Pay as you go USA?


Standard Member
Dec 10, 2002
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Does anyone know of a good way to get fixed up with a pay as u go in the USA. I have looked at various sites, know I can buy a sim card here for about £75 and activate over there. However I do not currenlty have a tri band. I would therefore need to buy this as well. I have looked at US sites and cannot find what I would call a true pay as you go although I am sure they must exist. It would be usful if the phone stayed active whether used or not (not asking a lot!). A good offer on a tri band in the UK would be a start where there is a refund of subcription etc. Any pointers in the right direction appreciated. The place I visit is Nevada should that make any difference for networks.

I did a bit of research on this myself. For all I could find out, PAYG services DO exist - but they all expire if you don't keep topping them up at regular intervals. They just don't seem to have anything as 'forgiving' as we do.

Of course, if you only intend to use the thing for true emergencies, you could always see if your UK network operator allows US roaming. It's ludicrously expensive to use for voice calls. Texts are more, but not too ridiculous. I guess, OK for very occasional use and/or short calls.

You will indeed need a triband handset. They tend to be more expensive than dual band ones. will need to obtain your handset 'SIM free' if you are going to use a US SIM card. Get a handset from (eg) Orange and it will be locked to work only with an Orange SIM. So, you'll need to pay retail price for it, and get it from an independent Phone store. Not necessary if you instead decide to use 'roaming' on your UK account.
Virgin do PAYG in the USA, have a look at

It does expire tho! what about Virgin UK PAYG, still expensive but you need tri-band because they use a different frequency to GSM and Virgin UK!

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