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Author Topic: Making Phone Calls on a Mobile  (Read 4182 times)

brfcfan

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Making Phone Calls on a Mobile
« on: December 12, 2011, 10:09:01 AM »
Hi

Any Brits gone to the states with a mobile? How did you get cheaper calls and more importantly for me how did you purchase data for your phones so you access the internet when not in wifi areas? I have seen various products on ebay but I was wondering if I could do this when I got to the states.

I am in the states for 5 months.

Tom

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Re: Making Phone Calls on a Mobile
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2011, 10:21:23 AM »
You can buy a pay-as-you-go phone here and top it off almost anywhere across the US, although it may not be your cheapest option.

Alternatively, if you have a T-mobile phone, you might be able to do the reverse of what we did the last time we came to the UK; I went online and ordered a couple of free SIM cards from T-mobile in the UK and had them delivered to my son's home in the UK. Then we just took our US-bought T-mobile phones to the UK. (I actually had my son mail me one of the SIM cards so we had a phone to use when we stopped in Amsterdam).

Similarly, T-mobile offered free 'air cards' in a USB thumb drive format for internet access.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2011, 10:24:03 AM by Tom »
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seilerbird

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Re: Making Phone Calls on a Mobile
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2011, 10:23:56 AM »
As Tom said you can get a pay as you go phone. Tracfone offers phones for $10 and you can use them for as little as $8 per month.

woodentops

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Re: Making Phone Calls on a Mobile
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2012, 12:15:46 PM »
As a Brit I thought I would add our experience in case it helps.
As Tom said we found the best option for a phone was to buy the cheapest equivalent of our pay as you go. Mobiles work very differently in the US. Even with the pay as you go each package you buy includes so much credit and so many days service. Any unused credit will expire if not used or more service bought within the specified time. This shouldn't affect you too much though as you can buy a 6 months of service package for your 5 months trip. We bought a tracfone package off the shelf in Walmarts and the assistant set it up for us.
We never really have solved the wi-fi/data access issue.  On our last trip we discovered you can now buy the equivalent of a pay as you go data dongle but the initial usb bit of kit is quite expensive $60 upwards depending on which network you choose. You then purchase data packs which again expire after a certain time. All very complicated. Free wifi is available quite readily - McDonalds, Home Depot, various hotels and of course campgrounds. Hope this helps.

BruceinFL

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Re: Making Phone Calls on a Mobile
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2012, 04:05:40 PM »
You could also use Skype (free) or magicJack (low annual fee) to keep in touch with folks at home when you are connected to the internet. That's the way we keep in contact with relatives when they trael across the pond or to Central and South America.

I have a Verizon mobile hotspot for internet access but there are so many wifi hotspots (mostly free) that I rarely use it.
Bruce A.
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Elly Dalmaijer

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Re: Making Phone Calls on a Mobile
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2012, 09:19:05 PM »
We spent twice a year a couple of months in the USA and each time we buy a new Tracfone at Walmart. We look for one that gives us double minutes each time we recharge. I think we paid $29.99 for our last one. That gave us a mobile phone plus it automatically credits us with double the minutes. So if we buy 60 minutes we receive 120. This makes the cost about $0.10 per minute.
When buying a Pay-as-you-go phone you have to watch out that you actually can make international calls. This is NOT always the case! The Tracfone allows us to call to Canada (as well as Mexico) and by first dialing a 1.800 number we pay the same as for any call i.e. 10c per minute. We can also call overseas on it. It is very cheap to buy and cheap to use, of course you watch the minutes when calling international.
Actually when we call overseas we usually wait until we have an internet connection and then use Skype (we have a credit on there so we can also use Skype to call landlines or cell phones). We find the combination Tracfone/Skype perfect while traveling in the USA.
When you come from Europe it can come as a surprise that in North America you are charged for incoming calls as well as for the calls you make. Tell your relatives to keep it short and call back on Skype! Also note that you cannot really use a Tracfone IN or FROM Canada. In fact using a US phone in Canada and vv is VERY expensive, often costing $2.50 per minute!! So the cheapest solution is buying a similar prepaid package in Canada.
Result: we have a Canadian cell phone, a US Tracfone and a European mobile which will work in the whole rest of the world simply buy putting a local SIM card in it.

