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View Full Version : Travelling overseas with an iPhone - recommended prepaid providers



scruffie
10th January 2009, 08:23 AM
I know there are a couple of threads about this but I thought I'd start another one. Hopefully the more everyone travels the more everyone shares abd the more extensive the list of recommended providers will become :)

Netherlands

Just bought a vodafone prepaid kit in Amsterdam. Costs 7.50 and comes with 5 credit. If you register your details online you'd get a bonus 5 (total 10).
Vodafone has an "unlimited" internet pack for 9.50.
Apn:live.vodafone.com
User:vodafone
Pass:vodafone
Works really well! I can go bar / coffee shop hopping!!!

battye
10th January 2009, 11:13 AM
USA

Can't be done with an iPhone.

ciprol
11th January 2009, 09:47 PM
USA
Can't be done with an iPhone.
Huh? How about T-Mobile? I've used their prepaid service without problems.

battye
14th January 2009, 03:26 PM
Huh? How about T-Mobile? I've used their prepaid service without problems.

Including data? When I went into a T-Mobile store, they said it couldn't be done. AT&T also tried - they even created a fake SIM to try it, but it wouldn't work.

I'm sure you could get a SIM for text and voice though.

happyfrappy
14th January 2009, 04:10 PM
at&t corp stores often have staff who don't know what they're doing with GoPhone accounts that use unlocked phones, you need to manually input the WAP APN and other settings. Locally I see many overseas students using iPhone 3G and various European telco branded smartphones. Keep in mind at&t killed off the GoPhone $20 unlimited data plan and 5mb media net won't be enough data for an iPhone.

FlexPay(prepaid) with T-Mobile USA allows getting a regular phone data plan with a monthly voice plan without signing a contract. The only tweak an iPhone user may need to do is: use the proxy hack where you try accessing streaming media with a non-standard port or you use the less restricted APN: epc.t-mobile.com
T-Mobile recently capped phone data plans two months after the G1, it sucks if you're a Google Maps or YouTube addict.

Regular T-Mobile prepaid is the walled in garden of unlimited CNN, ESPN, ABC News, etc.

MackingmyMac
10th April 2009, 07:30 PM
Hi all,

sorry if this leads to people repeating themselves but I'm off to the States later in the year. I want to take my unlocked iphone (virgin mobile) with me to make/receive calls & sms and to use the net and all it's apps glory! Can someone who has done this or is clued in let me know what I have to do and is it feasible?

Cheers!

battye
11th April 2009, 06:42 PM
Hi all,

sorry if this leads to people repeating themselves but I'm off to the States later in the year. I want to take my unlocked iphone (virgin mobile) with me to make/receive calls & sms and to use the net and all it's apps glory! Can someone who has done this or is clued in let me know what I have to do and is it feasible?

Cheers!

There is a bit of info in the other thread (http://forums.mactalk.com.au/31/54540-prepaid-sim-data-usa-2.html). But unless things have changed in the last few months, you can't use prepaid data. Both T-Mobile and AT&T couldn't do it when I went into their stores and asked them. AT&T (good service) even tried creating a fake SIM/account to use, and no luck.

Unsecured Wi-Fi from peoples apartments/small businesses is readily available if you need to quickly do a Google search or Maps search on the go, and Starbucks offer Wi-Fi for a one-off $5 fee on their Starbucks card (I linked to an article I wrote about my experiences in America in the thread I gave above) - this is probably the best option.

Ideally they would have some sort of data package for prepaid, but as far as mobile networks go I reckon the USA is quite a long way behind Australia.

godboyfrost
12th April 2009, 09:51 PM
would love to know about thailand

huntjd
12th April 2009, 10:44 PM
off topic, but godboyfrost, do you know what is happening there right now (http://www.theage.com.au/world/thai-pm-declares-state-of-emergency-to-curb-unrest-20090412-a41u.html)?

