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Best Smartphone Plan Covering US and Canada?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the move-to-regular-scotia dept.

Communications 199

j00bhaka writes "I am a US citizen attending university in Nova Scotia, Canada. I currently have the Verizon America and Canada plan (also known as the North American plan). My bill is currently around $80-$100 per month. I chose this for a couple reasons. One, I have had my number for about 7 years. Two, I do not permanently live in Canada. I live in Canada for 8 months out of the year at school, then travel home for the summer months. Either way, I would be dealing with international roaming without having both countries in my plan. Currently, I obviously don't have a smartphone. Through Verizon, I could purchase one, and add their international unlimited data plan on top of my (already) hefty phone bill. I have looked into Telus and Rogers here in Canada and cannot find anything better. As a student, my budget is obviously limited. Is there any way to reasonably have (and utilize) a smartphone while I am living in both countries? If so, what do you suggest I do?"

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Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31445126)

Congratulations on your purchase of a brand new nigger! If handled properly, your apeman will give years of valuable, if reluctant, service.

You should install your nigger differently according to whether you have purchased the field or house model. Field niggers work best in a serial configuration, i.e. chained together. Chain your nigger to another nigger immediately after unpacking it, and don't even think about taking that chain off, ever. Many niggers start singing as soon as you put a chain on them. This habit can usually be thrashed out of them if nipped in the bud. House niggers work best as standalone units, but should be hobbled or hamstrung to prevent attempts at escape. At this stage, your nigger can also be given a name. Most owners use the same names over and over, since niggers become confused by too much data. Rufus, Rastus, Remus, Toby, Carslisle, Carlton, Hey-You!-Yes-you!, Yeller, Blackstar, and Sambo are all effective names for your new buck nigger. If your nigger is a ho, it should be called Latrelle, L'Tanya, or Jemima. Some owners call their nigger hoes Latrine for a joke. Pearl, Blossom, and Ivory are also righteous names for nigger hoes. These names go straight over your nigger's head, by the way.

Owing to a design error, your nigger comes equipped with a tongue and vocal chords. Most niggers can master only a few basic human phrases with this apparatus - "muh dick" being the most popular. However, others make barking, yelping, yapping noises and appear to be in some pain, so you should probably call a vet and have him remove your nigger's tongue. Once de-tongued your nigger will be a lot happier - at least, you won't hear it complaining anywhere near as much. Niggers have nothing interesting to say, anyway. Many owners also castrate their niggers for health reasons (yours, mine, and that of women, not the nigger's). This is strongly recommended, and frankly, it's a mystery why this is not done on the boat

Your nigger can be accommodated in cages with stout iron bars. Make sure, however, that the bars are wide enough to push pieces of nigger food through. The rule of thumb is, four niggers per square yard of cage. So a fifteen foot by thirty foot nigger cage can accommodate two hundred niggers. You can site a nigger cage anywhere, even on soft ground. Don't worry about your nigger fashioning makeshift shovels out of odd pieces of wood and digging an escape tunnel under the bars of the cage. Niggers never invented the shovel before and they're not about to now. In any case, your nigger is certainly too lazy to attempt escape. As long as the free food holds out, your nigger is living better than it did in Africa, so it will stay put. Buck niggers and hoe niggers can be safely accommodated in the same cage, as bucks never attempt sex with black hoes.

Your Nigger likes fried chicken, corn bread, and watermelon. You should therefore give it none of these things because its lazy ass almost certainly doesn't deserve it. Instead, feed it on porridge with salt, and creek water. Your nigger will supplement its diet with whatever it finds in the fields, other niggers, etc. Experienced nigger owners sometimes push watermelon slices through the bars of the nigger cage at the end of the day as a treat, but only if all niggers have worked well and nothing has been stolen that day. Mike of the Old Ranch Plantation reports that this last one is a killer, since all niggers steal something almost every single day of their lives. He reports he doesn't have to spend much on free watermelon for his niggers as a result. You should never allow your nigger meal breaks while at work, since if it stops work for more than ten minutes it will need to be retrained. You would be surprised how long it takes to teach a nigger to pick cotton. You really would. Coffee beans? Don't ask. You have no idea.

Niggers are very, very averse to work of any kind. The nigger's most prominent anatomical feature, after all, its oversized buttocks, which have evolved to make it more comfortable for your nigger to sit around all day doing nothing for its entire life. Niggers are often good runners, too, to enable them to sprint quickly in the opposite direction if they see work heading their way. The solution to this is to *dupe* your nigger into working. After installation, encourage it towards the cotton field with blows of a wooden club, fence post, baseball bat, etc., and then tell it that all that cotton belongs to a white man, who won't be back until tomorrow. Your nigger will then frantically compete with the other field niggers to steal as much of that cotton as it can before the white man returns. At the end of the day, return your nigger to its cage and laugh at its stupidity, then repeat the same trick every day indefinitely. Your nigger comes equipped with the standard nigger IQ of 75 and a memory to match, so it will forget this trick overnight. Niggers can start work at around 5am. You should then return to bed and come back at around 10am. Your niggers can then work through until around 10pm or whenever the light fades.

Your nigger enjoys play, like most animals, so you should play with it regularly. A happy smiling nigger works best. Games niggers enjoy include: 1) A good thrashing: every few days, take your nigger's pants down, hang it up by its heels, and have some of your other niggers thrash it with a club or whip. Your nigger will signal its intense enjoyment by shrieking and sobbing. 2) Lynch the nigger: niggers are cheap and there are millions more where yours came from. So every now and then, push the boat out a bit and lynch a nigger.

