We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

prepaid mobile ph. coverage Southwestern US.

Coromandel, New...
Level Contributor
4 posts
57 reviews
Save Topic
prepaid mobile ph. coverage Southwestern US.

We are tripping around national parks in south western US, for three weeks soon, not wanting to use expensive "roaming" coverage from N.Z. Where to buy and which cheap prepaid phone / company would we be best for voice calls only with reasonable coverage in Southern CA, Nevada and Arizona? Any tips would be so helpful.

Thanks in anticipation.

Mentioned in this post
Arizona
Arizona
United States
Special Offer
Grand Canyon All-American Helicopter...
6,639 Reviews
from US$399.99*
US$520.00
Special Offer
45-minute Helicopter Flight Over the...
542 Reviews
from US$276.99*
US$299.00
Small-Group Deluxe Grand Canyon Day...
643 Reviews
from US$179.29*
West Yellowstone...
Destination Expert
for Flagstaff, West Yellowstone
Level Contributor
2,409 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: prepaid mobile ph. coverage Southwestern US.

Good plan, but mobile service in the US, unlike that in Europe (not sure about NZ) is locked into the phone. Or should I say the other way around? You generally will need to purchase or rent a phone with which to use the service you intend to buy into.

If you happen to have a service such as AT&T on your existing mobile phone, and it's a Quad-band phone, you may be able to buy an AT&T pre-paid card upon or before arrival, but make sure your phone is capable of using it first.

Otherwise, I'd pop into a store such as Target (www.target.com) and buy the cheapest pay-as-you-go mobile phone you can find, making sure that it works with one of the major networks. For instance, last time I checked, VirginMobile worked on the Sprint Network. Sprint is big. So is AT&T. T-Mobile service is spotty in the SW. Verizon is the largest and most extensive, but I've never used their product because they are more expensive.

You want to make sure the plan you sign on for is not going to automatically charge you to refill. I used VirginMobile for several years because they allow you to buy a cheap phone then "top-up" (refill) with cards you could buy at Target or some convenience stores and pharmacies rather than putting a charge card on your account so they could automatically refill your phone. I don't know of their policies anymore since I switched to AT&T a couple of years ago.

You may still have problems with coverage in many of the national parks. AT&T works in Bryce Canyon, for instance, but only in certain spots. You just have to watch your phone to see when you are in range and then go there if you need to see if you have any incoming messages or need to make a call.

Hope this helps.

Mentioned in this post
West Yellowstone...
Destination Expert
for Flagstaff, West Yellowstone
Level Contributor
2,409 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: prepaid mobile ph. coverage Southwestern US.

Here are some sites to check:

www.att.com

www.sprint.com

www.t-mobile.com

www.verizonwireless.com

These are just for checking coverage maps so you know what you're looking for.

There are many pay-as-you-go providers that will sell you a phone (or allow you to rent) that will use one of these major networks.

Do your research on Target.com or other sites you may run across to find the best phone deal and compare it to the coverage you need.

Coromandel, New...
Level Contributor
4 posts
57 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: prepaid mobile ph. coverage Southwestern US.

Thanks so much for the advice. Feeling alot more confident and empowered with good local knowledge now we can do the research.

Cheers.

Columbia, Maryland
Level Contributor
1,954 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: prepaid mobile ph. coverage Southwestern US.

Check out TracFone. We have pay as you go with ATT in Maryland that did not have coverage in much of the SW outside of major cities. I went to the TracFone site and researched which phone would work in Utah, Arizona, and Colorado and purchased that phone. We initialized it with a local Maryland number so we could still use it when we got home. Worked great where our ATT phones did not. Had reception just about everywhere we went with that phone.

Mentioned in this post
Utah
Utah
United States
Arizona
Arizona
United States
Colorado
Colorado
United States
Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
38 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: prepaid mobile ph. coverage Southwestern US.

Cricket is also good in the Southwest US. I think its 30 dollars a month unlimited calls and texts. Just pay for the first month and then don't pay again.

Evanston, Wyoming
Destination Expert
for Page, Grand Canyon National Park
Level Contributor
5,142 posts
155 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: prepaid mobile ph. coverage Southwestern US.

Verizon is the primary cell phone service provider in the Grand Canyon area. Alltel used to be, but apparently they're out of the picture (just spoke w/someone @ Xanterra about this). Since TracFone is affiliated with Verizon, that should do fine for you.

Mentioned in this post
7. Re: prepaid mobile ph. coverage Southwestern US.

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 19 June 2013, 21:17
Get answers to your questions about Grand Canyon National...