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Old 10-26-2016, 07:44 AM   #1
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Phone Use When Travelling to the USA

For our last 16 day trip south of the 49th, we found that the cost for roaming and data use on our two cell phones to be very pricey. I should have researched more before leaving. It cost us $220 CAD in costs (2@$20 for unlimited calls and texts, and 6@$30/500 gigs data).

Once we start doing longer trips, this cost is going to become prohibitive, so we need to figure something out. I found that it was very rare that we had WiFi, staying mostly in State Parks and a couple Walmart parking lots.

One though is shutting down data on our phones, and getting another US phone for data only. Maybe use it as a hotspot for our existing phones.

Another thought is to unlock one or both our phones and just buy a US sim card to use in it. The issue with this, is for friends, family and customers not being able to contact us, as it would be near impossible to let everyone know of this phone number change.

For now, I need to be able to do a modest amount of business with my existing phone, so need to be able to receive calls, though for the most part voice mail works fine. Maybe just add a sim card to Lisa's phone, and shut data down on mine?

Still on the confused side of things with what to do. I am sure I am still missing lots of concerns and options. Anyone else have ideas?
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Old 10-26-2016, 09:40 AM   #2
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For our last 16 day trip south of the 49th, we found that the cost for roaming and data use on our two cell phones to be very pricey. I should have researched more before leaving. It cost us $220 CAD in costs (2@$20 for unlimited calls and texts, and 6@$30/500 gigs data).

Once we start doing longer trips, this cost is going to become prohibitive, so we need to figure something out. I found that it was very rare that we had WiFi, staying mostly in State Parks and a couple Walmart parking lots.

One though is shutting down data on our phones, and getting another US phone for data only. Maybe use it as a hotspot for our existing phones.

Another thought is to unlock one or both our phones and just buy a US sim card to use in it. The issue with this, is for friends, family and customers not being able to contact us, as it would be near impossible to let everyone know of this phone number change.

For now, I need to be able to do a modest amount of business with my existing phone, so need to be able to receive calls, though for the most part voice mail works fine. Maybe just add a sim card to Lisa's phone, and shut data down on mine?

Still on the confused side of things with what to do. I am sure I am still missing lots of concerns and options. Anyone else have ideas?
to clarify..6@$30/500 gigs data
you want 500 Gigabytes of data for 16 days?
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Old 10-26-2016, 09:45 AM   #3
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to clarify..6@$30/500 gigs data
you require 500 Gigabytes of data for 16 days?
Thanks for noticing that. It should megabytes. 6@300 for 1.8 megs. We were just short of that, but those are the packages we paid for.
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Old 10-26-2016, 09:49 AM   #4
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Jim, have you checked out the prepaid SIM cards available at WalMart? Some of them use multiple networks and aren't the best, but a couple friends of mine have used the Straight Talk unlimited card for $45. There are others, and to be honest I've never had the need to check them out to find which one is the best deal.

In any case, roaming in the US on your Canadian carrier is likely to be cost prohibitive.
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Old 10-26-2016, 09:49 AM   #5
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On longer trips I would like to do photo editing of shots from my dSLR's, and upload them to Smugmug, my photo hosting site. This will definitely use up lots of data.
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Old 10-26-2016, 10:26 AM   #6
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bought one of these ATT Unite Express (made by Netgear) for occasional hotspot use on the road and to have access to an alternate data provider than cell phone..purchased for less than $50 ...while the data cost is reasonable but not the least cost available..ATT network is pretty good and you can NOT USE IT for up to one year and still keep the same cell # that it uses ...just add some prepaid time $25 minimum (for 2 Gigabytes Data for 30 days use) to reset the start of the 1 year cycle again.
https://www.att.com/shop/wireless/go...e-hotspot.html

handy little critter , inexpensive,rugged and fits in a pocket or anything else easily...and if its lost or whatever ...not a big expense
also some of the prepaid ATT Gophone and MetroPCS (TMobile) cell phones support tethering data (use as a hotspot) as well as voice/text for about $40 to $50 for 30 day period (renewable)
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Old 10-26-2016, 10:35 AM   #7
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Jim, have you checked out the prepaid SIM cards available at WalMart? Some of them use multiple networks and aren't the best, but a couple friends of mine have used the Straight Talk unlimited card for $45. There are others, and to be honest I've never had the need to check them out to find which one is the best deal.

