Forum Thread

Pre paid internet access options for travelers in the US?

karazi 1,268 177 March 24, 2016 at 10:25 PM
Hello, my in-laws are from out of the country and they are finding international data to be very expensive when they are here in the States for about two separate weeks per year. They all use iPhones. Is there any kind of pre paid hot spot or sim card (so phone can be used as hot spot) they can get that they can use to make wifi calls and otherwise have internet access on the cheap while they are here? They once paid $2k in data fees because of one family member's accidental usage and I want to help prevent that from happening to them again in the future as well as give them a little more flexibility. Any other suggestions would be much appreciated too to help them with this issue. Thank you!

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#2
Where are they going to be located? That will help look at what carriers have coverage and are options. I know in my Midwest capitol city, TMobile is here but would be a terrible choice as they have no "data" to speak of and voice service is terrible at best.
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#3
Quote from LiquidRetro View Post :
Where are they going to be located? That will help look at what carriers have coverage and are options. I know in my Midwest capitol city, TMobile is here but would be a terrible choice as they have no "data" to speak of and voice service is terrible at best.
They are usually on the East coast, either in Florida or NY. Sometimes elsewhere so maybe I was naively hoping that geography wouldn't matter too much. But if I had to pick then the East coast. TMO is a little better over here but VZ and ATT are more popular. Thanks.
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#4
I think they should get a couple track phones and leave the iphones in the suitcases.

As far as internet access I cant help much except free internet access is nearly everywhere these days.
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#5
Quote from karazi View Post :
They are usually on the East coast, either in Florida or NY. Sometimes elsewhere so maybe I was naively hoping that geography wouldn't matter too much. But if I had to pick then the East coast. TMO is a little better over here but VZ and ATT are more popular. Thanks.
Do you know the specific model of iPhone? That will matter for network compatibility, although the iPhone is pretty good about getting a lot of bands in one phone. See http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/ for details.

T-Mobile is a decent option on the east coast. Seems like they want $10/week for data. There are a ton of other options, but you should narrow down which networks they can use before spending too much time researching prices.

The nice thing about prepaid is it's not much of an up front investment, so if it doesn't work out you can always just try something else.
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Last edited by quotidian March 25, 2016 at 08:38 AM
#6
Even with a hotspot they still have to remember to turn off cellular data on their phones. Airtime and sms would be expensive too.

A cheap prepaid phone or switching to a prepaid sim if their phones are unlocked probably makes more sense.
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#7
Maybe keep a cheap Gophone around so they can grab a $45.00 or $60.00 pin whenever they are in the US. 2 or 5 gbs of data with unlimited throttle and hotspot. Much cheaper then 2 grand!!!!Smilie
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#8
Get a N o k i a for offline maps (or a g a r m i n). Then use wifi.

If you want to turn on cellular data to check email when WiFi is not available, you might try the $10/90-day plan from h2o wireless.
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