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Taking unlocked iphone 5 to Canada for vacation
Old 06-23-2015, 06:43 PM   #1
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Taking unlocked iphone 5 to Canada for vacation

I did a search but have had a maddeningly difficult time getting any useful information. I have an unlocked iphone 5 on an H2O wireless plan here in the US so no roaming is available. I would like to have my phone for emergencies since I plan to do a fair bit of driving around Ontario and if I get delayed or stuck it would be nice to have the ability to call someone. I won't probably need data though could be handy. Checking various sites such as Fido I am not sure that my phone could be used or if I can even sign up for a short term.

I'm hoping there are some others that have recently traveled and can provide some real world (and recent) advice. It would be nice to have something like I have with H2O wireless ($10 for a 3 month period can be used for either talk/text/data at various rates). I'll only be there a couple of weeks

Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-23-2015, 06:58 PM   #2
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This article might be helpful, although it is 3 years old. Roaming charges have decreased and coverage has improved since this was published. I suggest you call one or more of the big Canadian service providers for advice.

How to Save Money on Mobile While Traveling in Canada - Forbes
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Old 06-23-2015, 11:09 PM   #3
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Is it possible? Surprisingly enough, Canadians actually use the Iphone5. We can even buy them here. Some of us have even more modern things.

Should be easy to get a SIM card. One of my friends comes from India for a couple of months every year. He gets a local SIM.

What will it cost? That's another matter but you will likely pay about C$25/mo for minimal service.
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Old 06-23-2015, 11:44 PM   #4
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Here you go....

https://www.rogers.com/web/Rogers.po...ID_ACTIVATIONS
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Old 06-24-2015, 12:09 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Rick_Head View Post
Is it possible? Surprisingly enough, Canadians actually use the Iphone5. We can even buy them here. Some of us have even more modern things.

Should be easy to get a SIM card. One of my friends comes from India for a couple of months every year. He gets a local SIM.

What will it cost? That's another matter but you will likely pay about C$25/mo for minimal service.
Yes I know since I'm a Canadian using a Iphone 5

The information on websites such as Fido though do not give much information as to what is needed. So I thought it would be more straightforward to see if someone else has done this and what was required (some of the older articles suggested a CDN mailing address was required for example)

Thanks Meadbh for the links. Seems like it might be easiest to contact one of those carriers directly to be sure.
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Old 06-24-2015, 12:25 AM   #6
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Did you look into wind mobile? They seem to be one of the few companies where you can bring your own unlocked iphone devices.


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Old 06-24-2015, 06:17 AM   #7
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If you can get by with voice only, and you can get access to an off-contract Sprint phone with clean ESN, you may wish to register it with Ting in the US. $6 /month line access fee plus ~ $0.15/minute roaming in Canada if I am reading this page correctly: https://ting.com/outside_usa

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Old 06-24-2015, 09:21 AM   #8
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If anyone ever has these kinds of questions, this site is very valuable:

WillMyPhoneWork.net - Check if your phone works on a network
- find out if your phone/carrier will work in almost any country

To the OP, your Iphone should be fine with any carrier you choose. The current favorite amongst us cheap (er.. frugal) people in Canada is Speakout Mobile by 7-11 (yes, the convenience store people)
Prepaid Cell Phones | No Contract Phones | SpeakOut™ 7-Eleven® Canada
- they list SIMs for Ip4 but the above site says they support Ip5 as well. Email and ask.
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Old 06-24-2015, 03:51 PM   #9
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Rogers tends to be the most expensive and has terrible customer service (in my experience).
They do have a $100 for 100 minutes which lasts a year.

You could check Petro Canada (yes the gas station)
Be careful when looking at prepaid plans, some of them charge monthly charge plus they charge you per minute of each calls.
Anytime Plan, Prepaid Cell Phone Plan - Petro-Canada Mobility
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Old 06-24-2015, 05:35 PM   #10
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Thanks again for those links! I saw both PetroCan and 7-11 but it didn't seem that they worked with the Iphone. The 7-11 website does say that they do not support nano simcards which is what the iphone has. I think you can modify them but I'm not 100% sure about that. I'll email to be sure

And yes cheap is what I want. I won't likely be using it for anything but an emergency (will use WiFi where ever possible just like here...so far in 3 months on H2O wireless I have spent a total of $0.50 and most of that was checking voicemails :P

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Old 06-24-2015, 05:56 PM   #11
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................ I won't likely be using it for anything but an emergency (will use WiFi where ever possible just like here.......
If by emergency, you mean calling 911, I think your US phone will work even if you have no plan with a carrier. My 'Canada only' phone claims it will call 911 in Montana when I am in Montana. I haven't tried. Ask your US phone company. Surely they know (or should know).
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Old 06-25-2015, 12:41 PM   #12
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Well 911 would be the ultimate but it would be more to calling someone to tell them I was late because of an unforseen event (like traffic or a breakdown) that a 911 level emergency.
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Old 06-29-2015, 10:12 AM   #13
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Be careful if your carrier imposes fees for data and voice. We are vacationing right now in Calgary and Banff. We have Verizon and got I-dial added to plan before we traveled. Despite her attempts to only use hotel wifi, after four days she got a text from Verizon warning her that she exceeded $50 in data usage. She called Verizon and was told that whenever she is using the Internet at a hotel wifi, occasionally the wifi will drop out. When this happens, the Verizon network kicks in, and charges accordingly. And there is no way you know this is happening. So my advise to you is to disable your iPhone data and roaming, and just try to avoid using the web.


