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joe b.

Florida

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Posted: 03/03/12 05:21pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The bottom line is, that many locations in northern Canada and Alaska, just don't have cell service. Much the same as some places in the mountain west, of the Lower 48. We tend to turn off our cell phones, when we reach the Canadian border. I made 9 round trips by RV,before I ever heard of a cell phone, so I know I can get by just fine without the device. We tend to use prepaid phone cards, which we get at Cosco, Sam's, BJs, etc. and use pay phones while in Canada to call our daughters. We normally set up a day of the week that we will try to call them.

The longest we tend to go without having WiFi service, is only a day or two, depending on where we are camping. There is a fiber optic cable running along side most of the Alaska Highway these days. So businesses have much better telephone service, ATM service, fuel pumps that take credit cards, etc., than existed prior to the fiber optic line being installed. But the population just doesn't exist for some company to install cell towers to cover all the Alaska Hwy territory and may never.

If you have to have phone coverage, the best is a satellite phone, but even it has times and locations where it won't work. They don't have total satellite coverage like the GPS system has in most of north America. But as mentioned it is expensive, IMHO.
We use the Internet at the various WiFi spots to send and receive emails from Family. If an emergency occurs, the daughters are going to have to take care of it anyway since we may be a days drive from a major airport and then a day's flight to get back home. Plus I came to realize long ago, that I am not so important, that others have to have instant communications with me. We have at times used our AT&T phones in Canada, using their "roaming partners" Rogers Communications. Sure can get expensive in a hurry. We had the "call Canada" plan, but all it did was reduce out roaming charge to $.69usd a minute on top of the long distance charge. Other than an emergency, just not worth it to me.

The prepaid phones can be an alternative, if you can buy the phone cheap enough to justify it. Most seem to be about $.25 a minute to call local plus some charge for long distance in Canada or the US. But some of the phones will cost you up to $100 to buy initially, then the usage plan on top of that.

Every community in Canada seems to have Internet services available, usually free at the town hall, library, many times it will be wireless available in the parking lot. Even if a person decided to use their regular phone and pay the roaming charges, make sure to turn off all your automatic services on a smart phone such as checking for emails, texts, etc. as you will end up paying for all those connections as well.


joe b.
Stuart Florida
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sirdrakejr

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Posted: 03/03/12 10:21pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In the pre-cell phone days they used paper. I had to drive from WA to Ak using a company truck in 1971. I had a CB radio and at the border from WA I was given a piece of paper with a number on it. This was in February and the roads were snow packed but solid. Every checkpoint asked to see my number and they radioed that I had arrived at that check point. That continued all the way to Beaver Creek. Once there, they took the number and I was "off their grid". It was simple and effective. If I was expected to check in about every 4 hours and if I was one hour late, they would start searching. I don't know what they do today but I am sure the Canadians have a system in place that protects all that use the highway.

Frank


2011 Palomino Maverick 1000SLLB on a 2004 Dodge Quadcab CTD Ram3500 SRW long bed equipped with Timbren springs, Stable Load bump stops, Rickson 19.5" wheels/"G" range tires and a Helwig "Big Wig" rear anti sway bar.


jmcarp

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Posted: 03/04/12 07:38pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Luke Porter wrote:

jmcarp wrote:

. We ended up just using our regular Verizon phones while in Canada and paying the roaming charge, which I think was around 69 cents/minute. Jim


You mentioned adding Canada to your plan. Wouldn't that work?


Yeah, it would work, but my wife has a smart phone and that would have required adding the additional extra cost for data whether she used it or not. In the long run it was just cheaper for us to turn off the data feature on her phone and just pay the roaming fee for the few weeks we were in Canada outbound and inbound from Alaska. I forget the total extra we payed for the roaming fees, but I don't think it added up to more than $20 total. Of course we're not teenagers with the phone glued to our ears 23 hours a day, though

Jim


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jmcarp

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Posted: 03/04/12 07:51pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mitch5252 wrote:

I am also driving to Alaska this Spring.
I plan to pick up this very reasonable cell phone as soon as I can find a Petro Canada station. I'll use it mostly for emergencies and calling to campgrounds, etc.

Find out whose network they use and check the coverage map.
http://www.comparecellular.com/coverage-maps/
Not all the "nationwide" plans cover northern BC and Yukon. Petro Canada looks like they'll cover you as far as Fort St John, but not past there unless they have roaming agreements with someone else. And the reality is that no one has coverage except right around the towns once you get past Dawson Creek and maybe Fort St John.

Jim

JackandJulie

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Posted: 03/06/12 09:09pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We went in april 09 and from the time we hit alaska hwy our phones didnt work for 3 days...but we had alltel then...probaly better now going to find out soon when we drag the 5ver there!!!

sue.t

Ibex Valley, YUKON

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Posted: 03/06/12 10:35pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There is limited cell service along the Alaska Highway in Northern B.C. & Yukon. Check this map http://www.telusmobility.com/en/BC/Canada/3G-Canada.shtml

No 3G or 4G along the highway north of Fort Nelson, B.C., except for Whitehorse and Watson Lake.

There is NO cellular service on the Cassiar Highway.


sue t.
Pictures from our many RV Adventures to Yukon & Alaska from Vancouver Island. Now we live in Yukon!

michelb

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Posted: 03/07/12 08:18am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you do want cell coverage in Canada and plan on actually using it, check with your provider for Canada plans but it might just be cheaper getting a disposable pre-paid phone in Canada (that's what many Canadians (myself included) do when travelling in the US). Unfortunately companies charge tons for international roaming because they can.

As far as coverage, I believe that CDMA phones get better coverage than GSM in remote areas but I don't have first hand experience - hopefully someone else can chime in.

Dr Quick

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Posted: 03/07/12 03:38pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

WE had Sprint 3 years ago when we went to Alaska. Only used the phone in Canada for an emergency, and it cost about $.55 a minute. Once in Alaska phone worked just like back in the lower 48 and no additional charges unless you went over your minute allotment. Free long distance evenings and weekends too. Read somewhere to use a Prepaid Phone card. But the first time I went to use it in Canada, I think that it was close to $4.00 just to place a call for the first minute.

Now we also have a "Magic Jack" that we use with our computer and campground WiFi to keep in tough with family in Canada and states. "0" cost to use. Sometimes service is weak, but considering the price, it worked great. Can also used "Live Chat" with the WiFi if the MG phone did not work.


Dr Quick


tadpole2

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Posted: 03/09/12 07:30am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dr Quick wrote:

WE had Sprint 3 years ago when we went to Alaska. Only used the phone in Canada for an emergency, and it cost about $.55 a minute. Once in Alaska phone worked just like back in the lower 48 and no additional charges unless you went over your minute allotment. Free long distance evenings and weekends too. Read somewhere to use a Prepaid Phone card. But the first time I went to use it in Canada, I think that it was close to $4.00 just to place a call for the first minute.

Now we also have a "Magic Jack" that we use with our computer and campground WiFi to keep in tough with family in Canada and states. "0" cost to use. Sometimes service is weak, but considering the price, it worked great. Can also used "Live Chat" with the WiFi if the MG phone did not work.
What is "Magic Jack"


tadpole2

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Posted: 03/09/12 07:58am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

tadpole2 wrote:

What is "Magic Jack"


http://www.magicjack.com/plus-v05/


Eric
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