Cómo obtener un teléfono celular

Mudarse a un país nuevo puede ser emocionante y plantear desafíos.

Even more so when it comes to setting up essential services like a cell phone. Use this guide to learn the differences between SIM card usage in the U.S. and other countries, financing options for cell phones, available cell phone plans, the cheapest options, and the information required to start new cell phone service. 

Differences in SIM Card Use 

In many countries, cell phones operate using GSM technology, which requires a SIM card to connect to a mobile network. However, the United States uses a combination of GSM and CDMA technologies. GSM carriers, such as AT&T and T-Mobile, use SIM cards, while CDMA carriers, like Verizon and Sprint, do not use SIM cards for voice communication (though they may use SIM cards for 4G LTE data). It's essential to ensure that your cell phone is compatible with the technology used by your chosen carrier. If you brought a cell phone from your home country, you can bring it to a carrier store for a free consultation to learn if you can use that cell phone with one of their service plans.  

Cell Phone Financing Options 

There are several financing options available to purchase a cell phone in the United States: 

  • Full Price: You can choose to buy a cell phone outright, paying the full retail price upfront. This option provides the most flexibility in terms of carrier compatibility. 
  • Installment Plans: Many carriers offer installment plans where you can spread the cost of the phone over a specific period, typically 24 or 36 months. You'll need to undergo a credit check to qualify for these plans. 
  • Equipment Financing: Some third-party retailers offer financing options for cell phones. These may have different credit requirements or interest rates, so it's important to compare and choose wisely to avoid getting into debt. 

Cell Phone Plans 

In the United States, there are numerous cell phone carriers, each offering a range of plans to suit different needs. The most popular carriers are AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. These carriers offer a variety of plans, including prepaid (pay-as-you-go) and postpaid (monthly) options. Each plan has different features, such as data limits, talk and text allowances, international calling, and mobile hotspot capabilities. 

Cheapest Cell Phone Options 

If you're looking for affordable cell phone plans, consider the following options: 

  • Prepaid Plans: Prepaid plans allow you to pay for your cell phone service upfront without a contract. Carriers like T-Mobile, AT&T, and Metro by T-Mobile offer competitively priced prepaid plans with various data and talk/text options. 
  • Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs): MVNOs are carriers that lease network coverage from major carriers and offer their own plans at lower prices. Examples include Mint Mobile, Visible, and Cricket Wireless. These can be more cost-effective alternatives to major carriers. 
  • Family Plans: If you're moving with family or friends, consider family plans offered by major carriers. These plans often provide discounted rates when multiple lines are added. 

Information Required to Start New Cell Phone Service  

When starting new cell phone service in the United States, you'll typically need the following information: 

  • Identification: You'll need a valid form of identification, such as a passport or driver's license.
  • Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN): Some carriers may require a SSN or ITIN for credit checks. If you don't have either, certain prepaid or MVNO options may be available without these requirements. 
  • Proof of Address: Carriers may ask for proof of your U.S. address, such as a utility bill or lease agreement. 
  • Payment Method: You'll need a valid payment method, such as a credit or debit card, to set up automatic monthly payments or pay for your plan. 

Remember to compare different carriers and plans to find the best fit for your needs and budget. It's also important to check the coverage and network quality in your specific area before making a decision. 


La información que figura en tiene únicamente fines informativos generales. No debe tomarse como asesoramiento profesional ni reemplazar la orientación de un profesional.

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