Travelling to the USA, but struggling to find a simple short-term SIM card solution? Ready SIM hopes it's got the answer.
A new prepaid phone service has launched to serve the needs of short-term travellers to the USA. Ready SIM is backed by Roam Mobility, a T-Mobile network operator, and offers a simple range of prepaid weekly, fortnightly or monthly plans. Plans can be either talk and text, or talk, text and data.
Talk+Text starts from three days for US$15, or up to 30 days for US$40. Talk+Text+Data starts from seven days for US$25, 14 days for $US$35 or 30 days for US$55. The data plans carry 500MB, 1GB and 2GB of data respectively.
The plans also include attractive extras, such as unlimited international SMS, and the data plans include 4G data and do not restrict data tethering.
The SIM only remains active for the life of the specific plan you order, so numbers are recycled quickly in the system. Next time you want to use Ready SIM, you will need a new SIM card.
Currently, Ready SIM only offers classic sized SIM cards at this stage. No micro and nano-SIM options, so you'll need to carry an older smartphone, or work on your SIM cutting skills to work with newer handsets.
One more hiccup in the otherwise simple offering is a warning from November 2012 that network upgrades were underway to bring HSPA+/3G service to areas where 4G was unavailable, or to devices without 4G connectivity. Such areas would deliver "Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution" (EDGE) speeds, which is far from the wireless broadband pace we're all now so used to. The site indicates that this work should have been complete by the end of 2012, but this information has not been updated to suggest all work is definitely complete.
Having launched in November 2012, the cards are only available online via Amazon, but will not ship to Australia. Planning ahead to have a SIM sent to your hotel, colleague or friend would be the best way to pre-prepare a Ready SIM for your arrival.
UPDATE (20/3/13): Ready SIM has informed CNET Australia that shipping to Australia is up and running.
As an alternative for pure data purposes, regular travellers might want to check out the Wi-Fi hotspot company Globalgig. It offers hotspot prepaid data plans (from $25 per month for 1GB), no ongoing contracts and lets you roam between the USA, the UK and Australia, with other countries coming online soon, including Hong King, Ireland, Sweden and Denmark.