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What (if any) cell phone service/plan do you use when visiting the U.S.?

 

I'm only there 2-3 times a year for a couple or three weeks. For years I've had to purchase a new plan/number whenever I visit... then let it expire when the 30-90 days runs out.

 

Just checked AT&T (the last number I bought) and even changing to their $2/day plan (only charged on days used, yeah!) I discovered that it requires a $25 deposit every 90 days.

 

It almost seems that ICE roaming would cost the same or less.

 

Colin

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Colin,

 

I use T-Mobile while in Florida. It's prepaid minutes and the chips work in my CR-bought Nokia cell phone. When first setting my cellphone up I bought a sim chip and about an hour's-worth of minutes for US$20.00. ($10 for the chip and $10 for the minutes.) That was in a T-Mobile store in a local shopping mall in Tampa.

 

T-Mobile seems to offer reasonably good coverage and the cost isn't outrageous. I have had a good experience with them so far. The more minutes you rechage with (for any one-time purchase), the cheaper their per-minute rate is. You do have to stay on top of when your minutes expire with them as there is only a two-day grace period after the expiration date to revive any remaining minutes with a recharge. Beyond the two days though, no dice, alas.

 

T-Mobile has no service in CR, BTW, just as Kölbi has no service in the US.

 

HTH

Paul M.

==

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I have the same problem! I went to a Wal Mart in the US and just standing there and looking at what was offered was beyond confusing. Do you have a buy a phone with this one? If it's just a SIM card, it is on a plan or can you just pay month to month? Or by usage? What?

 

I bought a WalMart card (yeah, it was actually T-Mobile) which I thought was $25 for a month's worth of (limited) calls which would work for me. I later found out that my son ended up paying an additional $50 or so because it was a "monthly plan" which I did not realize when I bought it. After the fact, I carefully read the enclosed documentation and nowhere did it say "We will bill you $25 a month unless you cancel..." (I used his address when I activated the card and he tried to dispute the charge but got nowhere....)

 

I watch these TV shows where people buy an "untraceable phone card" and always wonder.... How? What do they buy? How does it work?

 

And yeah, ICE roaming might just be so much easier! (Note to self: Check into that......)

 

Paul -- I bought a T-Mobile card - actually two - but I couldn't get either of them to work. So I just gave up. Does your T-Mobile card have a name or some kind of designation that I could look for? Where did you buy it?

 

And Paul -- T-Mobile does have service in Costa Rica. Look here: http://www.t-mobile.com/optional-services/international-calling.html

 

Also - ICE does have a international plan.

Edited by eleanorcr

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Hi Eleanor,

 

As I wrote in my post above, I bought the T-Mobile pre-paid sim card in a shopping mall in Tampa at a T-Mobile store. I had the phone already (bought in CR) and they just installed the chip in it. Their chip was/is the same size as a Kölbi chip.

 

Sorry but T-Mobile does NOT have service from inside Costa Rica; there is no T-Mobile signal in the GAM that I can access with their chip in my Nokia cell phone, trust me, I've tried. What you are referring to is calling to CR from the US using a T-Moble chip. That is doable but expensive. For doing that it's back to using Skype for me.

 

While ICE may have an international chip, I'm not disputing that... I was reporting the fact that my Kölbi chip gets no signal when I bring my Nokia back to the US.

 

HTH

Paul M.

==

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I don't think you can roam in the US with Kolbi. Anytime I turn my CR cell phone on when I'm in the States, there is no service & no option for roaming as far as I can tell.

 

Jessica

Edited by ReevesTribe

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I think you have to set the Kolbi roaming thing ahead of time. But I would have to re-read the page to be sure.

 

And Paul, I have met tourists here who have T-Mobile and there is an international roaming option. No, you can't just turn on your phone and voila -- you have to set it up ahead of time.

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I think you have to set the Kolbi roaming thing ahead of time. But I would have to re-read the page to be sure.

