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Thread: Cell phones for visitors?

  1. #1

    Question Cell phones for visitors?

    I'm planning a trip to Montreal and was wondering how merbites recommend I call agencies & others. My cell phone is based in the US, and I would think the agencies would rather not call that phone number long distance, and the roaming fees would be steep for me.

    Aside from hobbying, a cell phone could also be handy visitng local attractions.

    One option I've seen is using a company like cellmobileusa.com, which rents cell phones. I tell them the country I'm visiting, and they mail me a cell phone that will work in that country and even pay for postage both ways. But they charge $40 a week plus about $2 a minute.

    Is it possible to rent a phone at the Dorval airport? How much does it cost? Are disposable phones available? What do you recommend?

  2. #2
    If you have a GSM phone just unlock it and buy a Fido Prepaid card at any gas station. If you don't have a GSM phone Fido sells them for about $50.

  3. #3
    ‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› Special K's Avatar
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    What's a GSM phone?

  4. #4
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    Everytime I visit I just simply use my US based cell phone and have yet to have any problems with the agencys trying to contact me.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Special K
    What's a GSM phone?
    Its a type of dual band cell phone that enables one to use it in many countries. A Razor cell phone is a GSM phone...and works in Europe. Some of the cheaper models, like my old Samsung x426 only work in the states and Canada.

    Frank, is your cell phone unlocked? If not there are stores all over that offer to unlock your phone for 20 bucks...and when you arrive you just walk into a fido store or gas station, buy a sim card that comes with minutes and its own Montreal number...and your ready to become a 'local' for your stay. Just dont lose your other sim card.
    Last edited by breadman; 07-18-2007 at 09:49 AM.

  6. #6

    Unfortunately, my phone is CDMA...

    So is my best option to buy a cheap GSM phone when I arrive in Montreal? I use my cell phone for work purposes, so I'd rather not use that number for hobbying. Can I also get the phone at a FIDO store? Will it be relatively quick and easy to grab a cheap GSM phone and pre-paid SIM card for a one week trip?

    Thanks

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by frankrob
    Can I also get the phone at a FIDO store? Will it be relatively quick and easy to grab a cheap GSM phone and pre-paid SIM card for a one week trip?

    Thanks
    Quick, easy...yes. Cheap? Doubtful. Try signing up at fido.ca and see if you can sign up for a pay as you go plan...and see what the cheapest phone is on that site. If you think those prices are high, expect the stores to charge more.

  8. #8
    Petro-Canada offers a reasonable plan, IMO. You can purchase a Nokia 1112, SIM card, $5 starter credit (and depending on the location, a free car charger, $20 airtime credit, etc) for under $80 while supplies last. Most people have found that the phone is already unlocked, so the phone can be used with other GSM providers in US/Canada/other countries, if the frequencies match (850/1900). If you already have an unlocked phone, you can eBay this one for a few bucks.

    Airtime is $0.20/minute, and lasts for 180 days.

    I believe the Nokia 2610 comes locked, and is more expensive.

    Either way, activation is easy

    http://retail.petro-canada.ca/en/mobility/2303.aspx

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by breadman
    A Razor cell phone is a GSM phone...and works in Europe. Some of the cheaper models, like my old Samsung x426 only work in the states and Canada.

    Actually, Motorola also offers the RAZR in CDMA format, which is what is used by Bell and Telus in Canada. Those phones, and most other CDMA phones are not compatible with GSM networks such as Rogers. You can tell the CDMA phones because they usually don't have a SIM card.

  10. #10
    Wine, women, & song ... ck_nj's Avatar
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    Frankrob,
    If you have a personal cell phone (in addition to your work cell I mean), bring that along. I have a Verizon Wireless CDMA phone, and they charge 69 cents a minute for roaming in Canada. This option may be cheaper for you in the long run, than renting or buying a prepaid phone.
    Clark
    ------
    MOONEY: Sergeant, I swear! Flying! With a big red cape! And bright red boots as well! Then, quick as a wink - he was gone! Flew up in the air again, he did. Like a big blue bird!
    SERGEANT: Like a big blue bird....with bright red boots! Why don't you take the rest of the night off now, Mooney. Go back to Murphy's bar and finish what you plainly started. I'll be off myself in a bit and join ya there...

