The T-Mobile USA SIM card is a great value sim card that lets you save on mobile phone roaming charges when you visit the USA.
Features of this sim card include:
- Includes unlimited incoming calls, unlimited calls to US landline and US mobile phones and unlimited data (with your first 4, 6 or 30GB at up to 4G LTE speed).
- Includes up to your first 30 days service so you don't need to pay anything else during your first month in the USA (see below for more details about the validity of your SIM card).
- You can easily extend your service by topping up enough credit to cover the cost of another month of service (between USD $45 and USD $90 depending on your rate plan and whether you have the international call feature)
- We take care of all the hassle for you. We activate your SIM card for you so it is ready to switch on and use after you arrive in the USA.
We activate your T-Mobile USA SIM card on your choice of either the Simply Prepaid or T-Mobile ONE rate plan. All these plans give you the following benefits:
Unlimited incoming calls
Unlimited calls to US mobile and landline phones
Unlimited text messages to US mobile phones
Unlimited data with your first 4GB, 6GB or 30GB at up to 4G LTE speed (data is throttled to 128 Kbps after you have used your high speed data allowance)
Music streaming does not count towards your data allowance*
|Rate plan||Simply Prepaid 4GB||Simply Prepaid 6GB||T-Mobile One|
|Cost of SIM card and first month of service||$95||$110||$155|
|Included calls to phones in the USA||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Included incoming calls||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Text messages to US mobile phones||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|High-speed data allowance||4GB (4G speed)||6GB (4G speed)||30GB* (4G speed)|
|Tethering (using your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot)||4GB (4G speed)||6GB (4G speed)||30GB* (3G speed)|
|Coverage||USA only||USA only||USA, Canada and Mexico|
|Cost to continue for an additional month||USD $45||USD $55||USD $75|
* On the T-Mobile One plan you have unlimited high-speed data, however T-Mobile's fair use policy means that your data is capped once your data usage reaches the top 3% of users. In most instances this means that your data speed is capped once you reach 30GB, however this cap is flexible and may increase or decrease along with changes in the average T-Mobile user's data usage.
* Music streaming does not count towards your data allowance when listening to music on the phone that has your SIM card inserted, however music streaming on other devices when tethering from your phone will count towards your data allowance. Free music streaming only applies when using the following services: 8tracks, AccuRadio, Amazon Music, Apple Music, Aud.io, Bandcamp, Beatport, Black Planet, Chilltrax, Dash Radio, DatPiff, Digitally Imported, ESPN Radio, Fit Radio, Google Music, Groove Music, iHeartRadio, Jango, JAZZRADIO.com, KCRW, Napster, Nextradio, Noon Pacific, OHIO.FM, Pandora, PreDanz, Radio Danz, Radio Disney, Radio Paradise, radio.com, radioPup, RadioTunes, ROCKRADIO.com, Saavn, Samsung Milk Music, SiriusXM, Slacker, SomaFM, SoundCloud, Spinrilla, Spotify, StreamOn, Tidal Music, TuneIn Premium, Uforia
Please note: The Simply Prepaid plans are for use in the USA only, but the T-Mobile ONE plans will also work in both Canada and Mexico for no additional charge (although your first use of this SIM card must occur in the USA).
Your SIM card will be pre-activated for you and you will know your US mobile number as soon as you arrive in the USA. This number will be sent to you by text message once your phone picks up the T-Mobile network after you arrive in the USA. Your US mobile number will have an area code from the Chicago or the surrounding region including Illinois, Indiana or Wisconsin.
If you would like a specific area code or need your number in advance of your travel date, we recommend that you look at the AT&T USA SIM card that we also sell.
We activate your SIM card for you so it is ready to go when you arrive in the USA. All you need is an unlocked mobile phone that is compatible with T-Mobile’s US mobile network.
Usually you would expect to pay a premium to purchase a SIM card outside its home country (after all it costs money to import the SIM cards and international dealers usually are not eligible for promotions available to local dealers). However we are able to offer the T-Mobile USA SIM card on the Simply Prepaid plan with delivery in Australia for around the same price as purchasing your SIM card from a T-Mobile shop in the United States. Now there's no reason to wait till you arrive in the USA before buying your US SIM card.
