What Mobile/Network for the States

Discussion in 'Gadgets & Tech' started by MartinK9, Sep 20, 2019.

  1. MartinK9

    MartinK9 Section Hiker

    As a Luddite who's had a smart phone for less than a year, I have found out that my Ulephone wont work in the US.

    Three highstreet Mobile operators confirmed my opinion of the yoof of today.

    Therefore my questions to you my learned brethren are:

    1. Best mobile with storage and ability for additional via micro SD

    2. Best Mobile with camera.

    3. Best Mobile that will work with US Sim card

    4. Best US Sim card for a possible 6 month stay

    Many thanks in advance
  2. DuneElliot

    DuneElliot Section Hiker

    You would be better off buying a cheaper, slightly older model new smartphone in the US from one of the Pay As You Go Providers. Anything you buy here and use there will cost you a lot of money in charges. You can buy a slightly older Galaxy S-model phone (S7 I think, which is a really good phone for everything including photos) for around $200 and I would highly recommend Straight Talk as a provider as they run off Verizon which has the most comprehensive coverage, especially out west. Straight Talk phones and top-up cards are available at any Walmart so always readily available.

    Having said that, my Verizon phone from the US worked with a SIM from O2, so if you have an O2 phone or unlocked phone it will likely work with most SIMs in the US but I can't guarantee it. You can always use the back up above.

    As said, Verizon generally has the best coverage, with AT&T being a fairly close second. Sprint and T-Mobile and most others will have great service in the cities and towns but lack in the wide open spaces a lot more.

    Happy to answer any other questions you have.

    I'd have loaned you my old US smart phone for a short stint but the battery just doesn't last and is now relegated to a music player
    MartinK9 and edh like this.
  3. MartinK9

    MartinK9 Section Hiker

    Many thanks for the reply. :)
  4. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    I used an AT&T PAYG SIM, which was fine in my unlocked UK phone...but did not let me phone the UK as part of the deal....

    My Ulephone worked OK over there too; but no data in some areas.
    MartinK9 likes this.
  5. MartinK9

    MartinK9 Section Hiker

    Thanks edh. :)
  6. Balagan

    Balagan Thru Hiker

    MartinK9 likes this.
  7. MartinK9

    MartinK9 Section Hiker

    Hi Balagan I have the S8 Pro version.

    The yoof in EE, 3 and CW all basically went "meh, should do" when asked if there were any UK unlocked phones that would work in the States.....

    As I said I'm a Luddite so I thought I'd ask workers in Mobile phone shops but.... what do I know lol.

    The phone is the least of my problems tbh...

    I'm also in a ****ing contest over the amount of medication I am legally allowed to bring in.... TSA wont touch it, CBP have said 90 days... my trip is for 180.....CBP said it's up to the CBP person on the desks discretion when I arrive.... yeah thanks for that.
  8. Balagan

    Balagan Thru Hiker

    If you do want to keep your phone, it looks like Sprint and Boost are your best options with AT&T a poor but workable one, Verizon a no no...
    MartinK9 likes this.
  9. el manana

    el manana Thru Hiker

    How does WhatsApp work between UK and US phones?
  10. Diddi

    Diddi Thru Hiker

  11. DuneElliot

    DuneElliot Section Hiker

    Works fine. I use it to stay in touch with my US friends outside of Facebook
  12. impala

    impala Hiker

    Depending what you want/need try and get a verison phone (works different to UK networks) as it has far better coverage atnt works OK but no way near as good!
  13. MartinK9

    MartinK9 Section Hiker

    Many thanks
  14. aplcr0331

    aplcr0331 Day Walker

    Where in the US are you going to be? Are you concerned with coverage? For most places Verizon is your best bet.

    We like Verizon. You can get an “unlocked” iPhone relatively cheap in the states and buy a Verizon SIM card.

    Phones in the US are cheaper but mobile plans are way more expensive.

    Take a look T-Mobile for a good sim plan and pretty good coverage from what I’ve heard.

