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roadtrip time. I have an unlocked iphone and need a prepaid sim card. which one should I choose?
May 8, 2012 1:32 PM   Subscribe

roadtrip time. I have an unlocked iphone and need a prepaid sim card. which one should I choose?

I'm coming over from europe with my gsm (not verizons cd...whatever standard) iphone 4s and I would like to use it for the three weeks to check emails, use google maps, download podcasts - in essence pull data as I am driving from nyc to chicago to new orleans and back to nyc. minutes aren't really important. which prepaid sim card should I choose that won't immediately run out of included data allowance or slow me down? I'd prefer 3g over edge and given that I am driving long distances network coverage is kind of important, too.
posted by krautland to Technology (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
There are pretty much only 2 choices if you want data.

T-mo $30 for 100 minutes and unlimited data, text.
Straight Talk Sim $50 for unlimited everything.

Those rates + whatever the sim card costs.

The only problem I see is that the iPhone uses a microsim.
posted by wongcorgi at 2:18 PM on May 8, 2012


Nevermind, Straight Talk Sim offers a microsim.
posted by wongcorgi at 2:19 PM on May 8, 2012


Another issue is that the 3G frequencies that T-Mobile uses are different than the 3G frequencies supported by the iPhone. I think Straight Talk uses AT&T's network, so if you want fast data speeds, you should go with Straight Talk.
posted by strangecargo at 3:38 PM on May 8, 2012


You can cut down a SIM to Micro-SIM size with a knife or the like.

Since T-Mobile operates 3G/'4G" on the AWS bands, and the iPhone is not compatible with these bands, you will be unable to get high-speed internet with T-Mobile. That won't be a problem for maps or email but will be for podcasts. T-Mobile also offers inferior coverage in rural areas, and it's somewhat unclear how much roaming access you get on a prepaid account.

So you probably want a SIM that gets you onto the AT&T network.

Here's a guide to US prepaid operators targeted toward Galaxy Nexus owners. That phone does work with T-mobile, but the list of AT&T MVNOs will be useful.

As noted above, Straight Talk is probably your best bet, as it offers the most data & best roaming options for a reasonable price.
posted by akgerber at 4:57 PM on May 8, 2012


I think last time I had t-mobile in the US (way before the iPhone) it switched over to AT&T roaming whenever I couldn't get a t-mobile cell tower. I wonder if that has changed. EDGE is a good point though. it's slow as hell and makes straight talk much more appealing. I will look into them next to see what the data allowance is. thank you!
posted by krautland at 2:23 AM on May 9, 2012


You can cut down a SIM to Micro-SIM size with a knife or the like.

I bought an inexpensive cutter from Amazon (mine was £5, about $8) which also came with 5 trays to convert a micro-SIM back to a full size SIM.

Worked like a charm and meant I could avoid going for the (slightly more expensive but with nothing extra) iPhone tariff.
posted by mr_silver at 5:17 AM on May 9, 2012


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