Cellphone and GSM

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This is a community page for attendees to share information they have about mobile service when traveling from outside of Canada for PyCon. Note: WIFI will be available throughout the conference. Although you will want sufficient mobile data access to be able to navigate around Montreal, perhaps not as much as you might imagine (for example, 50MB/day == 1.5G / month; compare to your current usage). ### Some things to consider Regardless of how you approach using your mobile device in Canada, you will need to consider the frequency capabilities of your phone. If you are coming from outside of North America, you will probably want a multi-band (3 or more) GSM phone capable of 1900MHz. Note that an LTE phone from outside of North America will not be compatible with LTE in N.A., but your 3G-GSM capabilities should be fine. Try searching for **GSM frequencies Canada** or **visiting Canada cell phone use** to find more information. If your current carrier, or a carrier within your country offers roaming to Canada, this may be most convenient. Alternately, you can purchase a prepaid SIM card from a carrier locally in Montreal. To do this successfully you will need to ensure a few things, among them: - that the SIM card offered is compatible with your device (SIM cards come in different sizes; not all phones use SIM cards); - that your phone is capable of connecting on the frequencies offered by the local carrier; - that your device is unlocked, and capable of working with a service other than the provider who provided you with the phone (if that is the case); - even if provider has SIM card, it may be for data network only; if CDMA service, they would need to activate your physical phone (and that may not be possible) - be sure to ask if GSM service! ### Roaming Options Note that roaming charges and data options can be expensive. Be sure to check with your carrier. From the U.S., T-Mobile offers free international roaming in Canada. - see [http://www.t-mobile.com/optional-services/international.html](http://www.t-mobile.com/optional-services/international.html); - contact a local dealer; T-Mobile Germany also appears to have international roaming on services, and prepaid SIMs - see [http://www.t-mobile.de/roaming/](http://www.t-mobile.de/roaming/); - contact a local dealer; **Note:** For T-Mobile from U.S., [calling CA is $0.49/per minute](http://www.t-mobile.com/optional-services/international-calling.html). T-Mobile customer support also adds this: calls placed from CA to US (e.g. when roaming) will be **$0.20/per minute**, as well as **any calls originating from CA to CA** (i.e. "local" calls). *Beware:* the charges originating from CA are incurred even if you have T-Mobile's "unlimited" international calling (that only helps with calls originating physically in the US). Text and data incur no charges, says T-Mobile U.S., so prefer WiFi calling or messaging, etc. when possible (and check with your provider for their rates). If you have a phone issued by T-Mobile, you will likely have WiFi calling integrated, but be sure it is enabled as a first option. If not (such as Moto-X owners, or if you have an iPhone) you'll want to look at apps to do WiFi calling. You'll also need a phone number to use with the app, such as [Google Voice](http://www.google.com/googlevoice/about.html) number, or something comparable. For WiFi calling apps, see something like this: [WiFi calling apps](http://www.cnet.com/how-to/3-android-apps-for-wi-fi-calling-with-google-voice/). I frequently call an iPhone friend who connects through Talkatone (be sure the app is up and "listening" to incoming). Google Voice is free between U.S. and Canada; check [other rates here](https://www.google.com/voice/b/0/rates). Here are some links to popular carriers' international coverage plans: - [Verizon Wireless](http://b2b.vzw.com/international/traveling_to/index.html) - [AT&T](http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/international/roaming/international-roaming.jsp?wtLinkName=Viewinternationalroamingplans&wtLinkLoc=BDY) - [Sprint](http://shop.sprint.com/mysprint/services_solutions/category.jsp?catId=service_international&catName=International%20Services&id16=international) - [T-Mobile](http://www.t-mobile.com/international/) - [Boost