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morgaine7


Jun 8, 2010, 5:18 PM

Post #1 of 30 (13372 views)

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Mexican cell phone in the US?

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Searching the forums gets me info about using US cell phones in Mexico, but not the opposite. Is it possible to take my Mexican phone (Nokia 3555) to the US, swap the Telcel SIM card for a US one to use during my two weeks there, then swap back when I come home? If so, how expensive and complicated is it, and will the SIM card be good for future trips? I visit the US once or twice a year.

Many thanks,
Kate



johnv

Jun 8, 2010, 6:09 PM

Post #2 of 30 (13356 views)

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Re: [morgaine7] Mexican cell phone in the US?

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The phone has to be an unblocked one, and it's cheap and extremely uncomplicated.

I have two SIM cards myself, one Mexican and one US, both pay as you go. It ends up costing me US$5/month for both. Although I hardly ever make cell phone calls or receive them. My problem is the incredible amount of accumulated air time amassing on my Telcel SIM.

I have a T-mobile SIM for the US. It didn't cost much and I bought it online. With T-mobile the first year, I believe, requires monthly airtime additions, but after that you only have to add time once a year, after you have become a "preferred customer".


johanson / Moderator


Jun 8, 2010, 7:22 PM

Post #3 of 30 (13344 views)

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Re: [johnv] Mexican cell phone in the US?

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Because I have a landline in the US, I bring my Telcel phone with me, to receive the very occasional call people make to my Mx cell # I would get while in the US. Sadly the roaming charges are quite high.

I can also use it to make local and long distance calls while in the US but because of the high per minute roaming charges, I only do so in an emergency.

So no in my case, I don't want to change chips. Rather I want to keep my Mexican # when in the US. And then use it there as little as possible.


morgaine7


Jun 8, 2010, 10:01 PM

Post #4 of 30 (13336 views)

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Re: [johanson] Mexican cell phone in the US?

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Thanks, guys. Maybe I should explain that the only reason I want a cell phone with me in the US is in case of a problem, e.g. to call my family if I'm delayed en route. Last time this happened, I called collect from an airport pay phone there and their phone bill was charged US $66+!! If this happens in Mexico, I know I can buy one of those LADATEL or whatever prepaid cards and use it in a public phone, but I don't know if any such thing exists in the US.

Kate


johanson / Moderator


Jun 8, 2010, 10:57 PM

Post #5 of 30 (13331 views)

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Re: [morgaine7] Mexican cell phone in the US?

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The only reason I take my Mexican (Carlos Slim) Telcel cell phone with me to the US is for an emergency. So far, during the last 6 years I haven't had an emergency, but I have received a couple of very important phone calls from Mexico, that within 60 seconds I terminated and then phoned back at a much cheaper rate using my VoIP phone.

One of those calls was from a very good friend from Mexico who had moved to the USA. Had I not taken my cell phone with me, I would not have received her phone call or learned that both she and her husband were doing well.


DavidHF

Jun 9, 2010, 7:47 AM

Post #6 of 30 (13318 views)

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Re: [johanson] Mexican cell phone in the US?

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Cell phones in Mexico are inexpensive. When we moved here 5 years ago I switched the US AT&T cellphone to prepaid, we use it when we go NOB, and of course it has our entire NOB contact list in it. We bought phones here and use the Amiga prepaid Telcel plan. One phone cost $250 pesos, the other $400. Each of the 3 serves its pupose economically.


rukus


Jul 26, 2010, 10:50 PM

Post #7 of 30 (13105 views)

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Re: [johanson] Mexican cell phone in the US?

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Have you thought of VOIP internet phones or does lack of broadband prevent that? Skype?
starchoiceinusa@gmail.com


RickS


Jul 27, 2010, 8:32 AM

Post #8 of 30 (13089 views)

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Re: [rukus] Mexican cell phone in the US?

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I'm not johanson, but in his post he did suggest that he uses VOIP services. The original post was about using/taking a Mexican cellphone to the US for, at least, emergency calls to and from Mexico.

