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The Ultimate Guide to Buying a USA Prepaid SIM Card for Travelers

Traveling to the United States can be an exciting adventure, but staying connected with loved ones and navigating the digital world while abroad requires a bit of preparation. One of the essentials for any traveler is ensuring they have a reliable mobile connection. This guide will help you understand your options for USA prepaid SIM cards, focusing on major carriers, MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators), and the best purchasing strategies.

Major Carriers: AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon

For those planning to explore not just the USA but also neighboring countries like Mexico and Canada, opting for a SIM card from one of the three major carriers—AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon—might be your best bet. While these carriers offer extensive coverage within the USA, they also provide free roaming in Mexico and Canada, making them an ideal choice for travelers covering all three countries.


  • International Calling: It's important to note that free international calling is not included. An additional fee of $15 per month is typically required for this service.

  • Device Compatibility: These SIM cards are compatible with AT&T,T-mobile, Verizon or any unlocked handset, ensuring you can stay connected regardless of your device.

MVNOs: A Cost-effective Alternative for International Calling

If keeping in touch with family and friends back home is your top priority, and you're looking for free international calling options, MVNOs such as H2O Wireless, Red Pocket, Gen Mobile, Lycamobile, Mint Mobile, and Ultra Mobile offer compelling plans.

  • H2O Wireless and Red Pocket run on AT&T's network, making them a great choice for those looking for compatibility with AT&T or any unlocked handsets.

  • Gen Mobile, Lycamobile, Mint Mobile, and Ultra Mobile operate on T-Mobile's network. These are suitable for travelers who prefer T-Mobile's coverage or have unlocked 4G (or higher) handsets.


Lycamobile stands out among T-Mobile MVNOs for offering plans that include free calls from the USA to over 85 countries, making it an excellent option for international travelers.

Where to Buy Your USA Prepaid SIM Card

Purchasing your USA prepaid SIM card before leaving your home country is highly recommended for convenience and cost savings. Here’s why:

Travel Retailers and International Airports

  • Many travel retailers worldwide sell USA prepaid SIM cards.

  • International airports often have kiosks where you can purchase a SIM card upon arrival. However, buying in advance is usually more cost-effective.

Online Purchases: AH Prepaid Inc.

  • An alternative is to buy a prepaid eSIM or physical SIM online from retailers like AH Prepaid Inc. They offer free shipping and do not require an additional activation fee, contrary to purchasing from a retailer in the USA, where activation fees range from $10 to $35.


Whether you opt for a SIM card from a major carrier for its roaming options in North America or prefer the international calling features of an MVNO, the key is to purchase your SIM card before you embark on your journey. This approach saves you from unnecessary fees and ensures you’re connected from the moment you land. Remember, staying connected is not just about convenience; it’s about safety, navigation, and keeping those memorable moments a message away from your loved ones.

Safe travels and stay connected!

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