Forum > Network operators > North America > Moving to US . Need advice on selecting Mobile Carrier and Plan .

Author Moving to US . Need advice on selecting Mobile Carrier and Plan .
T68 gold
Joined: Jun 05, 2007
Posts: 8
Posted: 2009-07-08 23:54
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Hi all ! Well I will soon be moving to the US for a little less than 2 years, and I need advice on selecting a mobile carrier, and a plan ..

My requirements are the following:
---> I need SIM only, no phone, as I plan to use my Nokia N73 there.
---> I need a GSM and 3G supported network
---> Should give me access to the internet on my mobile.


1) So which service is better ? AT&T or T-Mobile ?
2) Do either of the above two carriers offer video calling option ?
3) Please also tell me if I should just get the Prepaid plan, or should I get a contract. My mobile usage patterns are somewhat like this:
---> I generally don't call that much. Maybe on average, I may make about 0 to 5 calls a day, each lasting between a minutes or so, or maybe 3-4 minutes sometimes ..
---> I generally receive about the same number of calls per day too .. And of the same average duration too ...
---> I may call internationally (to my folks in home country) once every one or two days too, with each call lasting about 2 to 4 minutes .. Same goes for receiving international calls too.
---> Don't message much too. Maybe just 0 to 10 a day, and receiving about 0 ~5 messages a day ..
---> But my internet usage maybe a little higher. I like to remain connected to my email inbox, and use the internet on the move, so I may need an unlimited data plan (how much would that cost?)

So which should I go for ? Simple prepaid SIM only, or a SIM with a Contract ? Which would be cheaper for me ?

4) Lastly, I heard an AT&T SIM costs $25 ... Isn't that too much for just a SIM !??

Any help here would be greatly appreciated
Xperia X10 Black
Joined: Apr 05, 2003
Posts: 160
From: Texas, U.S.A.
Posted: 2009-08-03 16:07
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N73 only supports 2100 3G frequency. In the US, this will not work. For T-Mobile, you must have 1700 + 2100. for AT&T you must have 850 + 1900. So you can use your phone, but at EDGE speeds on both networks.

T-Mobile has better service and pricing.

AT&T has slightly better coverage.

AT&T has video calling, T-Mobile does not at this time.

T-Mobile has better international calling rates, messaging rates, data rates, and plan rates than AT&T.

Since you can use 3G with your N73, you may want to purchase a new unlocked phone that supports one of the networks 3G bands, or buy from the carrier (not recommended).

Good luck!
The New World Order in Mobile Technology is here...Sony Ericsson!
C905 Silver
Joined: Mar 24, 2008
Posts: 13
Posted: 2009-08-11 22:30
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For T-Mobile, you must have 1700 + 2100. for AT&T you must have 850 + 1900. So you can use your phone, but at EDGE speeds on both networks.

This is a little bit misleading.

Each "frequency" actually consists of two frequency bands, for uplink (phone to tower) and downlink (tower to phone).
While the T-Mobile USA uplink frequency is a subset of the international 2100 MHz band, the downlink is different (1700 MHz vs. ~ 1950 MHz, respectively). For simplicity, T-Mobile USA's 3G band is commonly referred to as just "1700 MHz" (so as to distinguish it from the international one).

In contrast, AT&T has two separate sets of 3G frequency bands, each consiststing of a uplink and downlink range. So "850 MHz" really means something like 780MHz uplink and 880 MHz downlink (I'm not sure about the actual numbers, but you get the point). Likewise, the "1900 MHz" frequency is actually broken down into an uplink/downlink.

The essence of your post is right, though. Both T-Mobile USA and AT&T Wireless use 3G (as well as 2G/GSM) frequencies that are different from the world outside of the Americas. To get wordwide 3G coverage, you will need a so-called "Tri-Band UMTS" phone (there are currently no quad/pentaband phones available -- not to be confused with "quad band" in the context of 2G/GSM). The most common flavors are phones that support 900/2100 MHz for Europe and 1900 MHz for roaming on AT&T Wireless in the USA, or conversely 850/1900 MHz for AT&T plus 2100 MHz for roaming elsewhere.

Aside from the T-Mobile G1, not many phones support both T-Mobile USA's 1700 MHz band and the international 2100 MHz band.

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