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Thread: Best local pay-as-you-go cellular service?

  1. #1
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    Best local pay-as-you-go cellular service?

    Any help with this question would be great. Last trip to Montreal I used my Sprint phone to make calls back home to the wifey and to agencies as well as to snap photos of stuff in shops to send to the wife for approval before buying. I nearly had a heart attack when I got the bill for those calls. I'm not particularly looking to hide or disguise anything, although the answer to my question should help those who are.

    I've got a couple of unlocked quad-band GSM phones we use when traveling to Mexico. Can't use them at home since there's no GSM service around here, so I have no interest in setting up an account with ATT or T-Mobile in the US.

    I don't need to buy a phone in Canada, though I suppose if it were cheap enough I could do that just to get the SIM - I once bought an ATT GoPhone for $10 that came with $15 of airtime, so that sort of thing could be fine. I really just want to get a SIM so I can get the phone on the local network then load it up with scratch-off card credit when needed.

    Does anyone know what the various carriers typically charge for a SIM? Are there better (or worse) places to buy them? Who's got the best PAYG rates for local calls? How about calls to the US?

  2. #2
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    MG

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by MG_mtl View Post
    Unfortunately, there's no information here at all about either costs for a SIM or rates to call to the US. Since there's no mention whatsoever of the possibility of getting prepaid service without purchasing a phone, I'll presume it's not possible with Fido. The cheapest prepaid phone is $55, which is quite a lot just to get a SIM. It does appear as if local calls are $0.20/minute with a $20 or larger refill card.

  4. #4
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    You shouldn't presume anything before you actually speak to a customer rep. over the phone or at one of their stores. I had a Fido SIM card which I bought around 25$ and used in one of my unlocked GSM phones (for SP's and strippers exclusively!). I don't know about the US calls but as I said, just give 'em a call if you are not in MTL right now or show up at one of their store when you get here.

    Don't know about the other cheap companies just as Koodo (Telus) and Solo (Bell) or Virgin since I haven't used them, but I've had no issues with Fido so far.
    MG

  5. #5
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    Cell service

    Call Sprint and ask if they have a NA plan. Verizon charges $20 more for NA and all calls from Canada are then part of your regular voice bucket. No roaming charges. Use this phone for calls back to wifey and states and you can receive calls with no charges just as if you are in uS.

    Get a sim card from Rogers or Fido next time in MTL for local calls to sps, etc

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MG_mtl View Post
    just give 'em a call if you are not in MTL right now or show up at one of their store when you get here.
    Look on ebay for "fido prepaid sim", you can even have it delivered home before you leave, and enjoy the specials you may or may not get in the store.
    o . o . b . e

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by muffinbuffer View Post
    Any help with this question would be great. Last trip to Montreal I used my Sprint phone to make calls back home to the wifey and to agencies as well as to snap photos of stuff in shops to send to the wife for approval before buying. I nearly had a heart attack when I got the bill for those calls. I'm not particularly looking to hide or disguise anything, although the answer to my question should help those who are.

    I've got a couple of unlocked quad-band GSM phones we use when traveling to Mexico. Can't use them at home since there's no GSM service around here, so I have no interest in setting up an account with ATT or T-Mobile in the US.

    I don't need to buy a phone in Canada, though I suppose if it were cheap enough I could do that just to get the SIM - I once bought an ATT GoPhone for $10 that came with $15 of airtime, so that sort of thing could be fine. I really just want to get a SIM so I can get the phone on the local network then load it up with scratch-off card credit when needed.

    Does anyone know what the various carriers typically charge for a SIM? Are there better (or worse) places to buy them? Who's got the best PAYG rates for local calls? How about calls to the US?
    Canada only has two GSM cellular service providers-> Fido and Rogers. For both these services you just have to buy a SIM card and the cost for this is $35 plus taxes. All you got to do is call customer care to activate your service and be assigned a number. Of course you will have to buy prepaid airtime to use the service. On the other hand if you buy their phones they come with a SIM card and they give you some prepaid airtime I believe Fido gives $25 airtime and I think Rogers gives $10 airtime. Telus has very good prepaid airtime rates however they are a CDMA service provider and it costs $50 to activate one of their phones. As for Solo and Koodoo there are also CDMA service providers so you will have no choice but to buy one of their phones to use their service. Hope this helps.
    There is no knowledge that is not power.

  8. #8
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    Actually, I think I may have solved this, but really appreciate the answers to my question. The short answer, for others who want to take an unlocked GSM phone to Canada and activate it on a local network there, is:

    Order a FIDO SIM from eBay. It's possible to get a SIM for CDN$24.95 with $25 airtime credit.

    Sprint does not have a "North America" plan like I used to use on Verizon. However, they do have a "Canada Roaming Option" that can be added for $2.99/month (and easily cancelled after a month). For that, one gets all calls for $0.20/minute. That's nowhere near as good as Verizon's plan used to be - with that, I could use my free minutes in Canada or Mexico.

    This option, though, can be added to my SERO plan without losing that plan and for the number of calls I will likely make over 4-5 days will definitely be considerably cheaper than getting a SIM for $25-$35 even if it comes with $25 airtime as one eBay deal does. That's almost 2 hours of talking, and despite what one might think from my posts I don't talk that much.

  9. #9
    $59 gets you a cheapo Nokia phone and 200 minutes with up to 180 days of service
    $9 for the phone and $50 minimum for the minutes to start

    http://mobility.petro-canada.ca/en/phones/133.aspx
    these phones do have the sim card

    http://mobility.petro-canada.ca/en/features/401.aspx

    you still have to find a petro station that has the $9 phones in stock
    Last edited by Morris Wanchuk; 06-03-2011 at 07:54 PM.

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