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Old 02-05-2019, 07:16 PM   #1
Omi
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Visiting Canada - Phones

My husband and I are planning to sign up for the Osoyoos Rally as soon as we are in possession of our new Escape 17B (AAUGH THE WAIT !!!) in early March. Then we plan to travel to Vermont via the Trans Canada Highway. I have an unlocked smart phone . . . does anyone know where I can purchase a Canadian SIM card when we pick up our trailer in Chilliwack? Is it like Europe where I look for the shop of one of the phone companies and buy the chip with one of their plans ?
By the way, I LOVE this forum. So many helpful people . . . looking forward to perhaps putting names to faces at the rally.


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Old 02-05-2019, 07:36 PM   #2
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If you're planning to travel across Canada, best to pick one of the big three cell companies that have Canada wide coverage. Telus, Bell and Rogers. you may want to check out Koodo, it's a Telus low cost brand that offers no contracts and very good coverage. You can find a Telus or Koodo stores at malls in Chilliwack
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Old 02-05-2019, 10:32 PM   #3
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I have an unlocked smart phone . . . does anyone know where I can purchase a Canadian SIM card when we pick up our trailer in Chilliwack? Is it like Europe where I look for the shop of one of the phone companies and buy the chip with one of their plans ?
Yes, you can do this with any of the major companies. They all have stores in shopping malls.
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Old 02-06-2019, 07:55 AM   #4
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Or if you are with Verizon or AT&T or TMobile they let you roam and have data while in Canada, if you have a high enough plan. We had a TMo north American plan several years ago and had no problem calling, texting, or using data for 3 weeks in Canada. Our now Verizon plan claims the same, we had no problems with data or voice in Oct when we picked up our 19. So check with your US carrier 1st. Our cell phones are unlocked and replacing SIM cards for the country visited is no big deal either. Except Canada tends to have higher cell phone costs than the US.
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Old 02-06-2019, 11:15 AM   #5
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Or if you are with Verizon or AT&T or TMobile they let you roam and have data while in Canada, if you have a high enough plan. We had a TMo north American plan several years ago and had no problem calling, texting, or using data for 3 weeks in Canada. Our now Verizon plan claims the same, we had no problems with data or voice in Oct when we picked up our 19. So check with your US carrier 1st. Our cell phones are unlocked and replacing SIM cards for the country visited is no big deal either. Except Canada tends to have higher cell phone costs than the US.
If possible, check that your phone actually works in Canada before you plan to depend on it. I have both an AT&T & Verizon phone, both with plans that cover Canada "the same as in the US". When I crossed the border, the AT&T phone went dead, voice, text & data. Contacted AT&T, and my phone had the wrong SIM card. Worked fine on the updated plan in the US, but dead in Canada. Couldn't get a new SIM card until I got back to the US.

As to Verizon, the phone (and their ads) tell you you are fine to use your phone just as you do in the US. They don't tell you except in the fine print that the data allowance is so small that it becomes useless, at least for posting photographs, etc.
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Old 02-06-2019, 01:27 PM   #6
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If you have AT&T it is great. They offer free calling and data roaming in Canada. There are some limitations on data but it is adequate. The same for Mexico and some Caribbean Islands. Here is the catch, you need to ask for it, it is not automatic.
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Old 02-06-2019, 04:32 PM   #7
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Are inexpensive prepaid phones available in Canada like those sold in the US at 7-11, Walmart, etc.? Our phones are not going to work in Canada - wondering about picking up a cheap prepaid phone with limited minutes just to have a phone for the short time we're up there.
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Old 02-06-2019, 08:47 PM   #8
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Are inexpensive prepaid phones available in Canada like those sold in the US at 7-11, Walmart, etc.? Our phones are not going to work in Canada - wondering about picking up a cheap prepaid phone with limited minutes just to have a phone for the short time we're up there.
Pre-paid: yes. Inexpensive: depends on what you consider inexpensive. It's probably the service, rather than the phone, which is the cost concern.

Prepaid phones here make no sense for most people, but an extended vacation trip might be a case in which they are useful.

Example:
Prepaid phones at Walmart Canada
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:29 PM   #9
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If you have AT&T it is great. They offer free calling and data roaming in Canada. There are some limitations on data but it is adequate. The same for Mexico and some Caribbean Islands. Here is the catch, you need to ask for it, it is not automatic.
My experience with AT&T in areas of the Western U.S. was as Jon described for Canada. 100MB of roaming data in a billing cycle- which is nothing. They have many more domestic roaming partners than Verizon and for voice/text it doesn't matter, however for any data use it does and is why we switched.
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Old 02-09-2019, 11:03 PM   #10
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Are inexpensive prepaid phones available in Canada like those sold in the US at 7-11, Walmart, etc.? Our phones are not going to work in Canada - wondering about picking up a cheap prepaid phone with limited minutes just to have a phone for the short time we're up there.
David,
I have been wondering what to do with a cell phone when we cross into the States after the Osooyos rally in May? These prepaid, how much on average is the cost? Can you reload them easily with data and talk time? Thanks
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