My wife and I are planning a trip to the Western part of the US next summer 2012. We will also travel to British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon and Alaska as part of this trip. I am concerned about telephone service in BC, Alberta, Yukon, and Alaska, We live in Virginia and presently use US Cellular and this provider is satisfactory. We also own a desktop PC, a laptop PC and will soon buy a tablet. Several friends tell me that I will need a satellite phone in yhese areas. I just do not know and would appreciate any advice readers can provide. Thanks in advance. Terry
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edited 12/31/11 04:02pm by an administrator/moderator *
Data costs, however, will be "out of this world expensive" while roaming in Canada, so I'd recommend picking up a Virgin Data Stick in Canada. Virgin Canada piggy backs on the Bell network and has no affiliation with Virgin USA.
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Alberta has fantastic cell phone coverage because it is so flat. With Telus or Rogers and others. BC has good coverage along most of the major highway but because of all the mountains it can be spotty.
You will have to do some research to find out how to avoid roaming charges.
The less you plan the more options you have.
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I have traveled extensively all over BC and Alberta with both a Rogers and a Telus phone. Yes I have 2 phones.
I have found that hands down, Telus has far superior coverage than Rogers. I would say that 95% of the time I have a better Telus signal than Rogers. It is only occasionally that I would have a Rogers signal with no Telus.
Perhaps a pay as you go Telus would be the way to go. You can get reasonably priced packages that include varying amounts of data, depending on your needs.
Forget the satellite phone - the cost is way more than cellular.
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As you get further north, cell coverage becomes more scarce with the exception around communities. The Yukon is sparsly populated therefor not much coverage. The same with Alaska. The areas around the larger communities it is better.
Not sure about satellite phones. Not sure why you would need one.
Thanks to each of you who replied to my questions about telephone service in Western Canada and Alaska. I probably should have provided more information. We will be towing a 2011 Rockwood travel trailer, 34.5 feet long, with our 2010 model Toyota Tundra (currently has 20,000+/- miles on it. We are mainly concerned about possibly being stranded on the roads in that area. We are retired in our upper 60's and in good health. However, my wife worries about possible vehicle breakdowns and other such problems. We rarely would use a cell phone except for emergencies or to speak with family members. Another friend of mine suggested buying a CB radio, but I am not sure about that option either. Again, I very much appreciate your advice and input. Terry
I would NOT count on coverage with any of the US plans except near the towns along the way (at least in the northern part of BC or any of Yucan. Had VERY sketchy coverage on the Cassiar Highway in BC and the same on the Alaska Highway after Whithorse.
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Check out "SPOT" satellite messenger,, I have the basic one for trailriding & places I might break down on highway with no cell service. They now have new one for smartphones, can text through satellite, seems very reasonable. Might work real well for you in the no coverage areas.Gives me real good feeling knowing I can connect with help...
very reasonable price & subscription,& emergency help insurance http://www.findmespot.com/en/