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Old 06-29-2015, 10:28 AM   #14
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You just have to disable cellular data to use wifi only, Just remember to enable it again when on the road.
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Old 06-29-2015, 11:19 AM   #15
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We are currently traveling in Canada with our iPhone for 3 months and use the following strategy rather than buy a local sim card.

1) Have a $30/month International Passport plan from our carrier (AT&T) which includes 120MB of data, 25c/MB for overage.

2) Always have data roaming turned off except on the few occasions needed at the start or end of journeys for Google Maps. Before starting a journey, while still in wifi, start up GMaps and set up the journey. The maps are cached so data is not needed on the journey to show where you are and give directions as GPS is free. Same with our hiking GPS app, I download the maps I need ahead of time, saving them and naming them on the iPhone.

3) I have Skype on my iPhone and make phone calls through Skype from wifi spots. Rarely do I need to make a call while on the road. (The passport plan is unlimited texts but $1/minute talk) US toll free calls are still free when using Skype from abroad.
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Old 06-29-2015, 01:02 PM   #16
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We are currently traveling in Canada with our iPhone for 3 months and use the following strategy rather than buy a local sim card.

1) Have a $30/month International Passport plan from our carrier (AT&T) which includes 120MB of data, 25c/MB for overage.

2) Always have data roaming turned off except on the few occasions needed at the start or end of journeys for Google Maps. Before starting a journey, while still in wifi, start up GMaps and set up the journey. The maps are cached so data is not needed on the journey to show where you are and give directions as GPS is free. Same with our hiking GPS app, I download the maps I need ahead of time, saving them and naming them on the iPhone.

3) I have Skype on my iPhone and make phone calls through Skype from wifi spots. Rarely do I need to make a call while on the road. (The passport plan is unlimited texts but $1/minute talk) US toll free calls are still free when using Skype from abroad.
I am currently in Canada with the same plan from AT&T on my iPhone 5 (not cheap for what we get!) I have my cellular data turned off since I am almost maxing out (2 more days to the next month cycle.). I thought of trying some GPS software for my iPhone, but I ended up buying a Garmin GPS for US/Canada a couple of months ago, and I am very happy with it. I haven't used my iPhone for calling anybody at all so far, but I have Skype installed so I could do what Alan is doing (a good idea). I brought my Vonage phone with me so wherever there is a WiFi and I could have a physical connection, I use that to call people.

I am planning to move to Wind Mobile once I move fully to Canada (My iPhone is already unlocked.) - WindMobile has a $45 Canada and free roaming in the US package, the last time I checked.
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Old 06-29-2015, 01:11 PM   #17
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This is a good thread, one to bookmark for future reference.

One question I've been meaning to ask since it first started. Is it true that once in Canada the iPhone autocorrect makes all the text messages more polite, and then finishes each text with "eh?"
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Old 06-29-2015, 02:10 PM   #18
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This is a good thread, one to bookmark for future reference.

One question I've been meaning to ask since it first started. Is it true that once in Canada the iPhone autocorrect makes all the text messages more polite, and then finishes each text with "eh?"
No, but Tim Hortons has just released an Ehmoji app.

Tim Hortons releases Canuck-themed 'Ehmoji' keyboard app - Business - CBC News
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Old 06-29-2015, 02:20 PM   #19
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No, but Tim Hortons has just released an Ehmoji app.

Tim Hortons releases Canuck-themed 'Ehmoji' keyboard app - Business - CBC News
Fantastic.




I have to get this to use when I text my son in law.
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Old 06-29-2015, 04:58 PM   #20
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We've been in Vancouver for over 2 weeks now, and today we walked from our place in West End to Canada Place and took the seabus over to North Vancouver. I had remembered to start GMaps before we left so even with roaming data off we were able to use GMaps to see where we were while wandering around. It really is a nice feature to know about.

The GPS app is also excellent, it cost $19.99 but has contour maps all over the world, I think. I've certainly tested it for the UK. While in wifi I simply locate where I want maps of, then draw a rectangle of the area, download it and name it. This is an important feature because hiking in the wilderness often has no cell service, but there are very few locations where the GPS satellites can't be located.

ETA
You can also use the GPS in airplane mode which preserves the battery even longer when hiking. (Only recently available with a recent IOS upgrade).
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