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dmksails 05-10-2016 14:06

Cell phone for Canada
I'm planning on spending next summer going up the west coast of Canada and around Vancouver Island. My current phone is with Verizon - which I understand doesn't have coverage in Canada

Any suggestions for what to use for a phone while on this trip?

Goingbuddha 05-10-2016 14:27

Re: Cell phone for Canada
If your phone is sim-card compatible then you can buy a sim card with a plan in Canada. Once installed and activated, it would no longer use your Verizon account, though.
I believe that the phone must be an 'unlocked' one, too. There is a charge for that, in Canada. Not huge, though. Might be most cost-effective to just buy a cheap, used phone and activate it with some cheap minutes.

Good luck.


Stu Jackson 05-10-2016 14:42

Re: Cell phone for Canada
You could buy a pay-as-you-go plan in Canada with a cheap phone, maybe even a smart phone.

We have no idea how you use your phone. If it's just for telephone calls it's one thing, if you live your whole life via a smart phone, it's a completely different deal, with wifi and data involved.

You really need to do YOUR OWN homework & research, 'cuz all of us use our phones for different purposes in life.

Good luck.

PS - I just moved our boat to Canada and am facing the same choices. I have not asked here or on any of the other boating forums I frequent for the very reasons I mentioned. I have to make my own decisions based on my intended use, which could vary from just emergency calls to let family know I've anchored safely, or want to use it as a mini-computer or for a wifi hotspot. For each of these options, the plans vary in price and hardware.

dmksails 05-10-2016 15:47

Re: Cell phone for Canada
The reason I asked the question was to get some starting points for doing my own research!

Local knowledge always beats googling. Been googling for the past few hours with limited success.

donradcliffe 05-10-2016 15:55

Re: Cell phone for Canada
Last time we were in Canada (3-4 years ago), Verizon had a great plan--keep your current account and get unlimited phone in Canada for like $10-20/mo. The data plan sucked.

Bradlesh 05-10-2016 15:56

Re: Cell phone for Canada
Verizon now includes canada. You just need to call them to confirm it's part of your plan because they can be sneaky but it's free to include now. I use verizon and have a home on both sides of the border. Use Verizon daily with no issues.

alctel 05-10-2016 16:01

Re: Cell phone for Canada
Canada cell phone plans suuuuuuuuuuck. Probably grab a sim from koodoo or one of the other cheapy services.

As for coverage, I went around the island this summer - we had cell service from Victoria up to the bottom of Quadra island, then there is a huge dead zone around Quadra/Desolation sound until you get to the Johnstone strait. It's patchy all along the johnstone, non-existent in the broughtons, comes back in the Port Hardy area, and then vanishes once you get towards Bull Harbour. Doesn't come back until you've gone all the way around the top and get to Winter Harbourish - but only for a tiny patch. Then it's gone again until you get past Brookes and almost to Hot Springs Cove. Then it's fairly steady.

Basically we had cell service maybe 60%-70% of the time up the east coast, and 20%-30% on the west coast. Hope this is helpful.

Stu Jackson 05-10-2016 16:07

Re: Cell phone for Canada
Would it help if you told us how you use your phone?

Two choices I know of for this area: Shaw and telus

I don't know their coverages.

Does that give you a starting point?

dmksails 05-10-2016 16:19

Re: Cell phone for Canada
What I'm looking for is voice, txt at a minimum and possibly some internet access, though if that's available in marinas then I can go that route also - but I don't really plan to spend a lot of time at marinas.

Capt Phil 05-10-2016 16:21

Re: Cell phone for Canada
If you are sliding up or down the West coast of Vancouver Island, the whole area is covered with native villages... use smoke signals and pay off the natives in rum!

CaptTom 05-10-2016 16:41

Re: Cell phone for Canada
No experience with the West coast, but here's what I learned in the Atlantic Maritimes:

1) You need to have a CA address to get the "regular" monthly cell phone plans they advertise on their web sites. We ended up with a Bell Mobility pre-pay plan, with automatic updates.
2) Some US plans CLAIM to cover Canada, but read the fine print. All the ones we looked at required you to use the phone in the US regularly, and in CA only intermittently. One told me flat out (only after I asked) that the plan would be terminated if I used it in CA for 30 days without using it in the US.
3) Data is more expensive in CA than the US.
4) Coverage in the Maritimes was surprisingly good.

senormechanico 05-10-2016 17:37

Re: Cell phone for Canada
Several cruisers we spoke with this summer in Desolation Sound said they used T Mobil and had good results with switching from US to Canada.

goat 05-10-2016 19:41

Re: Cell phone for Canada
Koodo uses Telus towers (they're owned by Telus) and fee structure is better, ie; you know how much you're getting gouged up front instead of on bill day. I signed up for T-Mobile as I plan on being in the US, Mexico, and Canada for the next couple years and their roaming plan kicks buttocks. Coverage? Don't know yet.

Sent from my XT1058 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app

avb3 05-10-2016 19:49

Re: Cell phone for Canada
I'm Canadian, spending half my time in Florida. I have a T-Mobile PAYG plan, that covers USA, Canada and Mexico, and I found it cheaper than switching to Koodoo, which was my go to alternative. I looked at Verizon, but they could not compete with T-Mobile for my purposes. It might be worth your while to switch.

smac999 05-10-2016 23:03

Re: Cell phone for Canada
telus will have the best coveridge. bell is simular. rodgers is worse. anything else is much much worse and only work in the city.

cell phone plans in canada rape you.

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