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Best prepaid sim card for bay area?

by vitalcoaching / September 17, 2008 11:11 PM PDT


I am in Europe right now and plan to travel to the US/california.

I have an unlocked nokia cell phone and wonder what is the best prepaid sim card to get?

Will my european cell phone work in the US?

Where to buy my sim card?

I'll be staying mainly in San Francisco - In the US for about 3 months alltogether



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Try T-Mobile pre-paid
by Pepe7 / September 18, 2008 1:23 AM PDT

Sounds like a fun trip ;).

Your (Euro) handset must have the 1900 frequency band to work with T-Mobile pre-paid in the U.S. if that's the provider you choose. I find their retail stores a little easier to deal with when I have a foreign visitor wanting pre-paid GSM service, but YMMV. Also, if you end up going off the beaten path during your stay you might also need the 850 band for roaming. AFAIK around San Francisco it's 1900. There's a coverage map here-

If your phone's quad-band you won't have to worry, obviously. I would check out gsmarena or for the actual specs of your handset to at least figure out if it will work at all on this side of the pond. If not you can always pick up one before you leave instead of being stuck with a perhaps less desireable U.S. model that won't necessarily work back home. Where else will you be travelling in the U.S. and will you need phone service there as well?


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Looks like it's not a match with the network frequencies you
by vitalcoaching / September 18, 2008 2:03 AM PDT
In reply to: Try T-Mobile pre-paid

thanks Pedro -

my phone is a Nokia 1600.

I found out in the specifications for this model that:

"The wireless device described in this guide is approved for use
on the EGSM 900 and GSM 1800 networks"

Looks like it's not a match with the network frequencies you describe.

I have no clear idea how this works Wink does it mean that my phone won't work in the US? Or is there still a possibility?

What do you think?

Thank you

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PS: I see phones starting at $20 already with T mobile
by vitalcoaching / September 18, 2008 2:15 AM PDT
In reply to: Try T-Mobile pre-paid

This means that i don't really need to use my phone - I can easily get one with a new sim card for that price...

if the european network frequencies don't match the US ones, getting a cheap new phone + sim card over there sounds the easiste choice...

Anyone else?

Would you go with the t-mobile choice or do you prefer another provider?


I might go up northern california, LA, ohio, maybe new york, what provider gives me the best coverage?

Thanks! Appreciated!

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by Pepe7 / September 18, 2008 2:53 AM PDT

Nope, to answer your previous reply, your current handset is not compatible with our GSM networks.

If you are near major interstate highways and urban centers, T-Mobile should work fine. ATT might fill in a few gaps for you otherwise, but YMMV. Every carrier here has their various spots w/o coverage that aren't always predictable. T-Mo handsets now all include 850/1900, with some including additional bands for use overseas. I believe they have a pre-paid kit w/ a quad-band Motorola (v195?) which could be unlocked to work back home if you wanted a spare GSM mobile.

have fun,

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by vitalcoaching / September 18, 2008 9:53 PM PDT
In reply to: OK

I'll remember that Wink - take care

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