Flying to Quebec for month of March and need data for my Moto X pure edition. I’m searching others input on this issue but I’m not understanding. Can someone please just give me some solid, easy to understand advice on the best way to stay in data while in Canada. Can I buy a certain simcard from inside the airport or should I buy a burner phone from a 711 or something? Any brand or simcard is the best or ???
Your Pure will have data whenever you are connected to WiFi.
If that isn’t good enough you can buy a T-Mobile SIM with data but it might not be worth it to you since WiFi is everywhere.
Republic has not cell coverage in Canada (with either carrier partner)
if WiFi coverage is not enough one can look at coverage of other carriers (T-Mobile has a decent Canada coverage with their US based card or one can pick up a local SIM
I would price out the Canadian carriers
Ugh, the Canadian cellular market. Candidly, it makes the U.S. big 4 carriers at their worst look like a consumer’s best friend. Ting (an erstwhile Republic competitor) is owned by a Canadian company (Tucows) but won’t do business there. The last time a friend visited Canada, I actually set them up with a U.K. SIM from Three. Three offers very attractive international roaming rates to certain countries including Canada. Going this route, however, requires a level of geekery most wouldn’t want to deal with.
Apologies for answering your question with questions, however, it would help us better help you if we knew roughly how much cell data you think you’ll need for the two weeks you’ll be traveling in Canada? Alternatively, some additional detail of how you intend to use cell data while in Canada?
As @billg and @drm186 have pointed out reliance on WiFi for data needs is one possibility. I see both mention purchase of a T-Mobile SIM, then using that while in Canada. It’s certainly an option as T-Mobile does offer international roaming while in Canada. It does come with significant caveats particularly when using a prepaid as opposed to postpaid T-Mobile plan.
I’ve suggested these folks in the past but their website seems to be having significant technical difficulties: https://www.similicious.com. Perhaps, you might reach them at their contact page: https://www.similicious.com/pages/contact-us.
Finally, this is the most definitive resource I know of regarding the matter: http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/Canada.
Using a Canadian SIM in your Moto X Pure shouldn’t be an issue, however, please keep in mind you’ll have access to your Republic service for calling only while the Republic SIM is resident in the phone (and only while connected to WiFi as Republic offers no cellular service outside the U.S.), so switching back and forth would be required. You’d have the ability to use your Republic number for text messaging via Republic Anywhere. More on Anywhere here: Texting App | Text from Computer | Republic Wireless.
Thank you for these helpful answers. Last night I ended up ordering a Sim from T-Mobile for this canada vacation purpose. I spoke to the rep for some while and asked alot of questions. Apparently there is a talk/text +4gb of data for $40 … And also the second choice (which I will be chosing) is talk/text+10gb of data +unlimited slower speed data after 10gbs. I think this way I will feel secure knowing no mater where I am I won’t have to rely on random “free” WiFi. Thanks alot you guys and any other advice on this topic will still be appreciated.
I’m going to preface this by saying that in addition to Republic, I do business with T-Mobile directly. It’s good that you talked to a rep, however, if time permits you may want to consider a trip to a local T-Mobile store. It’s been my experience that T-Mobile’s telephone reps sometimes confuse their prepaid and postpaid options. Since this is a temporary commitment to T-Mobile, I presume you’re going prepaid. If I’m wrong about that let me know.
