Canadians pay some of the highest roaming and long-distance fees in the world, and a quick trip abroad (or even to another province), can result in wireless-bill sticker shock. With some 18 million Canadians tripping into the U.S. each year, a service that lessens these fees is bound to be popular.
Roam Mobility, launched last week, does just that. The U.S. nationwide mobile network, created specifically for Canadians travelling south of the border, provides Canadians with more affordable U.S. talk, text and data rates than most Canadian wireless companies.
For a three-day plan with 200 MB of data and unlimited talk time, you’ll pay $24.95, plus one-time fees of buying either a travel phone ($39.95), a mobile hotspot ($129.95) or a SIM card ($19.95).
With “Big Three” mobile companies—Bell, Rogers or Telus—standard U.S. roaming rates are $1.45/minute and $1/MB for data. Add-on coverage options, for which you pay a set monthly fee, don’t offer anything close to Roam Mobility’s unlimited talk and text plans or data limits (up to 2,000 MB).
Additionally, Roam Mobility plans are purchased per-trip (no monthly fee) and include voicemail and calling to Canada while in the U.S.
One sore point is that you’ll be assigned a U.S. number. If you choose to forward your Canadian number (for a fee), your carrier back home will charge long-distance fees for each forwarded call. The cheaper but less elegant option is to alert callers to your temporary number via your outgoing voicemail.
Is Roam Mobility worth it? Ultimately, it depends on your mobile habits while travelling. With low-cost Canadian carrier Wind, for example, those who send just a few texts or make only brief calls may pay less, since fees with that carrier are only 25¢ per minute for calls and 25¢ per text in the U.S.