With respect to VOIP in Mexico, it is widely used, at least in certain areas where there is a high concentration of NOB folks. It is mostly Vonage or Vonage-type carriers and, yes, Skype is prevalent too. But these uses are predominately for calls back to and/or from NOB, not within Mexico (typically), and thus do not replace the 'need' for a Mexican cellphone within. Broadband service at a speed sufficient enough for VOIP is widely available in Mexico.


johanson / Moderator


Jul 27, 2010, 10:18 AM

Post #9 of 30 (13081 views)

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Re: [RickS] Mexican cell phone in the US?

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You may not be me Rick :) But I couldn't have said it better myself. When I go North, I have a local land-line, but I take my VoIP and My Mexican cell with me.

It all depends upon your needs. I see many business people who travel between the US and/or Canada and Mexico wearing two cell phones, one for Mexico and one for the North.

I see others who occasionally go to one country or the other who simply use their regular cell phone and pay very heavy roaming rates when in the other country.

Each person has different needs and what works for me, could very well not be best for you.

Gee I'm a big help :) Sorry


(This post was edited by johanson on Jul 27, 2010, 10:20 AM)


rukus


Jul 27, 2010, 11:09 AM

Post #10 of 30 (13068 views)

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Re: [RickS] Mexican cell phone in the US?

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I'm finding vonage to pricey. With my 800 number for my starchoice sales, they are charging me $37 us dollars each month. There are better deals on the web. I also have magic jack but seldom use it.
starchoiceinusa@gmail.com


Ustlach


Jul 27, 2010, 1:28 PM

Post #11 of 30 (13053 views)

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Re: [rukus] Mexican cell phone in the US?

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I too am completely unhappy with the price of my Vonage service. I had a 500 minute plan and called to cancel it because I never came close to using 500 minutes (20-50 minutes a month was my average) and so the girl who talks people out of cancelling service put me on a 100 minute plan for $9.99 per month. Of course, when they bill me it is $17.93, almost double, and I still use fewer than 10-20 minutes per month.

But for the life of me, I do not know what else to do. MajicJack is a pile of poop. I am sure it is the bandwidth problem, and I am not going to pay what it would cost to increase my bandwidth. I don't have the lowest option from TelMex, but the one just above it. I think 1 meg. Vonage works fine, but MJ sucks. I tried using it to call my brother in Idaho while at my daughter's in Kansas...pure crap. About one word in ten got through to him.

And I am not going to buy anymore hardware in order to get a Skype system. I could get buy with simple, out-going Skype, and I used it for a long time when I first came to Mexico and it worked well, then suddenly it began to misbehave and would mute the mic as soon as the party on the other end answered, so they never heard anything I said. None of my attempts to communicate with Skype about the problem ever resolved the matter. They just said they were aware of the problem and were working on it.

I can text my daughter in the USA with my Mexican cell phone and it seems pretty cheap. She texts me back, always very short messages, and says she incurs no extra charges at all. I have not bothered to do a before and after test of my balance when texting her. I am convinced it is cheap. And I do it only once or twice a month, and never more than about 3-20 words.

I have a pay-as-you-go American cell phone that I bought at WalMart in the USA, cheaply, and the cheapest possible Mexican cell phone from Telcel. When I am NoB and need to call someone in Mexico, I use an MCI calling card that I bought at Costco in the states probably 10 years ago and my WalMart cell phone, or the motel phone, or the phone wherever I am staying. I just add $25 of time when I need it. It probably is not the cheapest way to call Mexico from the USA, but it is not bad.

I do wish there were some way to consolidate all of this into one service. I marvel at the people in the movies whom I see pop off an airplane anywhere in the world, whip out their Blueberry or Raspberry or Ipod, or whatever the hell it is, push one button and are instantaneously connected to someone on the other side of the world, clear as a bell. They can do all that in a fraction of the time it takes me to locate the correct phone, wait for it to power up, search for the number I need to call in my list, dial it, wait for it to connect, and someone to answer.

If it's in the movies, I think I can expect offers for it to be in my mailbox soon.


rukus


Jul 27, 2010, 2:18 PM

Post #12 of 30 (13046 views)

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Re: [Ustlach] Mexican cell phone in the US?