Trabb
12th April 2009, 11:52 PM
In the UK the best pre-paid deal (or pay as you go, as they say over here) is with O2. None of the other carriers really give good rates for data. The rates I am on give me 100 free international minutes if I top up 15 or 200 if I top up 20. Data is 7.50 a month and is unlimited and also includes free wifi at all of O2's hotspots (which is quite a lot).

The only thing though is that you should not tell them you have an iPhone. They don't understand the idea of being able to legitimately unlock them in Australia and if you say you are using it in an iPhone then they won't sell it to you. Just say you want a 3G pay as you go sim card, and tell them what rate plan you want to go on.

Apn: payandgo.o2.co.uk
User: vertigo
Pass: password

The data is pretty quick too, and coverage has been great from what I have experienced.

dekco
13th April 2009, 12:48 AM
off topic, but godboyfrost, do you know what is happening there right now (http://www.theage.com.au/world/thai-pm-declares-state-of-emergency-to-curb-unrest-20090412-a41u.html)?
while the news can paint a negative image of the situation right now, believe it or not, life still goes on as usual. i remember being in bali in the aftermath of the bombings (2002), and to be honest, i felt as if i was in my own backyard, there was nothing to be scared of.

sometimes its the psychological mindset that makes the situation worse then what it is.

kogi
13th April 2009, 10:30 PM
Anything for Hong Kong and China?

MackingmyMac
14th April 2009, 05:41 PM
Thanks for the info Battye. AT&T will be first port of call!

scruffie
14th April 2009, 06:20 PM
Anything for Hong Kong and China?

With Honkers, I've used Three prepaid kits.
They have heaps of different types of prepaid kits, but the best one to look for is the "HSDPA Broadband Access Rechargeable Sim"
Costs HKD28 per day unlimited.

three.com.hk 3G ?? (http://www.three.com.hk/website/appmanager/three/home?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=P200470391219567710594&lang=eng&pageid=615001)

battye
14th April 2009, 07:29 PM
No worries MackingmyMac.


In the UK the best pre-paid deal (or pay as you go, as they say over here) is with O2. None of the other carriers really give good rates for data. The rates I am on give me 100 free international minutes if I top up 15 or 200 if I top up 20. Data is 7.50 a month and is unlimited and also includes free wifi at all of O2's hotspots (which is quite a lot).

The only thing though is that you should not tell them you have an iPhone. They don't understand the idea of being able to legitimately unlock them in Australia and if you say you are using it in an iPhone then they won't sell it to you. Just say you want a 3G pay as you go sim card, and tell them what rate plan you want to go on.

Apn: payandgo.o2.co.uk
User: vertigo
Pass: password

The data is pretty quick too, and coverage has been great from what I have experienced.

Thanks, I have been interested in England's prepaid deals myself. I will keep a note of this post.

af3556
15th April 2009, 02:21 PM
I'm currently in California. In the US there are a number of 3G providers, including Virgin, but you'll possibly face difficulty in simple terminology: it is very uncommon in the US to have an unlocked phone, and even the fact that you might want a SIM without a phone is unusual (prepare for quizzical looks from sales people :-). I think the US market is very new to prepaid, there are not nearly as many options as AU.

I've had some good experiences, particularly with a bloke on the phone at AT&T (their GoPhone prepaid product). I was careful to say I had a 3G phone and I wanted voice and Internet, as others have noted you'll just confuse people if you let on you have an iPhone. He explained it's entirely doable, but that I'd have to go into a shop and explicitly ask for a SIM-only product, $US25 with no initial credit (!). Then add voice credit (min $10), and a data option at $20/month for 100 MB. Oh, and in one shop I found the bloke didn't understand what I meant by "data", I had to say web browsing / Internet.

Anyway, I have direct quotes from people using 3G phones on TMobile and AT&T and they apparently both have good coverage in most of California at least. Problem is, they're expensive on prepaid.

In short, they're all fair to good coverage in major centres, and for light use AT&T's GoPhone is currently the best value (not saying much).

wolfie
15th April 2009, 06:11 PM
can i use a telstra prepaid card here and go on roaming data and calls when in the US?