  11. #11
    I got a Fido pay-as-you-go for my Montreal trips.... so Montreal people don't have to call LD to get me....

    My phone can be inactive for 6 or 12 months (depending which salesperson is correct) and still retain the same number for my next trip.

    You can compare plans here....
    http://www.cellphones.ca/service-plans/city-location/

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Special K
    What's a GSM phone?
    It is a phone that uses the GSM standard. In the US, this would be Cingular and AT&T. In Canada, it would be Rogers, Fido, and Videotron (only available to selected Quebec customers). It is not a phone from Verizon or Sprint (in the US) or Bell, Telus, and Virgin Mobile (in Canada). Those phones use the CDMA standard. GSM phones use SIM cards that can easily be replaced/swapped. CDMA phones don't. With CDMA phones, the number is on the phone. With GSM phones, it is on the SIM card. If you want to use a different phone (and keep the same number), with a GSM phone, you just swap/insert the SIM card. With a CDMA phone, you have to call the service provider.

    Quote Originally Posted by breadman
    Its a type of dual band cell phone that enables one to use it in many countries. A Razor cell phone is a GSM phone...and works in Europe. Some of the cheaper models, like my old Samsung x426 only work in the states and Canada.
    Actually there are 4 GSM bands. A dual band GSM phone that works in Canada will only work in the Americas (North & South America). In order to get a GSM that works worldwide (at least all the countries that use the GSM standard which is almost all countries with the exception of Japan and Cuba), you need a quad-band GSM phone.

    An unlocked GSM phone will work with any service provider's GSM SIM card. You must just make sure that the SIM card that you are putting into your GSM phone is for a provider that uses the same band/frequency as one of the frequencies/bands that you have on your GSM phone.
    Last edited by jacep; 07-19-2007 at 11:31 PM.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by frankrob
    So is my best option to buy a cheap GSM phone when I arrive in Montreal? I use my cell phone for work purposes, so I'd rather not use that number for hobbying. Can I also get the phone at a FIDO store? Will it be relatively quick and easy to grab a cheap GSM phone and pre-paid SIM card for a one week trip?

    Thanks
    Best thing for you to do is to buy a cheap unlocked GSM from someone else (before you arrive in Montreal or on Ebay). You won't be able to buy a cheap new GSM phone when you arrive in Montreal unless you are dealing with someone and not a company.

    Sure, Fido (GSM) and Rogers (GSM) sell GSM cellphones for as low as free or $25 but chances are that you need to get a 2 or 3 year contract to get that special price.

    Good thing about GSM over CDMA is that you never have to deal directly with the service provider. Most CDMA service providers will not activate a phone that they don't sell or that they don't recognize the IMEI number (like a serial number). With a GSM phone, you just purchase a GSM SIM card in the country that you're visiting and put it into your unlocked GSM phone and it is working (provided that your GSM phone works on the same band/frequency as the country). You don't have to call the service provider at all.

  14. #14
    I am me, too!
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    Pay-as-you-go phones are cheap, beacuse they are often old models, even when bought new from cell companies. No contract here, and under $100. You can even buy some at drugstores or convenience stores! Some will even sell without the need for a credit card, just plain cash! And some places, you don't even need to show any ID, a fake name/address will do!

    Or get an unlocked GSM from ebay, or any GSM and get it unlocked. Unlocking is about $30 at lots of places on the internat and lots of phones can be remotely unlocked.

    I currently use an american unlocked GSM phone on a Canadian network, with a Canadian number, and no problems here!

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by metoo4
    , a fake name/address will do!
    For my Montreal phone I gave a psuedonym as I didn't want the agencies to have my name... I even forget the name I gave and people are surprised when they see the name on caller ID...

    a word of warning.... for a fake address have the right postal code as their programs check the one against the other as they enter the details... I had to do some fancy dancing when i bought mine because I had invented an address and of course there was no postal code for it!!!

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