Prepaid SIM cards in NY
March 28, 2012 1:55 PM   Subscribe

Prepaid smartphone SIMs? My wife and I are visiting NYC for 10 days, need to be connected, and don't want to use our European roaming plans (been there, paid through the nose.) Can you recommend SIM cards for our unlocked Android phones that will work for a few phone calls and a bunch of data?

I tried to google this but it's a nightmare of shady offers, UK-only deals, and so forth. Our German O2 data plan charges lots of Euros per call and MB and is not an option. I imagine we won't make a ton of phone calls but send a bunch of text messages every day and want to be able to tweet, receive emails, and so forth.

Thanks much!
posted by muckster to Technology (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If your android device is compatible with the tmobile spectrum, you can get unlimited data and voice for $3/day. But most gsm devices can only use tmobile at 2g "Edge" speeds.

If you can't use tmobile, I'd try red pocket mobile, it works through AT&T frequencies. Jolt mobile would be another decent choice, another AT&T reseller. A bonus with the AT&T options is that they auto connect with AT&T hotspots for free wifi, and there are quite a few around NYC.
posted by skewed at 2:11 PM on March 28, 2012

There is an international wiki for prepaid sims with data - here is the USA page.

IIRC, not all US phone companies even use sim cards, so your options may be fewer than your European experience would lead you to expect.
posted by Cheese Monster at 2:14 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

USA page link.
posted by raihan_ at 2:34 PM on March 28, 2012

Presumably you need a GSM service; the only big GSM carrier options are AT&T and T-Mobile. Both are viable options: AT&T is a much bigger company but their network in NYC is heavily overloaded and unreliable. (Verizon and Sprint both use alternate cell technologies.) Also be sure your phone does 850MHz and 1900MHz the US uses (as opposed to the standard 900/1800).

Here's a fixed version of Cheese Monster's link. You shouldn't have much trouble walking into an AT&T or T-Mobile shop in New York and buying what you need, although prepaid is not a terribly common option in the US.
posted by Nelson at 2:35 PM on March 28, 2012

T-mobile is the best price (@ $2/day for unlimited everything). The SIM card is $2.

Another option is Straight talk, they have prepaid unlimited everything but it is by the month. ($45 + tax). I use them and the data speeds are good. They offer SIM cards for both 3G frequencies.
posted by wongcorgi at 2:38 PM on March 28, 2012

Oh wow, thanks for all the help, I'll dig in. FWIW, we have T-Mobile G2s that we bought in the US and had unlocked when we moved to Europe.
posted by muckster at 2:50 PM on March 28, 2012

OK, looks like T-Mobile is the way to go. I also found Boost, which has a $2/day unlimited everything plan, but I'm not sure how fast it is. Thanks again.
posted by muckster at 2:57 PM on March 28, 2012

Boost is a Sprint MVNO so unfortunately you won't be able to use your phones with them.
posted by wongcorgi at 3:54 PM on March 28, 2012

Oops, not sure what went wrong with the links as both work fine for me, but I'm posting from a mobile browser so that has sometimes created weird issues in the past.
posted by Cheese Monster at 4:54 PM on March 28, 2012

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