Trabb
15th April 2009, 06:14 PM
Generally you can only use roaming when on a contract and not on pre paid. Not sure about Telstra, but I assume they would be the same.

battye
17th April 2009, 04:36 PM
Telstra prepaid should work overseas, it has for me in the past (in Singapore) so I see no reason why it wouldn't work in the USA.

I was only using a cheap phone for calls/SMS - so I can't comment first hand on data. I have heard that it works though.

opilot87
24th April 2009, 01:32 AM
Im off to New Zealand in July, any ideas of the best way to go to use my iphone their, and how I can use data on prepaid? Would love to be able to use my iphone their, and not pay ridiculous roaming price. I am on contract with Optus so the phone can be unlocked.

Cheers,
Oli

af3556
4th May 2009, 06:04 PM
Given the propensity for every little cafe around here (Bay Area, California) to offer "free wifi", I was quite surprised to find no obvious SSID at my closest Starbucks. On asking, I found that you need to have a "Starbucks card (https://www.starbucks.com/card/default.asp)", which seems to be a prepaid coffee card. i.e. you need to fork out $US15 minimum for a card, then you can use that card to get up to two hours access.

What a pain in the bum.

Who'd have though Maccas and Telstra would ever win over Starbucks and AT&T when it comes to the better customer experience.

battye
5th May 2009, 12:26 AM
Given the propensity for every little cafe around here (Bay Area, California) to offer "free wifi", I was quite surprised to find no obvious SSID at my closest Starbucks. On asking, I found that you need to have a "Starbucks card (https://www.starbucks.com/card/default.asp)", which seems to be a prepaid coffee card. i.e. you need to fork out $US15 minimum for a card, then you can use that card to get up to two hours access.

What a pain in the bum.

Who'd have though Maccas and Telstra would ever win over Starbucks and AT&T when it comes to the better customer experience.

When I was in the US in December the cheapest Starbucks card was $5. Maybe that particular Starbucks had run out of $5 cards?

Anyway, I think you can actually put that money (from the card) towards buying a coffee or another product - so if you go to Starbucks even occasionally it's a really good system they have in place. Even though they say you can only use it for 2 hours per day at one outlet, I was able to use it across several stores in one day. And given that Starbucks are everywhere it works really well.

macrich
5th May 2009, 06:38 AM
In New Zealand Vodafone is currently their only provider with Sims. Telecom will be coming out with their new XT network in about two weeks though. I'm going over in December and will be buying a prepaid Telecom sim as they have better coverage, faster data and cheaper overall rates then vodafone.

teknostar
5th May 2009, 10:39 AM
USA was no problems for me with T Mobile, i had no issues at all

used google maps to navigate across SW USA

1 month of unlimited data and 300 mins of calls for about USD $80 all up including sim card

Goodbye
5th May 2009, 10:56 AM
Any info about Europe? I'll be spending time in Spain, Sweden and France later in the year, and having cheap mobile access would be an advantage. Data is not necessary.

dekco
5th May 2009, 11:11 AM
When i am in Singapore, i use starhub/M1.

Otherwise in China, i use China Mobile. Does the job and seriously, for the time we are there, the cost isnt enough to justify time wasted.

OziMac
5th May 2009, 09:43 PM
For the record, I have used both T-Mobile and AT&T prepaid in the US, and they both work fine.

I found T-Mobile not to be particularly great value for money - they supposedly charge in minutes, but I found my credit running out much sooner than it should have. Also, I had no 3G with them.

Surprisingly, I found AT&T much better - particularly their 3G coverage which was really good in LA and NYC. Also, contrary to what seems to have been suggested above, 3G data is absolutely available - on GoPhone, you are charged $0.01/kB or can purchase 1MB for $5 or 100MB for $20 (with 30 day expiry).

