Prepaid USA SIM cards for travellers now on sale in Australia

By danwarne, April 28 2011
Prepaid USA SIM cards for travellers now on sale in Australia

An Australian online shop is selling prepaid SIM cards for USA telco T-Mobile to make it easier for travellers to get their phone set up before they head stateside.

As we've been covering recently, there are plenty of options for travellers who want to avoid paying hundreds of dollars to their Australian telco in global roaming fees.

Optus customers should be especially cautious about using global roaming -- Optus charges a staggering $20 per megabyte of data for casual global roaming use overseas.

Vodafone and Telstra aren't much better, at $10 and $15 per megabyte respectively.

The Tru SIM, which we wrote about recently, costs only 35c per megabyte in the USA -- a saving of 96-98% on Optus/Vodafone/Telstra's rates.

But even so, 35c/MB can quickly add up if using hundreds of megabytes. Each 100 megabytes will cost you $35 with Tru.

We've also written about T-Mobile's SIM cards previously -- and found that they're great value. They still are, when compared to global roaming fees, even though they have increased in price since we originally wrote about them.

For example, for a US$69.99 fee, you can get 1000 minutes of talk time and unlimited SMS within the USA, as well as unlimited internet access, valid for a month. (You have to bear in mind that in the USA you get charged for both incoming and outgoing calls, so your 1000 minutes will get used up when someone calls you, as well.)

Now, you can even get T-Mobile USA SIM cards in Australia, from the online travelgoods store

TravelGear doesn't appear to be selling the Flexpay plans we wrote about (as you have to sign up in a T-Mobile store to get them) but it is selling a range of T-Mobile prepaid plans.

Essentially, you order your SIM card through them for $45 and it comes with US$20 of credit for you to spend on a T-Mobile prepaid plan of your choice.

The best plan appears to be the $80 plan with 2GB data and unlimited talk time within the USA and to Australian landlines! Calls to Australian mobiles cost 25c/min on this plan.

There's a very comprehensive FAQ at TravelGear's site explaining how it all works and how Australian travellers can deal with T-Mobile to top up credit and so on.

TravelGear is also selling prepaid SIM cards for use elsewhere in the world:

  • UK - O2 and Lebara networks
  • New Zealand - 2Degrees network
  • Canada - Fido network
  • Jamaica/St Lucia/Cayman Islands - Lime network
  • Thailand - AIS and Dtac networks.

Skywards Gold

21 Apr 2011

Total posts 54

Will the data work on an iPhone? I just got back from the USA where I had purchased a prepaid AT&T sim card however they do not let you use data on iPhones.

You can purchase AT&T SIM cards before you depart from  There is also instructions for getting data working on your iphone on the site.

11 May 2012

Total posts 1

I use T-Mobile pre-paid plan here in USA.

They have top the line roaming both here in USA, large parts Canada and Mexico for the same per minute domestic rates.

It is cheaper to purchase the card/plan here or have a friend in USA activate in advance and mail it to you. I do it all the time for my friends that head this way for business or vacation.

As for data, to be honest you must be wealthy or crazy to pay to browes the web on a smart phone as the rates are stupid. Do not let the 4G speeds impress you as it is only available in  a few major metro areas. 3G or CDMA (Verizon) are the norm once outside city limits.

WiFi is free and available in just about every hotel, supermarket, McDonalds, Starbucks and the list goes on and on. So if you have a wifi on your phone you are set.

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