Once you arrive in the US, just go into the next shop right on the airport. They may not have the cheapest options compared to shops downtown (which you have to find first), but they should be knowledgeable about the needs of international travellers. Also, you could contact your local ISP about their international plans…
Hello! I’m an Irish Fairphone 2 user and possibly will go to the USA this summer. I would use a US SIM. I’ve been doing a bit of reading to try and figure out if my phone will work, and thought it might be helpful to share what I’ve found. This is my summary of the situation as I understand it, building on what various people have said above and adding some of my own research.
Of the big US phone companies, Verizon and Sprint are not compatible at all with the FP2. AT&T and T-Mobile are somewhat compatible, but both of them will only have partial service.
2G: AT&T no longer have a 2G network.
3G: Will work in some places. In some areas, AT&T uses the frequency of 1900 MHz (also known as Band 2), and in other places uses 850 MHz (Band 5). 1900 / Band 2 is compatible with the Fairphone 2, 850 / Band 5 is not. Frustratingly, I can’t find a map anywhere that outlines which areas are which. I phoned AT&T technical support and the person on the phone said that the map they have access to doesn’t say which areas are which. There is this crowdsourced map, but if any of towers have since been changed, some of the information may be out of date.
4G: AT&T’s 4G bands are not compatible with the FP2.
2G: Will work in places covered by their 2G network. T-Mobile uses 1900 MHz, which is compatible with the Fairphone 2. Seems like there is coverage for most big cities, but by no means the whole country. Also, it sounds like the quality of the service is not fantastic.
3G: Will work in some places. In some areas, T-Mobile uses 1900 MHz (Band 2), and in other places uses 1700 / 2100 (Band 4). Band 2 (1900) is compatible with the FP2, Band 4 is not (a phone needs to be compatible with both 1700 and 2100 to use the band). In some places T-Mobile has no 3G coverage at all. Here is a map that allows you to check what bands are used where.
4G: T-Mobile’s 4G bands are not compatible with the FP2.
There are lots of smaller “virtual” phone networks (eg CREDO Mobile, Mint Mobile), but most (all?) of them use the physical infrastructure of the big ones. The ones that run on Verizon or Sprint infrastructure presumably won’t work at all, and the ones that use AT&T or T-Mobile will have the same compatibility restrictions as if you were a direct customer.
If you’re roaming, the same physical frequency restrictions would apply, so I presume that whether your phone will work would depend on whether your home network has a roaming agreement with a compatible US network.
I suppose all of this explains why willmyphonework.net says “Device is compatible with some of the network carriers frequencies. It may work.”
I’m not an expert in this stuff, and this is also my first post in the forums, so I’m open to correction on anything here! Hope it’s helpful!