In any case, roaming in the US on your Canadian carrier is likely to be cost prohibitive.
possible downside of Straight Talk is per customer support, it does not support mobile tethering or hotspot on their plans or the prepaid cards available at Wally World.
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Old 10-26-2016, 12:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
Jim, have you checked out the prepaid SIM cards available at WalMart? Some of them use multiple networks and aren't the best, but a couple friends of mine have used the Straight Talk unlimited card for $45. There are others, and to be honest I've never had the need to check them out to find which one is the best deal.

In any case, roaming in the US on your Canadian carrier is likely to be cost prohibitive.
I will look at this.

It seems that data is the killer, even with phone plans. We got unlimited text and phone for $20 CAD.

Still lots to figure out.
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Originally Posted by freespirit View Post
bought one of these ATT Unite Express (made by Netgear) for occasional hotspot use on the road and to have access to an alternate data provider than cell phone..purchased for less than $50 ...while the data cost is reasonable but not the least cost available..ATT network is pretty good and you can NOT USE IT for up to one year and still keep the same cell # that it uses ...just add some prepaid time $25 minimum (for 2 Gigabytes Data for 30 days use) to reset the start of the 1 year cycle again.
https://www.att.com/shop/wireless/go...e-hotspot.html

handy little critter , inexpensive,rugged and fits in a pocket or anything else easily...and if its lost or whatever ...not a big expense
also some of the prepaid ATT Gophone and MetroPCS (TMobile) cell phones support tethering data (use as a hotspot) as well as voice/text for about $40 to $50 for 30 day period (renewable)
Is this something like MiFi devices I have come across? I know Verizon has one.

This could be a good solution as opposed to the data packages I buy through Telus. How does this work with texting and phone, does it have it's own phone number?
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Originally Posted by freespirit View Post
possible downside of Straight Talk is per customer support, it does not support mobile tethering or hotspot on their plans or the prepaid cards available at Wally World.
Are you saying this is stand alone then, and we could not connect our devices through it as a hot spot or tethered at all?
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Old 10-26-2016, 01:20 PM   #9
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Jim- almost all of the U.S. MVNO's don't offer hotspot with their data plans. Honestly I would keep checking with Telus to see if they start to offer plans like U.S. carriers do that either let you pay a nominal per day fee to use your existing plan or better yet- has something even better like we have with Verizon now whereby we can use all of our plans features in Canada/Mexico and can call toll-free to there.

If that doesn't work then would look at a virtual phone number such as Google has and point your calls to a U.S. pre-paid #. And now the post-paid plans can be had with no early termination (can usually negotiate the activation fees) and that lets you potentially not be limited to only the cell sites the carrier owns as most pre -paid plans limit you to. Getting your phone unlocked would be on my to-do list now as that can take time. Interestingly, when we changed to Verizon their phones are unlocked from the get-go, unlike that other carrier with 3 letters.
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Old 10-26-2016, 01:34 PM   #10
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Is this something like MiFi devices I have come across? I know Verizon has one.

This could be a good solution as opposed to the data packages I buy through Telus. How does this work with texting and phone, does it have it's own phone number?

Are you saying this is stand alone then, and we could not connect our devices through it as a hot spot or tethered at all?
Yes Straight Talk per their customer support says their plans DO NOT SUPPORT data tethering..NO HOTSPOT functionality.

Yes the ATT UNITE Express is a mobile hotspot with its own 4gLTE (where available then 3g) cellular connection and phone number...turn it on and connect your devices using wifi (phones, tablets, computers) and using its wifi SSID (which you can change) and using a password (which you can change)....then browse the internet on your connected device...
no voice or text unless possibly your phone supports a phone Voice/text connection over wifi which it may or may not support having never used it for anything but internet access while mobile for tablets and laptop.
This is Prepaid..no contract.... buy data for 30 days or until its used up then repeat IF you want to...no contract..buy it online or at retailers in the USA..refill data plan online or buy prepaid cards at most retailers in USA too
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