I don’t see a 4GB prepaid plan at $40 on T-Mobile’s website. I see "4 GB starting at $45/month and 6GB starting at $55/month. I do see the “up to 10 GB per month” at $50. It’s a limited time offer, which isn’t a problem for your use case. Coverage in Canada and Mexico on these plans appears to be an additional $5/month (certainly not a deal breaker). This is what that $5 gets you:
TALK TEXT AND SURF JUST LIKE AT HOME WITH UNLIMITED CALLS TO AND FROM MEXICO AND CANADA, INCLUDING MOBILE NUMBERS, PLUS ACCESS TO YOUR HIGH-SPEED DATA, AT NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE Not for extended international use
Note, however, it doesn’t say how much of your High-Speed data is accessible at no additional charge in Canada or Mexico. Here’s why I think it’s worthwhile to confirm (preferably in-store):
Limited time offers; subject to change. Plus taxes and fees. $10 SIM starter kit may be required. Sufficient balance required to use service. Devices sold for use on T-Mobile prepaid service are to be activated on that service, not transferred for resale, modification, or export. When you switch between plan options or renew a monthly plan, features or credits associated with your prior plan option will no longer be available, and you are not able to switch back to some plan options. Some plan options will not allow early renewal or permit use of features after included amounts are depleted. If you transfer your number to another carrier, account will be deactivated and no service will be available. Simply Prepaid & T-Mobile ONE Prepaid : Unlimited talk & text features for direct communications between 2 people; others (e.g., conference & chat lines, etc.) may cost extra. Features available until 30th day; if sufficient balance, services automatically renew at expiration. If balance is insufficient to renew for 120 days, account will be suspended for 30 days. If you have a balance, your plan will convert to Pay As You Go for 30 day increments with $3/mo. for 30 voice min./SMS messages. After your balance is depleted, then account is suspended. Simply Prepaid: U.S. roaming and on-network data allotments differ: $45 plan includes 50MB roaming; $55 plan includes 100MB roaming. Video streams at up to 1.5Mbps with Data Maximizer. Disable Data Maximizer at any time. Optimization may affect speed of video downloads; does not apply to video uploads. For best performance, leave any video streaming applications at their default automatic resolution setting. Domestic use only; additional charges apply for international use, where available. Partial megabytes rounded up. Full speeds available up to data allotment, including tethering; then slowed to up to 2G speeds for balance of service period. Certain uses, e.g., some speed test apps, may count against high-speed data allotment or have speeds reduced after allotment reached. Music Unlimited : Licensed music streaming from included services does not count towards 4G LTE data allotment on T-Mobile’s network or in Canada/Mexico; music streamed using Smartphone Mobile HotSpot (tethering) service might. Song downloads, video content, and non-music audio content excluded. For included services, see http://www.t-mobile.com/offer/free-music-streaming.html. T-Mobile ONE Prepaid: Not eligible for AutoPay discount or KickBack. Capable device required for some features. U.S. roaming and on-network data allotments differ: includes 200MB roaming. T-Mobile ONE Prepaid not available for hotspots and some other data-first devices. Video streams at up to 1.5Mbps unless you have an HD Day Pass. Optimization may affect speed of video downloads; does not apply to video uploads. For best performance, leave any video streaming applications at their default automatic resolution setting. HD Day Pass: Capable device required to experience HD resolution. On-device video streams in native resolution (tethering optimized); some content providers may not stream their services in HD. Buy and turn on. Tethering: Tethering at max 3G. For the small fraction of customers using more than 50GB per month, primary data usage must be on smartphone or tablet. Smartphone and tablet usage is prioritized over Mobile Hotspot Service (tethering) usage, which may result in higher speeds for data used on smartphones and tablets. Stateside International Talk/Text: International calling from U.S./Canada/Mexico to landlines in over 70 countries and destinations, plus unlimited calling to mobiles in over 30 countries. Qualifying service required for each line. Calls/texts must originate on T-Mobile’s U.S. network or in Canada/Mexico; otherwise standard international roaming rates apply. Must be direct communication between 2 people; certain numbers not included. See www.T-Mobile.com for countries and rates. Not for extended international use; you must reside in the U.S. and primary usage must occur on our network. Pay As You Go: Service available for 30 days after activation/refill/conversion; then account is suspended. If you have a balance, your plan will resume for 30 days with 30 voice min. or SMS messages. After this 30-day period, your account is suspended. If funds available, additional minutes/messages @ $0.10/minute or message. Partial minutes rounded up. Domestic use only. No data roaming. Coverage not available in some areas. Network Management: Service may be slowed, suspended, terminated, or restricted for misuse, abnormal use, interference with our network or ability to provide quality service to other users, or significant roaming. See T-Mobile.com/OpenInternet for details.
