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Pre-paid Sim Cards

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Robina, Australia
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413 posts
125 reviews
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Pre-paid Sim Cards

My son and I are travelling from Australia and I will be staying in Traverse City while he is at Interlochen. I am looking at getting 2 pre-paid SIM cards so we can easily communicate (as rates using our Aussie SIMs overseas are prohibitive).

Ready-Sim has been recommended to me as an option but looking on their website, there is no coverage in Northern Michigan.

Can someone please recommend an option with good coverage in this area ?

Bourbon, IN
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418 posts
70 reviews
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1. Re: Pre-paid Sim Cards

Can you stop at Wal-Mart and get an AT&T Go Phone? They're cheap prepaid phones with great service in Michigan, but I've never used them for international calls.

Traverse City...
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2. Re: Pre-paid Sim Cards

A quick search shows that's not an option up here. We'll keep looking for other choices...

Detroit, MI
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for Detroit, Travel Gadgets and Gear
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3. Re: Pre-paid Sim Cards

AT&T and T-Mobile are the only major GSM providers in the US. T-Mobile is usually the cheaper option, but they don't have coverage in norther Michigan. That is usually not a problem since roaming on AT&T is included, but they will throttle high speed data on partner networks. I think it kicked in at 100 MB last time I was up north, but don't recall exactly. AT&T also offers plans, but they are more expensive - especially if you want to add data.

T-Mobile has a $30/month, 500 minute, unlimited text and unlimited data (throttled at 5 GB) plan for $30. It is commonly known as the Walmart plan since they offer it, but you can also activate it online once you have a T-Mobile SIM in hand. The problem is you probably won't find one north of Saginaw since that is roughly where T-Mobile coverage ends. If you are flying into Detroit and driving up, you should be able to pick up a SIM at any Walmart or T-Moblie store. Follow the instructions in the packet to activate. You will also need a $30 refill card, or a credit card to bill it to. Again you will be stuck with 2G once you hit the data roaming cap, but that is enough for a quick Google maps check or Facebook post.

Where will you be before arriving in TVC that might give us a better idea of where to send you for a SIM?

Robina, Australia
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413 posts
125 reviews
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4. Re: Pre-paid Sim Cards

Thanks for your help so far.

Just looking into the T-Mobile one - if the coverage ends at Saginaw - that is south of where I will be so that's not an option then?? I didn't really understand your comment tev9999 as I will need voice calls and texting from TVC.

We fly into Chicago - have 24hrs there and then drive up to Interlochen and I will be in TVC.

I googled a bit yesterday and Black Wireless (??which uses AT&T) had a reasonable prepaid deal for 30 day - would that work in northern Michigan, and also where would I get the SIM from??

Kentwood, Michigan
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131 posts
128 reviews
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5. Re: Pre-paid Sim Cards

2 suggestions - Net10 or AT&T Go Phone. (both have websites for more info)

Net 10 - You'll need to pick up the SIM at something like a Best Buy (national electronics store), Walmart, or major pharmacy chains (Walgreens). $50 US will get you voice / text / 2.5GB of data using AT&T's network. I think you should be able to get everything set up at Best Buy but I'm not sure. Walmart & other places you would need to set the account up yourself (just a SIM card on a store hook w/ no in-store customer support).

AT&T Go Phone - a little more than Net10 but they have stores around and they will be able to get you set up at the store.

You should be able to find any of those stores in Chicago or along the way. Traverse City has all of the major cell carriers and Best Buy if you wait until you get to there.

Not positive but you may need your passport to get the SIM set up due to 9/11 security issues. I've had to present mine to other countries when traveling to get it set up as I didn't have a local address. Maybe able to use where you are staying in TC as your US address if asked.

Robina, Australia
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413 posts
125 reviews
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6. Re: Pre-paid Sim Cards

Thanks so much. There is a Best Buy not too far from our hotel in Chicago so will get it all set up before we drive to TVC. Thanks so much.

7. Re: Pre-paid Sim Cards

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