Internet access for non USA residents

Jul 8, 2004
SW Slovenia, Europe
Hi guys,

I will be in the States for whole May this year and since I am not going to buy BaronWx software at my first time there (too expensive), I will be probably accessing the internet through cingular phone.

If I want to use USA networks for GPRS (with who our mobile networks have contracts for roaming) then the price is of course pretty expensive. The solution would be getting just a SIM card for a cingular phone which would be for States, so the prices wolud be much lower for such access. Here in Slovenia we can get a SIM card no matter or I have a subscription with the provider or not, also I can get it if I weren't a resident of Slovenia.

Now I have some problems, am I able to buy it as a non-USA resident or do I have to get a "help" from an USA resident?
Are there any other options to get an access? I definatelly need an access on the road! In the cities I can get access through wifi hot spots.

Any kind of help, links or anything would be much appreciated! Thanks!

Best regards,

I'm afraid you'll find that it will be nearly impossible to do this without having someone in the US set it up for you.

You CAN get a SIM card for your phone, you CAN get pre-paid service that will allow you to make and receive phone calls, but these plans normally don't include much in the way of data. Cingular does have something called "MediaNet" on pre-paid, but it appears that this is only a "portal" to some selected online services and wouldn't be suitable. Here's some links for Cingulars "Pay-as-you-go" terms and MediaNet terms:

You must have an unlocked GSM phone to use a different SIM card (it sounds like you do); you will likely also need to ensure that your phone includes the 850 MHz band or you'll get spotty coverage.

I can only speak from my personal experience and what I've read online; in previous years when I was looking into this option I found I simply had to end up using my own plan and soak up all the roaming charges etc.

Maybe someone else here knows a loophole... I'm thinking that Stuart Robinson may also have some experience with this. Perhaps there's some business type data leasing service out there available for visitors to use.
Cingular offers no contract options for their wireless data cards. The only drawback is that you pay more for a card.

The better option would be to take advantage of Cingular's 30 day return policy. If you return the card before 30 days you only have to pay for he service you used. Just make sure to save all the boxes and papers. you'd also have to waste a couple hours on your first and last days setting this service up.

Although, you're probably going to need some sort of address in the states. And possibly ID.

Hopefully some of the other foreigners can answer these questions.
Originally posted by B Ozanne
Although, you're probably going to need some sort of address in the states. And possibly ID.

Hopefully some of the other foreigners can answer these questions.

That's the problem Bill. You need to be a resident to use those services. I've tried before and found that out.
My experience of trying to gain cell phone internet access for a non US resident over the years has been a poor one. The bottom line is you need an US address and a US registered credit card. I even once marched into a Cingular shop – offered to pay the whole year outright there and then and was still refused!

My best advice is to club together and get a Barron system – failing that DO NOT overlook WiFi access from your laptop – most Hotels now provide this … If you are desperate for a certain model plot then use your local Europe Cell phone (GPRS connection) but watch the costs as they are sky high.

Over all if you are used to chasing in Europe (where model data access is very poor) then you will succeed in the US with occasional internet access. Also don’t forget the libraries.

If it is just in the field radar plots that you require .. then Opt for the Baron – this is the most cost effective method for us overseas chasers.
Thanks for replies all!

Well EVDO could be a solution, definatelly better than roaming through cingular phone. But I guess I can rent it from one date to another, the best would be renting it day by day, depends when I need it.

So the only option is to get someone inside the States who would buy me a card. But you meant that PCMCIA card or SIM card for cingular phone? what ID? Would the USA resident have it, so I don't need to be worried?

I am used to check models and other stuff via SPC site, I get radar plots with GRl3. The Baron software is just too much, thats 2/3 price of my trip! Impossible for the first time. Well depends what all do I get with MTN.
Yes of course, I will use a combination of cingular phone and wifi access as well!

Does anyone have experiences with MediaNet ( access? Do they have any specific claims, I guess they have contracts and no prepaid card options or something like that. Haven't found anything on the site though.