Ready SIM is a newish (launched late last year) T-Mobile MVNO that offers a unique product which looks like a good option for international visitors to the US or anyone who needs a temporary, disposable phone number.
Ready SIM calls its product a self activating SIM. Here's how it works. You buy a SIM from Ready SIM's Amazon storefront which offers worldwide shipping for about $10. US shipping is free. Activate your SIM when you arrive in the US by texting a US postal code to short code 7580 to get a phone number local to that zip code. If you don't text a postal code within 8 minutes of turning the phone on the SIM will activate itself automatically with a Chicago number (area code 773). Regardless of of the activation postal code the Ready SIM can be used anywhere in the US that T-Mobile provides service (map) with no additional roaming or long distance charges.
Each SIM comes with a plan good for a fixed length of time ranging from 3 to 30 days. All plans come with unlimited domestic voice minutes and unlimited domestic and international text messaging. Plans with data are also available.
Ready SIMs are available in the following denominations
|3 Day Unlimited Talk + Text||7 Day Unlimited Talk + Text||7 Day Unlimited Talk + Text + 500 MB Data||14 Day Unlimited Talk + Text||14 Day Unlimited Talk + Text + 1 GB Data||30 Day Unlimited Talk + Text||30 Day Unlimited Talk + Text + 2 GB Data|
Ready SIM uses T-Mobile's US network which uses the 1900 Mhz band for voice, messaging and 2G and Edge data. Until recently T-Mobile has used the 1700 AWS band for 3G/4G UTMS/HPSA/HPSA+. Very few non-US phones support the AWS band. In 2012, T-Mobile began deploying HSPA+ on the 1900 Mhz band that most non-US phones do support. The 1900 Mhz overlay now covers most major metropolitan areas. Unlike most US operators Ready SIM allows tethering.
Unactivated Ready SIMs are good for approximately two years. Ready SIMs are refillable but only at participating wireless kiosks which Ready SIM says are available throughout the US. But I've never seen a Ready SIM kiosk and the company doesn't provide a list of them. In addition, the SIM must be refilled within 72 hours after its plan expires. After 72 hours the SIM is permanently deactivated.
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