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Discussion Starter #1
We travel to the US several times a year and have sometimes been "surprised" by cell phone charges we have incurred using our Canadian based cell phone. Several of our friends have told us they simply purchase an inexpensive pay as you go phone while in the US, purchase air time minutes and thus avoid using their regular cell phones. I just returned from a 2 week trip to the US and while down there I purchased a Tracfone along with 120 minutes of air time. The phone works fine in the US but calling home was a bit of a setup issue because Canada is considered an international call, so one has to dial a 10 digit # first, followed by the Canadian #. It also appears that if someone from Canada wants to phone me on the Tracfone, they will be charged long distance charges at some unknown rate. In addition text messaging is not allowed from this phone to any non-US based phone. I don't have a lot invested in the phone, but I'm a little disappointed in the difficulty with calling home with it, as well as the long distance charges that will be incurred if someone from Canada calls me on it. I was wondering is anyone else has purchased one of these and if any of the other venders have a better system for calling back and forth to Canada? Thanks.
 

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My wife and some relatives travelled by van to the USA 18 months ago and tired to purchase a temp. phone at WalMart as per information I had gleaned from this site at the time. That turned out to be less than satisfactory for whatever reason(s) and she purchased a phone from an AT&T store. There was unused air time left and when they returned a few months ago they found that the pre purchased time is only good for 12 months. Actual use of the phone in the USA was as advertised. Don't purchase more than you can use in 12 months I guess. sailmaker
 

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We purchased the Net 10 phone for $29 on sale at Target in Florida.....which gave you the basic phone plus 300 minutes of time. It worked the same as a normal cell phone. It takes a bit of patience to enable the phone to make calls back to Canada but it works. The long distance charges for a call from home are subtracted from your minutes with the originator of the call paying nothing.
 

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I've been using TracFone for a few years now whenever I go to the states.

Never had issues with text messaging - I'm able to TM back to canada, no problem. Also, you can setup a local CDN # so that people can call that number and call you with no long distance charges. All the info is here: http://www.tracfoneild.com/

I love using a TracFone down there. I call Canada all the time, and others have called me - with no problems/weird charges.
 

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With the advent of chat-r, roaming in the USA has become a whole lot cheaper. Receiving calls while in the US, from Canada or the US, is 25-cents a minute. Making calls while in the US is 25-cents to the US, 25-cents + long distance (which may be free depending on the chat-r plan) to Canada. For the party calling from Canada it would be the usual cost of a call to the chat-r number.

Service in the USA is, I think, on the AT&T network.

Chat-r has re-set the benchmark for Canada/US roaming while outside North America the costs are still very high: UK- $2.59; HK -$4.00, but at least it;s a start. For a short trip to the US, there's little need to spend time and money shopping for a "travel phone".
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Tracfone

Thanks for the replies - Canucksroc, in the operations manual I got with the phone it stated that international TM's were not allowed. I never tried it so perhaps in this case Canada is not considered international. As far as setting up a local # for those in Canada you are limited to a few large cities and their corresponding area code. The closest city listed for me was Hamilton which is still a different area code then I am. I did setup a "local" number using that area code but I assume it will still generate a LD charge when someone uses it to call me on. I might as well just have them call the phones direct #.
 

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I've had a T-Mobile PAYG phone for almost two years now. I immediately purchased a $100 card, which means the minutes last for one year. The $100 makes eligibility in a "gold club". Now I just top up with $25 cards here and there but my minutes still last one year.

I can call Canada from the U.S. and the U.S. from Canada. No issues at all. No extra numbers to dial. Texting works perfectly. Fees are inexpensive. I often use this phone in place of my Canadian one here at home if I am getting close to my monthly limit of talk time/texts on Rogers.

The only limitation seems to be I can only top up from the T-Mobile account website. It won't accept foreign credit cards. I can't top up from the phone either. I purchase the phone cards from a seller on eBay or pick one up when I am in the U.S.
 

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Do not use your Canadian cellphone to make direct long distance calls!

I made a big mistake last month when I decided to make a few long distance calls to my family in New York. When I saw the bill I was really caught off guard by how much I had been charged for those calls. Never again! I received an email from a friend with a list of two companies that allow you to make international calls for way cheaper. One was called Intermarvelous. I will try them out and let you guys know.
 

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We go to FL every 2-3 months and there we use exclusively AT&T pay as you go phone from Target. It costs 6 times less per minute and 3 time less per TXT. How about that?
There are 3-4 ways to top up minutes and always buy only what I need.
 
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