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Old 10-05-2014, 03:54 PM   #1
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Default Any forum Canucks used Roam Mobilty in the USA?

Just wondering.
We just got back from a rather interesting trip west, during which we had to replace 4 tires, 1 windshield, 1 alternator, and are still waiting for the fuel pump to scream it's last.

One of the issues were the ridiculously expensive Rogers prepaid roaming charges ($2/min talk, $0.75/per text) we paid to make phone calls and so on to arrange repairs.

I'm thinking it's going to be on the todo list before our next trip, if we ever get brave enough to head out again after the last one.

Link
http://www.roammobility.com/
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Old 10-05-2014, 04:49 PM   #2
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Default Re: Any forum Canucks used Roam Mobilty in the USA?

Can you just buy a cheap pre-paid burner phone from Walmart when in the United States or are there restrictions? My experience was just the opposite. When driving through Canada in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and on the Alaska Highway I just turned off my phone and forgot about it. That's the way we traveled a decade ago - no phone.

You need to tell us about your mishap adventures with tires, windshield, alternator and such.
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Old 10-05-2014, 05:11 PM   #3
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Default Re: Any forum Canucks used Roam Mobilty in the USA?

Moving this to the General Forum

Yes, tell us more Mike.......... I know some of the details but probably not all.

And hopefully you'll get more info on roaming in the US options. If on an extended trip, I figured I'd head to a Walmart and buy a data sim and a voice sim or maybe a combined sim. Pre-paid service.

I'm not familiar with Roam Mobility. I'll have to read more on their site. Maybe someone here uses it.
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Old 10-05-2014, 07:31 PM   #4
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Default Re: Any forum Canucks used Roam Mobilty in the USA?

Mike

We used Roam Mobility for 1 week travelling around Lake Erie. I have an unlocked cell phone (which is a requirement) and I purchased the SIM card at a Staples store in Ontario. I set up the account before leaving and as soon as we crossed the border, it became active. It has unlimited calling/texting in the US and free long distance to Canada. Because my unlocked phone is not a 4G phone, I got 2 GB of data per day. I was able to use the phone as a hot spot for the rest of the laptops/tablets/other smartphones in the Roadtrek. The phone number is mine for a year. If I do not use it again within the year, I would lose the use of the US phone number.
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Old 10-05-2014, 07:36 PM   #5
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Default Re: Any forum Canucks used Roam Mobilty in the USA?

I had thought about using something like a Tracphone or Net 10 but after reading up on them last night (there are some blogs out there that compare the major "minor" players) they don't look as cheap or functional as they have been portrayed to be.
Roam Mobility is based in Vancouver and piggy backs off of T Mobile towers and systems. For simple talk and text they charge around $3/day and have plans which cover you for a period that's user defined and can be topped (extended) up as needed, like travel insurance. As long as you use your phone or SIM card once per year your number stays active and I think that can be a 1 day ($3) plan. You don't have to throw a big chunk of cash on it which expires if unused to keep the same number.
I read their extensive FAQ section and it sounds like it might be the best deal out there for Canucks traveling in the US. $3 a day for talk and text, only pay for what you plan on using with extensions available, and no potentially excess top up required to keep your account and phone number active.
All the features are like a local call in the US with included LD to Canada. I think texts are also treated as local.
We had no data requirement with the abundance of free wifi everywhere. Just needed cheap voice a few times. EDIT: Just saw cruisefx's post and it seems like it's unlimited? EXCELLENT!!
We don't generally need our phones (except my Samsung for Internet access) when on the road either. This trip was the exception due to the mechanical problems we faced along the way.
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Old 10-05-2014, 07:49 PM   #6
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Default Re: Any forum Canucks used Roam Mobilty in the USA?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd
Can you just buy a cheap pre-paid burner phone from Walmart when in the United States or are there restrictions? My experience was just the opposite. When driving through Canada in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and on the Alaska Highway I just turned off my phone and forgot about it. That's the way we traveled a decade ago - no phone.

You need to tell us about your mishap adventures with tires, windshield, alternator and such.
If we didn't have the mechanical and other issues we had on the trip, we generally only use our smartphone at wifi stops, wherever they might be. If we remember.

More to come on the "New/Spare Parts Voyage 2014" road trip later.
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Old 10-05-2014, 07:49 PM   #7
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Default Re: Any forum Canucks used Roam Mobilty in the USA?