Lynchings are best done with a rope over the branch of a tree, and niggers just love to be lynched. It makes them feel special. Make your other niggers watch. They'll be so grateful, they'll work harder for a day or two (and then you can lynch another one). 3) Nigger dragging: Tie your nigger by one wrist to the tow bar on the back of suitable vehicle, then drive away at approximately 50mph. Your nigger's shrieks of enjoyment will be heard for miles. It will shriek until it falls apart. To prolong the fun for the nigger, do *NOT* drag him by his feet, as his head comes off too soon. This is painless for the nigger, but spoils the fun. Always wear a seatbelt and never exceed the speed limit. 4) Playing on the PNL: a variation on (2), except you can lynch your nigger out in the fields, thus saving work time. Niggers enjoy this game best if the PNL is operated by a man in a tall white hood. 5) Hunt the nigger: a variation of Hunt the Slipper, but played outdoors, with Dobermans. WARNING: do not let your Dobermans bite a nigger, as they are highly toxic.

Niggers die on average at around 40, which some might say is 40 years too late, but there you go. Most people prefer their niggers dead, in fact. When yours dies, report the license number of the car that did the drive-by shooting of your nigger. The police will collect the nigger and dispose of it for you.

Have it put down, for god's sake. Who needs an uppity nigger? What are we, short of niggers or something?

They all do this. Shorten your nigger's chain so it can't reach any white women, and arm heavily any white women who might go near it.

Not unless it outnumbers you 20 to 1, and even then, it's not likely. If niggers successfully overthrew their owners, they'd have to sort out their own food. This is probably why nigger uprisings were nonexistent (until some fool gave them rights).

Yeah, well, it would. Tell it to shut the fuck up.

A nigger's skin is actually more or less transparent. That brown color you can see is the shit your nigger is full of. This is why some models of nigger are sold as "The Shitskin".

What you have there is a "wigger". Rough crowd. WOW!

They're as common as dog shit and about as valuable. In fact, one of them was President between 1992 and 2000. Put your wigger in a cage with a few hundred genuine niggers and you'll soon find it stops acting like a nigger. However, leave it in the cage and let the niggers dispose of it. The best thing for any wigger is a dose of TNB.

And you were expecting what?

When you came in here, did you see a sign that said "Dead nigger storage"? .That's because there ain't no goddamn sign.

I live in New Zealand (1, Funny)

Master Moose (1243274) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445130)

and we only just got plumbing installed you insensitive clod!

Why a smartphone? Google voice + prepaid is best (2, Interesting)

cytoman (792326) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445142)

Get a Google voice number and any smartphone or dumbphone that accepts SIM cards. Then, get a prepaid SIM from Canada and redirect your Google Voice number to that number. When you are in the US, get a US pre-paid SIM and redirect your Google Voice number to that number.

For your internet on the go, you would rely on wifi and your notebook/netbook.

Re:Why a smartphone? Google voice + prepaid is bes (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31445200)

Wow, you managed to give a solution that does not address a single requirement of the problem... Bravo.

Re:Why a smartphone? Google voice + prepaid is bes (1)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445828)

Well, GP was close. I would get a "regular" phone plan in Canada and subsist on prepaid for four months in America. Google Voice lets you use the same number for both phones and gives you free long distance to Canada.

If you Google a bit, Tracfone will cost you around 6-8 cents a minute. This is competitive with the cheapest monthly plans you can get (in my area) at around 500 minutes talked per month. Above 500 minutes, it will still beat an ETF.

So, Google Voice lets you use whatever cheap plan you want - international calls between US and Canada don't cost any more than a local call.

Re:Why a smartphone? Google voice + prepaid is bes (1)

cullenfluffyjennings (138377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445210)

I've been trying this but the problem is I don't end up with a reasonable data plan on the prepaid phones which turns out to be a drag. Anyone have ideas for good prepaid plans with data in the Canada? What about US?

Re:Why a smartphone? Google voice + prepaid is bes (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445238)

Worst ideas I've seen in a while...

Prepaid rates are great if you use a small number (15-30) minutes a month... but anything more and you're better off buying a monthly plan.

And WiFi when you travel isn't so cool... you'll find yourself paying US$15-20 a day if your hotel doesn't include it in the price, and those that do include it tend to charge more so you can't win that game. You can't sit in a coffee shop and get WiFi for multiple hours without running up quite the food bill. Nothing's truely free.

Re:Why a smartphone? Google voice + prepaid is bes (5, Informative)

ComSon0 (473373) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445266)

I travel to Canada from the US often for work and have tried this as I also have a Rogers plan. Google voice will not forward the calls to international numbers, even if it's our neighbor, Canada.

Re:Why a smartphone? Google voice + prepaid is bes (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445582)

That was my first thought, 'Why a smartphone'. If one is living on a limited budget one should live within their means.

Re:Why a smartphone? Google voice + prepaid is bes (1)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446048)

Because students could be dirt poor, eating cardboard and clothing themselves in towels stolen from the YMCA, and they'd still pick a damn smartphone over the loss of a limb. At least that's the impression I get at my university.

Re:Why a smartphone? Google voice + prepaid is bes (1)

greeneggs2000 (739337) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445868)

Google voice will call out to Canada for free, but will not forward to Canada (for free or pay).

Re:Why a smartphone? Google voice + prepaid is bes (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446022)

Google voice does not forward calls.

