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Why are U.S. Prepaid GSM SIM Cards so Limited and so Expensive?



 
 
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  #21  
Old July 10th 03, 03:35 PM
Steven M. Scharf
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"Cell What?" wrote in message
...
Why you asking us ?, your the "Expert" lol





"sfbacellexpert" wrote in message
om...
Why are U.S. Prepaid GSM SIM Cards so Limited and so Expensive?

-AT&T does not sell prepaid GSM cards at all, and rumors are
that their upcoming "prepaid" GSM will have a hefty monthly
fee.

-Cingular sells SIM cards for the western region only and they
don't work Nationwide, but at least the price is relatively
reasonable at $45 including a $30 airtime credit
"http://cellularoutlet.com/pacwirprepdi.html"

-T-Mobile charges $100 for a prepaid card with 125 minutes of
airtime, but at least it works across the country.

Isn't there a big market for reasonably priced prepaid
SIM cards for visitors from other GSM countries? Or
are they afraid of losing hefty international roaming
fees or that U.S. customers will take advantage of
this service?

In Taiwan I can walk into almost any 7-11 and buy a
prepaid SIM card for about $10, with about 100 minutes
of airtime.

As it stands now, a visitor to the U.S. is better off
buying a Tracfone or signing up with eCallPlus than
buying a T-Mobile or Cingular SIM. Not only is it
cheaper than a prepaid SIM card, the coverage is far
better since it includes AMPS, and they can always sell
the handset to someone when they're done with it, or save
it for the next trip and then re-activate it.

The GSM trade association should encourage the U.S.
GSM carriers to rectify this problem.

Steve
"http://sfbacell.com"
San Francisco Bay Area Cellular Carrier Comparison






  #22  
Old July 10th 03, 03:37 PM
Steven M. Scharf
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"Cell What?" wrote in message
...
Why you asking us ?, your the "Expert" lol


Once in a while someone knows something that I don't; it's rare
but it happens. I can make an educated guess as to why the
carriers don't want to compete against other prepaid services,
or offer a service that the other prepaid services can't.


  #23  
Old July 10th 03, 03:40 PM
Steven M. Scharf
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"AndreA" wrote in message

a.k.a. "tri-band" :P


If available in Euorpe, they should be buying quad band, as 800 Mhz GSM
is being deployed in the U.S. as well as the current 1900 Mhz.


  #24  
Old July 10th 03, 04:36 PM
John Navas
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[POSTED TO alt.cellular.cingular - REPLY ON USENET PLEASE]

In nk.net on Thu, 10 Jul
2003 13:37:47 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf" wrote:

"Cell What?" wrote in message
...


Why you asking us ?, your the "Expert" lol


Once in a while someone knows something that I don't; it's rare
...


ROTFL!

--
Best regards,
John Navas http://navasgrp.home.att.net/ HELP PAGES FOR
CINGULAR GSM + ERICSSON PHONES: http://navasgrp.home.att.net/#Cingular
  #25  
Old July 10th 03, 05:53 PM
AndreA
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"Steven M. Scharf" , con una bandiera
della rinata Fiorentina in una mano e lo striscione "MEGLIO LIBERI
ALL'INFERNO CHE SCHIAVI IN PARADISO" nell'altra, cosi' parlo':

Depends on where you go=20


I have relatives in LA, SF, San Diego and Sacramento... :-)

... and if you really need coverage everywhere.


No, I'm lucky with my italian network that is offering a good service
for secreatary... when I have a message in my voice-box I can see it
by a special webpage or downloading from pop3 :P

It will work in big to medium sized cities, though there will be more
areas of no coverage, especially in the suburbs. If you go to a place
like Yosemite you will have no GSM coverage, in fact all you'll have
is AMPS coverage (the old analog standard).


ok

If you go north of San Francisco, say to Mendocino countiy, it's even
more complicated. There is GSM coverage, but only for AT&T
customers, Cingular and T-Mobile customers can't use the network
except for emergency calls.


why? Another special network without roaming??

