USA ROAMING for FOREIGN
The guide for
travelers coming to the United States from a
- Your Phone Must Be Compatible with USA Networks
phone is most likely to be a GSM
model and there are several GSM
networks in the USA. You must make sure your phone uses the proper
frequency bands: 850 MHz and 1900 MHz. There are other frequency bands
used, but most of them are not available in foreign phones. Check your
phone's owner's manual for your operating frequencies. Your phone may
be "locked" to your home carrier. If so, your carrier may be able to
unlock it without having to go to the store. If not you may need a Travel Phone.
- Roaming on USA Networks with Your Current Plan
your phone is compatible, your plan needs to include roaming in the USA
and your account may need to be activated to operate internationally.
It may be able to operate but then you need to know the cost. Check
with your current carrier, especially for Data Roaming charges.
- You Can Purchase a SIM that Operates in the USA
purchase a Prepaid SIM
from a USA supplier, it will work throughout most of the country. SIM's
are available from the major GSM operators and many re-sellers. You may
be able to find a SIM
at a USA airport or you can Order
Them Online and have it ready to use when you arrive.
- Buying a Travel Phone for the USA
"Travel Phone" is one you acquire to use in one or more foreign
countries. In the USA, short-term mobile phones are normally "Prepaid"
and are available from all of the major
carriers and several prepaid-only
companies. You can choose the phone with the best price and
be assured that it will operate in most areas of the USA. In some cases
you need to activate your USA Travel Phone after you have arrived in
the United States. It would be helpful to know the postal code, or ZIP Code of the city where you
will base your travels. The carrier will assign a mobile number that is
"Local" to that postal code. As an example, the ZIP Code for New York
City is 10001, and Los Angeles is 90001.
- Where to Buy a Travel Phone
may find a store with a few phone models at major USA airports but
cellular phone stores are usually located at in-town shopping areas.
Prepaid phones can be found at pharmacies, grocery stores and discount
store such as Wal-Mart.
Can Shop for Phones Online.
AT&T uses GSM technology which is compatible with most foreign
wireless phones. The AT&T network covers most of the USA.
AT&T offers both phones without contracts and prepaid service
as GoPhone. They offer Talk, Text and Data services.
Sprint uses CDMA technology and covers a large part of urban areas in
the USA. They are the least popular network for travelers coming to the
USA because they have few advantages for nationwide use.
T-Mobile uses GSM
technology which is compatible with most foreign wireless phones. Their
network operates in most populated areas of the country.
Their prepaid phones are mostly limited to their own network which is
somewhat smaller than AT&T, primarily based on having less
coverage in rural areas. Buying a T-Mobile prepaid phone is a good
value for Talk, Text and Data services..
|| VERIZON WIRELESS:
Verizon Wireless has the
largest geographic coverage area of all US carriers and uses CDMA
technology. Their prepaid phones will not roam on to other networks and
rarely need to do so. Verizon offers the largest 4G LTE coverage of all
carriers. Overall, Verizon is the most expensive operator in the
country but does provide the widest and most reliable coverage for
Talk, Text and Data.
There is a large number of Prepaid-Only carriers in the USA and most of
them use one of the networks listed above. They offer phones and SIM's
but normally do not have retail stores of their own. Some may be
available in a kiosk, sales counter or vending machine in major USA
airports but are universally available online. We have reviewed the
most popular Prepaid-Only Carriers.
the Best Price:
T-Mobile Prepaid offers
the best value and reasonably priced Prepaid phones. They can also
provide a SIM for your own GSM phone.
the Best Coverage:
phones offer the best coverage and the most availability of high speed
(4G LTE) Data.
also offers mobile phones that work in most of the USA.
- For the Best SIM:
T-Mobile can send you a
SIM for little or no money. You can then choose from a wide variety of
plans for several levels of Talk, Text and Data for short or longer
periods of time.