I'm using [] for this exact purpose.

Re:Why a smartphone? Google voice + prepaid is bes (1)

rhesuspieces00 (804354) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446286)

This sucks. Examples of why:
* GPS navigation only works if you have a gps enabled device and a constant data connection. Wi-Fi is useless for this.
* Netbooks suck. Period.
* Pulling out a laptop to check twitter to see where your friends are while walking down the street does not make sense.
* Prepaid SIM service sucks. Calls are deprioritized relative to other traffic and call quality is terrible.
Do I need to keep going? Start counting the apps in the iTunes store that *DONT* work on the iPod Touch and you should start to get the idea.

Re:Why a smartphone? Google voice + prepaid is bes (2, Insightful)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446512)

* GPS navigation only works if you have a gps enabled device and a constant data connection. Wi-Fi is useless for this.

So you mean those GPSes cars that just plug into lighter sockets are magic? Or the ones on ships hundreds of miles out out to sea have a constant data connection?

Pulling out a laptop to check twitter to see where your friends are while walking down the street does not make sense.

Just text your friends - "Hey dude, where are you?"

How badly do you need a smartphone? (5, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445160)

I guess the biggest question would be - why a smartphone specifically?

Assuming you have some sort of decent Internet access at school, at something available at home, why not just get a VoIP line (a' la Vonage, MagicJack, etc)? You'd have a single number that would cross borders with you easily, and it would be one heck of a lot cheaper.

Re:How badly do you need a smartphone? (2, Funny)

0racle (667029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445208)

Uh, because everyone else has one, duh.

Re:How badly do you need a smartphone? (1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445360)

AS someone who used vonage for three years, I can say that anyone that uses vonage as a primary line is a masochist

Re:How badly do you need a smartphone? (1)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445648)

I was living in Germany a few years back, and used Skype, first as just a way to call people back home, and later as my primary phone. It was pretty terrible back when I started using it (~2005?) but has became much more reliable towards the end(I came back to America in 2009). I still use it to call friends in other countries without incident.

I can't imagine vonage being much different of a story.

Re:How badly do you need a smartphone? (1)

BobPaul (710574) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446164)

I agree. Why would anyone pay $15-$30/mo for phone service when you can mate something like Vitelity or with an unlocked PAP2 for less than $10/mo. :p

But, no.. if your voice quality was poor it's either because you have a bad internet connection, you don't have quality of service properly setup, or your router can't actually handle quality of service at the bandwidth you use. Try using your router as a simple access point (eg, disable DHCP) and install ZeroShell or another router distribution on a spare PC with 2 NICs. You might find that Linksys device running tomato/dd-wrt/openwrt/etc really wasn't as cool as you thought it was.

Re:How badly do you need a smartphone? (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446262)

Upgrading to a Linksys with HyperWRT/Thibor and eventually Tomato is what made my Vonage work really well.

Oh, almost forgot the obligatory meme. ... you insensitive clod! :)

Re:How badly do you need a smartphone? (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446238)

As someone who used Vonage as a primary phone for over four years (over five Internet companies in three states), I disagree. I found it about as clear as the cell phones I had used for years prior, and their business model less objectionable than the land line company that wanted $100 for setup plus my SSN or $200 in additional escrow. And $18 a month including taxes and 400 minutes of calling beats $45 with no long distance included.

You do have to have a decent router, though, and the ones they provide are... well... crap. Once I put mine behind a half-decent router, it worked very well.

I will agree, however, that your Internet connection had better have low latency, or it's to s..oun..d Various firmware upgrades to the Vonage router really helped with this, though. :)

Re:How badly do you need a smartphone? (4, Insightful)

TexasTroy (1701144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445394)

More so, how badly do you need a phone at all? You are a student. Is there some higher obligation that requires you to have mobile accessibility (and why isn't that paying for it) or is this something you want to have so you can be like all the other cool kids on campus? If a mobile phone is an unnecessary want, get your priorities straight. Plenty of time for over-priced whiz-bangs after school.

Secondly, what is the need for keeping the same phone number? I had a new number every year when I was in school back when we used two Dixie cups and a string, and modems melted the lines at a blazing 2400 baud.

Figure out what you really need, then go from there. That should help you decide what it is worth rather than looking to get the cheapest generic plan for something you may not need to begin with.

Re:How badly do you need a smartphone? (5, Funny)

zen_la (1377775) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445464)

You forgot to tell him to get off your lawn

Re:How badly do you need a smartphone? (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445746)

and away from your grass!

Re:How badly do you need a smartphone? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446216)

More so, how badly do you need a phone at all? You are a student. Is there some higher obligation that requires you to have mobile accessibility


Re:How badly do you need a smartphone? (1)

H0D_G (894033) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446754)

What are you, Dad? I like the Get Off My Lawnishness inherent in this post.

Re:How badly do you need a smartphone? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31445508)

His question wasn't do I need a smartphone, it was I want a smartphone is there any way to do it. Obviously he realizes he doesn't need one, he doesn't even have one now! I love my smartphone and sure, I could live without one, but I like technology, and smartphones are the latest and greatest, and they are really convenient, useful, and just plain cool (and no I don't mean cool as in I look sweet with my iphone and all the cool kids have one, I mean cool in the same way a nice computer is cool, I like technology).

Now back to the question at hand, what would probably be cheaper is to get an unlocked GSM/3g iPhone/whatever it is you want, and get a post-paid plan in Canada (because it sounds like you are there most of the time). Then get a pre-paid SIM card on t-mobile or ATT for the US which you use when you go back to the US. You'd need google voice or similar to keep the same number year round though.

