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Avoiding Getting Scalped By Roaming Fees

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Spent one week just in Canada in Sept/2010 and got hit with $110 increase to my phone bill from LIMITED use. So I looked around and these SEEM to be the best way to avoid getting screwed outside the US.

So - for non-business travel:

1) Subscribe to Boingo - at least for the duration of the trip. Pretty good hotspot coverage worldwide at $7.95/mth. Maybe checkout JiWire's iPhone app for seeking out hotspots (although I bet more than a few of us already have similiar apps on our iPhones).

2) Turn off Cellular Data in Settings

3) Turn off Data Roaming in Settings

4) Turn on WiFi and just go that route for the trip via Skype Mobile / Hotspots for the trip. Buy a Skype number at least for the trip so your 'Stateside friends know who is calling . Of course can send SMS messages via Skype to your friends, and of course via WiFi can log into a Yahoo (or similiar) email acct to send photos/files. I thought via Skype you can transfer photos via SMS but haven't figured that out yet.

I'm sure there are a few permutations to the above and even better suggestions out there and I welcome those.
post #2 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hopefully others can add to it as needed. It only took one week in Canada (which by the way seems to have pretty lame cellular coverage - and I was in the downtown Hamilton/Burlington Ont areas) to open my eyes to what could happen to my bill
post #3 of 3
Our lack of prepaid providers in Canada that let you buy just a SIM and a plan makes it difficult to find an in expensive way to use voice or cell data for US visitors. I plan to use Google Voice and AT&T goPhone when I travel to the US, which makes things really convenient. Some of this, but not all might be able to work for US travelers to Canada.

Before I leave Canada, I'll forward my Canadian number to GV and set GV to forward to my AT&T goPhone number (goPhone has $2/day unlimited US calling and I have 2500 forwarding minutes to the US on my plan). That way anyone that wants to call me can just call my Canadian line and not get dinged for US long distance for calling me in the US. For making calls, I'll either call my US GV number and then have it dial the Canadian number I want to reach or if I have data, I'll use an app to initiate the call. Since GV provides free calling to Canada, all calls I make this way back to Canada will be free. For the cost of a prepaid plan, I get all the benefits of bringing my own phone but without the roaming or long distance.

For those that travel from the US to Canada fairly frequently, they could buy a prepaid phone here and do something similar for calling back and forth to the US. But, like I said, our prepaid options are nothing great and there are some hoops you would have to jump through to get GV working with a Canadian number. Also, if you don't have Skype, you can get a free app, talkatone) that let's you make free VOIP calls using your Google Voice/gmail account. Receiving calls is a bit of a pain, but it works for the most part. If you forward your US number to GV and the set GV to forward to Google Talk (gmail), it will 'ring' the Talkatone app on your iPhone, assuming you have it running in the foreground. Voice quality is pretty good, even on 3G.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
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"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
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