Which phones work in Canada and England?
October 3, 2010 4:32 PM   Subscribe

Which smartphones (if any) can I buy and use in Canada and then take to and use in England?

I live in Toronto and I'm in the market for a new phone. I'd like a super fancy smartphone but I'm not hard set on a particular type. My issue is that in 7 months I'll be moving to London. I'd like to buy a phone flat-out and avoid signing a contract for this reason. My question is are there any phones that I can buy and use here and then take and use in England? Something about operating on different frequencies? Assume (correctly) that I know nothing at all about this stuff. I'm willing to change providers too, so just assume I'm starting from scratch.
posted by legendarygirlfriend to Technology (7 answers total)
You can buy an unlocked iPhone in Canada for CD$659. When you move to England you can just get a SIM over there and you'll be in business.
posted by birdherder at 4:42 PM on October 3, 2010

Best answer: Start your search with Quad-Band GSM phones. The BlackBerry has historically been a rather worldly phone.
posted by SirStan at 5:31 PM on October 3, 2010

SirStan is correct--any unlocked quad band GSM should work in the UK and most of Europe. You will also be able to use it when you return to North America. Just make sure it is unlocked (best if factory unlocked since it will be new). I would just do some searching on Amazon (etc) for phones you like. Samsung in much more popular in the UK than here, as is Nokia, but it really should not matter. I am not sure how much a BlackBerry is tied up with specific providers and how flexible the plans are. Perhaps some one else can answer that. Since I live in the UK and Ireland part of the year I have had no difficulty buying appropriate plans for the phone I own. Have a great time in the UK
posted by rmhsinc at 6:15 PM on October 3, 2010

Blackberry Torch
posted by crewshell at 9:46 PM on October 3, 2010

In Canada, the principal frequency for a GSM phone is 1900MHz, in the UK, operators work on 900 and 1800MHz. So long as your phone works on these, you will be fine when you move to the UK.

posted by dougrayrankin at 12:17 AM on October 4, 2010

Check out Factorydirect in the Toronto area (many branches). They have zillions of phones cheap. We got an unlocked Motorola RAZR V3 (now about $70 there). It is a quad band GSM phone, and works in Canada, and my wife used hers in Italy.
posted by mbarryf at 4:43 AM on October 4, 2010

Rogers sells several quad band GSM phones, but they will not unlock their phones. You will have to find someone else to do that for you. I've done this with a Blackberry Curve (8900) and it works great. Unlocking cost about $5 on eBay. Used it several times overseas.

Wind also sells some quad band phones, and they appear to offer unlock codes for free after 3 months of service, so that might be another option.
posted by bonehead at 9:36 AM on October 4, 2010

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