Of course if you have a QUADBAND mobile phone in Europe, you can just buy a SIM card here with a prepaid plan..... But you may find the Tracfone a cheaper solution.

Elly
Either at home in St Albert AB or working in Africa or in our 1993 Itasca Sunrise.

Re: Making Phone Calls on a Mobile
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2012, 01:02:07 AM »
OMGoodness!! Im so confused. Am coming from Australia, any tips for us? I have an iPhone 4S which I planned to get a SIM for on arrival, but told this may not be possible now, micro-sims hard to come by? We have an iPad with Skype, which apparently works best with wifi when you can get it. Also, is there any way to contact the outside world from Yellowstone and Glacier Park areas?

Marc L

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Re: Making Phone Calls on a Mobile
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2012, 06:15:54 AM »
OMGoodness!! Im so confused. Am coming from Australia, any tips for us? I have an iPhone 4S which I planned to get a SIM for on arrival, but told this may not be possible now, micro-sims hard to come by? We have an iPad with Skype, which apparently works best with wifi when you can get it. Also, is there any way to contact the outside world from Yellowstone and Glacier Park areas?
You can also use Skype on your iPhone, but would also need Wifi in order to be free.  If you use a data plan, it will cost you.

I am not familiar with these 2 parks, some parks do have wifi, some only near the office.  Others that have stayed there might chime in.
Marc...

Elly Dalmaijer

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Re: Making Phone Calls on a Mobile
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2012, 07:17:07 PM »
When visiting the National Parks in  the west you have to have the mindset that you are there to enjoy spectacular scenery and that often means that there are no cell phone towers and/or wifi. Yellowstone is a very large park and there is probably is a hotel with a wifi signal, but Glacier has a lot of wilderness. OTOH Glacier is also not very large and you'd be only without wifi for a few days.
The scenery out west will make you forget "home" for those few days... Just enjoy!

Elly
Either at home in St Albert AB or working in Africa or in our 1993 Itasca Sunrise.

SeilerBird

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Re: Making Phone Calls on a Mobile
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2012, 08:14:50 PM »
OMGoodness!! Im so confused. Am coming from Australia, any tips for us? I have an iPhone 4S which I planned to get a SIM for on arrival, but told this may not be possible now, micro-sims hard to come by? We have an iPad with Skype, which apparently works best with wifi when you can get it. Also, is there any way to contact the outside world from Yellowstone and Glacier Park areas?
The last time I was in Yellowstone wifi and cell phones were useless most places I went. Things might have improved a bit but I doubt it. Yellowstone is 2.2 million acres of wilderness. You will have much better luck at Glacier since the town of West Glacier is right at the entrance. I had both cell and Internet service last time I was there.

The very best way to access the Internet while on the road is a Verizon Air Card. But that takes a two year commitment with a healthy fee for early withdrawal.
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Jim Godward

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Re: Making Phone Calls on a Mobile
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2012, 09:50:26 PM »
If They have a Iphone, there is a good probabillity that they can get service with one of the carriers.  In my case the addtion of a data/tethering is only about an additional $20/month above the normal phone billing.  Check with the major US carriers and see what they can/will do for you.
Jim
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Re: Making Phone Calls on a Mobile
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2012, 10:27:47 AM »
Thanks for the information, will keep it in mind. Re: forgetting home when in the National Parks, yes I will gladly be forgetting home for the entire trip but we have an investment property settlement going thru (back in Australia) while we are in the wilderness and it may be necessary for our bank to contact us if there's an issue, hopefully not...! Cheers

 

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