When we travelled to Florida last winter (non Roadtrek trip), we had not heard of Roam Mobility and we had paid for a 30 day travel package on our Bell Mobility plan. This did not include data. The advantage with having the data plan is that you can quickly check for tourist info while driving instead of looking for free wifi. Plus you purchase for the number of days required not by the month.

We did use our phone as we are Boondockers Welcome members and we needed to call the members whose homes we were boondocking at.

The only problem that we noticed was that I could not text photos but I could email them from my phone. You need to check the map to see if there is cellular service on your route. We were fine on our trip.
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Old 10-05-2014, 07:54 PM   #8
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Default Re: Any forum Canucks used Roam Mobilty in the USA?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cruisefx
When we travelled to Florida last winter (non Roadtrek trip), we had not heard of Roam Mobility and we had paid for a 30 day travel package on our Bell Mobility plan. This did not include data. The advantage with having the data plan is that you can quickly check for tourist info while driving instead of looking for free wifi. Plus you purchase for the number of days required not by the month.

We did use our phone as we are Boondockers Welcome members and we needed to call the members whose homes we were boondocking at.

The only problem that we noticed was that I could not text photos but I could email them from my phone. You need to check the map to see if there is cellular service on your route. We were fine on our trip.
I think I saw something in the FAQs about texting photos, but can't recall what it said. I'll check later.
Coverage map: That was my only concern as T-Mobile's coverage isn't as good as the other 3 big four US carriers. That said, I think where we needed service on our trip we would have had it. It was mostly required in northern Michigan, rural Minnesota (Minneapolis/St. Paul), and Montana/Wyoming/South Dakota.
Thanks for your input. Good info.
EDIT: about using an unlocked cell phone. You can get a SIM card from them, true, but they also sell a dual SIM phone for $50 and will ship it anywhere in Canada or the US. I think we'll try that option because it makes switching SIM cards simple depending on where you happen to be. You don't need to keep taking your phone apart to swap them. Just a thought.
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Old 10-06-2014, 07:05 AM   #9
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Default Re: Any forum Canucks used Roam Mobilty in the USA?

On our trip down the ALCAN we used a Walmart International prepaid card for our trip. We were told it would work anywhere we went from AK to the lower 48, they lied! The second we crossed into the Yukon, no phone service until we hit WA state. We tried it in every large town we came to and never were able to make a single call. A waste of a few bucks is all I can say.
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Old 10-06-2014, 01:58 PM   #10
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Default Re: Any forum Canucks used Roam Mobilty in the USA?

Hmmmm, so that's an avoid. As I said there are some comparison blogs out there that point out the pros/cons of the major US carriers and MVNOs. Here's one....
http://www.androidauthority.com/best-pr ... 14-132352/

We use prepaid (no contract phones, no monthly billing) phones because our daily/monthly phone use under normal conditions is usually so low we would greatly overpay for our typical usage with a monthly plan. So, our search for a less expensive roaming option is based on a very low usage requirements under normal circumstances. Folks on monthly billing plans can usually add some sort of roaming package to their every day cell phones when traveling abroad, to mitigate the higher fees. We can't, because we aren't monthly subscribers. That's what this is about. I hope that makes sense?

Our options in Canada are limited pretty much to Rogers and Bell if you want US roaming on a prepaid (pay as you go, no contract or monthly billing) account. I asked at a Telus store the other day and they don't support prepaid roaming. Bell requires a credit card number and a warning call to enable roaming on your number prior to exiting Canada to the US which is a PITA. Only Rogers automatically turns on US roaming when you cross the border, at $2/min airtime + LD, and $0.75/text.
Maybe there are some Canadian MVNO (piggy backers) mobile companies that offer prepaid US roaming, but they usually aren't much cheaper than the carrier they piggy back, with similar restrictions.
Roam Mobility sort of requires a warning (you can set up your roaming schedule "plan" in advance of exiting Canada) but they also imply in their FAQ that a call to their 611 CSC number can be used to either top up or schedule some US roaming on the fly. I'll have to ask. I believe you can attach a credit card in C$ to your account (they're in Vancouver and they say all transactions are in C$) to use to top up remotely via text message, or you can log into your account from wifi, and choose and start your roaming plans when you need them. They say the moment you turn on your phone with their SIM card, your "plan" starts, and it can be tailored to the hour of the day for starting coverage. All plans are timed in Pacific Time. I also see that the daily plan cost drops from $3 to $1 after 14 days of use.
The only issue I can see might be a lack of coverage in some of the places we like to travel. Their coverage map doesn't look as good as AT&T or the others. That could change if T-Mobile gets swallowed up by one of the other big 4.
I'll do a little more research and see what's up.
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Old 10-06-2014, 03:16 PM   #11
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Default Re: Any forum Canucks used Roam Mobilty in the USA?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AK49er
On our trip down the ALCAN we used a Walmart International prepaid card for our trip. We were told it would work anywhere we went from AK to the lower 48, they lied! The second we crossed into the Yukon, no phone service until we hit WA state. We tried it in every large town we came to and never were able to make a single call. A waste of a few bucks is all I can say.
You discovered what we were talking about. Phone incompatibility between the countries unless you incur extraordinary roaming charges. Never suggested a US bought pre-paid plan from Walmart would work in Canada. That would have been an impossibility since pre-paid was for US rates only. Just asked if Canadians could buy the plan in the states for travel in the states. If they did it would be worthless back in Canada.
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Old 10-06-2014, 03:21 PM   #12
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Default Re: Any forum Canucks used Roam Mobilty in the USA?