    Cell coverage in the states is AMAZING compared to what I’ve got here in East Anglia. It’s like 1998 cell service all over again. Atrocious.

    Cant help you with the medication, dealing with my own US to UK issues on that front too.

    FB messenger works great between US and UK. It’s what I used to communicate with family in the states, although I had to be connected to a wireless network for video chat since the O2 network here where I’m at sucks.

    Google Voice/Hangouts is another option but I guess you can’t get a UK number so that might not be an option. You might be able to get a Skype number/account too, good way to stay in touch.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
  15. MartinK9

    MartinK9 Section Hiker

    Many thanks,

    Verizon was my understanding also.

    Going to do as much of the AT as I can with 90 days worth of medication then I have to fly back to the UK, resupply and then fly back out and attempt the remainder.

    I can't risk having 3 months of medication destroyed at US Border control because" its down to the CBP agents discretion on the day". TSA,CBP and DEA can't give a definitive answer.
  16. DuneElliot

    DuneElliot Section Hiker

    Call some of the US pharmacies...they may honor your prescription. If not, you could always go see a Dr over there and have them write one if you have proof of your medical needs (letter from current Dr, current prescription etc)
  17. Charlie83

    Charlie83 Trail Blazer

    phone wise, i have the unlocked Samsung S10+ Its a dual sim phone (If bought in europe, Not the US version), normally at home I use a Vodafone sim and a micro SD card, but if i'm abroad in a country that isn't on Vodafone's cheap/free roaming/data i just remove my SD memory card and replace it with the local network sim, (The phone has 128gb of internal memory so i can easily do without the memory card). the two network sims work perfectly.

    Its easy enough to switch between the two sims (uk one and the one from the country i'm in). it allows any emergency calls etc from the UK to still get through on your usual number that most of your friends and family know, whilst also giving you the cheaper tariffs from the country your in for local calls and data usage, whatsapp, messenger, Skype etc etc only require access to the internet to work perfectly, it doesn't matter if that's your home internet, some hotel WiFi or a local provider data. I find Whatsapp is ideal for free calls home, not that it matters much but it is that secure even the UK military are conducting a lot of daily business using it.

    Vodafone UK will charge me £6 a day (even If I only sent one text/read an email online etc, that would automatically trigger the £6 fee for that day ) to use my UK tariffs (Unlimited) while in the States, if only there for 2 days its probably not worth getting a US sim, but any length of time or constant visits would soon build up the £6 per day rate

    3 do a sim in the UK for 1 month at £25/26 that allows you unlimited Data/Calls/Texts while in the US, swap your phone sim or if you have a dual sim phone even better. Im not sure how good 3 are or whose network they bump onto over there, but i hope its better than their efforts in Scotland

    the phone itself has a great screen size for viewranger/mapping etc, is waterproof and has a very good camera, battery life depends on usage, all day on the net i charge it twice a day (its actually my computer these days, i don't use a tablet or laptop anymore so it gets very heavy daily usage, probably about 9 hours online daily), when hiking in airplane mode with viewranger tracking it uses maybe about 30% a day, maybe less.

    my last Samsung the s9, also had dual sim, not sure about the versions before that or other manufactures but there is going to be cheaper 2nd hand phones about with the same capability (Battery life on my S9 was really bad though, wifes was ok, the S10+ is far better) Pretty much most UK smart phones will work on the US networks, cost of usage is the bigger issue.



    NB - this thread piqued my own interest as i'm heading there in August for 3 or 4 weeks, so i just spoke to Vodafone and it seems i'm already on their unlimited max plan so i get to take my uk unlimited plan without having to pay the £6 daily charge, Wish i had actually asked them in the first place, it means i can stop looking for a best deal US sim card myself so many thanks.
  18. MartinK9

    MartinK9 Section Hiker

    Thanks for the reply Charlie, all food for thought.
    Charlie83 likes this.
  19. MartinK9

    MartinK9 Section Hiker

    Thanks, I've got to get my Visa first lol

    The reply to "have you entered the US without a visa before?" might get a bit of notice.

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