If you consider it a necessity, i.e. in case of emergency out in the
boonies, then don't get a GSM SIM card, get a TDMA/AMPS or
CDMA/AMPS prepaid phone.


ok, when i'll go in California I'll call you before to take the plane
:-)

--=20
Andrea de Florence, www.prepaidgsm.net Staff
PrepaidGSM: a new domain and a exclusive forum only for you
  #26  
Old July 10th 03, 11:14 PM
John Navas
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[POSTED TO alt.cellular.cingular - REPLY ON USENET PLEASE]

In on 9 Jul 2003 10:16:11
-0700, (sfbacellexpert) wrote:

Why are U.S. Prepaid GSM SIM Cards so Limited and so Expensive?

-AT&T does not sell prepaid GSM cards at all, and rumors are
that their upcoming "prepaid" GSM will have a hefty monthly
fee.


Yet more nonsense, as you would have discovered if you'd even done a modest
amount of homework http://attws.com/gophone/:

For GSM prepaid (called "GoPhone"), ATTWS will sell you a SIM for $25, or a
SIM plus a Nokia 3590 for $70 (Web special), and you then sign up for whatever
plan you want on a month-to-month prepaid basis at standard rates. Charges
are deducted from a credit card, debit card, or bank account.

The entry point for someone coming to (say) San Francisco from out of the
country with a world standard phone would be $25 + $20 = $45 for a month of
coverage with 30/45 (national/local) anytime minutes. For $10 more ($25 + $30
= $55) the deal is much better: 300/350 (national/local) anytime minutes plus
unlimited night & weekend minutes.

In some ways it's a better deal than typical prepaid accounts, because you can
choose the plan and features you want. On the other hand, all minutes expire
at the end of the month, and you can't limit your financial liability.

--
Best regards,
John Navas http://navasgrp.home.att.net/ HELP PAGES FOR
CINGULAR GSM + ERICSSON PHONES: http://navasgrp.home.att.net/#Cingular
  #27  
Old July 11th 03, 12:08 AM
John Navas
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[POSTED TO alt.cellular.cingular - REPLY ON USENET PLEASE]

In on Thu, 10 Jul 2003 21:14:16 GMT,
John Navas wrote:

For GSM prepaid (called "GoPhone"), ATTWS will sell you a SIM for $25, or a
SIM plus a Nokia 3590 for $70 (Web special), and you then sign up for whatever
plan you want on a month-to-month prepaid basis at standard rates. Charges
are deducted from a credit card, debit card, or bank account.

The entry point for someone coming to (say) San Francisco from out of the
country with a world standard phone would be $25 + $20 = $45 for a month of
coverage with 30/45 (national/local) anytime minutes. For $10 more ($25 + $30
= $55) the deal is much better: 300/350 (national/local) anytime minutes plus
unlimited night & weekend minutes.


Corrections:

* The base GoPhone plan ($20/mo) actually has 80 anytime National Service Area
minutes.

* For $10 more ($55), it's actually 150 anytime National Service Area minutes.

I had failed to notice that GoPhone rate plans
http://attws.com/gophone/rates.html are different from regular plans.

Domestic Roaming costs 25 cents/min.

--
Best regards,
John Navas http://navasgrp.home.att.net/ HELP PAGES FOR
CINGULAR GSM + ERICSSON PHONES: http://navasgrp.home.att.net/#Cingular
  #28  
Old July 11th 03, 01:34 AM
Todd Allcock
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"Steven M. Scharf" wrote in message rthlink.net...

Oh, please. CDMA and TDMA are used by the majority of U.S. people,
and SMS works fine, even between carriers and technologies. SMS
is less popular over here for other reasons. It's hard for me to
use SMS in the car while I'm drinking coffee, eating a bagel,
shaving, and reading the newspaper.


That's not the reason for the lack of SMS popularity, IMHO-
it's a cost issue. Why fumble with typing a message on my
keypad for 10-cents a pop when I can call you for "free"
(assuming I haven't used up the pile of minutes in my voice
plan!) In the US, "talk is cheap" like the old saying says.


Ha, ha.


Seriously, I've had two Cingular GSM accounts in the past. I
couldn't deal with the coverage limitations, though their prices
at the time were excellent compared to the other carriers. The
coverage was much worse than the TDMA carrier I switched from.


I don't think coverage is a TDMA/CDMA/GSM issue- it's an
800/1900 one. All else being equal, the 800 carriers in any
given area dwarf the coverage of the 1900MHz ones.

If Cingular was 1900 AMPS (I know there's no such thing!)
where you are, it still wouldn't cover as well as Verizon's
800MHz coverage.

