What should I do with my Canadian iPhone during an extended stay in the US?
February 1, 2010 7:10 PM   Subscribe

What should I do with my Canadian iPhone during an extended stay in the US?

I have a 3-year iPhone contract with Rogers. My job is sending me to NYC for at least four months, but possibly longer.

Should I cancel the contract, eat the fee, and look for a pay-as-you-go plan in the US? Or does Rogers have some temporary US phone and data roaming plan?

The data is really key since I use 3G a lot for e-mail, maps, etc.
posted by pravit to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I had a Canadian housemate for a few months last year. She used a PAYG AT&T card in her (unlocked but not jailbroken) iPhone, and was happy.

I believe she just ate the cost of her Canadian contract during that time, though, so this doesn't help the budget part of your question.
posted by rokusan at 7:21 PM on February 1, 2010


Can you get your job to pay the cancellation fee? It's a cost you wouldn't incur if they weren't sending you to the States.
posted by rtha at 7:25 PM on February 1, 2010


Rogers will unlock your phone for CAD 35, irrespective of whether you maintain or break your contract. So I would definitely unlock it and use AT&T's GoPhone (i.e. PAYG) plan.

As for whether or not to break the contract, just compare the number of months you expect to stay with the ETF divided by # of months you'll be gone for. I suppose it's a less obvious decision if the length of your being posted in the US is unclear.
posted by randomstriker at 7:38 PM on February 1, 2010


Check to make sure that Rogers doesn't have some sort of "holding pattern" plan available. When I moved to Japan with time on my contract, AT&T offered me a plan that was about $10-15 a month to not break the contract but also not use my phone. That may be worth it for you if they offer it, since you seem to be looking more short-term.
posted by that girl at 7:41 PM on February 1, 2010


Response by poster: Thanks for the responses. I somehow forgot that it's possible to use a different SIM card while maintaining my Rogers contract, which is what I'll probably do.
posted by pravit at 7:48 PM on February 1, 2010


The rogers temporary data plan for US is $10 a month and then $1 per Mb. It's not bad when I'm traveling, but over 4 months it could easily run a few hundred dollars. How many megs a month do you typically use?
posted by reformedjerk at 7:50 PM on February 1, 2010


If you can produce proof that you're moving out of the country, most of the carriers will cancel your contract sans-fee. I've known people to have this happen with Telus and Fido (before it was owned by the Great Satan...erm Rogers).
posted by hylaride at 8:16 PM on February 1, 2010


Possibly useful previously and previously.
posted by ManInSuit at 8:43 PM on February 1, 2010


Rogers will unlock your phone for CAD 35,

Really? That is awesome if true. Is there a link anywhere to info on that?
posted by ManInSuit at 8:44 PM on February 1, 2010


I somehow forgot that it's possible to use a different SIM card while maintaining my Rogers contract

On a Rogers iPhone, I believe it's not possible to do that, at least not as it comes out of the box. The phone is locked to Rogers. You *can* do that by jailbreaking and unlocking the phone. (Or maybe by paying a fee to Rogers, as randomstriker suggests, though this is the first I've heard of this...)
posted by ManInSuit at 8:47 PM on February 1, 2010


Also keep in mind it's possible to transfer your contract to someone else. My roommate sold his phone and contract to someone else and is now contract-free. There's nothing shady about the process—as I remember you just call Rogers and authorize the transfer. Both parties may also have to sign some paperwork. Give them a call and they'll fill you in.

It may be harder to just sell your contract, but I'm sure someone out there might take some money to be locked into a shorter contract than they might otherwise sign.

Also, I'm going to second ManInSuit in asking for a link on the $35 iPhone unlock. I've never heard of that and it sounds way too good to be true.
posted by Grant Heaslip at 10:01 PM on February 1, 2010


Really? That is awesome if true. Is there a link anywhere to info on that?

