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Thread: Cheap PayGo data?

  1. #1
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    Cheap PayGo data?

    Looking for an economical NON-monthly data carrier, say $10 for 1GB that would last 6mos or more and could be topped-up to extend the expiration period. Traveling in Europe, such deals are common. What's available here in the US?

    I'd like this for my tablet(s) where usage is very very sporadic, usually when traveling. FreedomPop was good for this, though kinda lousy Sprint coverage.

  2. #2
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    FreedomPop still has the free 200MB/mo LTE data plan (on AT&T):
    https://www.freedompop.com/free-data

  3. #3
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    The closest thing I know of is to use a Piranha Mobile international SIM, which has data at $.02/MB in the US on AT&T (so $20/GB). It's a true pay-as-you-go model and top-up credit doesn't expire as long as you use the SIM once every 420 days, which is great, plus similarly good rates in other countries (for an international SIM). Note though that data is limited to 3G and it comes with a UK phone number, although you can add a US number for $.50/month (but this apparently doesn't work with things like Google verification if you need it for that). They've also had reliability issues in the past, mostly with SMS, so I hesitate to recommend them, but last year they did a big change, and so far it looks like things are better.

    The next best alternative is probably getting a couple FreedomPop 3-month 1GB/month prepaid SIMs from eBay which would give you 1GB a month for 6 months (over 2 SIMs) at a cost of $5/GB. It doesn't have the flexibility you're looking for though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by monkeyboy View Post
    I'd like this for my tablet(s) where usage is very very sporadic, usually when traveling. FreedomPop was good for this, though kinda lousy Sprint coverage.
    while not exactly pay as you go, tmobile has a ipad plan. https://www.howardforums.com/showthr...months-Only-10 5Gb for $10 and doesn't expire for 5 months. supposedly after the 5 months it is possible to get another renewal

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    Tello pay as you go is .02/MB and .01 per minute and sms. Only on Sprint though.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for posting this. Piranha seems interesting, but it's a little unsettling because the website feels somewhat amateurish and unfinished, with awkward phrasing in places. How many people here have experiences with them to relate?

    I also don't see the option to add a US phone DID number. Is that automatically done for orders shipped to the US? What about for orders shipped to EU countries, would those have DIDs for these countries? Is it possible to get DIDs for both the US and another country for an extra charge?

    I see different rates for different carriers in many European countries. Does the SIM try to connect to the least expensive service in the nation you're traveling in, or does it connect to the service with the strongest signal regardless of cost?

    Thanks.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by allears View Post
    Thanks for posting this. Piranha seems interesting, but it's a little unsettling because the website feels somewhat amateurish and unfinished, with awkward phrasing in places. How many people here have experiences with them to relate?

    I also don't see the option to add a US phone DID number. Is that automatically done for orders shipped to the US? What about for orders shipped to EU countries, would those have DIDs for these countries? Is it possible to get DIDs for both the US and another country for an extra charge?

    I see different rates for different carriers in many European countries. Does the SIM try to connect to the least expensive service in the nation you're traveling in, or does it connect to the service with the strongest signal regardless of cost?

    Thanks.
    Piranha is a small outfit, as are most international SIM providers. There are threads in this forum discussing them, though a lot of the discussion is from last year when they went through a huge transition, so it may not be very helpful. You can also check the thread on prepaidgsm.net. You Given the low upfront cost of the SIM, I'd suggest that if you're curious it's worth trying out and having as an emergency backup SIM, even when in your home country.

    I'm not sure how you sign up for the US #. You may have to contact support, or perhaps you can order it with the SIM purchase (again, $0.50/month). I don't think they offer numbers for other countries. They offer the US # because their old, discontinued SIM came with both UK and US numbers for free, so they were probably trying to appease customers who needed a US# (even at a cost).