Note this fine print suggests roaming data is a tiny fraction of of one’s overall allotment. The reference is to U.S. roaming, however, (if it were me), I’d specifically verify that the $5 extra meant use of the cell data allotment outside the U.S. isn’t similarly limited. It may well not be but it’s not something one would want to find out after the fact.
In addition to all of the above (unless you transfer your Republic number which would also cancel Republic service), you’ll have a separate phone number on the T-Mobile SIM. If you think someone might need to reach you at that number, you’ll want to be certain they know it.
T-Mobile 4G LTE…https://www.t-mobile.com/optional-services/4gcitylist.html
Now T-Mobile extends your coverage beyond the borders at no extra charge. Get up to 5GB of 4G LTE data in Mexico and Canada, and keep in touch with unlimited calls and texts. See some of the markets where 4G
LTE is currently available below.
MEXICO + CANADA UNLIMITED
Call across the border for just $5/mo.
Add Mexico + Canada Unlimited to your plan for $5/mo.
Get unlimited calling to and from Mexico and Canada (including mobile numbers)
Use your 4G LTE data up to 5GB while in Mexico and Canada.
Qualifying plan and capable device required. Not for extended international use.
It does appear you’ll be limited to 5GB of high speed data while across the boarder, may be an extra $5 and the data is partner provided. I found the information above by dropping a pin on the coverage map and on their prepaid page. It sounds like a good easy option for those traveling north and south of our boarders if the local coverage fits their needs…
One other consideration is if you are currently on RW’s Sprint CDMA network you would be unable to reinsert your RW SIM for WiFi use in Canada until you have access to a Sprint signal.
Great thanks for your detailed knowledge share, as usual.
Living in Michigan, about to vacation into Ontario, I am interested in understanding the options for phone (and data!) use while visiting, or even travelling though, Canada. So any additional experiences or updates are welcome.
I also followed your earlier (from 2017) suggestion to look at www.similicious.com, and noted the website issues still present. Making me very hesitant to rely on them. From that site, however, I see that similicious uses (used?) chatrwireless, a discount brand for Rogers. Implications are that one must be INSIDE Canada to buy a chatr SIM card, though. Although those MIGHT be available at Wal-Mart stores?
So how have RW users handled temporary visits into Canada?
I got a T-Mobile SIM for the trip and in two weeks I used under 3gb of data. Easy peasy
Thanks, kerrip.eazopg! So you got a T-Mobile USA SIM card, and activated it in the USA before going? On a pre-paid plan including the 4 GB (per month), or something different?
I know from years ago the main U.S. mobile service providers were all being extremely unreasonable about any voice minutes or data use in Canada. But T-Mobile has been acting as the disruptor, so perhaps they are shaking up that scam now, too.
Just still uncertain about whether activating a T-Mobile SIM should happen in the USA, or whether it must better wait until on the Canadian side.
Unlike Republic, it’s possible to add roaming for Canada and Mexico to a T-Mobile prepaid plan for as little as $5 above the cost of the plan itself. The 4 GB prepaid plan you reference at $45 is the least expensive plan option. As bad as $50 might sound to us cost conscious Republic customers, options in Canada itself would probably be worse. The Canadian cellular market is just awful.
You’d want to acquire and activate the SIM while in the U.S. as it would be much better to sort any issues before leaving. Why deal with any potential problems while traveling?
The last time I visited Canada, I used a Three (U.K.) SIM and the methods I outline here: Calling International Numbers with a Republic Phone. At the time the cost (due to favorable exchange rates) of 12 GB of cell data with Three was roughly $25. Calls made using the services in the article I referenced are fractions of pennies per minute. That said, I’m a geek and using T-Mobile would be much less hassle. And, given the trip itself has cost involved, is an additional $50 a deal breaker?
Yeah I activated the T-Mobile prepaid in store while still in the US then once I was in Canada (where my RW Sim no longer functioned) I popped in the T-Mobile SIM and didn’t have any problems at all.
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