Two plans on GSM... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31445162)

...and swap out SIM cards. See if that is cheaper. It might be.

Then use Google Voice to forward to both numbers.

Save your money (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31445168)

You're a student? Here's some advice that you did not solicit: Consider whether this is an opportunity to save yourself some longterm pain by keeping your expenses low. Consider the actual cost of the it affects the level of debt you'll carry (if any) as a result of tuition loans.

Maybe a smartphone and data plan is a must have....for a student... ...don't think it is though. I know, it'd be a tough living, wouldn't it?

Re:Save your money (2, Insightful)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445232)

Save your money. I am a successful professional and don't have a smartphone. You really don't need a gadget that you have done without all along. It is just a nifty toy.

Re:Save your money (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446366)

Depends on what you do. I did my job without a smartphone. Then I got a smartphone. It's worth $100/week for me to have it. (But don't tell Verizon that, they'd raise my rates.)

Nobody's Home... (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445188)

Here's the thing... there is no network that can legally operate in both countries. American interests own the American networks, and Canadian networks are owned by Canadian companies. You're going to be on somebody's roaming network when you're in the other country.

AT&T warns iPhone users that they won't want to take their heavy-data-using phones into Canada, Mexico, or anywhere because they'll be charged high roaming data rates.

I think Verizon might be your best selection because they've at least won't be charging you by the bit. Still, watch your Canadian usage of a US plan carefully because they'll still have to pay roaming rates even if they're not passing them on to you. Too much roaming network usage on an unlimited plan is usually a TOS reason to worm out of the deal.

Don't bother (3, Insightful)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445190)

Get this. Up until 15-20 years ago (practically) no college students had cell phones. They all managed to survive and get through school despite that handicap. You may have to endure being a social pariah for a few years but it isn't necessary to have a smartphone.

I don't know if it's still available but you can use the Verizon WirelessWeb feature on a smartphone without getting a data plane. Whether they'll let you upgrade to a smartphone without upgrading to data is another thing. They allowed this for the first time with the Centro.

Re:Don't bother (4, Funny)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445290)

Get this. Up until 15-20 years ago (practically) no college students had cell phones.

And we walked to school barefoot in the snow and uphill both ways!

Re:Don't bother (4, Funny)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445436)

We were LUCKY to go barefoot! In my town, we would wrap our feet in barbed wire for traction.

Now get off my lawn you damn kids!

Re:Don't bother (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445652)

You had barbed wire? Damned kids. In my day, we had to beg Grandpa for his wooden dentures, which we tied to the tips of our toes for traction.

Re:Don't bother (2, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445738)

Luxury! Why, when I was a lad my father made me go into the back shed and pound nails into the soles of my feet for traction. We only dreamed of dentures!

Re:Don't bother (1)

mikerubin (449692) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445898)

Such Opulence!
We had to go dig up flint arrowheads from the Pleistocene era and tie them on with sinew!
Now get off my lava flow! ...
now where did I put that dinosaur egg?...

Re:Don't bother (1)

new death barbie (240326) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446274)

You had FEET? In my day I had to share one pair of feet with my brother and sister, and we were GRATEFUL.

Re:Don't bother (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445776)

I'm not that old, but my dad had to chop down a tree to dig out a canoe so that kids who couldn't swim could cross the river. He also made sure all the bears were dead.

Re:Don't bother (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445424)

Get this. Up until 15-20 years ago (practically) no college students had cell phones. They all managed to survive and get through school despite that handicap.

Times change. The fact that everybody now has a cellphone makes it much harder to get by without one. Payphones aren't widely available any more. Things aren't pre-planned as much; if you're not reachable, you simply miss out. Your friends' tolerance for telephone tag is different now.

Yes, you can still survive without one. But the fact remains, not having one now is quite different than not having one 15 years ago. A better analogy to not having a cellphone now would be not having your own PC 15 years ago - a few students didn't, but most did, so you were at a disadvantage if you didn't.

Re:Don't bother (1)

gnapster (1401889) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446128)

And many universities are pulling phones out of the dorms, because so many students use cell phones and VoIP instead that it is not cost-effective to provide the service.

Social pariah may become unemployed social pariah (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445664)

You may have to endure being a social pariah for a few years but it isn't necessary to have a smartphone.

Being a social pariah in college is a good way to graduate without a job offer.

Re:Social pariah may become unemployed social pari (2, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445896)

Excuse me, but did you know that engineers make pretty good pay right out of school?

Re:Social pariah may become unemployed social pari (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446008)

did you know that engineers make pretty good pay right out of school?

Without a job offer, engineers make $0 per year. A phone is one tool used to pursue job leads.

Re:Don't bother (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445882)

Get this, most geeks don't have a lot of friends, so the "phone" part is pretty useless, but the "smart" part means you can play tower-defense games on the shitter, and tweet to famous people who don't even tweet their own tweets, to fill in the time you're not on the shitter or in class (since you don't have lots of friends, dig?).

So anyone in college who reads /. naturally needs a smartphone.

Re:Don't bother (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31446200)

Speak for youself, I am a proud geek CS major (posting from a CS lab now) and guess what? I'm with FRIENDS right now.

