The three nationwide networks in Canada are:
Rogers Wireless (owns Rogers, Fido, Chatr)
Telus Mobility (owns Telus, Koodo)
Bell Mobility (owns Bell, Virgin, Solo, Northwestel)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ca ... _companies
and there are numerous other virtual networks that use one of the above three companies networks.
I looked at 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless http://www.speakout7eleven.ca/
just to see if you could do much better than your 59 cents per minute but it doesn't look like there's much saving to be had.
Initially it looks like it costs much less at 25 cents per minute (airtime) but, because every call you make in Canada and to the US will be long distance, an additional 20 cents per minute (long distance) brings the total to 45 cents per minute! Not worth doing really.
You can get long distance calls to the US for an additional 2 cents per minute (.25+.02= 27 cents) if you activate the Global Long Distance Add-On & wait for a text message containing a local access phone number.
To place a call:
1 Dial local access phone number
2 Listen for recorded message prompt.
3 Dial 011, the destination number and press the # key.
If you do not use the local access phone number while placing international calls, you will be charged a higher rate!
Have you called your network provider to see if they have any roaming add-ons?
Have you confirmed the 59 cents per minute to make sure it includes airtime and long distance?
Maybe try to find a US calling card type service that has a 1-800 access number from Canada so you get a good rate on long distance.
Then still do the math. A 100 minutes use might be the approximate break even point even with the Global Long Distance Add-On.
100 minutes @ 59 cents per minute = $59
100 minutes @ 27 cents per minute = $27 + cost of sim card or new phone
I was pretty much set to buy a US phone for US travel but in the end figured I'd just ad a roaming option and use my current phone for convenience. We don't use the phone that much.
Data is another story. For extended travel using data in the US I would buy prepaid data card (and device). I don't know if the are such devices and pre-paid data options in Canada