Just wondering what most folks do for cell phones when wintering in the US? We have Bell Mobility, but having experienced their bills when just visiting the US for a week, I'm sure not interested in 2 months worth of bills. I am self employed and will have customers call while we are away, and also need to be able to contact employees, both texting and calling. Do people purchase pay-as-you-go phones or or will a US carrier let you join for a limited amount of time
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I think the cheapest is to buy a pay as you go phone. Walmart has some good prices. Of course if you are calling back to Canada the prices can get out of control in a hurry. If you are calling Canada a lot you might look into simply upgrading your phones to include USA. I know here Verizon and ATT both offer Canada calling for a monthly premium. It used to be like 25 dollars a month and could be turned on and off as necessary.
Donn,Lorri,Max (The Rescued Lab)
Resident Know It All
Thanks for that. I will check with my Canadian provider about that but something tells me that wouldn't likely be an option. The Canadian suppliers are real jerks. Customer service is a thing of the past, and if they can screw you, they usually will. We don't have the same amount of competition as the US does, and they know it!
Tracfone, NET10 and straight talk are prepaid phones with NO contract that will call and work anywhere in US and calls TO Canada are the same as calls in the US.
I recommend you check their web sites for accurate info and great deals.
I spend Summers in Canada and use prepaid Fido and Skype. In the US I use Tracfone. Once you get the phone you can buy as much time as you require. The only issue if you let the time lapse, is you will lose that phone number. When you buy more time you will get another number.
I have a plan that cost about $100 and is good for 1 year and has 1450 minutes. If I need more minutes I can buy them anywhere as well as online.
They even offer a plan that will allow several callers to call a local number in Canada to your US number. Check their web site.
We've been using Tracfone for many years and there have been a few glitches but otherwise we've been very happy with them. One thing to keep in mind though is that you cannot send text messages to international numbers if that's something that's important for you (it used to work for us but after we switched phones last year, it stopped working). Also they do not offer roaming in Canada on most of their phones so if you want coverage in both countries, you need to carry your Canadian phone as well.
We also use the TracFone and are happy with the service. To call Canada you dial a 1-800 number then dial the normal LD number. As pointed out above, international texting isn't possible. The other change that TracFone recently made was to eliminate Canada from their International neighbours program, under that program you could have a local Canadian phone number that your Canadian friends could dial to reach you without incurring LD charges.
You can buy a year of time to keep the phone active so you don't lose the phone number over the "non-snowbird" periods.
There also was a previous thread indicating Canadians were buying Verizon phones in the US with an international plan so the phone could be used in both the US and Canada, it seemed to be cheaper than using a Canadian carrier in the US (and Canada!!).
Our u.s. virgin mobile prepaid phone won't work in western Canada as it shows no service, even though you can get virgin here in Canada. I think they may use different carriers in different countries so they may not be useable cross-border?? I would like to be able to get a u.s. phone & service that is prepaid & would work seemlessly in either country. Canadian carriers aren't going to get competitive until there is more external competition.