Author Topic: Sim cards for family visit the US for two weeks?  (Read 1730 times)


  • Bristles
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Sim cards for family visit the US for two weeks?
« on: May 09, 2015, 02:40:25 PM »
My family is coming to the US for about two weeks and I'd like to get them sim cards they could use on their phones during their stay.
They have some T-Mobile sim cards I normally activate for them, which costs about $30 (even though that's for a full month, but they're only here for two weeks).

They don't need a lot of minutes (though they do need some - lets say around 30 minutes?), and probably 500MB of data will be enough. Probably won't need any texting (we use WhatsApp instead).
Are there any cheaper options than getting the T-Mobile plan?
Ideally I would also like sim cards that they could keep with them and use next time they visit but without any cost during the months they aren't here.


  • Bristles
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Re: Sim cards for family visit the US for two weeks?
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2015, 08:46:15 PM »
I did a little research on this about 2 years ago, trying to find a prepaid phone for my grandmother. I think your T-Mobile plan is priced about right. The cheapest I found back then was $50 on a prepaid phone at Wal-Mart (that included a burner phone, and there wasn't a way to buy just the sim card) for just talk/text.

I'll need this soon too, so following!


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Re: Sim cards for family visit the US for two weeks?
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2015, 08:01:35 AM »
Mobile data is still the most expensive part of mobile phone service in this country (especially on prepaid PAYGO), and there are ways to easily gut mobile data usage, especially if GPS is being used regularly (note my posts from this thread and elsewhere). You even halve that 500MB data requirement, and if T-Mobile coverage is acceptable, you're already down to $20 on P'tel for an overkill "unlimited" talk and text plan. Get that data under 100MB, and a PAYGO plan could work for around $10/month or less.

Read the section on cellular providers from the guide if you haven't already. P'tel, Airvoice, or TruPhone could all work, potentially.

The only catch with wanting SIM cards and phone numbers to stay active long term with a cheaper prepaid plan is needing a long-term PAYGO plan that keeps airtime active for the gaps needed. Many have a 45-90 day no-use account lapse clause that can basically eat any remaining balance if they aren't used, so read the legal agreements. Truphone's the only one of those mentioned providers that can be used outside the US to do that with. Otherwise, you'll have to treat the SIM cards and the money loaded as disposable if the out of country gaps are too long to keep the balance and number active with the provider and just keep spare SIM cards for activation as SIMs can't be reactivated once an account is closed out.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2015, 08:03:51 AM by I.P. Daley »