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So.. what recommendations or warnings do people have regarding - if it goes ahead painlessly - a 3G voice and data SIM? (I can just continue with the nasty little Nokia on Virgin Mobile, but I'd prefer to have the iPhone free-range. Sadly, most SF WiFi is now protected, necessitating supporting AT&T or suchlike, if one wants easy access to data, and even this "voice" thing I hear about) What SIM-only plans are there? Where can I pick up such a SIM? (Not quite as readily located as in most UK market towns =:)
 
 
 
 
 
 
I would have suggested http://www.0044.co.uk/america.htm before you left, but that's really only suitable for voice.

You might need a US billing address to activate even a pay&go SIM card bought there these days, but you could try checking in an AT&T store. (And as I understand it, AT&T is your only option for a 3G Sim) And you're likely to not be able to get the iphone's all-you-can-eat data plan. AT&T offered a sim only plan at some point, but I can't find it on their site now, so it might have been withdrawn.

I don't think there actually is a way to get the iphone's data plan on a UK iphone in the US, short of buying a new iphone over there.
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I don't know if the iPhone can work with them, but T-Mobile pre-paid might be able to work with your phone? If it's been unlocked, that is.