• Jack Tyler
    I'm sure some (many? most?!) of you have visited Canada at some point in your travels. We just made our first '21st Century' trip to Alberta & BC and - very clearly - the area we were least prepared for was having affordable data access. I suspect we're your typical RV couple: each of us with a cell phone, sharing a cellular-capable iPad, and all 3 on a Verizon plan. It was easy to set up a travel plan for our cells so they worked in Canada. The snag was affordably sucking down data when a Tim Horton's wasn't around and wifi access was otherwise not available. As always, we left Canada planning to return and then there's the 'some day' trip up to the YT and perhaps Alaska. So we're not planning to be there for months at a time, but do imagine crossing the border repeatedly for shorter stays. If your needs have been similar to ours and you have some suggestions for us, we'd surely welcome them. Many thanks!

    Jack & Patricia Tyler
    Bozeman, MT
  • Steve S
    Canada is a rip off when it comes to data plans - you will not have any luck finding an inexpensive plan up here. We have one of the highest Internet rates in the world.

    But … right now … the exchange rate should help you out quite a bit.
  • Jack Tyler
    Someone on another forum just sent me this reply to my Q. Perhaps some of you might be able to comment on it?

    "We just signed up for the amazing AT&T pre-paid deal which gives you unlimited texts, unlimited phone calls and 8 GB per month per phone for $25 a month per phone, if you pay a year in advance. Data coverage is for both Mexico and Canada. You can get the same deal paying monthly for $40 with Autopay set up. Otherwise it's $50. Oh, and hot-spots (tethering) are permitted for all of the data."

  • Steve S
    Do you know what your monthly data usage is? How much do you pay AT&T if you go over the 8GB? To get these rates, do you need an existing, pre-qualifying AT&T plan? These are keys to figuring out if this is a good deal or not. BTW, I could not find this deal on the AT&T website. Cheers, Steve
  • Keith
    I have the New Verizon Unlimited Plan, this is from their website:
    I travel to Mexico and Canada a lot, so can I use my phone like I do at home?
    Yes, with the Verizon Plan Unlimited you can make calls, send texts and use data within Mexico and Canada:
    Unlimited calls
    Unlimited messages
    0.5 GB/day of 4G LTE speed data (after that you have 2G speed data)
    If more than 50% of your talk, text or data usage in a 60–day period is in Canada or Mexico, use of those services in those countries may be removed or limited.
  • Greg F
    This was our plan when we went through Canada with Verizon "unlimited" The data per day is fine to check e-mails and news real quick but pretty low if you want to web surf, watch videos etc. 2G data is pretty much useless for anything so once the .5gb was done so was internet.
  • Keith
    I understand, and the only other options are the international plans they provide, and they pretty much have the same limitations. No Bueno.
  • Lorraine
    I’m not sure which US cellular plan it is, but many Canadians have a cheap US plan for when they are south and can use it as well while in Canada. They will also often have a Canadian plan and use it as well in Canada. One they call out with, one they receive calls with. It’s too complicated for my liking.

    I have a “roam like home” plan for my phone while in the USA, which costs me more, but I can use my phone plan just like if I was at home. However, I found that while roaming, my data gets gobbled up fast, so I am in the habit of turning my data roaming off unless I’m using it.
    Hi Jack. We venture up to the great wilderness playground often and have had the same concerns you currently have. Ray suggested some solutions with connectivity, but with adding so many other cellular carriers (Rogers and others), it was getting expensive. So, as a solution we only have one US carrier now, Verizon. Tablets and other devices work via the smartphone mobile hotspot setting. To remain connected while out in natures playground with cellular service being quite limited or not at all, we have been utilizing a device called "Iridium Go!" satellite hotspot which gives us global connectivity for both voice and data communications via the smartphone. It turns the smartphone into a sat phone. It is actually less cost for this one device than having many other cellular carriers for connectivity. You don't need cell towers for a satellite device, so you can now go where the bears roam and enjoy the views. Our next venture will be to Tuktoyaktuk, NWT and Prudhoe Bay, Alaska (making a big loop), so the Iridium Go! will come in handy. We also use the SPOT Gen 3 Satellite Messenger for family and friends to "keep track" and for an emergency (just in case). Safe Travels and Happy Trails.
  • Steve S
    I see that no one has yet been able to find an inexpensive and viable cellular data plan for 1 phone let alone 3 plus an iPad (as per the OP's request).