Mobile](http://www.boostmobile.com/plans/international-connect/) - [Virgin Mobile US](http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-phone-plans/beyond-talk-plans.jsp) M@'s Verizon Story: I live in NH, and have a multi-phone unlimited data plan with Verizon. I called Verizon to maybe get into "Canada and Mexico Minutes" on their "More Everything" plan, but that's a different plan which means loosing the unlimited data. What I did learn is that text messaging is "domestic" in Canada charged the same as if in US. I will be turning off "Global Data Roaming" on our phones - and we will survive on texting and Wifi while in Montreal. I encourage you to call Verizon Global Service 908-559-4899 (Can), 800-711-8300 (from US) with your own questions and update this. R's Verizon story: I live in MN and I just chatted with a Verizon person who verified that yes texting is considered domestic and therefore won't charge you extra, however she said there is no way to turn off voice and data completely while keeping texting, so you will be charged (89 cents) for an unanswered phone call and also $.002 for each kb of data you use. She said airplane mode is "the only way to block data and calls". ### Local SIM Options By getting a SIM, you will have a working phone number in Canada, ideally with data, and you will be always connected. If you wonder if this will be worth the bother, consider, for example, the caveats under T-Mobile's international roaming, above. These are some companies offering prepaid SIM cards in Canada: * [Virgin Mobile Canada](http://www.virginmobile.ca/) * SIM cards and prepaid credit are also available from [**The Source**](https://goo.gl/maps/gwKeK) stores located all around the city (as well as Virgin retail outlets). $5/SIM. * There are Virgin and Source stores [**in the Complexe Desjardins mall**](https://goo.gl/maps/6GQNW) two blocks from the conference. * Once purchased, activate online via free wifi. Within a few hours, reboot your phone and it should work. * 250mb data is $35. Credit is sold in $15 and $25 increments. Buy $15+$25 in credit when you get your SIM; you will be all set. * [Petro-Canada](http://mobility.petro-canada.ca/default.aspx) * [Chatr](https://www.chatrwireless.com) * [Solo Mobile](http://www.solomobile.ca/en/plans/details/prepaid/) * [Rogers](http://www.rogers.com/web/Rogers.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=WRLS_PREPAID_LANDING) * [Primus](http://wireless.primus.ca/index.php) * [Koodo Mobile](http://koodomobile.com/en/on/plansandboosters.shtml) * [Fido](http://www.fido.ca/web/page/portal/Fido/PrepaidPlans) * [Videotron](http://www.videotron.com/residential/mobile) (SIM cards available - $15, plus any plan on their page, monthly rate or per use) * [PC Mobile](http://www.pcmobile.ca/prepaid_home.jsp) * [Similicious](http://www.similicious.com) (they can have the SIM delivered and waiting at your hotel) **Please notice that you need an unlocked phone to make use of a foreign SIM; if you are unsure if your phone is unlocked, please check it with your operator.** **If you are an iPhone user**, you can get local service from a choice of providers directly from [Apple Store St. Catherine](https://goo.gl/maps/c8Z9G), with free SIM cards for foreign travelers. They assure us they have plenty of SIM cards to handle our numbers. It's about a 20 minute walk from the conference. Apple Store St. Catherine 1321 Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest Montreal, QC H3G 1P7 +1 514-906-8400 [Daryl Spitzer](http://twitter.com/yacitus): I asked at the store 2014-04-06 11:30 AM and several people there insisted they do not provide SIM cards with local service. I went down the street to Rogers and was quite satisfied with the service there. Other local services which have confirmed to not offer GSM phone service: * [Public Mobile](http://www.publicmobile.ca/pmconsumer/plans) (CDMA) * [Bell](http://www.bell.ca/Mobility/Cell_phone_plans/Prepaid_plans) (prepaid CDMA+ UTMTS/HSPA; even though w/ SIM card **not** GSM) * [Telus](http://mobility.telus.com/en/QC/prepaid/index.shtml) (prepaid, CDMA, no SIM - need to buy & activate phone) You'll find more information at [cellphones.ca](http://www.cellphones.ca/cell-plans/)
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