need prepaid mobile phone in texas for SMSing
April 8, 2004 5:51 PM   Subscribe

Which prepaid mobile phone option?
I'll be in the US from this weekend until the start of June. I'll be travelling in all states west of Denver (inc. El Paso corner of Texas) plus NYC. I have a handset which isn't locked in to any provider and will work on the US GSM band.

I want to mainly send (& receive) SMS messages, receive calls, have voicemail & make the occasional out-going call. All mainly to make contact with folks rather than any heavy use.
posted by i_cola to Shopping (5 answers total)
T-Mobile's EasySpeak is likely your best bet. Unfortunately, the coverage is a bit anemic, but depending on where, exactly, you're going, that may not be a problem. EasySpeak is the only prepaid plan I know of that allows you to use it outside the region you purchase it in, as well. And T-Mobile's network is pure 1900MHz GSM, which I suspect is the only US band your phone supports (since you say it works on "the US GSM band", but there are two bands in the US that GSM is run on).
posted by zztzed at 6:24 PM on April 8, 2004

Response by poster: Ah, I have a tri-band phone so maybe it's both?
posted by i_cola at 9:49 PM on April 8, 2004

i_cola, your UK tri-band phone is most likely a 900/1800/1900, which means it works on the UK networks (900 and 1800) and on the most common US band (1900). Recently, a second band (850) has come into use in the US, which your phone won't cope with, but seeing as the US T-Mobile network is just 1900 you should be fine on that.
posted by chrismear at 4:15 AM on April 9, 2004

Note that it's the most common GSM band, which is not very common overall for US cell phones. So you won't have many options. Especially since most of the pre-paid phone service here involves buying that particular provider's phone.
posted by smackfu at 6:45 AM on April 9, 2004

GSM is terrible in the West.

I would suggest looking at Mountain Wireless, which is a cellular information aggregator for everything west of the Rockies. The main option that I see is buying an old Nokia 5165, either on EBay or otherwise, and then activating it on CallPlus. The AT&T coverage area is one of the best, especially in rural areas.

Fortunately I just happen to have a Nokia 5165 that I can sell to you, though. E-mail me for details.
posted by calwatch at 10:32 PM on April 9, 2004

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