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May 13, 2012 6:43 PM   Subscribe

iPhone 4S / Still (Again) in Hollywood Filter: Are there any Pay-As-You-Go type data plans with SIM cards for an unlocked 4s user in the USA?

I didn't expect to be back in the USA for a couple more years, but an unexpected fun opportunity has come up to be in LA for a month, so I'm flying again. I already gave my ATT-model iPhone 3G away late last year. Oops.

So I'd like to take and use my regular (carrier unlocked but not jail-broken) US-model iPhone 4S while there. I have no plan or account in the country anymore. I refuse to even consider the roaming charges from my African/Asian carrier, because I know they're in the $1000's.

I realize anyone who will sell a micro-SIM will work for voice, but what's the latest on one-month data plans with a SIM card? Are there options?
posted by rokusan to Technology (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
T-mobile has some good monthly plans (with no contract -you can sign up for just one month). See: http://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/monthly-4g-plans . They also have some daily plans, though the monthly plans may be better for you if you are there for the month...
posted by ManInSuit at 6:52 PM on May 13, 2012

(Ah - others can correct me, but I think on T-mobile, you will still only get EDGE speeds on your iPhone. I had thought that problem was fixed, but I may be wrong. If that's the case, you may want to look into another carrier, if data speed is important to you....)
posted by ManInSuit at 6:54 PM on May 13, 2012

Best answer: Do you need data-only or data plus voice?

Well, there's Straight Talk. The micro SIM is $14.99 and one month of "unlimited" (probably 2-5GBs based on what I've seen, maybe more) data and voice is $45/month, on AT&T's network. I've never used them, but I have investigated monthly plans to replace my current set up and it's been mostly positive online (with some very scathing reviews, so who knows).

As for T-Mobile, everything I've seen says that that the US AT&T iPhone 4S will only work on EDGE on T-Mobile--unless T-Mobile has switched their "4G" coverage over to the 1900MHz (aka PCS) bands (which the iPhone 4S also supports); which, based on a quick Google, looks unknown/unlikely to be coming to the LA area. So be aware of that.
posted by skynxnex at 7:00 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also: previously, and previously.
posted by ManInSuit at 7:04 PM on May 13, 2012

My recommendation of T-mobile was based on what I'd learned the last time I looked into this, which was a year or two ago. At the time, I don't think Straight Talk existed. Straight talk looks like a better deal, especially if data speed is important to you.
posted by ManInSuit at 7:07 PM on May 13, 2012

Jolt mobile or myredpocket are AT&T resellers, you can get decent monthly Data plans with them and speeds will be almost the same as with AT&T. T-Mobile or my simple mobile will work for voice and data, but the data it will be very slow.
posted by skewed at 7:15 PM on May 13, 2012

skynxnex: "Do you need data-only or data plus voice?"

This is important. If you need data only, you could order an iPad micro sim and use it in your iPhone. They should be interchangeable, or at least were at one point

From ATT:
Domestic Data Plans for iPad:
Recurring monthly charge with no long term contract
$14.99 per month for 250 MB
$25 per month for 2 GB
Unlimited access – no added cost – to AT&T’s 20,000+ Wi-Fi Hot Spots

How do I manage my 3G plan for iPad? Can I turn service off or change my plan?
Once you sign up for iPad 3G data service, you can add to or cancel your domestic plan at any time – no penalty.
Not sure how old this is, because it looks like data plans on the new iPad (utilizing 4G) are $14.99 and $30. If you need voice also, you might check Skype or Google Voice to use only data
posted by I am the Walrus at 5:59 AM on May 14, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks, all. I somehow missed that previous question about Straight Talk.

I talked to a rep, and they don't ship overseas, so I can't get a SIM in advance, but I can pick up a SIM card at retail (Wal-Mart!) when I land.

The rep confirmed it would "just work" in an unlocked iPhone 4s, by using AT&T's network for both voice and 3G data, if anyone else is reading this answer later. It provides a local phone number and data plans as described on their website. Sounds like the answer.
posted by rokusan at 10:32 PM on May 15, 2012

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