Cell plans that work in Canada AND the US?
May 3, 2010 2:21 PM   Subscribe

Is there a cell phone carrier in Canada who doesn't charge crazy $$ for calls to the US?

I am moving to Vancouver BC (from Seattle) in August and I am not finding a lot of information about cell phone carriers who offer coverage in the US. I am not very knowledgeable about cell carriers on either side of the border and currently use a cheapo pay as you go plan through Virgin Mobile. I think I should probably get a Canadian plan that allows calls to the US (my partner is staying in Seattle) since most of the calls would be to Canadian numbers. I figure my sweetie and I will mostly use Skype to talk but it would be nice to have the ability to call him from my cell if I need to. Also, I expect that I will visit WA State regularly and need a phone that works on either side of the border. I don't need anything fancy, I don't text that much and I'm hoping to keep my monthly costs low. Any advice?
posted by jezemars to Technology (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
You want Yak Cell. Pick any cell phone company/plan that you like once you get north of the border. Sign up with Yak, call the Yak number anytime you want to call your sweetie (it will be a local Vancouver number), then dial sweetie's number and you're connected for 3 cents/minute (also remembering that you will be using up the usual minutes on your cell phone plan). I find Yak customer service great, have never had a problem with it, most of my phone calls are long distance and I've never paid for than $12/month.
posted by meerkatty at 2:55 PM on May 3, 2010


Yak Cell is what I used. It's cheap and simple. I definitely second meerkatty's recommendation.
posted by Salamandrous at 3:14 PM on May 3, 2010


For both sides of the border - get a GSM phone and swith the sim cards as you need to. Depending on how much you'll be where, get either a contract or a pay as you go. (US GSM carriers are t-mobile and AT&T, Canadian are Fido and Rogers).

I use Skype-to-go to call Canada from the States, they may have Canadian local acces numbers too. You get unlimited USA/Canada calling for $2.95 per month.
posted by Salamandrous at 3:18 PM on May 3, 2010


For both sides of the border - get a GSM phone and swith the sim cards as you need to. Depending on how much you'll be where, get either a contract or a pay as you go. (US GSM carriers are t-mobile and AT&T, Canadian are Fido and Rogers).

This is definitely a good idea for the travel aspect, but not for the long-distance calling aspect because you would have roaming fees (ie if you plug your AT&T sim into your phone while in Canada or your Rogers sim while in the US) that would eat up the LD savings.

Also, Bell and Telus recently launched an HSPA+ network that is GSM based, so Fido/Rogers is not the only game in town for that anymore. However, none of them really have great US calling plans.

These are Fido's current LD offerings to the US.

But as above suggested, I have an unlocked phone and switch between Fido and AT&T depending on whether I am in the US or Canada. I have a monthly plan in Canada as that is where I am the majority of the time, and a pre-paid AT&T plan -- $100 gives you airtime that will not expire for 365 days, so that's pretty great. I rely exclusively on Skype for long distance calls.
posted by modernnomad at 5:12 PM on May 3, 2010


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