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Use cell phone in the USA: How to do it?

If you want to use your cell phone in the USA, you need to know everything related to which services you can use and how to get them!

Julio Osuna

June 15, 2023

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When we are traveling around the world, there’s a question we will always have in mind: will my cell phone work at the destination I’m visiting? It is an excellent question for many of us, especially for those who travel a lot! Today, we will talk about using a cell phone in the USA, so if you plan to travel there soon, this is the place for you!

Besides knowing how to use your phone while traveling, we will give you some options to stay connected to the internet in the USA. You will learn about international plans and all the alternatives you have remotely. This will make it easier for you to choose the best solution!

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Will my phone work in the USA?

We might think that the simple answer to this question is yes. In fact, it is; all cell phones will work outside our home country. Still, there are several things that people need to consider when they also want to have mobile internet abroad.

No one wants to have a mobile phone without an internet connection. Two of the most used alternatives by travelers worldwide are the SIM card and virtual SIM card. To use one of these, it is essential to verify if our phone has open bands for international use.

The use of the frequencies is important because your phone must have available the bands in which the operators work in the USA. Incompatibility can affect your browsing speed and coverage, so before you get to your destination, it is good to look for this information. To help you, you can see some frequency bands used in the USA below:

  • 5G bands: 850 MHz (Band n5) 3.4 GHz (Band n2) 3.7 GHz (Band n77) 24 GHz (Band n258) 39 GHz (Band n260) 600 MHz (Band n71) 2.5 GHz (Band n41) 3.4 GHz (Band n2) 3.7 GHz (Band n77) 24 GHz (Band n258) 28 GHz (Band n261) 39 GHz (Band n260) 47 GHz (Band n262)
  • 4G bands: 700 MHz (Bands 12/17/29) 700 MH (Band 14) 850 MHz (Band 5), 1900 MHz (Band 2) 1700 MHz /2100 MHz (Bands 4/66) 2300 MHz (Band 30) 600 MHz (Band 71) 700 MHz (Band 12) 850 MHz (Band 5) 1700/2100 MHz (Bands 4/66) 1900 MHz (Band 2)
  • 3G bands: GSM/UMTS/HSPA+, 850 MHz (Band 5) and 1900 MHz (Band 2) 1700/2100 MHz (Band 4)

Do I need an international plan in the USA?

In this particular case, it will depend. People have many options to use out there, such as getting an international data plan. You must only confirm that your phone is not associated with a contract with your local operator. Otherwise, it will only have the use of international roaming as a data plan, which can be very expensive, so it is always better to use alternatives.

There are other alternatives to international plans, such as renting a pocket WiFi, although having this device with you at all times can be a hassle. Some travelers think they can find public WiFi networks throughout the USA, but these are unstable and unsafe for your personal information. 

For this reason, international SIM cards and virtual SIMs have become increasingly important in the market, giving even unlimited data options to interested tourists.

>You might want to know how to move around in the Comic-Con<

What are the International plans options for using your cellphone in the USA?

Up to this point, we have already mentioned different services people might come across when they intend to travel to the USA. There are many options for people to use, and that’s something that can even help us a lot.

That’s why we want to discuss the different services we can find out there. If, by any chance, this is something you would like to know more about, then you came to the right place due to everything we will tell you here, especially if you travel around the world frequently!

Unlimited data eSIM for the USA

eSIM with unlimited data for the USA
International travel eSIM for the USA. Source: Holafly.

For those who don’t know or haven’t heard about virtual SIM cards, this service is similar to traditional SIM cards. They are totally digital, which means it won’t take any physical space on the cellphone for the eSIM to work.

Still, there are some things people need to be aware of. For digital SIMs to work, they also need to be installed on a device that supports this new trend in consumer tech, which happens to be last-gen devices in this case. You can check if your phone has the technology available in Holafly’s updated compatibility list.

For example, it is very easy to purchase, it doesn’t require physical space on the cellphone, the activation process is done with a QR code, and it offers unlimited cellular data! As for service, we can tell that Holafly’s USA eSIM travel has the best coverage and speed in the country, thanks to the support of T-Mobile network. As for their data packages, you can find options from one day to up to 90, starting at prices of up to $6.

SIM Card for the USA

Now, it’s time to talk about a familiar face for many of us. When it comes to using a SIM card, we can’t forget that these can now be used for traveling purposes, which is essential to know!