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I am trying to find the site which was on one of the web hosting companies that offered voip for $15 us a month and 5 bucks more for inbound 800 number on a monthly basis alll equip (router) supplied free. Don't know what the bandwidth is for mj but they probably don't intend for it to go international. My vonage is the 24.95 with all local and long distance FREE plus 5 more for my inbound with 100 free minutes each month. Do you not have this plan available?
starchoiceinusa@gmail.com


RickS


Jul 27, 2010, 2:28 PM

Post #13 of 30 (13044 views)

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Re: [Ustlach] Mexican cell phone in the US?

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Well, Ustlach, it is not only in the movies..... I have several friends who have the International service it takes to do just what you outlined. But it ain't cheap, especially for tight-wads like me (and possibly you). If you only make 10-20 minutes of calls per month your per minute rate would be...... well real high!

As for HappyJack.... sorry to hear you have such bad luck with yours. While I don't use mine except when I am on the road I rarely have a problem talking. Having said that, it is software-based and I find it is not consistently as good a product as, say, my vonage-like service. As with any VOIP service, a reliable bandwidth AND a good QOS (quality of service 'within' that bandwidth) is required. This (QOS) is where some service offerings fall apart, even though there appears to be sufficient bandwidth.

P.S. I suspect (but don't know for sure) that your $9.99/mo. plan is only if you pay it annually. If you pay month-to-month, it is higher. And of course no one's 'plan' gets by without paying some taxes and fees these days. But all-in-all paying $1.93 for a $9.99 plan does seem to be (shall we way) shady.

(This post was edited by RickS on Jul 27, 2010, 2:36 PM)


johanson / Moderator


Jul 27, 2010, 8:03 PM

Post #14 of 30 (13020 views)

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Re: [RickS] Mexican cell phone in the US?

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Many years ago Esperanza recommended that I try www.IconnectHere.com . I'm still using it and love it. Today I pay only $6.99 per month which includes a North of the Border number in the city of my choice (Seattle). I receive all of my calls for free, but when I phone north, I pay 2 cents per minute. These days, I average calling much less than 100 minutes per month on this VoIP account. Why? Because my Telmex phone package also includes free 100 minutes per month to the USA.

It's just that I want my relatives up North to have a US number for them to call. Although, I could use only my computer for making and receiving calls, I have a phone adaptor connected to my modem be I in Mexico or up North on Vancouver Island or in Seattle, which allows me to take and make my calls on the phone of my choice.


joaquinx


Jul 27, 2010, 9:20 PM

Post #15 of 30 (13011 views)

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Re: [johanson] Mexican cell phone in the US?

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I just love reading about people and their telephone systems. It's not that they have one or two systems: one for local calls and one for calls to the US or Canada. Some people and three or four and have tried and abandoned others. Old software or doggles just lying around gathering dust or old bits. Skype, MagicJack, Vontage, et al. I'm sitting here laughing and wondering what happens in some homes when the phone(?) rings and for what software/device they first reach. I, personally, have simplified my life, by having a cell phone with Skype on it, plus I have Skype on my iPod Touch and, of course, Skype on my laptop plus an old Netgear phone gathering dust in the box.I have missed a few calls when I hear a ringing sound especially when the tv is on and has a telephone ringing in the program.
_______
My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.


RickS


Jul 28, 2010, 10:31 AM

Post #16 of 30 (12989 views)

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Re: [joaquinx] Mexican cell phone in the US?

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"I have missed a few calls when I hear a ringing sound..."

Maybe it's the Netgear phone in the box..... (can you hear me now!?!)


Papirex


Jul 28, 2010, 10:36 AM

Post #17 of 30 (12989 views)

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Re: [joaquinx] Mexican cell phone in the US?

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I have mentioned it before, and you might want to put this link in your favorites in your laptop in case you need to make any phone calls while you are out of town. http://www.skype.com/intl/en/home




Calls are cheap using Skype, I still have a couple of Bucks worth of credit left of the original $10 Bucks worth (the minimum) that I bought 4 years ago. I can buy more time at any time. The credit expires every six months. There was no mention of it when I signed up with them, but Skype sends me an email reminder every 5 months about it, and they say they will send another in 3 weeks. There are several ways to preserve my credit, the easiest is to simply make a phone call to anyone. I used a separate microphone at first, my original Gateway laptop didn't have a built in mic, and the speakers, like a speakerphone, later, I used earbuds.

