I want to make a few voice calls during a trip to the US. These will be to US numbers. No mobile data, I’ll just use wifi.
With both convenience and cost in mind, should I just roam with my Taiwan Mobile plan, get a prepaid US SIM card, or pick up a cheap prepaid phone in the US? (I heard that it’s more common to get a phone with prepaid minutes than to just get a prepaid card.)
I go home a couple times a year. In the beginning, I tried minimizing the calls on my Chunghwa service, but still dropped a couple thousand NT each trip.
Finally, I got a Verizon prepaid plan that gives me unlimited calling for US$4/day on any day that I use it. No charges on days I don’t use it. You can pick up the prepaid phone for around US$20. Verizon and a score of other providers have a wide variety of prepaid plans, but the Verizon one works best for me. They may exist, but I didn’t notice any prepaid SIM cards that could be popped into any phone. Maybe it has to do with the US cell phone companies’ propensity to lock phones.
Best bet is to check with Taiwan Mobile and ask specifically their roaming rates for the US, then jump online and shop pre-paid plans in the US to compare. Estimate how many minutes you will use, then baddah bing, baddah boom, you’ll have your answer.
Most convenient just roam. Use Skype on your phone when on WiFi, roam when off WiFi. Did this with Taiwan Mobile on several week or longer trips back, and it was about 1000NT-1500NT each time. This included very sparingly-used-calling, mostly SMS, and bumping on data as needed when needing to look up things, but it still sucked not having data.
There is apparently now Simple Mobile, which solves a lot of our problems when travelling back. I haven’t used this yet, but it looks very compelling, even for short trips. $40 for unlimited talk and text for a month. $60 per month for unlimited data, phone, text, so $40-$60 per pop sounds great even for a week long trip. For people who don’t still have an active US SIM contract, not having to go around with a gimped-up, no-data smartphone is priceless. mysimplemobile.com/Simple-Mobile-Plan.aspx
Their site shows a bunch of retail locations as well to get the cards, since shipping might be a hassle for travelers.
Sure beats the old options of getting a prepaid SIM from from a T-Mobile store or mall kiosk or buying a prepaid phone from Walmart, activating the SIM, then throwing away or donating the phone and using the SIM in your phone. These are both a pain in the ass and end up with no data.
SimpleMobile sounds good… mostly mom and pop mobile shops sell it. SimpleMobile is a “virtual” mobile carrier (buy block minutes from the biggies), so signal strength should be good. What I don’t know is how much compression they use, and how throttled the data is. To stay profitable, they fit their traffic into the block minutes they buy.
As it stands anything is better that the lack of offerings in the States for international travelers with smartphones. I’ll definitely give this a shot next time I’m in the States. If anyone takes a shot with it before then, do please report back your experiences.
As it stands anything is better that the lack of offerings in the States for international travelers with smartphones. I’ll definitely give this a shot next time I’m in the States. If anyone takes a shot with it before then, do please report back your experiences.[/quote]
Sounds like I have my next business venture… I’ll just get another line complete with data on my US plan, and send the SIM to you guys as you need it, with a deposit of NT$500 and a charge of about N$500 a week to cover my costs…