Cheapskates way of saving money on Mobile calls in the USA.
Lets face it, most of us are married to mobile phones (what, luddite in the corner – you aren’t… oh go and look at some airplane p0rn instead). Unfortunately the moment you step out of the realms of the European Union (or European Economic Area) prices skyrocket.
Lets take a simple 1 minute call home from LGA to the dark murky depths of Essex
“Home” Operators – the big UK 5 (T-Mobile UK, Vodafone UK,Orange UK, O2-UK, 3-UK
|O2 Pay Monthly||£1.03||£1.37|
|Orange UK Pay Monthly||£0.70||£1.10|
|Vodafone Pay Monthly||£0.99||£1.25|
|TMobile Pay Monthly||£0.55||£0.55|
|3 Pay Monthly||£0.90||£1.40|
Notes: Rates are consumer rates, published on their company web sites. Business
rates probably and do vary. Virgin, TalkMobile, TescoMobile and a peflora of
other providers ignored as I have a life.
There are dedicated “Travel SIMS” too. Again, based on that one minute phone call…
|Story Telecom||I don’t know. The site was crashing on me||🙁|
As it can be seen… there can only be one word to describe the costs of keeping in contact with our nearest and dearest. CON!
So dear reader – how can we beat those people? Providing you have an unlocked Quad Band phone (or even Triple Band), life becomes a lot simpler (or if you’re REALLY lazy, pick up a phone when you get there – but more on that in a bit).
The Two “Big” Networks as far as we’re concerned are T-Mobile USA and AT&T; Mobility (again there are MVNO’s, but we’re not interested in them in this article). You might see Verizon and Sprint -we’re not concerned about them as they run on CDMA (and it’s peculiarities of
not having SIM cards)
The process is
- Buy a SIM Card (either in the UK or in the USA)
- Register it (Know your hotel address and zip code by heart – do it onlinto avoid talking to a person)
- Top Credit Up
As usual, check the coverage maps of the two providers (AT&T; and T-Mobile) to see which suits you best.
If you have a Quad Band Phones, I’d suggest AT&T; (AT&T; PAYG runs on 850) over T-Mobile. For Tri-Band phones, T-Mobile runs successfully on the 1900 band. However it could be worth looking at the table below.
Now the costs:
|(based on $1.5/£1.)||Send||Receive|
|AT&T; Mobile||$0.69 (~44p)||$0.25 (~16p)|
|T-Mobile USA||$1.60 (~£1.05)||Determined by topup card.|
Now that is a bit shocking isn’t it?
It’s possible also to pick up PAYG phone kits in the shops (I tend to find an unsuspecting CVS or Walgreens). A basic Nokia 2610 will set you back about $21 (+whatever tax… so think about £14) and then dispose of the SIM card after you finish and pick a new one each time you head out.
Depending on who you’re with will depend on what you spend. If you’re stuck with your current provider and MUST have a UK number, a trip to a T-Mobile shop for a SIM Card, an unlocked QuadBand phone could be a good answer. If you’re more free and easy, either get an unlocked Quad Band phone and a AT&T; SIM, or buy a kit out there, register the card and pay less for the calls.
- If you have voicemail, deactivate it as you’re paying to pick it up and for people to leave messages
- Switch off the phone to be cruel
- Tell people to “beep” you on the phone, and ring back if you’re using the AT&T; sim trick. Alternatively, pick up as it’s cheaper to receive than to give if you have to use your UK phone
- Consider Skype or whatever VOIP as a backup – Again – cheap as chips if you can be in one place.
- Every penny counts. Be a bit frugal. After all.. if you’re away – you probably DON’T want to be contacted 😉
(Apologies for the messed up layout. I’m still getting used to the uselessness that’s Blogger..