Locally, you can find a USA prepaid SIM cards from some carriers in the USA. Options from AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon can range from $25 to $60, depending on the amount of data and additional services you include.

These three carriers have physical stores and branches throughout the country. It is common to find alternatives in franchises such as Walmart, 7-Eleven, or Best Buy. Shopping malls, supermarkets, electronics stores, and even international airports will have SIM cards for the USA from some operators. 

When you buy locally, you must register the SIM card as required by local processes. This can be time-consuming, and to avoid this, you can use online stores to buy international SIM cards more easily.

Pocket WiFi for the USA

We can tell you many things about Pocket WiFi for USA devices for those who haven’t heard much about them. These devices were pretty famous back in the day when eSIM and SIM cards weren’t so common or popular!

People can either rent a device or buy it, but it is better to rent it to avoid issues with it. The only thing is that they can be pretty expensive, being this the main disadvantage of the service as one Pocket WiFi can cost up to $349.99, and you have to carry it wherever you go, which can be somehow annoying.

As for advantages, these devices can be used in most countries worldwide, but that’s not something we can say is impressive nowadays. We can say that Cello Mobile is one of those providers we can rely on, but for only a week of usage, it costs $350, which includes delivery, insurance, and more.

Free WiFi in the USA

When we mention the USA, we can tell we can find lots of free WiFi hotspots to use out there. We can find these free spots in places such as restaurants, hotels, and even some malls!

The thing with free WiFi is that they aren’t always available, and it can even be dangerous to use on our cellphones as people could hack the WiFi and steal your personal information. It sounds crazy, but that’s something that can happen to everyone, and we also recommend not opening any personal accounts when using free WiFi, so keep that in mind!

Will my local Internet work in the USA?

The short answer to this question is it will depend on your cellular provider. If you have a cellular provider that allows people to use their services in a country such as the USA, you can enjoy the service, such as a Mexico data eSIM with access to roaming packages!

But, beware that overall, roaming services tend to be pretty expensive in most cases. Companies tend to charge people around $10 for a day of international roaming, which can end up being a lot just to stay connected when traveling. That’s why we recommend using other services instead!

Use cell phone in USA with Three

For people living in the UK, one of the best-known operators in the region is Three. Three has international roaming options for the USA, known as Go Roam. With this, you can use your local data plan abroad with an extra charge of 7.2$ per day.

If you use up your local plan, you will have a flat rate per MB up to a monthly limit of $60. Also, within the usage policy, you can only have 12GB of high-speed browsing per month abroad. You can also find UK eSIM data plans in the United Kingdom offered by international operators such as Holafly

Use cell phone in the USA with Telstra

We also have as a reference Telstra the Australian phone company with which you can have roaming to the USA. This operator sets rates according to zones. The USA is in Zone 2 with a daily rate of 10$ to use data abroad.

You can consume up to a maximum of 1GB per day to navigate and also have unlimited calls and SMS. Telstra limits the user to only being able to use continuous top-ups for up to 31 days, so you can spend up to $310 for roaming with the phone.

What is the best option for using your cell phone in the USA?

Now that we know all of what we have said here, maybe it’s time for people to choose which service they will use when traveling. For us, we can tell the Holafly eSIM unlimited data USA is among the best options to use.

As this option is very easy to get, cheaper than other alternatives, and offers a solid service when traveling!

Frequently asked questions about using your cellphone in the USA

Does Oppo’s cell phone work in the USA?

Of course, you can use your Oppo phone in the USA if it does not have a country lock or still has a contract with a carrier. These phones usually work better with local AT&T and T-Mobile networks, so with an eSIM from Holafly, you can connect without problems, thanks to their support.

Will my Xiaomi cell phone work in the USA?

Something similar happens with Xiaomi. As long as your phone has open bands and can be used internationally, there is no problem with connecting in the USA. AT&T and T-Mobile provide the most extensive frequency range in the USA, so it is more likely that your phone will work with these carriers or international options that use these networks as support.

How to register my cellphone for use in the USA?

Generally, the registration process is required when you purchase a SIM card with a local operator. They will take your personal data and may need to confirm the IMEI of your phone. You will usually have assistance from the staff at the store where you purchase the SIM card. You can avoid these processes by purchasing an eSIM with Holafly for this destination! Contract free and just a click away on their website.