In preparation for my move from KC to Denver next month
I took one of my old Cingular TDMA phones and activated it
with a Denver number with Consumer Cellular (an AT&T
TDMA reseller). AT&T promises no roaming in KC on their
National "On-network" plans (they're 1900 GSM in KC but
have a little TDMA on that network to support their TDMA
one-rate plans) but my phone constantly switches from
AT&T to "Extended Area" (Cingular's 800MHz TDMA)
because the AT&T service is spotty and weak, particularly
downtown and in the suburbs. God help their KC-based
GSM customers! AT&T service is great in Denver (800MHz
there)- at least as good as any service can be in such a
mountainous area, I guess! ;-)
  #29  
Old July 11th 03, 02:03 AM
MikeWrite
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"John Navas" wrote in message news:IGkPa.662

For GSM prepaid (called "GoPhone"), ATTWS will sell you a SIM for $25, or

a
SIM plus a Nokia 3590 for $70 (Web special), and you then sign up for

whatever
plan you want on a month-to-month prepaid basis at standard rates.

Charges
are deducted from a credit card, debit card, or bank account.
In some ways it's a better deal than typical prepaid accounts, because you

can
choose the plan and features you want. On the other hand, all minutes

expire
at the end of the month, and you can't limit your financial liability.


I considered and rejected this almost immediately, deciding to go with the
free2go plan.

1) On a tight budget, those automatic account debits can be a bitch.

2) As you note, there's no rollover with GoPhone, whereas so long as you
keep your account current, your free2go balance carries forward forever.
And you can do that for as little as 10 bucks every 45 days.

3) The GSM coverage area is still quite limited. More to the point, so's
the possible roaming area - I'm in the Southeast - with huge areas having no
service at all. (That's also the trouble with the otherwise appealing
Virgin Mobile prepaid service - everything's local, no roaming charges at
all, but only within the Sprint PCS network.) Many people get prepaid
phones for use in emergencies, and if my car's broken down on some back
road, I for damn sure want my cell to work. Sure, there's no guarantee any
cell will work in a rural area, but at least I've got a better chance with
my free2go service, where I have access to a huge TDMA/AMPS coverage/roaming
area.

The only real advantage I can see of GoPhone over free2go is you can use the
WAP. But here again, most buyers of prepaid phones are less interested in
bells and whistles than they are in having basic cell service available, at
a reasonable cost. And at least for me, I really could care less that I
can't go browsing the Web on my cell.

GoPhone is much to AT&T's advantage, however, as they are more likely to get
a steady monthly income stream from it, and they are pushing it. I recently
saw a GoPhone sales table set up at the end of the checkout lines in an area
supermarket. And in the AT&T store where I bought my free2go kit, you'll
see GoPhone prominently displayed on the wall, whereas there's no sign of
free2go - when I asked for it, the salesman disappeared into the back room
to get my kit. Not to mention that when I first said I was interested in
buying a free2go kit, the salesman said, "You mean the GoPhone?"
Noooooooo - I mean free2go, damyereyes.

I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them phase out free2go altogether, and
make GoPhone's automatic monthly debit their only "prepaid" option. I'll
bet a lot of potential prepaid customers will just decide they might as well
get a contract, to get a cooler phone and more options, because the
price/service diff is much narrower than with free2go. Even if that means
the credit-challenged have to fork over a few hundred as a deposit, they
might just do it. All of which is also to AT&T's advantage.

Mike



  #30  
Old July 11th 03, 02:28 AM
Halogen8
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I believe this is the truth. Talk is cheap, and sms's is more cumbersome
and costs more (assuming you haven't used up your minutes). SMS's need to
be cheaper before people will use them regularly. Just my opinion.

"Todd Allcock" wrote in message
om...
"Steven M. Scharf" wrote in message

rthlink.net...

Oh, please. CDMA and TDMA are used by the majority of U.S. people,
and SMS works fine, even between carriers and technologies. SMS
is less popular over here for other reasons. It's hard for me to
use SMS in the car while I'm drinking coffee, eating a bagel,
shaving, and reading the newspaper.


That's not the reason for the lack of SMS popularity, IMHO-
it's a cost issue. Why fumble with typing a message on my
keypad for 10-cents a pop when I can call you for "free"
(assuming I haven't used up the pile of minutes in my voice
plan!) In the US, "talk is cheap" like the old saying says.



 




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