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Old 05-17-2015, 10:54 PM   #11
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In the US AT&T is not the best choice for those who travel cross-country IMPO. In the old days there were A side and B side carriers. The B side were the landline companies. The A side was the entrepreneurs to help foster competition. The B side companies had the immediate money for buildout. The A side was fragmented until Craig McCaw, the largest A-side operator sold to AT&T(the old AWS). Eventually most did as well, although there are still some, notably US Cellular still out there. So when you are in Ashland, Oregon for example the AT&T signal is weak because they have to use 1900 MHz vs. 850(which is much better) because US Cellular has the 850 license.

The B-side is primarily Verizon and they have far fewer roaming partners than does AT&T. For just voice you may not notice much difference. However with data AT&T only allows 100MB of roaming data. That's hardly anything. I got noticed twice last year by AT&T for exceeding it- once in Death Valley, and once when my son was in Wyoming. They can suspend your data usage for the rest of the billing cycle at their option.

Besides all that, I find after swtiching to Verizon that I have much more coverage overall and have never received a warning. Also, their newer phones(I use an S3) are unlocked. That means if you go to Europe you can use a prepaid GSM simcard for prepaid service. You can try to get your AT&T phone unlocked if you are out of contract but good luck on that one.
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Old 05-18-2015, 02:29 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
I'm not quite understanding the Amazon phone situation. Jim has an AT&T sim card now. I don't see how the phone is still locked to Amazon. But then I don't have an iPhone so I don't know how they are set up to work with Apple's store.
It's not locked to a network - you can use it with any technically compatible network (older networks with GSM technology will work but older networks with CDMA technology will not work). It probably won't work with 2G or 3G networks in Canada from Bell or Telus.

The association with Amazon is like an iPhone's association with Apple: when you want to load music or apps on it, the phone will want to do it from Amazon's store... stuff like that. It may not be a big deal - depends on the details of how it is set up, and the owner's preferences about how they want to use it.

Robert (rbryan) described the situation well.

If you don't use apps at all, and just want a phone, this doesn't matter and you don't need a $500 smartphone... you can use an $80 (no contract) flip phone.
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Old 05-18-2015, 12:53 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post

If you don't use apps at all, and just want a phone, this doesn't matter and you don't need a $500 smartphone... you can use an $80 (no contract) flip phone.
What I like about my Staples unlocked smartphone (my wife also just bought one) is that despite us having pay as you go service and no data we can use them as portable wi-fi devices because there's so much free wi-fi around. Not using a smart phone to its' full potential but it works for us.

Ron
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Old 05-18-2015, 06:13 PM   #14
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Not sure about Canada; last time I needed a pre-paid card was about five years ago on Vancouver Island. I knew I needed to do something as my 15 year old son was going to give me a $500 bill from roaming charges calling his girlfriend. We got a Rogers card but what amazed me was that you were charged long-distance if you answered the call and you were any distance from the city where your pre-paid number resided. Is it still like that?

Anyways, again- not sure about Canada but in the US you can use most, if not all smartphones on wifi without a data plan.
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Old 05-18-2015, 06:53 PM   #15
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My iPhone is with Telus, but my home internet and cable are from Shaw so I automatically connect with one of the 30,000 Shaw WiFi ports when I'm away from home. That included the campground over on Vancouver Island a week ago.
I'm sure Telus loves losing the data and Shaw also wins by offering the benefit for no charge.
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