    In terms of which carrier is used, you can always manually select a carrier. I don't know what the order is otherwise. I would guess the one with the least expensive calling rating would be preferred, though sometimes one network has cheaper calling and another has cheaper data, so it's best to manually select.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the info! Friend is in France and she's just about going broke using Truphone, because of too many long incoming calls from friends and family here in the US, using her US Truphone number. So those free incoming calls in France look REALLY good.

    The outgoing calls rate is either a lot less or a little less at .08 or .20 per minute (depends on carrier available). Tru is charging .25 per minute for outgoing. She doesn't call as much as people call her, though, and she has a local French number on a second phone.

    I'm also looking at recommending the Red Pocket global data sim at $9 per month and adding a Localphone DID ($1 per month + 1/2 cent per minute) for calls to/from the US. But that would be more fiddly, and would require her to buy an LTE smartphone to replace her old faithful Samsung 3G flip phone.

    For her usage patterns, Tru is running close to $60 per month. Piranha would be around $6-12 per month, and RP around $15.

    Piranha reliability seems to be a concern. Might recommend it anyway, since it's so much cheaper.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by allears View Post
    Thanks for the info! Friend is in France and she's just about going broke using Truphone, because of too many long incoming calls from friends and family here in the US, using her US Truphone number. So those free incoming calls in France look REALLY good.

    The outgoing calls rate is either a lot less or a little less at .08 or .20 per minute (depends on carrier available). Tru is charging .25 per minute for outgoing. She doesn't call as much as people call her, though, and she has a local French number on a second phone.

    I'm also looking at recommending the Red Pocket global data sim at $9 per month and adding a Localphone DID ($1 per month + 1/2 cent per minute) for calls to/from the US. But that would be more fiddly, and would require her to buy an LTE smartphone to replace her old faithful Samsung 3G flip phone.

    For her usage patterns, Tru is running close to $60 per month. Piranha would be around $6-12 per month, and RP around $15.

    Piranha reliability seems to be a concern. Might recommend it anyway, since it's so much cheaper.
    Truphone isn't great in France as it's not a "Truphone zone" country.

    Honestly, if her 2nd phone is a smartphone, IMO her best solution would be to setup a Google Voice account, though she has to be in the US to set it up, or use a VPN, or have a friend/family member in the US do it. She can then run the GV app on her phone using her French SIM (which probably has cheap data) and receive and make calls for free to US numbers. Even if she doesn't have a smartphone, if she has a laptop, she could use the GV website and Gmail to place/receive free calls when she's on Wi-Fi.

  10. #10
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    > her best solution would be to setup a Google Voice account

    Good idea, but both her phones are old Samsung flip phones. She's not a fan of smartphones, which is why the Red Pocket data idea will probably be a non-starter, too.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by allears View Post
    > her best solution would be to setup a Google Voice account

    Good idea, but both her phones are old Samsung flip phones. She's not a fan of smartphones, which is why the Red Pocket data idea will probably be a non-starter, too.
    That's why I included the point about using a laptop. If she wants to save money, make/receive calls to the US with that and Google Voice on Wi-Fi. Otherwise, if this person is complaining about what they're paying but not willing to change their habits... I personally wouldn't waste much time trying to help.

  12. #12
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    That's a thought. Using the laptop could work. It's not as easy to slip in the pocket or purse as a flip phone though. :-)

    Do you know how difficult it would be to port in a US number to Piranha?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by allears View Post
    That's a thought. Using the laptop could work. It's not as easy to slip in the pocket or purse as a flip phone though. :-)

    Do you know how difficult it would be to port in a US number to Piranha?
    If the idea is to save money, she's better off making calls on Wi-Fi anyway.

    I don't know if Piranha even allows porting in. I'd contact them. But if she wants to keep a number, I would strongly encourage porting it to Google Voice instead. Calls to GV can be forwarded to other US numbers (i.e. to the Piranha US # if you go that route).

  14. #14
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    If she's using a laptop, she could use Viber for calls (also works on smartphones).

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willow16 View Post
    If she's using a laptop, she could use Viber for calls (also works on smartphones).
    Isn't it difficult to install Viber on a computer without having it set up on a smartphone first?

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