 

And Paul, I have met tourists here who have T-Mobile and there is an international roaming option. No, you can't just turn on your phone and voila -- you have to set it up ahead of time.

 

 

That's OK by me Eleanor. I just switch between chips depending on which country I am in at the moment. Takes thirty seconds at most to make the change. Works for me, anyway.

And since I don't have anyone in either country with whom I cannot connect to using Skype, what with now being the cheapo person I've become since retiring, then I'm covered both ways.

Anyway the two-cent Skype call from CR to a US phone or the 6.4-cent call from the US to CR landlines is cheaper than the ten-cent (or more) per minutes call T-Mobile charges me here and I'm sure it would bessignificantly more expenisve were I calling US to CR.

Cheers!

Paul M.

==

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You have a good plan, Paul.

 

I'm also looking at buying a SIM card from Amazon for use when I travel to the US. For instance, I can order an ATT card, have it delivered to my son's house so it will be waiting for me when I arrive. No contract or long-term thing -- just go to the internet and buy the number of minutes you want. I like simple......

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I like simple, too.

 

When we go to the States, I buy a prepaid AT&T card from the AT&T Store. It has, of course, a limited number of minutes, but you can add to that online if you wish. They also offer a "voice plus data" prepaid plan that's been useful when we were beyond any Wi-Fi coverage.

 

Trying to sort out the details of the various plans and providers gave me a major headache. Maybe the AT&T deal isn't the best, but it's tolerable and it's a known quantity now.

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Thanks, David. I'm looking at ordering from Amazon because my son lives in a small town and it's a bit of a drive to an ATT store. But glad to hear it worked for you. No headaches...

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I kept my T-Mobile plan going when I moved here. From WalMart. $30/mo. unlimited text/data, 100 min. talk, .10/min after that. The best thing is I can make and receive calls to and from the US for free over wifi as if it were a local call in the US. Don't know if that's a T-Mobile feature or a feature of my Samsung phone? Not sure if it's worth $30/mo. though. I may drop it. I spend less than $5/mo. here with Kolbi prepago and use a iPhone 4s.

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Paul, that sounds like a good deal for you and is similar to several of the numbers (and providers) I've had over the years. But could you answer the important part of my question...?

 

Are you required to keep adding minutes (i.e. paying) every month or so even if not using the T-Mobile number?

That is what I'm trying to avoid... as Eleanor experienced... being charged a monthly amount to keep the phone active.

 

A plan that only requires payment when your account runs low on minutes would be great. One that requires monthly (or every 90 day) payments when I don't use the phone for 5-6 months is not an option.

 

That's the solution I'm seeking. As with David, I've been buying a new number and (terminal in 30 days) service each trip.

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Hey Colin, sorry 'bout that.

 

So, to answer your QQs, yes you must add minutes to the chip at least once a month . . . UNTIL you have bought cumulatively $100.00-woorth of minutes. Once you reach that plateau, called the 'Gold Rewards' level, your minutes last for one year thereafter. And after you've reached that 'Gold Rewards' plateau then all subsequent recharge purchases will last for one year from the date of the recharge which I think resets the remaining minutes forward, too, thru to the coming year's expiration.

 

FWIW, $10.00 is the minimum recharge you can buy and, BTW, T-Mobile does seem to charge sales tax for the state you're in. And keep in mind that the more minutes you recharge in one recharge then the cheaper the per-minute rate for calls becomes. And the recharge purchase amount resets the remaining minutes' per-minute rate, too. (Oh, well.)

 

HTH

Paul M.

==

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Last time I was in the states, I bought a Tracfone at Safeway for about $9. Added another $10 in minutes. Cheap, easy, put it in a drawer when I came back here.

Buy more airtime next time I go to the US.

 

ps: Tracfone now has this: In December 2013, TracFone unveiled "Bring your own phone," which allows customers to use an unlocked CDMA and GSM phone on the TracFone network.

 

Check thier website to see if its for you.

Edited by DanaJ

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