Telephone plan or prepaid card, make the right choice
In France, like me, you were used to telephone plans with a subscription for 12 or 24 months, the Orange or SFR-style monthly cards sold at the checkout of your supermarket scare you (it happens). Here are some tips on how to make the right choice on your telephone company when traveling to New York. It all depends on your desires and the length of your stay. I will try to guide you in this sometimes obscure universe in order to avoid making mistakes.
You should know that in the USA and therefore in New York, mobile telephony is very complex, it can quickly turn into a headache to try to understand all the options, frequencies of the operators available to you.
What are the mobile operators that exist in the United States?
The main operators in the USA are AT&T, T-Mobile, Blood, Sprint et MetroPCS (only for prepaid cards).
If you are used to being in 4G in France, the frequencies in the USA are not the same, no such sold in France is compatible with the US frequency ranges. At best, you'll have good old 3G. So if you have a French model, you will also have to forget the Sprint and Verizon operators, their networks not working in GSM, but using the CDMA standard, and of course, the 2 standards being incompatible. 🙁
Now let's focus on the main operators AT&T, T-Mobile and MetroPCS. I deliberately dismissed the others for the complexity of their offers, well that's just my opinion.
For short stays (less than 12 months) prefer the prepaid card
1) How to buy a prepaid SIM card?
To open a prepaid line, it's relatively simple, you just need a passport and a Visa / MasterCard, then you just need to go to an agency of an American telephone operator (AT&T, T-Mobile and MetroPCS) or in a Best Buy (equivalent to Fnac), Target, WallMart (Carrefour)., and request a prepaid SIM card.
Good to know : to be able to use a prepaid card in your phone, it must absolutely be unlocked. Unlocking or unlocking a mobile phone is free if you have had a mobile phone for more than 3 months.
2) Here are the rates for prepaid cards
Chez AT&T, prepaid cards are called " GoPhone". The rates are for a period of one month. If you only stay for a week or two, that doesn't change a thing.
Then if you want to call in France and Europe, you have to add $ 5 to have 250 minutes of communication on landlines.
Here is their offer: www.att.com
At T-Mobile, they call it prepaid cards, ie " Prepaid SIM Card“With them, this card can be bought for $ 10. Then the rates are also valid for one month.
For my part, the best offer is at T-Mobile, for the equivalent of $ 0.01 you will leave with your SIM card, and T-Mobile is among the few operators to offer relatively interesting packages.
For calls, sms and mms in France and in Europe you must add:
- $ 7 for unlimited sms and MMS
- $ 10 for unlimited landline, sms and mms calls
- $ 15 for unlimited mobile and landline calls, sms and mms
Here is their offer: t-mobile.com
At MetroPCS, the prices are undoubtedly the cheapest on the market but there is a small problem "the network". Indeed, the network is good especially in large megalopolises like Los Angeles and its region, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Detroit, New York and Philadelphia but as soon as we go to the northern or central states, it is the disaster.
Good to know: The smallest voice plan to which you can subscribe is 250 Minutes, that is to say if you follow correctly, 4h10 of talk time but be careful, in the USA when you call a correspondent, your communication minutes will be deducted from your package (so far everything is fine), but also when you receive a call (things get complicated).
For long stays (over 12 months) let yourself be tempted by a package / subscription
1) How long is the subscription for a long stay?
You might as well limit the suspense, in the USA it's 2 years of subscription, otherwise you have to break the bank, at least $ 599.
2) Types of packages
Packages in the United States are relatively complicated I find. The voice package (incoming and outgoing call) and the data package (internet) are separate. You cannot buy a new Smartphone without subscribing to a data package, regardless of the operator.
3) How to subscribe to a subscription?
To subscribe to a telephone subscription you will need a bank account (to prove that you actually reside in the United States), your passport and a visa or mastercard. You can then go to one of the stores of the operator you have chosen.
There are many subscriptions depending on the options you have chosen, I cannot list them all. But in general, at T-Mobile et AT&T, subscriptions vary between $ 30 and $ 60 unlimited + supplement for calls to France for a 24-month contract.
Good to know : When you choose a package remember that the seller tells you the price excluding tax. On average, for a package offered at $ 69, you will actually pay around $ 88 including tax. Do not expect to receive assistance from the seller.
I have tried to keep it concise, but there is much to write about the practices of US operators. You really need to think about what type of offer you are looking for. It's up to you to see what you want and especially how long you stay in New York. . Good luck !