    Considering Canadians pay one of the highest rates for mobile Internet services in the world, I would find it surprising that anyone, from outside the country, can pay less than a Canadian does. Why? Because, all third party Telcos must partner and use the expensive Canadian services.

    To MJ John's suggestion to use Iridium Go and/or SPOT Gen 3 sateilite communicators, these are not inexpensive solutions. You need to buy the satellite communicator and the data plan. They are viable if you want the ability to communicate. I use a Garmin InReach two-way text satellite communicator but was willing to pay for the device and plan. Satellite communications have limitations too, depending on weather and terrain, so not always effective.
  • Fumes21
    Look at zoomerwireless.ca I haven't tried it but doesn't look too bad.
  • Paul Beaubien
    Check out Costco Canada if you have an unlocked phone. They offer data plans with all of the major Canadian carriers. We have a Canadian cell number that is transferred to “number barn” when we are in the USA to avoid the absurd charge of $15 per month to suspend a Canadian number. Number Barn charges about 2 to 4$ per month.
    USA carriers do not generally charge to suspend a USA phone number. Our USA plan with t mobile only allows 2 months in Canada or Mexico per 12 month period. The rules change every year as it used to be 6 months rather than 2 months.
  • Steve S
    Yikes, zoomerwireless is expensive. Look at the plans. They hook you with the 3GB for $36/mo but look at the details, the plan only shows 500MB for data if you go to the order page. And, states, the advertised price is only an estimate. Travel Packages are expensive too. Very misleading.

    Even if the 3GB information was accurate, it really isn't much data. A few attachments in emails and your done. Wonder how much they charge in overage fees too? It all adds up to an expensive endeavour - not what the OP is looking for.

    Costco is a touch better but have plans at the same cost that I currently pay with Rogers. Fido seems to have less expensive but may be limited in where they offer service. Again, not what the OP is looking for.
  • Fumes21
    I don't have data at all, and am with SaskTel Mobility, but haven't looked at their US plans.
  • RVsolar
    Hi all have you heard of Google fi. They use 3 network and have no roaming works in over 150
    Countries They have unlimited talk text and data plans we are think of going this way for our Mexico trips.
  • Steve S
    Hi, an update, and good news, is for us Canadians doing roaming into the US. Rogers just introduced new unlimited data plans; some of them include US-Canada roaming. Plans include 10G, 20G and 50G guaranteed tiers that slow access once you reach the tier level subscribed to. Key is, these plans, are less expensive, offer better data rates and eliminate all overage fees, and include unlimited text/voice/video while roaming in either country.

    I changed my plan 2 days ago for a US-Canada 20 G subscription. Compared to my original Rogers plan,when in Canada, I will save $15 Cdn/ mo. Roaming in the US, while snow birding, will save me over $130 Cdn/mo. - that is significant savings. Does not include roaming in Mexico.

    The last time I looked at Google FI, the concept was good but wasn't available in Canada. Appears they have partnered with Bell Canada and could be feasible for the OP. Good suggestion.
  • Ray
    Hi, an update, and good news, is for us Canadians doing roaming into the US. Rogers just introduced new unlimited data plans; some of them include US-Canada roaming.Steve S
    Do they allow you to hotspot the phone on the US-Canada Roaming plan so multiple devices can share the data?
  • Steve S
    Hi Ray, I see no information in the plan details that exclude using the phone as a hotspot. It does exclude a direct cell connection to a tablet, which is handled under a different plan. I had a similar plan in which I used my phone as a hotspot for my laptop without any issues.
  • GeekyGuy
    As mentioned, data rates in Canada are excessive. The cartel, who runs the CRTC, similar to FCC in the USA, controls everything and dictates rates. Rates are a tad lower in Quebec, as they have 1 additional competitor (Videotron). It's a lost cause, for now. We may have 1 day a government who will have a back bone to figure it out.
  • Jack Tyler
    My thanks to everyone for continuing to beat the bushes on this topic.

    I was coming to the conclusion that, since our stays in Canada would only be a few weeks each time and no more than once or twice per year, the best option is t just suffer with the high data charges that are tacked onto our USA Verizon plan. BUT...we then downloaded a very few web pages the first day we had cell service after crossing the border and were immediately hit with a warning from Verizon we'd racked up $50 in additional charges. Hard to imagine how that happened given the tiny use we made of the internet, but it was a taste of reality. Off to Tim Horton's and wifi!

    InReach is a great service - we pilots love it for "what if" reasons - but it meets other needs. Looked at Google Fi and need to better understand how that would fit for our interim and occasional needs. Very much appreciate the dialogue!

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