The process of getting the SIM is really easy - just go to a T-Mobile or AT&T store and ask to purchase a prepaid SIM or GoPhone, respectively. Usually they are available in $15, $25, $50 increments and can be recharged easily. For prepaid data with AT&T you may have to call a number to add the data pack, but they give you all the details.

remigi
8th May 2009, 05:04 PM
i was just in the states and had my aussi iphone (telstra unlocked) with me and it worked fine.. got a great deal with T-mobile with data and no contract... just look at my past threads. problem solved. I was all over the country in the cities i had T-mobile and in the country regional areas i automatically got AT&T for free without charge... similar to the (three and telstra roaming) deal.

iCantwait
9th May 2009, 03:05 PM
i know while roaming in the us (on optus sim) i chode t-mobile as my roaming carrier and my iPhone kept resetting every 10mins or so, changed to att and all was merry :P, and i got the starbucks feature in the music store :P

iSilver
16th May 2009, 12:06 AM
Anybody got any tips for traveling in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand with an iPhone, will I have to get a sim card in each country? any recommendations on companies would be good too, thanks.

wholikespotatoes
2nd June 2009, 10:48 PM
Any suggestions for an overall European prepaid provider?
I had hoped for data but that seems to be too expensive.

Cheers guys.

Goodbye
2nd June 2009, 10:54 PM
Yes, Europe please! EVERYONE has an opinion about the US, but what about Europe? :(

tuffy
11th June 2009, 09:26 AM
Hi
Help please from those that have used At&t in US with Iphone.

Im looking at buying unactivated sim from ebay, you can activate these on at&t's website, can you add the data plan and calling plan online at time of activation would like to get all setup so i can just turn on when i get to LA.

fompsweeva
20th June 2009, 07:33 PM
Gizmodo - AT&T to Prepaid iPhone Owners: F*&k You Very Much Pay-As-You-Go Plans Were Never Approved for iPhone - iPhone OS 3.0 (http://gizmodo.com/5291738/att-to-prepaid-iphone-owners-fk-you-very-much-pay+as+you+go-plans-were-never-approved-for-iphone)

will
20th June 2009, 07:44 PM
I am going to Hong Kong - am with Optarse here - any suggestons for there?

scruffie
21st June 2009, 07:44 AM
Europe - depends where you are going and how long you plan to spend there. For places where i plan to be pretty close to wi-fi, going with mates (where they can be navigator), and for short travels - i'd just rely on my o2 uk payg sim for light data use. Careful though, european data roaming is still pretty expensive.

Will: three.com.hk 3G ?? (http://www.three.com.hk/website/appmanager/three/home?_nfpb=true&pageid=615002&_pageLabel=P200470391219567710594&lang=eng)
Make sure you get the right one! They also offer roaming! I found it cheaper to roam in Japan with a 3 HK prepaid card as opposed to an optus postpaid.

eaglesteve2
23rd June 2009, 01:35 PM
In Malaysia, you can get month by month plan with data without tied up to contract. The problem is that there you can't send out your email. Only three email providers are supported which is very strange there. You can receive though. Webmail is no problem.

In SIngapore, you must sign up to contract, but you can always use free island wide (well, not exactly everywhere but u know what I mean) WIFI for internet, email, etc.

wholikespotatoes
1st July 2009, 04:47 PM
For the record I have ended up using these guys during my contiki tour around mainland europe. No data and it's a callback service but meh.

ekit, Home (http://www.yha-au.ekit.com/ekit/home/)

damain
1st July 2009, 09:05 PM
hi,
ok, i have a question - i have searched for the answer (i'm sure it's somewhere) but i can't find it, comes up with a million other things - so if someone could help me out, or point me in the right direction, i would very much appreciate it.
If I bought an iPhone in Australia (outright, unlocked etc.) - would I be able to use it in USA/Canada? - and vice-versa (if I bought it in USA/Canada and bought it to Aus - which i'm sure will have the same answer).
I don't mean international roaming - I mean buying it here, going overseas and signing up with a US/Canadian phone company (most likely pre-paid).
Thanks.