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Old 01-29-2016, 06:16 PM   #1
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Question BC Canada Phone/Data Plans Help

To my friends up north in BC.

I just walked away from my ATT store not in a good mood. Their plan for using my cell phone and hot spot in Canada is highway robbery.

So what can I do? Can I go to Sidney and get a Canadian plan? Get my smartphone unlocked (I have to pay it off first) and get a Canadian sim card?

We wanted something reasonable to have voice, text and internet access for writing on ASD's Facebook page. I do understand that will be many areas without service.

What say you?
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Old 01-29-2016, 06:33 PM   #2
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We use ATT prepaid phone plans, ie, no contract. For $60/month you get 5GB high-speed data in the U.S., MX and CA; thereafter unlimited data usage at reduced speeds up to 128Kbps. Unused high-speed data carries over for one 30-day renewal period. get unlimited txt, phone.

https://www.att.com/shop/wireless/gophone-plans.html
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Old 01-29-2016, 07:45 PM   #3
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A lot of the marinas have ok WiFi, so for our transit, I was happy with just voice and text. Once you get north of Vancouver Island, cellular coverage is not that good and in some cases limited to voice and text.
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Old 01-29-2016, 08:33 PM   #4
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Larry, I looked at that plan just now and one of the requirements is that 50% of the talk and text must be in the US. When I questioned them (in their online chat) about it, if the phone goes over the 50% of use in Canada the phone just stops working.
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Old 01-29-2016, 08:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaskan Sea-Duction View Post
To my friends up north in BC.

I just walked away from my ATT store not in a good mood. Their plan for using my cell phone and hot spot in Canada is highway robbery.

So what can I do? Can I go to Sidney and get a Canadian plan? Get my smartphone unlocked (I have to pay it off first) and get a Canadian sim card?

We wanted something reasonable to have voice, text and internet access for writing on ASD's Facebook page. I do understand that will be many areas without service.

What say you?
Shaw is probably your key in port, Telus at sea for range. Authorize any cellphone you own on any plan with Shaw (or have a friend with Shaw authorize your laptop...) and you will have WiFi bandwidth and big GB's in most East Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast towns. Then just do voice when you're moving.
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Old 01-29-2016, 08:43 PM   #6
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Larry, cell is expensive in Canada. Check out the Koodo Mobile pay as you go plan. See if it meets your needs.
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Old 01-29-2016, 09:03 PM   #7
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We don't do much voice or text, primarily data. The ATT 50% wasn't for data from what we have seen.

Spy: You're right CA cell is expensive. The last time we spent several continual months in CA, we did a pre paid phone with a international phone card for voice. Still a rip off IMHO.
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Old 01-29-2016, 09:12 PM   #8
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ASD: How much time are you going to spend in CA on your way north? They say 50% in the US on the prepaid but how is that calculated. For the transit, you might be OK.
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Old 01-29-2016, 10:22 PM   #9
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We have Verizon and when we went to the Broughtons we added their Int'l Calling Plan for Mexico and Canada. It wasn't much (maybe $30/mo), but it only gave us 250 minutes, 250 texts, and 250 MBs of data - per month! We were working, so we easily used up the monthly allotment. As tpbrady mentioned, we relied as much as possible on marina wifi for email and text. And we relied a lot on our Report Halo WiFi extender to get those weak marina signals. And as most of those remote marinas have satellite systems that are very expensive for data, they all ask that we not post pictures or stream videos on their wifi...

For your purposes of posting while in Canada, I think you're on the right track. I have heard of people buying a pre-paid Canadian phone or SIM card. Please let us know what you find out, as we may follow suit next summer!
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Old 01-29-2016, 11:57 PM   #10
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T-Mobile or Project Fi!

