Things are even worst if you travel abroad with your cell phone and keep your current provider of service: welcome to the wonderful world of roaming charges. Here is are things look as of June 7th 2014:
: Roaming charges 1.45$/min, 6$/Mb and 0.75$/text or pay 20$ for 100Mb or 50$ for 500Mb and so on
: Packages consisting of 40$ for 50 min, 200 Mb of data / 80$ for 100 min and 500 Mb of data.
Similar fees can be obtained for other Canadian providers.
Recently found the solution to this, let’s call it, problem: Vancouver-based Roam Mobility
. You can get a Sim Card from Roam Mobility that gives you a “permanent” USA phone number and nice roaming prices and options:
- Unlimited nationwide talk
- Unlimited global text
- Unthrottled high-speed data
- Free long-distance calls to Canada (yes!)
- Voicemail and caller ID
So, how does it work? You either buy you Sim Card directly from Roam Mobility or, as I did, in a Staples store (“Bureau en Gros” in Quebec). When you register your Sim Card on Roam Mobility web site, you are attributed a USA phone number that will be valid as long as you use the service once per year. You than chose a package for 1, 3, 7, 14 or 30 days (there is also an option for those who have longer stay)
- Data only
- Text and talk
- Text, talk and data
Once you pick your plan, you also chose online your activation data and time. For my part, I picked the landing time of my flight. So the only thing you have to do is to change your Canadian Sim Card to the Roam Mobility Sim Card (assuming that your phone, like mine, is unlock). Note, you need to carry the Sim Card holder opener tool (or a small paper clip). If you never change your phone Sim Card, there are ample instruction on YouTube. Here is the one for the iPhone5/5s
. Changing the Sim Card takes only a few seconds; no need to shutdown your phone.
Once done, change the APN to roam
(no password) and that’s it, your ready to go. On IOS 7, this is what the previous link will tell you to do:
- Select Settings
- Select Cellular
- Select Cellular Data Network
- Under the Cellular Data section change the APN to the word roam(Username & Password should be blank)
- Scroll down and under the Personal Hotspot section change the APN to the word roam (Username & Password should be blank)
- Save the setting and restart your phone
If this is the first time you use you card, you will be walked through the setting of your USA voice mail once your phone is activated at destination. No your Roam Mobility Sim Card does not work within Canada 😦
The plans are 3.95$ for 1 day (300Mb of data), 11,95 for 3 days (900Mb of data), 27,95 for 7 days (2Gb of data included), … And yes you can share your data with your iPad or computer. This is a fraction of the cost charged by our Canadian providers for roaming charges or “travel packages”.
It worked flawlessly and when landing in Canada, simply put your Canadian Sim back in the phone and store you Roam Mobility card for your next trips.
P.S.: Roaming Sim Card and packages are even less expansive in Europe. I’ve tried Austria and Belgium up to now. So if you travel even moderately, paying up front you cell phone and having it unlock gives you access to very good deals outside the country.