|Simply Prepaid 4GB||Simply Prepaid 6GB|
|Cost of SIM card from T-Mobile shop||USD $20||USD $20|
|Monthly cost of Simply Prepaid plan||USD $45||USD $55|
|Sales tax in Los Angeles, California||USD $5.85||USD $6.75|
|Total cost in US dollars||USD $70.85||USD $81.75|
|Total cost in Australian dollars||AUD $92.93||AUD $107.23|
|Cost to buy from travelgear.com.au||AUD $95||AUD $110|
Please note: T-Mobile's premium T-Mobile ONE plan is slightly more expensive when purchased prior to travelling to the USA.
|Buy your US SIM card from us before you travel. It is around the same price as buying it in the USA and it is one less thing to worry about when arriving in a new country after a 14-hour flight.|
Some T-Mobile dealers will charge an activation fee, which can be as high as USD $45 (around AUD $68 including Los Angeles, CA sales tax). We have not included this charge in our calculation as it is more common for mobile dealers in the USA to waive this charge. However this can make it considerably more expensive to purchase your SIM card after arriving in the USA.
|When you purchase your T-Mobile SIM card from us, there is no more to pay. The price includes activation, up to 30 days service, delivery in Australia and New Zealand and a local US number (a free call for you) that you can call us on directly (24 hours a day) if you have any questions about your service while you are away.|
This price comparison is valid as of 27 March 2017 and is based on mid-market exchange rates at XE.com.
Retail prices advertised in the USA are exclusive of local sales taxes which vary according to which state and city you are in. Sales tax in the USA varies from 0% to 13.5% depending on where you are. We used the 9% sales tax in Los Angeles, California for this comparison as this is the most common destination for Australian travellers to arrive in when flying into the United States.
If you need to make calls home to Australia you now have the option of adding T-Mobile's international calling feature. This gives you unlimited calls to landline phones in 70 countries (including Australia) and it also discounts calls to mobile phones outside the USA to only 7¢/minute. Without this feature you would pay T-Mobile’s international call rate of USD $1.99/minute.
The international call feature costs AUD $23 for your first 30 days of service and each additional 30 days of service are charged at USD $15.
T-Mobile's international call feature gives you unlimited free calls to both mobile and landline phones in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Canada, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Martinique, Germany, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guam, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Sweden, Thailand, United Kingdom, US Virgin Islands, Venezuela
T-Mobile's international call feature gives you unlimited free calls to landline phones in the following countries: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Faeroe Islands, Finland, France, Martinique, Germany, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guam, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uruguay, US Virgin Islands, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia
Calls to countries where calls to mobile phones are not free (such as Australia and New Zealand) are discounted. For instance T-Mobile's standard international call rate is USD $1.99, but if you have the international call feature you only pay 7¢/minute for calls to Australian mobile phones. Note: you will need to top up additional credit to cover the cost of calls to mobile phones in Australia and New Zealand.
|The international call feature works best if you have topped up additional credit to your mobile service. You will need to add credit to cover the cost of calls to mobile phones outside the USA (calls to Australia will be charged at 7¢/minute) and it may not be possible to call some international numbers with a zero dollar balance. Topping up an extra USD $10 after you have arrived in the USA will ensure that you are able to take full advantage of the international call feature.|
The international call feature only applies to calls made while on the T-Mobile network in the United States. It does not apply to international calls made when travelling in Canada or Mexico nor for international calls made when roaming on a partner network in the USA.
Alternatives to adding the international call feature
Adding the international call feature is the easiest way to make international calls from your mobile, however there are other options available that may suit you better if you don't expect to make many international calls or if all your international calls will be to a handful of numbers. These options include:
- Using Rebtel. Rebtel is an international calling service similar to Skype or Viber, but with the advantage that it doesn’t rely on a data connection. You set up a Rebtel account online, then install the Rebtel app on your phone and make any international calls using the Rebtel app. This is a great option for international calls from your mobile, but it does have two disadvantages: you need access to a computer or tablet with the internet to log into your account and add your US mobile to your Rebtel account after arriving in the USA and you cannot use your US mobile with Rebtel if someone who had previously had that number also had a Rebtel account.
- Using Skype. Skype is another option for cheap international calls. You need credit in your Skype account to call phones (as opposed to just calling other Skype users). It is slightly more expensive than Rebtel (although calls are cheaper if you have a subscription) and it requires an internet connection to make calls; but it can be set up completely from home prior to travelling to the USA so it is an easier solution. Like Rebtel, you use the Skype app on your phone to make any international calls.
- Using Viber. Viber also lets you make cheap international calls as long as you have credit in your Viber account. It is very similar to Skype and you use the Viber app on your phone to make international calls.
- Using FaceTime. If you are making calls from an iPhone to another Apple device you can also use FaceTime to make your call for free.
