AT&T iPhone invades canada, canada wins?
January 29, 2010 2:54 PM   Subscribe

Ill be visiting Canada (Vancouver, BC) for the month of February for the Olympics. I have a US based iPhone with service with AT&T on a Family plan with one other iPhone. AT&Ts web site is pretty opaque on the subject of roaming in Canada, but it appears that I can switch to a nationwide family talk plan that includes Canada for the month. Ive been able to find no information on what making that switch will mean for data usage for my iPhone. AT&Ts "customer service web-surfing monkey (tm)" on the phone was no help at all, seemingly having trouble understanding the difference between Mexico and Canada. So whats the deal? Can I get data for a reasonable price with my iPhone in Canada, or should I just go cold turkey and shut my iPhone off for the month (shudder)?
posted by taubman to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
According to this you can add a Canada roaming package to any voice plan for $4.99/month, which will then let you roam in Canada at the discounted (?!?!) rate of 59c per minute. Further down the page are the data add-ons for roaming, which are still pretty steep. Here are AT&T's tips to keep your data charges down while travelling.

PS -- welcome to Canada. Enjoy your stay.
posted by modernnomad at 3:14 PM on January 29, 2010

There's no such thing as reasonable international data roaming on AT&T. There's plenty of free and paid wifi in Vancouver you'll be able to use. Boingo has a $8/mth worldwide roaming wifi plan that can save you money on paid hotspots in hotels/restaurants/etc if you don't find free ones around you.
posted by birdherder at 4:00 PM on January 29, 2010

For a MONTH I'd absolutely get your iPhone unlocked and then get a rogers or fido (or, I think, telus or bell) SIM card, use if for voice, and then AFAIK you'd be stuck with wi-fi for data, but so what, you absolutely wouldn't want to roam data anyway.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 4:33 PM on January 29, 2010

my son, who films in vancouver, toronto, and montreal on a regular basis dumped his iphone for just this reason...
posted by HuronBob at 4:54 PM on January 29, 2010

Rogers has the right 3G frequency (same as AT&T). Unlock and grab a Rogers prepaid.
posted by thilmony at 7:24 PM on January 29, 2010

I don't think you can do Rogers prepaid data. (Someone correct me If I'm wrong?) All the major carriers now have 3G networks for iPhones though -- Rogers/Fido were first, but Telus and Bell now work as well. That being said, all are pretty much equally as bad. But for voice, most definitely unlock and grab a Rogers/Fido SIM (I guess the others would work, but i've only ever used Rogers).

For data though, I'd just use wifi. It's a pain, but there is a ton of free wifi around.
posted by cgg at 8:19 PM on January 29, 2010

i dunno, but first google hit:
posted by thilmony at 10:30 PM on January 29, 2010

Yeah. I'm going along with all those who say: I'm pretty sure there's no way you can do this and get even remotely reasonable data rates. The AT&T roaming plans are all around a dollar a meg, which is a *lot* (though maybe useful if you want, say, to really judiciously check email). For perspective - I think I use around 500/MB a month on my phone, and I'm not doing anythig crazy with it. You can check your own usage and see how expensive $1/MB would be.

Beyond that: If you wanted to use another provider, you'd have to jailbreak and unlock your phone. But the thing is, it seems like there is no other provider that would provide decent rates on data for prepaid plans. (For example, the telestial link, above, charges $15/megabyte!)

I've had the opposite challenge a lot (I'm a Canadian iPhone user who travels often in the states). The general answer most users seem to come to is: Get good and finding wifi, and find good offline applications for things like mapping. There may be some help in previous threads here and here.
posted by ManInSuit at 6:52 AM on January 30, 2010

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