Mobile phone confusion

I thought I’d throw a travel question open to readers of the blog. During the upcoming month on the road Marianne and I will need to keep in touch as best we can. I also want to be easily contactable for people in the US, especially when I’m in LA for WorldCon. The best option seems to be to get mobile phones for both Marianne and I. Marianne has an old junker phone here, and I don’t use one at all. I’m thinking about getting a couple cheap mobile phones here, taking them along to the US and getting new SIM cards once we’re there. The other option would simply be to wait until we got there and then buy two cheap phones. Not sure about the best course of action, but I’d love some recommendations.

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6 Comments

  1. The US doesn’t do the SIM card thing, so that’s not going to be a good way to get cheap rates in the US. You’ll probably need to acquire cheap pay as you go phones once you get here.

  2. I would tend to say buy two cheap phones here. Your problem will be that most phones come with extended service plans — not sure what to recommend about that. Problem is a lot of overseas phones don’t work in the US (and vice versa) due to our patchwork regulatory environment.

  3. Jay and Chance – Many thanks. Seems like that’s the way to go then. I’ll see if I can source a couple before we go. I think someone mentioned T-Net mobile as covering the East and West coasts pretty well.

  4. Just get a tri-band mobile phone here in Australia (most of them are these days) and it will work in the US. Then use it to text but not call (unless you have to) and it won’t be too expensive.

    My Ericsson T-something or other I’ve had for 2 or 3 years, on the Vodafone network, works fine in the US, the UK, Europe etc.

    If you use it for voice calls while global roaming however, it can get very expensive — about $2 a minute. Mind you this is still much, much cheaper than hotel rates.

  5. When you get to the states, go to Target and buy a VirginMobileUSA K10 phone for $20 and a $20 topup card. It only takes a few hours to have the phone activated, and you are not tied to any long term plan that you can’t get out of painlessly. If necessary you can buy more block time (by credit card or by buying more topup cards). Usage costs are 25 cents/minute for the first 10 minutes of each day, then 10 cents/minute after that. Text messages are 5 cents each.

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