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Cell phone for visiting Canada
July 17, 2014 11:45 AM   Subscribe

I have a Virgin Mobile USA phone, which is useless outside the US. I'll be in Canada (Nova Scotia and Ontario) for two weeks, and while the idea of taking a break from little electronic devices is tempting, it actually would be kind of helpful to have a phone. What's my best (ie, cheapest) option?

What I'd like to do, if possible, is buy a relatively cheap unlocked phone (something like this maybe?) that I can keep for future international travel, and get a prepaid SIM card in Canada. But the information I'm getting from googling is kind of confusing. Are there GSM networks in Nova Scotia, or is the whole province CDMA? It is possible to get one SIM that works in both Ont. and NS, right?

I'm pretty dumb when it comes to phone networks and SIM cards and stuff, so explain it to me slowly. Recommendations for carriers, phones, and any other options very welcome. Thanks!
posted by neroli to Technology (2 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
You could always just switch entirely over to T-Mobile, which I did a couple months ago. Free unlimited international data and texting.

I'll say it again: free unlimited international data and texting.

And I'm paying half of what I was with Verizon for my normal service! Granted, T-mobile doesn't have the best coverage even in the US, but in NYC it's fine, and also I can use wifi calling on my Galaxy S5. Another caveat is that the data speeds you get outside of the US are not fast, but they're certainly sufficient for emails and map-checking when you're wandering!
posted by Grither at 12:35 PM on July 17


The carriers in Canada that i'm most familiar with, Rogers and Bell, use the same frequencies as T-Mobile and AT&T.

Beyond that, I'd point you to Howard Forums-- you can research canadian disposable phones and plans. HoFo is pretty fantastic for this, though it's unapologetically NorthAm-centric. Here's the Canadian Pre-paid/MVNO forum category and general Canadian carrier category.
posted by Sunburnt at 2:59 PM on July 17


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