There are other options including other apps and calling card services where you dial an access number and then dial the international number that you need to call, but the above four options are generally the easiest. If you already have an account with Rebtel, Skype or Viber I would recommend using the app you’re already most familiar with; otherwise take a look at Rebtel, Skype and Viber and go with the one you feel most comfortable with. Facetime, Skype and Viber rely on a data connection, whereas Rebtel also uses regular phone lines so it may provide a better quality call if you are in an area with poor data coverage.
Sending international text messages
The Simply Prepaid plan does not include international text messages, however you do get free international text messages if you add the international call feature. If you don't add the international call feature you will need to top up extra credit to cover the cost of international text messages (at 50¢/message) or use a messaging app such as Telegram or Whats App.
Messaging apps such as Telegram and Whats App are recommended in most instances (even when you do have the international call feature). They let you send free messages (including picture messages) and are a more reliable option than regular international text messages. However the drawback with these apps is that they only let you send messages to other people who have the same app installed on their phones.
If you are sending a message from one iPhone to another, it will usually use iMessage which is free of charge as long as you have a data connection.
We prefer Telegram to Whats App as it is a nicer app and is more secure, but Whats App is much more popular and it is more likely that your friends and family may already have Whats App installed on their phones.
Topping up your credit
Although your T-Mobile USA mobile service comes with the features listed above, you may need to top up your credit if you are staying in the USA for longer than 29 days or if you need to make any calls or use other services that are not included in your chosen rate plan.
You will need to top up credit in the following situations:
- If you are staying in the USA for longer than a month. To continue your mobile service for an additional month after your first month you will need to top up USD $45 if you are on the 4GB Simply Prepaid plan, USD $55 if you are on the 6GB Simply Prepaid plan and USD $75 if you are on the T-Mobile ONE plan (without the international call feature) add an additional USD $15 to these prices if you have the international call feature.
- T-Mobile is fairly flexible if you want to upgrade to a higher plan. If you started out on one of the cheaper Simply Prepaid plans but have blown through your included high speed data allowance and don’t want to work with the slower throttled data speed, then you can call T-Mobile and upgrade to the T-Mobile ONE plan. You will first need to top up enough prepaid credit to make up the difference in the monthly cost between the two rate plans.
- If you want to send international text messages (these plans only include text messages to US mobile phones, although you have unlimited international text messages if you have added the international call feature). We normally recommend that you use a messaging app such as Telegram or Whats App instead, as this is more reliable than regular international text messages.
- If you have T-Mobile’s international calling package and want to call mobile phones outside the USA. The international call feature includes unlimited calls to landline phones in Australia, but does not include calls to mobile phones in Australia. You will need to add extra credit to cover the cost of calls to mobile phones in Australia (which are charged at 7¢/minute).
- If you want to make any other calls that are not included as a free call on one of T-Mobile’s monthly prepaid plans. This includes international calls as well as premium calls (for example, in case you want to vote for American Idol).
It is easy to top up your credit. You can top up online at ding.com, or you can buy T-Mobile refill cards from 90,000 locations throughout the United States including convenience stores, discount department stores, electronics shops, pharmacies, supermarkets and T-Mobile shops. Your credit is applied automatically when you top up online at ding.com. If you buy a refill card from a retail store in the USA, follow the instructions on your receipt to redeem your voucher.
Details about topping up your account are included with your SIM card.
How long is this SIM card active for
Your SIM card includes up to 30 days of mobile service, however the exact validity will depend on your travel dates.
If you are travelling longer than 30 days you will need to top up your mobile (between USD $45 and USD $75 depending on your rate plan plus an extra USD $15 if you have the international call feature) in order to continue using your mobile service for an additional month. You will also need to let us know your return date so we can ensure that your service will remain active for the entire duration of your stay in the USA.
It is very important that you give us accurate travel dates and that you let us know if your travel dates change.
You need an unlocked phone that is compatible with T-Mobile’s USA mobile network. Your phone must be compatible with the 1900MHz 3G network used in the USA and you will get faster data and better coverage if it is also compatible with LTE bands 4 and 12.
Many phones sold in Australia and New Zealand will work on LTE band 4, which will give you faster data in most large cities; but only the Apple iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, SE, 7 and 7 Plus, the Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge will work on LTE band 12, which gives you expanded coverage in rural areas.
We don’t recommend using a phone that only works on 2G data speeds in the USA – you will have patchy coverage as T-Mobile is in the process of switching off their 2G network.