Re:Don't bother (1)

rhesuspieces00 (804354) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446148)

Get this. Up until 85-100 years ago (practically) no one had cars. They all managed to survive and get through life despite that handicap. You may have to endure being a social pariah for a few years but it isn't necessary to have a car. I don't know if it's still available but you can use the horse-drawn buggy on a road without getting a car. Whether they'll let you ride it to the grocery store without upgrading to a car is another thing. They allowed this for the first time with the Model T.

I wish I'd had a cell phone (1)

aaronrp (773980) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446172)

I was a college student from 1988 through 1992, mostly at UC Santa Cruz. I had my own phone line whenever I could, so I could talk to my family, whatever part time employer I had, etc. Over those four years I lived in eight dorm rooms and two apartments, not counting two summers living with my mom. Either we had land phones, which cost $35 every time I moved into a new place (in 1990 dollars), or -- during the year I lived in Vancouver, BC, where UBC didn't have phone jacks in the rooms -- amazingly high telephone credit card costs on my dad's phone bill.

Cell phones back then were big, bulky, and expensive; I don't think I ever seriously considered getting one (although at one point my dad got one for business). I only wish I could have had what today's students have access to.

Re:Don't bother (3, Insightful)

cobryson (957109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446382)

Why are nearly all of the commenters just railing on this kid for wanting a luxury or two, at a reasonable price? Can't anyone just assume he's already set his priorities, has everything he NEEDS, and now wants to get something he WANTS for a reasonable price? I'm not saying I have a perfect answer, but I'm also pretty sure he didn't come here for a lecture about how lucky he is.

Re:Don't bother (1)

slasher999 (513533) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446434)

It wasn't that long ago actually. The whole cell phone thing started to take off in the early 90's, but it was well after that when cell phones were something everyone - especially students - had. I'd say more like 10 years ago, maybe 12.

Not that bright, are you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31445194)

There really is no good price for international roaming. Since you want to keep your US number, this is what you do:

1. During the school year, put your verizon phone on the cheapest possible plan that includes unlimited call forwarding.

2. Get a Canadian cell phone (personally, I hate all Canadian cell phone companies, but dislike Rogers the least).

3. Get a toll-free number that goes to your Canadian cell phone, and this toll-free number must cover Canada & the US. This will cost you around 3-5 cents/minute. Also get a toll-free number that goes to your verizon cell phone.

4. During the school year, call-forward your verizon phone to the toll-free that goes to your Rogers phone. So now your friends back home can still call you at your old number, and it doesn't cost you that much.

5. During the summer, call-forward your rogers phone to the toll-free that goes to the verizon phone.


Re:Not that bright, are you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31445334)

And for the data/smartphone question, there really is only one solution:

Get an unlocked smartphone, something like the 3G blackberry bold. During the school year, add a month-to-month data plan. During the summer, drop the Canadian data plan, switch the bold to verizon, and add a month-to-month data plan.

Smartphone killed the PDA? (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445338)

Maybe what this kid needs is a iPod Touch or the upcoming WiFi-only iPad. If data plans are unreasonable with the roaming charges, maybe he can just do the smartphone-like things in WiFi zones, and keep his current phone-only device with a phone-only plan...

In Canada... (1)

MrTripps (1306469) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445340)

I hear in Canada they call Canadian Geese just geese. Also, their bacon is round.

Re:In Canada... (1)

psyque (1234612) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445646)

You heard wrong like so many Americans these days. We call Canadian Geese... Canadian Geese . We have round bacon and strip bacon. Usually we call them both... bacon. Ya'll liv'n in the south?

Re:In Canada... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31445802)

Just FYI, we laugh at round Canada bacon here in Quebec. Our bacon is in strips form just like in the USA.

Re:In Canada... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31445948)

I never heard of Canadian Bacon (round) until I went to the states,...
When I was a kid we cured our own Bacon

Verizon and ATT (1)

coolmoose25 (1057210) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445344)

I tend to pick a carrier first, and the phone second. That's because I'm one of the seemingly few people left who actually care whether the phone part works. Verizon has good coverage in the US... Can't speak to Canada, but if you have no complaints about coverage, I'd tend to stay with that carrier. I am also a Verizon customer, and there is no doubt that you pay through the nose for their services, but again, there is that 'wanting my phone to work' thing that I can't seem to get past.

ATT is another obvious choice, with good coverage in the US and likely in Canada as well. You'd have to compare rates on those two carriers. After that, you get into the lesser carriers (IMHO) such as Sprint. Cheaper per month, but for me they had radically worse coverage.

Other considerations would be what the networks are of those you call most - if they are all on Verizon, all those calls are airtime free if you are on Verizon too... Same would go for the other carriers.

Another poster pointed out that you could go with a generic GSM phone and use prepaid sim cards in both countries and tie them together with Google Voice. You'll lose the free minutes thing, so it makes sense to think about how much you call people.

As for the smartphone thing, you can get good smartphones from all the carriers now. They all seem to have blackberries and ATT has the iPhone while Verizon has the Droid. I waited a LONG time for Verizon to offer me a really nice (read: trendy) phone, and now have a Droid and like it very much. I don't want to engage in the whole iPhone/Droid debate... suffice it to say that they are both cool, both very usable, and both are a pleasure to have.

But in summary, I'd say examine the network first, phones second. Then pays the money, whatever it works out to be. The frustration of a big phone bill pales in comparison to a phone/network that doesn't work for you. That is a daily frustration, and the bill only comes once a month.

I'm not sure what you want to achieve: (2, Interesting)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445352)

International roaming will always be expensive, be it for calls or data.