Skype Out is a good solution, if you need, or want, to make calls when out of town with a laptop, for less than 2 Cents per minute usually. You can call any regular telephone using Skype. We made our first call from Tacoma to México a couple of minutes after I signed up with them. There are some very low rates to call a few cities in México,I'm not going to look it up right now, but it is something like $.01 or .02 US Cents per minute, including México City. My wife called some of her family there from Tacoma, then we called the person that was watching our vacant house and feeding our dogs here in Cuernavaca. I was happily surprised that we were charged the same low rate to call Cuernavaca as a call to México City. Cuernavaca has a different area code, but we are only 85 Kms. From México City.


Skype Out beats the hell out of buying a calling card, or anything else. You can only make outgoing calls using Skype Out, but there are no monthly charges, it is the cheapest plan that Skype has. We can make calls to The US using either of our cell phones, we have only done that once when we stayed in a hotel in Tijuana that did not allow international calls to be made from their phones. We called our son over in Imperial beach, California to come over and pick us up the next day.


Skype sells some kind of a telephone handset to connect to a computer. Since we use Vonage, I don't need to have a computer running, and don't know anything about their handset and I won't bother with it. A mic and the speakers are good enough when we are traveling. You can either punch in a number you want to call, or keep a list. I have all of our family on a list, it is quick and easy to call anyone on my list, just press their name. Free wireless connections are so common NOB today, that there is never a problem getting on line to use Skype.


We can call US phones from México, but generally, we only use Skype when we are traveling on NOB trips. Vonage is our best solution. We have the unlimited plan for $25 US Bucks per month, we also have a toll free 888 number so our family NOB may call us toll free, it costs only $5 US Dlls per month for 100 minutes. It has never come close to happening, but if we were ever close to reaching our 100 minute limit, We would simply ask the caller to hang up so we could call them back toll free. All calls we make to NOB phones are at no extra per minute cost. We can and have called our sons and daughters in California and Alaska from Cuernavaca at no extra cost per minute.


We also make all long distance calls in México using Vonage, their rates per minute are much lower than Telmex charges. Our Telmex bills have been lowered enough to more than offset our Vonage costs. My wifes' home town is México City, so we probably make more long distance calls within México than the average ex-pat family.


I chose a Tacoma number with Vonage. My cuñado there just dials our 7 digit Tacoma number to call us, it is a local call for him, no area code needs to be dialed. He usually calls us 2 to 4 times a day. It is the same in reverse. When we call him, we just need to dial his 7 digit phone number, it is a local Tacoma call for us.


I have a set of three cordless phones connected to our Vonage adapter. I have changed the ring tone on all of them. When we hear that peculiar ring, we know it is a long distance incoming call and to pick up a Vonage phone. We don't need to have a computer running to use Vonage, we do need to have our high speed Internet connection active though, I just leave it on all day and all night, we have 24 hour Vonage service that way.


Everyone finds their own telephone solution here based on their needs. We have been using Vonage for about 7 years, and Skype out for 4 years. No big problems, and no abandoned equipment.


Rex
"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo


Rolly


Jul 28, 2010, 10:59 AM

Post #18 of 30 (12985 views)

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Re: [Papirex] Mexican cell phone in the US?

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"The credit expires every six months" Not quite right. The credit expires if you have not used the service for 6 months. If you use at least every 5 months, the credit does not go away.

Rolly Pirate


Maesonna

Jul 30, 2010, 7:15 PM

Post #19 of 30 (12944 views)

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Re: [morgaine7] Mexican cell phone in the US?

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Back to Kate's situation:

I would expect that you have long-distance cards in the US, we have them in Canada. There are lots of different brands, and you can get them in denominations as small as $5 (dollars). With one of these cards, you dial a local number, enter the code on the card, and then dial your long-distance number. If you are calling, say, from a pay phone in the airport, you only pay the 25 cents or whatever a local pay phone call costs. (The long distance charge comes out of the $5 credit, but it's very cheap; usually a $5 card gives you hours of connection time if you're calling Mexico.)

