Canadian Travelling in the USA Looking for Prepaid iPhone SIM

I have an iPhone with Rogers Wireless and visiting Los Angeles area. Roaming in the USA is expensive with Rogers. Around $1.50 per minute for calls and $0.75 per text message.

Is it possible to buy prepaid wireless while visiting? Does it come with SIM card? Which company?

Comments for Canadian Travelling in the USA Looking for Prepaid iPhone SIM

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Dec 29, 2011
SIM Compatibility NEW
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

This response is coming in really late; sorry!

Generally speaking, in my experience, you need a separate SIM card for a phone and a modem. While in theory they should be compatible, the provisioning and interaction with the SIM card seem to be different between a phone and a modem. If anyone has seen this type of swapping work, please let us know!

While a T-Mobile USB modem should be compatible, I'm thinking it would not work natively (i.e. without roaming) on the Rogers network; it may need to be flashed to be seen as a native-to-Rogers modem. It may be as simple as a firmware update. If you contact Rogers, they may actually be able to tell you if it will work.

This type of topic is becoming really popular. Unfortunately, the permutations of devices and networks can get really complicated, and not all carriers are forthcoming about what will work and what won't. Sometimes things will work, but they consider it a system limitation (i.e. defect) on their end and they won't tell you about it. Usually testing it, or knowing someone who has tried it is the only real way to know for sure. At some point I'd like to create a database on this site that shows what works and what doesn't!

Sep 22, 2011
And what about broadband.
by: Tony

My question is similar but as well as buying a T-Mobile SIM card for my unlocked Rogers phone I want broadband as well.
If I bring a Rogers USB stick with me do I need two SIM cards from T-Mobile - one for the phone and one for the stick.
If I buy a USB stick from T-Mobile do I need two SIM cards and will the USB stick work with my Rogers SIM card when I get back to Canada - assuming I also get the stick unlocked.


Nov 14, 2009
International Prepaid SIM Cards for iPhone
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

This is a great question! More and more people have been inquiring about how to get the best value while traveling abroad. Host carriers really haven't stepped up yet to offer good, or even decent(!) value when traveling abroad. I'm especially surprised that prices between the U.S. and Canada aren't better than they are.

I do believe that over time carriers will focus more attention on the opportunity to offer better value for international travelers. The good news is that in the meantime there are options!

Of course, you can always just buy a cheap phone while you're in the U.S. There are a number of options for that route. However, from your question, and from what I understand of most people asking this question (including myself), the preference is to continue using your own phone. That way you have access to your numbers, notes, and other info. You're also familiar with how you're phone works, so you know how long the battery lasts, how to mute the phone, navigate your contacts, etc. While these may sound like simple things, it's amazing how much time and headaches you can save by not having to hassle with these things while traveling.

Anyway, down to your question! If your iPhone is unlocked, you have several options. In the U.S. you can try a prepaid GoPhone SIM, though I don't know if all of your iPhone data features will work (hopefully someone with experience with that can comment). You can also try a T-Mobile prepaid starter kit. These are the two largest GSM carriers, which means that your phone is technologically compatible (assuming your phone is unlocked to allow you to roam on other, non-Rogers, networks). If you use your phone as is in the U.S., it will be roaming on AT&T, however, with a prepaid SIM card, you can get better rates.

There are also a number of companies focusing specifically on prepaid international SIM cards. Below you'll find links to more information on these as well. The thing to keep in mind is that you'll want to compare the rates of each provider. The rates to/from some countries are really reasonable, however, some really aren't going to be any better than what Rogers is charging you. In my opinion, if you can buy a prepaid SIM starter kit from T-Mobile or AT&T, you're going to get the best rates if you're just calling in the U.S. while in the U.S.

Links to more info:
Table with local rates - focus on T-Mobile and AT&T:Compare PAYG

Table listing international prepaid SIM card providers:International Prepaid SIM Cards

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