1- do you really need it ? I'd expect Wifi to be available most anywhere you are (though not while you're actually on the move), so VOIP, maybe with both a Canadian and a US provider, should be OK for you most of the time.

2- for when you DO need voice or data on the move or out of Wifi coverage, it's you choice between a single number w/ expensive international roaming, or 2 numbers, swapping SIMs.

I don't know what your situation is, but lotsa students have managed to survive without mobile phones, or without $100 monthly bills. Might require a little planning and temperance.

Re:I'm not sure what you want to achieve: (1)

drtsystems (775462) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445794)

Anyone who says lots of students have survived without cell phones has obviously been out of school for quite a while. Yea, sure I could SURVIVE without a cell phone, but the world is a different place. Most dorms don't even have landline service anymore. EVERYONE I know has a cell phone. Literally. So if you don't mind being the weirdo who no one can get a hold of then sure. But you won't be normal and your social life WILL suffer

Re:I'm not sure what you want to achieve: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31446700)

Tracfone. 10 cents per minute to all of the Americas and about 40 other countries.
$20 for a bluetooth phone with camera
Port your old number to it.

I wish. (1)

maitai (46370) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445420)

You call that hefty? My Cell phone bill is $411 a month without overages.

I do have 2 Blackberries and 3 data lines (Verizon) but I'd still love a $80-$100 a month bill.

Re:I wish. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31445480)


Re:I wish. (1)

Orga (1720130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445578)

I'd be embarrassed to admit it. There are so many options out there for consolidating multiple numbers behind one.

Re:I wish. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31445826)

Wow! I have a 5 cell phones (each member of my family carries their own - no smart phones) a home phone, internet (FIOS with about 8-12 wifi/wired devices connected), and TV with 4 boxes (one an HD DVR)including HD content and movie channels (HBO/Cinemax/Starz/Movie Channel/etc....) all from Verizon and I still only pay about $350/month. You are seriously overpaying....

Droid+Google Voice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31445498)

Get a Droid and use Google Voice.

Free calls to Canada.

Social Engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31445538)

The best way to get the plan you want is to do it the old fashioned way, and haggle over the price. Call up customer service and use your best leverage to convince them that you deserve a better plan than what they offer their first time customers. Long time customer, client retention (claim a plan offered by another telco that equals or exceeds your desired plan) and plain persistance. If they don't let you have it, call them back again. Try different times, especially after works hours to reach different customer support staff. Design your dream smartphone plan and then do not give up until you get it, as they may give you small concessions one after another until you reach your goal.

This worked very well as a long term customer of Rogers, when Telus got the iPhone.

What's Your Priority? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31445574)

If a budget is most important to you, then switch to Sprint or another company. Verizon has the best cell coverage of any other North American carrier, but it comes at a premium. Unlimited data and voice and text with Sprint and a Blackberry Tour (or similar) costs like ninety bucks for the phone, two year contract and I believe it's about 100 a month. So, check coverage maps first, obviously. Sprint phones also use GSM and the SIM chips, so they can be used internationally, so there's a plus. Verizon uses CDMA which apparently is used in Canada; the downside to CDMA is that voice and data cannot be used simultaneously while GSM can.

Also, have you called a Verizon customer service rep yet and asked what they would recommend? Being a customer with them for seven years, you might very well be considered a high-value customer and they might be more willing to cut you a deal to keep your business. So there's that then.

Re:What's Your Priority? (1)

glebovitz (202712) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446178)

Um .. er .. Sprint is CDMA and doesn't use no stinkin' SIMs.

I used Sprint in Canada and I don't think I paid exceptionally high data usage fees.

Limited budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31445598)

Clearly your idea of being a student with a "limited budget" is different from the rest of us...

Re:Limited budget (1)

drtsystems (775462) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445890)

No... just my generation has different priorities. I'd prioritize a cell phone over most other things, including books for classes if it came down to it. It would be much easier to survive in school without textbooks than it would be to survive without a cell phone.

Re:Limited budget (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446598)

If $100/mo is a problem, either your financial situation or your expectations need to change. The guy is a student at a foreign university - not his state school an hour from home. Either he needs to make a good case to his parents for them to pay for it, or do without a smartphone, or get a job that pays him enough to be able to swing for the phone.

There needs to be a mod down for naysayers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31445600)

One of the reasons I don't ask questions on Slashdot anymore is that instead of answering the question, a good bit of the responses are why you don't want to do what you're asking. It isn't like he's asking for something unreasonable. Having a smartphone that can check email isn't too much to ask. When I was in college in 1992 I didn't have a phone, just a pager. I was never home. Telling a college student to use vonage or magicjack is ridiculous. Telling him to just get by without one just shows your age. I really hope someone has a good answer, because it's a great question. And I hope mods will quickly mod down these naysayers so we don't have to read this garbage. Answer the question or shut up.

Describe the goal, not the step (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445720)

One of the reasons I don't ask questions on Slashdot anymore is that instead of answering the question, a good bit of the responses are why you don't want to do what you're asking.

I think it has something to do with ESR's essay "How to Ask Questions the Smart Way": Describe the goal, not the step [] . People see a smartphone as a step and are trying to reverse-engineer what goal the smartphone solves for the OP.

Re:There needs to be a mod down for naysayers (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445852)

Actually, what he is asking is unreasonable. Well, unreasonably expensive.

It seems that having a U.S. phone in Canada is almost the most expensive thing you can do. It's worth pointing out that the expense has to be worth it. To him.

