I understand from reading that I can get the 150MB/day by either being on the "Travel Inclusive" customer or by buying £5/day "Travel" bolt-on, for use in the US.
(plus calls sound like they're best done by adding the £3/mth "International" bolt-on, to get cheaper calls/texts.)
But what options (if any) do I have for getting more from either O2 or elsewhere?
Am I basically forced into buying an eSIM for my iPhone XS Max from say AT&T while in NYC, and then somehow forcing all my data use (and using it for local calls on the second line) over that? Or is there some other 'magically easier' way of dealing with this now?
Need help ASAP; going there in 48H!
Solved! Go to Solution.
$50 is quite a bit, would you not be better just getting a pay as go sim from 3 in the UK?
--------------------- PSA ---------------------
Just got back from NYC, here's a few pointers I found...
1) eSIM users.
Use T-Mo, as they support eSIM on prepaid, while ATT seemingly don't.
2) Use the T-Mo app to get a line, don't waste time going to a store.
Just download the "T-Mobile eSIM" app; no need to go to any store. This can be downloaded from the UK iOS store (and most other iOS stores worldwide). It may/may not have to be set-up on landing in the US though (to be on a US network when setting-up – not sure though, so you could try before leaving the UK??). The app has loads of details. All you need to enter is a US zip of anywhere you want (I just used "10001" for NYC central zip, though I think you could get away with entering a random Delaware zip and pay no sales tax, so try!), all other info is optional (just ignore entering it!).
The T-Mo (per 30-day) plan options I had (using NYC "10001" zip code, sales tax rate 8.875%):
a) "Simply Prepaid" $40 plan: Unlimited talk/text + 10GB data: $43.55 ($40+sales tax) / ~£35.
b) "One Prepaid" $70 plan: Unlimited talk/text/data: $76.21 ($70+sales tax) / ~£60.
I used the $40 one which more than covered my week there. I think it doesn't allow tethering though, or maybe it restricts it to 3G speeds (can't remember?), so read the T+C's.
Make sure you go into the Settings app and set-it up correctly. I turned off most of my O2 stuff as possible, and got data to connect via the T-Mo network. The settings I found a bit confusing though, so be aware of that.
Note that, AFAIU, if someone tries to call you on your O2 number, you'll trigger the £4.99/day O2 charge in most instances on top of the T-Mo you paid. If travelling with a friend/relative, use third-party apps to contact each other while abroad, instead.
TIP: turn OFF or remove the US line in device settings before it connects ASAP on landing in UK, in case it conencts to a UK network or something! (I did this, and the line remains available in Settings, presumably I could re-use it if going back to the US or something??).
5) Why foreign SIM?
- While you could use one from Three, that's currently not eSIM-able yet to start with, so you couldn't just have it with your local O2 number on the same device.
- Additionally while you're travelling you often have to call a US number to sort bookings or other issues out while away, and US number calls are included in the foreign SIM plan price. It makes things a lot less stress, knowing you can call/text intra-country while there without having extra call costs (US love their 'please hold' systems too, so that's gonna get pricy if paying the standard £2.00/min!).
Let the thread know if I missed something on pricing/settings, as it'd greatly help others (including myself TBH!) – this stuff gets soooo complicated quickly (what am I gonna be charged for exactly?...settings that are best done?...avoiding faffing around?...etc... !!).
The international bolt on only works from UK.
You need an AT&T or TMobile sim whilst in the USA if you want to use data.
Thanks to both for responses. 🙂
Sorry you're right about the International bolt-on (I think I meant I was going to update my package to include it for phoning US et al. from the UK in future; doh! ...I'm still on Simplicity so haven't bothered upgrading in years!)
Is the US sim also the best way of calling US landlines/mobiles as well while there? (So basically I'm in NYC and need to call a US landline or mobile number.)
Can I order a US eSIM while in the UK, or best done when I arrive?
It's best done when you arrive and yes, it's certainly the way to go for calling US numbers. @Bambino can advise as to whether you need a passport to get a sim but still best to wait until you arrive. I wouldn't be looking online to pre-purchase to be honest.
Thanks again. God what a complete rigmarole, in this day and age. Really well done O2 for adding Travel bolt-ons that are basically worthless in real-world usage!
Why stay on O2, they seem the worst at everything AFAICT...
EE: for fastest national data speeds (certainly in London area, but most of UK too).
Three: for best inl data speeds and plans, and intl call plans.
Am I missing anything?
We did have a post on here a few days back when someone went to the US. They were with O2, and the remaining family members were on EE and Three. All the phones worked well on EE and Three networks. The O2 phone wouldn't even connect to anything data related.
Veritas Numquam Perit
Point confirmed. So there really is no reason to stay on O2 then.