I've even been able to use a long-distance card purchased in Mexico while I was in Canada: it also had a NOB 1-800 number you could use to make calls originating in US and Canada. The long-distance rate was a little more expensive than calls originating in Mexico, but still very cheap.


morgaine7


Jul 30, 2010, 8:08 PM

Post #20 of 30 (12936 views)

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Re: [Maesonna] Mexican cell phone in the US?

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Thanks. A $5 (or even $10) long distance card is exactly what I had in mind, but no one I know in the US has ever heard of such a thing, apart from the "gift cards" that are sold to account holders by service providers. Apparently those don't work from pay phones. I used to use my AT&T Universal Card for public phone and hotel calls, but when Citi took those cards over, they dropped that feature, which was the reason I had the card in the first place. So far, my best bet seems to be to carry around lots of US quarters. ;-)

Kate


chinagringo


Jul 31, 2010, 6:41 AM

Post #21 of 30 (12918 views)

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Re: [morgaine7] Mexican cell phone in the US?

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Kate:

I can assure you that calling cards are sold in stores from COSTCO to WALGREENS to the corner 7/11. You can order them online and here is just one example:

http://www.pennytalk.com/
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



Papirex


Jul 31, 2010, 9:47 AM

Post #22 of 30 (12905 views)

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Re: [morgaine7] Mexican cell phone in the US?

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My Mexican wife always found the cheapest and best calling cards when we were living in Anchorage by asking her Mexican friends up there where to buy them. If you know any Mexican people in The US, ask them, they will always know where to get the best deals with calling cards. If you don't know any Mexicans, try at a Mexican tienda (store), if they don't sell them, they will probably be able to tell you where you can buy them.


Many years ago it used to cost $2.10 US Dlls Per minute to call to or from Mexico to Anchorage using the regular US phone company. I used to pay $5 US Dlls per month for a 10% discount on those calls. We had to make at least $50 US Dlls worth of LD calls to México to save the $5 Dll cost of the discount, not a problem. Our Mexican LD calls used to amount to $200 US Dlls or sometimes much more per month, there was never any idle chit-chat, we said what had to be said, and hung up.


Ask a Mexican, you will always find the cheapest and best calling cards that way.


Rex
"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo


morgaine7


Jul 31, 2010, 9:35 PM

Post #23 of 30 (12881 views)

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Re: [Papirex] Mexican cell phone in the US?

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Thanks, Neil and Rex. Again, my concern is the very infrequent situation of being stuck at a U.S. airport while coming or going and having no choice but to call from a public phone (if I can find one) at whatever outrageous charge they choose to slap on the call. In Mexico, it's a non-issue, because I just buy one of these and use it in any of a gazillion available phones:
http://www.telmex.com/...elefono-ladatel.html
The Ladatel card doesn't require an account, isn't associated with me in any way, and the credit is good until it's used up. It's the plastic equivalent of carrying a bunch of coins. Unfortunately, the card in Neil's link requires opening an account with a US, Canada, or UK address and phone number (which I don't have). Maybe the difference is that telecomms services are deregulated in the US, so there's no generic card like the Ladatel?

I'll keep looking, though. And I'll try to ask a Mexican next time I'm there!

Kate


chinagringo


Aug 1, 2010, 7:35 AM

Post #24 of 30 (12869 views)

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Re: [morgaine7] Mexican cell phone in the US?

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Kate:

Those same mentioned calling cards are also sold at the sundry stores within the airports. They are probably more expensive, so one would want to purchase the smallest denomination until they could find better priced cards outside of the airport.
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



DavidHF

Aug 3, 2010, 7:50 AM

Post #25 of 30 (12831 views)

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Re: [morgaine7] Mexican cell phone in the US?

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In Reply To
Searching the forums gets me info about using US cell phones in Mexico, but not the opposite. Is it possible to take my Mexican phone (Nokia 3555) to the US, swap the Telcel SIM card for a US one to use during my two weeks there, then swap back when I come home? If so, how expensive and complicated is it, and will the SIM card be good for future trips? I visit the US once or twice a year.

Many thanks,
Kate

Yes, it's possible. Google "international cell phone" and you'll find companies that will sell you the US sim chip.
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