I took a look at the T-Mobile options. A discounted International plan gets you Canadian minutes at $.04/min. Not bad, but add that to everything else and it sucks. A Rogers plan in the U.S. is painfully expensive.

Dual SIMs, use Google Voice to consolidate your calls, and be prepared to pay.

Call Them (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445634)

Contrary to the standard opinions here on Slashdot, big corporations are still run by human beings. Just call Verizon and tell them your situation. You're a student that lives in the USA but goes to school in Canada and you can't afford these massive international rates. It doesn't cost Verizon any more to provide service to your phone in Canada than it does to provide service to your phone on the other side of the country from where you live, so all these additional fees are essentially pure profit. Tell them that if you can't get a better deal on your phone service, then you will be forced to switch to GSM so that you can bring your phone across national lines and just switch providers to avoid these huge rates for international service.

It might take some time, effort, and a bit of pleading, but I'm sure you'll manage to get a lower bill out of them.

Re:Call Them (2, Informative)

drtsystems (775462) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445716)

Except it does cost them more... a lot more. They don't have a network in canada so they have to pay rogers or whoever the CDMA carrier is in canada to let them use their network

Re:Call Them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31446232)

Contrary to the standard opinions here on Slashdot, big corporations are still run by human beings.

Big corporations are run by murderous robots. Stop filling this poor kid's head with wanton idealism.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31445710)

You are currently on the best plan for North America. I am an American living in Canada and do business in both countries. The Canadian plans that will accomplish the same thing as the plan you currently have, will be 400% more, due to the lack of competition in the Canadian market. Verizon was the last US company to still offer a "North America" plan. So, even though it is more expensive than we are used to in the US, you are still getting amazing rates when you consider that you are roaming internationally.

GSM FTW (3, Informative)

bananaquackmoo (1204116) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445734)

Get a GSM phone, then you can remove the SIM card. Get 2 phone plans, one in Canada and one in the US. It'll be more expensive to have 2 plans, but it will also be cheaper than paying international rates.

Re:GSM FTW (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31446258)

It'll be more expensive to have 2 plans

Maybe not. If he parks his number on a pay as you go plan and gets a local plan for $35, it would save him a bundle. Mummy and Daddy can suck up the long distance bills to call him and he can use skype or whatever to call home. Skype is something like 0.02 cents a minute to call a land line so it won't break the bank. Heck, if they're somewhat technically inclined, he can call them for free. At the end of the deal, he can cancel his local plan and go back to his pay as you go number.
Posting anon cause im too lazy to log in.

Get multiple sim cards or.... (2, Interesting)

dacarr (562277) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445866)

As logistically goofy as it sounds, one can actually get multiple SIM cards, and just do a seasonal suspension on the account depending on where and how long they will be out of the country. You'll want to go GSM for this one, though. Also, if Verizon can suspend the service, you should be able to get the CDMA carrier up in Canada to register the ESN of the device, since you're currently running Verizon. Check up there to find out the details. Again, look forward to seasonal suspensions. Above all, TALK TO VERIZON and check your options.

Just deal with the reality (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 4 years ago | (#31445920)

Having an international "smart phone" plan is an expensive idea. I work for a company where my users travel internationally. We are with AT&T and everyone has a Blackberry. The bill for an unlimited data plan, plus international calling / roaming / etc. is often $200-300+ a month (depending on countries visited, amount of long distance voice used, etc.)

Asking for an international smartphone plan that fits a college budget is kind of like asking how to go out into the rain and not get wet.

Re:Just deal with the reality (1)

BobPaul (710574) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446272)

Umbrella. Raincoat. Rubber boots. If you're cheap, garbage bag. Umm.. This thing [] .

Re:Just deal with the reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31446588)

He's in Nova Scotia. He'll need all those plus a snow suit, gloves, and a scarf. Probably on the same day.

Why is this on slashdot? (0, Offtopic) (1284676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446100)

Must be real slow day...

Have you checked T-Mobile? (0)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446110)

I don't really know what kind of deal you might be able to get with T-Mobile, but I'd check with them. They are in both the US and Canada, so you might be able to get a decent deal with them. Since you are in Canada more months of the year, if you have to choose a 'home country' for the phone, it might make more sense to make Canada the 'home', and the US the 'roaming' option.

T-Mobile is in Canada? (1)

debest (471937) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446552)

Uhhh, no they're not! (Cannot find a link to disprove this, it's hard to prove a negative: please provide me with one that says otherwise)

In fact, we're only now just getting our first carrier (Wind Mobile) that runs on the same GSM 3G frequencies as T-Mobile, and Wind is only in a few centres (they only launched a few months ago). Rogers & Fido (the main GSM carriers) and now Bell and Telus with their new network run on the same frequencies as AT&T. So if you brought a T-Mobile smartphone up to Nova Scotia, you would have no 3G coverage at all, and massive roaming charges to boot.

Get an N900 (1) (1036494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446114)

What you need is an N900, skype, google talk/voice integration, wifi/3G, open smartphone running (debian) maemo5

Reluctant AT&T'r (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31446130)

AT&T offers a US/Canada plan, but not for the iPhone (what gives?). The plan includes calls to and from Canada, but excludes data -- data is pay-per-use and is priced at $2/MB. It also includes the A-List (5 numbers you can call for free), but those numbers can't be international -- so it's useful for calling the US only.