I have asked Rogers salespeople this exact question a few times over the last few years. The answer has always been exactly the same: an unequivocal "yes, we can unlock it for you for $x". I clearly remember receiving this answer a few years back from the rep at Oakridge Mall (Vancouver) Rogers retail location. More recently...either April or May 2009...it was at the Celtek (a Rogers reseller, now known as Digicom) retail location in City Square Mall (Vancouver). The only thing that has changed is the fee amount. Besides, they are making shitloads of money off you with you locked into a contract -- if you want to jump ship you have to pay a huge ETF.

I have no URL handy for you, but it's not like I'm gonna lose any sleep if you don't believe me.
posted by randomstriker at 11:17 PM on February 1, 2010


ManInSuit, this has nothing to do with jailbreaking. Jailbreaking is hacking your OS to allow it to run unauthorized apps without using the App Store; it's an iPhone specific optional procedure.

Unlocking is just carrier unlocking, same as for any mobile phone. And yes, my (Rogers using) house guest had an unlocked Rogers phone; she said they did it at a Rogers store for her. I didn't ask the cost.
posted by rokusan at 9:43 AM on February 2, 2010


ManInSuit, this has nothing to do with jailbreaking. Jailbreaking is hacking your OS to allow it to run unauthorized apps without using the App Store; it's an iPhone specific optional procedure.

Yes. Jailbreaking and unlocking are different things. Many procedures for unlocking your phone (most of the ones I've come across) require you to jailbreak the phone, which lets you run the unauthorized app that unlocks the phone. See, eg, this page on The Difference Between Jailbreaking and Unlocking: which says "Before unlocking your iPhone, you will have to jailbreak it.

I'm with Grant Heaslip in thinking that there's some sort of confusion about the idea that Rogers will unlock your phone for you for a fee. A guick google search on "rogers iphone unlock" yields, in the first couple of pages, lots of links to hacks for unlocking the phone, but not to any reference to the idea that Rogers will do it for you. I might be wrong here - if anyone can find references to info backing the idea that Rogers can unlock your phone for you, that would be really awesome. Please post.
posted by ManInSuit at 6:21 AM on February 4, 2010


The reason I revisited this thread wasn't to continue the jailbreak/unlock discussion, but to post some some news: Just yesterday, Rogers announced a new set of North-America-wide data plans. These are not too crazily priced, and will let you use data all across the US. Whoo!! See links here and here.
posted by ManInSuit at 6:26 AM on February 4, 2010


(Whoops: a link two posts up was broken. Should be: The Difference Between Jailbreaking and Unlocking.
posted by ManInSuit at 6:29 AM on February 4, 2010


Response by poster: As a follow up I decided to go with the Rogers US + Canada dataplan that ManInSuit mentioned. It comes out to around $40 extra per month. For voice / SMS I might do a combination of SkypeIn/Google Voice.

Another option would have been paying $75/mo for an AT&T plan. The rep told me that since I already own my own device I wouldn't need to pay any cancellation fees.

It wasn't clear to me whether plugging in the SIM of a GoPhone into an iPhone 3G w/ >3.0 firmware would still work, esp. with data. Seems like some messing w/ APN settings and SIM activation is needed. The cost for GoPhone data is $20/100MB. Will have to look more into this as I don't really do much over 3G other than checking email and some light browsing.
posted by pravit at 6:04 PM on February 24, 2010


Response by poster: As an extended followup, I canceled the Rogers US + Canada dataplan after a day and went with the AT&T GoPhone card. It's very simple - you go into the AT&T store, ask for the GoPhone SIM card with $20/100MB data, and they activate it for you. You then change the APN (unlockit.co.nz should work) and presto, you have pay as you go voice and 3G data for the iPhone.

Voice works without a hitch and data works most of the time, though sometimes I have to toggle the 3G on and off for it to connect. I only use the data for checking email and light browsing so I've used something like only 30MB and I've been here for almost a month.
posted by pravit at 6:09 PM on March 23, 2010


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