Go with T-Mobile. Data is free everywhere in the civilized world. It is supposed to be throttled while roaming, but in practice data is not very fast when outside of urban areas anyway. Project Fi, which I really like, uses T-Mobile, Sprint or Wifi seamlessly in the US and roams nicely everywhere else in the world. It is 20 bucks a month and then 10 bucks per Gig for data. Foreign is the same price as U.S. Only downside is that it only works with newer Nexus Phones. T-Mobile will work on any GSM phone.
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Old 01-30-2016, 01:23 AM   #11
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Our plan this trip up north, based on a lot of help from friends.
Buy a Telus air card once you enter Canadian waters. This would be for your wifi hotspot use.
Rates as of last year are
When you use...You pay...
Up to 100MB$10/month3
Up to 500MB$30/month3
Up to 2GB$45/month3
Up to 6GB$70/month3
Up to 10GB$85/month3
After 10GB+ 5/MB4

For voice, buy a cheep unlocked phone (eBay maybe) and buy a Telus SIM card for the unlocked phone. Don't have the rates, but am told the are real reasonable, or a pay as u go phone from a Canadian provider.
Hope that helps.
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Old 01-30-2016, 01:28 AM   #12
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Forgot to add, you might want to make sure you have a amped Antenna and router for the boat. If you are within a mile or two and have unobstructed line of sight to a marina, use there wifi, if not use your air card.
We are told that sitting in a lot of coves, you will most likely not have cell coverage farther north.
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Old 01-30-2016, 03:36 AM   #13
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Verizon now has "Travel Pass."

TravelPass Countries & International Fees | Verizon Wireless

$2 per day to use your normal talk/text/data in Canada or Mexico. No charge on days you don't use your phone. This is what I'll be using this summer. Way easier than getting a local SIM card and forwarding calls.
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Old 01-30-2016, 08:34 AM   #14
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Quote:
Go with T-Mobile...
We're getting ready to head to the Bahamas and I asked Jeff of Active Captain about T-Mobile since I knew he was testing it there. It sounds like what is advertised vs real life are not the same. Maybe it works better in CA. Here's part of his response:

"I'll be writing more about it in a newsletter. Basically, it was a total bust - it was very, very poor and unusable for access, signal strength, and tethering. "
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Old 01-30-2016, 08:42 AM   #15
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Verizon now has "Travel Pass."

TravelPass Countries & International Fees | Verizon Wireless

$2 per day to use your normal talk/text/data in Canada or Mexico. No charge on days you don't use your phone. This is what I'll be using this summer. Way easier than getting a local SIM card and forwarding calls.
Have you verified in BC by actual usage this is how it really works? Verizon has presented us with "marvelous" plans only to ALWAYS back slide on us in BC eventually altering plans to where we pay egregious roaming charges.

Bait and switch.
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Old 01-30-2016, 08:48 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by sunchaser View Post
Have you verified in BC by actual usage this is how it really works? Verizon has presented us with "marvelous" plans only to ALWAYS back slide on us in BC eventually altering plans to where we pay egregious roaming charges.

Bait and switch.
I have used the travel pass with Verizon three times now on three separate trips. Works great, $2 per day and no issues at all.
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Old 01-30-2016, 10:58 AM   #17
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I have the ATT plan that includes Canada voice calls for $5 extra per month. I have a separate Telus data plan for $10/month connected to a hot spot. Works well.
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Old 01-30-2016, 12:33 PM   #18
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Great information. We were just going to look at telephone plans for Canada for our very first cruise to the Broughtons this summer. Since we are already with Verizon, TravelPass looks like the way to go.
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Old 01-30-2016, 03:29 PM   #19
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Verizon now has "Travel Pass."

TravelPass Countries & International Fees | Verizon Wireless

$2 per day to use your normal talk/text/data in Canada or Mexico. No charge on days you don't use your phone. This is what I'll be using this summer. Way easier than getting a local SIM card and forwarding calls.
Thanks, Sam! This is great. We'll definitely use it. Wish they would have had this available last year...
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Old 01-30-2016, 03:57 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retriever View Post
Verizon now has "Travel Pass."

TravelPass Countries & International Fees | Verizon Wireless

$2 per day to use your normal talk/text/data in Canada or Mexico. No charge on days you don't use your phone. This is what I'll be using this summer. Way easier than getting a local SIM card and forwarding calls.
Yep, that's a great feature. We spent 4 days around Vancouver a couple weeks ago and the plan came in very handy. The option just popped up as a text message from Verizon and we opted in. Other posters are right though, coverage can be spotty and our phones would often do odd things. We spent most of the time around White Rock. As I understand it, the $2 a day gives you access in Canada to your plan features as if you were still home, same data limits, etc. $16 for both phones, four days, not bad.
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