covered. Though it is quite possible they have agreements to use both.

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    Depending on how long you're gonna be here, you might want to look into Simple Mobile. It's a T-mobile MVNO with unlimited plans for $40 a month. They include unlimited international text messages in the plan, and unlimited international calling is an extra $10 a month. Not sure if Germany is covered, but it's definitely worth checking out. Any T-mobile USA branded phone will work fine, or any unlocked GSM phone with the T-Mobile bands. You can come to a local Wal-Mart, and pick up a cheapy phone for $20, also.

    http://www.mysimplemobile.com


    Android fanboy til I die!!! G1 FTW!!! F$^k Apple!!

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    So many choices.

    I got a somewhat familiar message when talking some coworkers: "Tmobile
    is 'OK' when you are close to Route 9 (that basically goes down the
    hudson valley) ... but bad coverage when going east/west from there".

    So ATT / O2 sounds like the better choice. Although I really liked "Truephone"
    and the idea that I could keep SIM & number alive for some time.

  15. #15
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    in this area for gsm the only ok choice is att, t-mobile's coverage is extremely lacking.

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