Prepaid Wireless Pal In Canada

by Wayne
(WA state)

I live in the US but have occasion to travel to Canada frequently. Is there a plan that works in the US and also in Canada without excessive roaming charges?

Canadian cell carriers do not have competitive plans as they charge monthly fees and if you deactivate the account (temporarily to avoid a continuing monthly charge) they require the purchase of a new SIM card, for example, to reactivate the device. This gets expensive in a hurry.

Rogers (in Canada) is the only telecom provider that offers a mifi device that doesn't require a USB connection. They require a monthly fee regardless of usage (even zero) and as noted above if deactivated to avoid the monthly fee they require the purchase of a new SIM card for $9.99 each time.

I have asked TruConnect if they offer roaming in Canada and they advise they do not. I hope they may in the near future but their response didn't indicate this was in the cards at least not now (pun intended).

Do you have any inkling of whether other device providers may step into this service?

Comments for Prepaid Wireless Pal In Canada

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Jul 25, 2012
No Great Options For U.S. & Canada Travel NEW
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

This is a great question, and one that I have been receiving more and more frequently. Not only from people traveling internationally in general, but largely from people living in the U.S. or Canada who wish to be able to use their phone or wireless broadband modem when traveling in the other country.

The short answer is no. There are no really good roaming offers that I’m aware of. If you take your Canadian or U.S. phone into the other country, roaming charges are so outrages that it’s essentially useless except for emergency calls. And data is no better; in fact it’s worse!

There are a lot of great offers as of late for calling between these two countries, and even other countries overseas; however, roaming is still an open market. Will companies enter that space any time soon? My thought is unfortunately “no.” The reason being that although there’s a good solid opportunity in terms of overall potential customers, compared to other markets, products, and services that wireless carriers are working on, it’s a complex, cost prohibitive prospect. In other words, while there’s certainly money to be made if someone can come in with a reasonable service offer, the opportunity is still extremely small compared to other core service they need to work on for domestic consumption.

Particularly between the U.S. and Canada, I would think the telcos could put together a cost effective deal that makes money for all parties, while also providing customers with very reasonable value. Other than priorities, I don’t know what’s holding them up. The fact is that the current costs they charge one another drives the prices up to a point where they’re simply unappealing.

In my experience, the best approach is to have a second phone that you use when you’re traveling there. You can usually find a prepaid wireless service that enables you to maintain the phone/modem relatively inexpensively. If you travel even semi-regularly between these two countries, it would be worthwhile.

Hopefully at some point in the not-so-distant future there will be better options available!

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