When I get close to the Canadian or Mexican border I get a text message letting me know and what the per minute charges would be if I made calls in those countries. Two years ago we drove the Texas border with Mexico as close as we could get and often we got the text message and cell service out of Mexico while still in the USA. That kind of ticked me off.
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Old 10-06-2014, 04:50 PM   #13
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Default Re: Any forum Canucks used Roam Mobilty in the USA?

In Europe, owners of GSM phones can simply go to a drugstore and purchase a pre-paid SIM card and swap it into the phone. Can't you do that in Canada?
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Old 10-06-2014, 06:32 PM   #14
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Default Re: Any forum Canucks used Roam Mobilty in the USA?

I know of one choice at the 7 Eleven stores call SpeakEasy. My parents have it as their emergency phone in that they pay a flat rate of $50 that gives them 200 minutes for a year. There are smaller plans of course but they have a section for US travellers

http://www.speakout7eleven.ca
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Old 10-07-2014, 02:13 PM   #15
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Default Re: Any forum Canucks used Roam Mobilty in the USA?

Actually, some have suggested that there may be regular US monthly billed plans that can be used in Canada, with added roaming packages, that are cheaper to use than a regular Canadian monthly plan up here. We really get abused by our carriers. If you're with a US carrier on a regular monthly plan, your best bet in Canada would be add a temporary roaming package to your phone if there's a chance your usage might be greater than normal.
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Old 10-07-2014, 03:09 PM   #16
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Default Re: Any forum Canucks used Roam Mobilty in the USA?

I've owned a cell phone since the mid-nineties. I probably have talked more than 30 minutes in a month just a few times. So as I previously mentioned, I just turned mine off going through Canada. I didn't miss it. I used the TomTom app for GPS navigation as it did not need cellular to work. In an emergency you could turn it back on and pay the piper for calls.
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Old 10-07-2014, 07:30 PM   #17
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Default Re: Any forum Canucks used Roam Mobilty in the USA?

I had one of the original Motorola "army field radio" bricks in the early 90s. Weighed a ton and the standby battery life was 8 hours, maybe. Tallk time maybe an hour. It was strictly an emergency phone to contact roadside service while driving the 50 miles to or from work. Gave it to a friend who left in in her car and someone actually stole it.

Anyway, my increased airtime requirements last trip were unusual. I wasn't prepared for being put on hold at $2/minute. That's why we're taking about phone plans and roaming fees. Just turning the phone off doesn't work in this scenario. In an emergency, roaming is expensive and I'm a frugal kind of guy. There has to be a better way.
Thanks for the donut info, btw. Very interesting.
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Old 10-08-2014, 12:58 AM   #18
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Default Re: Any forum Canucks used Roam Mobilty in the USA?

My wife used one of those walkie talkie sized cell phones when she was a home care nurse working for the hospital. My first cell phone was just a big bar of soap.
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Old 10-08-2014, 01:46 AM   #19
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Default Re: Any forum Canucks used Roam Mobilty in the USA?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd
My first cell phone was just a big bar of soap.
I'm not sure, but I think there's a prison-hygiene-dating flashback joke in there somewhere....

(just joking )
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Old 10-08-2014, 03:28 AM   #20
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Default Re: Any forum Canucks used Roam Mobilty in the USA?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd
My first cell phone was just a big bar of soap.
I'm not sure, but I think there's a prison-hygiene-dating flashback joke in there somewhere....

(just joking )
Close. The new smartphones are getting so big they don't fit in a lot of pockets so people are carrying them with lanyards around their necks.
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