Canada Data Coverage (1)

NovaHorizon (1300173) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446152)

Be careful. With the data coverage on Verizon, you can't OTA (dial *228) while in Canada as it's not Verizon towers. This means that if you have an issue with your data connection, and it can't be fixed by manually inputting values into the phone (some things need that *228 to finalize) then you won't have cellular data until the phone re-enters the U.S. to perform that OTA.

If your technologically inclined... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31446230)

I live in Canada and work in the states, but you should be able to do the same thing:

I have a canadian cell (25$/month), a voip service ( 3$/month for a local number) and a prepaid american cell.

To get a canadian call in the states:
I call transfer my canadian number to the voip service (free as it's a local number).
My voip number tries to ring my american cell (transfer cost of 0.01$/min) as well as my voip software on my laptop.
If I don't answer, I get an email with my voice mail.

To call canada from the states:
voip call from a laptop or a smartphone (or even ipod touch) OR get a voip service with callback feature. It'll cost you a couple cents/min.

Nova Scotia? (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446342)

Well, then the answer is obvious....WWJ [] D

No cheap way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31446404)

There is no cheap way of doing what you ask. What you're asking is the holy grail of every international traveler. But, international roaming rates are too lucrative for tellco's to give up. Anyway, get an unlocked GSM phone (or unlock your GSM phone) and switch SIM cards when you cross the border. Another option is to get a monthly plan wherever you live...

Data rates in Canada (1)

mattcsn (1592281) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446414)

Frankly, you're going to get screwed over by all mobile carriers currently operating in Nova Scotia. Bell, Telus and Rogers all charge an arm and a leg. Combining a skype unlimited US/Canada plan (make sure you pick a local number as your skype-on-the-go number) with a local DID that can forward to skype (virtufon or or others) can save you a boatload on voice costs, but there is no way to get cheap data. Ditch the data plan and stick with wifi when you can get it.

Turn your geek power to the max (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31446430)

Buy $200 desktop, install Linux, then install Asterisk. Then setup a SIP inbound to it using Gizmo. Then redirect Google Voice to this SIP inbound. Get a second Google voice account ($2 on eBay). Use this to dail out to your cell phone. Then setup a HTTP server with PHP website that would redirect the number input into it to your Asterisk box which would then use the two Google voice lines in the previous steps to dial out to the number you're calling and your cell and then bridge them together. Now register your server to DDNS so that it has a URL. Input this URL into your smartphone. Dial using this website - and get the cheapest data plan + unlimited incoming you can.

Presto - unlimited cell phone calls anywhere in US and Canada for a fixed price.

This is what I did ... yes, I'm a super geek, but hey, now who's the one with low cell phone bills? :)

Retention Department... other discount plans (2, Informative)

tzhuge (1031302) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446536)

I only have experience with the canadian cell companies, so I don't know if this is true more generally. Pretty much every cell company here has secret hidden plans only available if you phone customer service and say the magic words 'cancel service'. Some of the bonuses available might include roaming plans. You don't get to know the real pricing unless you do the song and dance. Also, you could look for group discount plans... maybe your student union, or school has some deals available. Those should be somewhat comparable to the types of discounts you can get from a retention department.

I've done this (1)

Pludodog (181200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446648)

Adding data on top of the verizon plan is probably your best shot -- that'll give you unlimited calling to and from anywhere in Canada and the US for $60 (plan) + $30 (data) + $35 (global email) = $125. Their website says that the global email plan is only available for gsm + cdma phones, but it's also available for any of the CDMA smartphones, just not listed. Look into getting a cell phone that supports skype mobile, and for not too much you can have a Skype canadian number forwarded if anyone in Canada wants to call you. AT&T has new calling plans that support Canada, but you can't get unlimited (or even 5/6 gig) data for a decent price. Assuming you're sticking with the verizon plan anyways, the cheapest smartphone contract you can find in Canada will be about ~$75 once you add taxes and the system access fee, and you don't want to know their fees for data in the US.

If skype forwarding doesn't work or you'd like Canadians to be able to text message you, you might want to look into a cheap pay as you go phone. Canadian cell phones still charge you extra for long distance, so you'll probably find yourself calling most people on your US phone anyways.

Also, I'm not sure how long you'll be in school, but be aware that Rogers, at least, tries heavily to lock you in to a 3-year contract for most smartphones, and it's $500 to quit early that you're not going to be able to get out of even if you graduate beforehand.

No good solution for data ... (1)

gordguide (307383) | more than 4 years ago | (#31446670)

It's expensive any way you hash it for data plans when out-of-country. You could ask providers, but in my experience they see it as a license to print money.

Were it me, I'd have a data plan in the nation I spent the most time in, and pick up a pay-as-you-go phone for when I'm out-of-country, using a laptop for data via WiFi, etc. The Wall-Mart phone is cheap, in either Canada or the US, for example.

You might have to keep the data smartphone powered off when out-of-country, or turn off data functions (be sure they're off, though). You can use your vocemail message to list the number for the pay-as-you-go phone. You might be able to use call forwarding, if you can be sure it won't cost you money to have it forwarded to the other phone. But data? There's no cheap option I'm aware of.

Another option would involve you piggybacking on someone else's plan, as a second phone on the account, when on your shortest stint out-of-country (in your case, when in the USA). Parents, friends, etc might be willing to go along with it. You get the advantage of a reasonably cheap data plan based on the contract rate, which is usually lowest.

There's really no good solution for short-term data plans, as far as I know. But, since cellular plans are about as unique as opinions (everyone's is different) it's really tough to give an answer without specifics, such as exactly where you will be while in the US and what provider options exist in that particular location.

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