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Default Fido/Rogers Prepaid with DataPlan - Possible? - 06-09-2008, 13:41


anybody from Ontario in the forum?

Im going to Canada and was looking for a prepaid SIM solution with data access. Rogers/Fido does offer a data plan, I was wondering if its possible to use those data plans with prepaid subscription? (I will use my Nokia E71 and I would like to have unrestricted Internet access)

Due to the Fido website, it looks like its just possible to use those data plans with a monthly subscription. Is that right?

And if yes how long is the contract time I would have to take?

Ill appreciate any help.
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Stu (Offline)
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Join Date: 11 Feb 2004
Location: Detroit (formerly Dubai)

Default 06-09-2008, 16:27

I'm not a a Canadian, but my home in the US is ten miles from the border and I"ve grown up along side it with several Canadians in my immediate family so I know Canada pretty well, but not as good as PhotoJim or Vlad.

Canadian prepaids are nowhere as good as in the US. The Canadian cellphone industry (even though almost all the companies are national) are modeled on a regional model. Most Canadians roam when they get fifty miles from their home and this is reflected in the premarket market as well. I live just outside Windsor Ontario (519 area code). London Ontario is just shy of a two hour drive. On most plans, you are roaming in London. On Rogers and FIDO, you have to do a large recharge to get a year of service.

The best Canadian SIM I've found is the 7-11 Canada one. You buy it with a junk phone and pitch the phone. Locals calls are about $0.20 a minute. Internal Canadian calls and roaming calls are $0.30 a minute.

Frankly, it looks like the CDMA side is a little better in Canada with respect to data, but buying a new phone for a prepaid trip usually is a bad investment. Telus, Solo (an MVNO on Bell), and Virgin have some creative options. Bell Mobility has a prepaid with free incoming calls in your local area and free calls after 6pm if you pay a dollar a day:

Virgin Canada has unlimited e-mail for $3 per month on a phone if you buy an LG Rumor. $7 more a month gets you unlimited mobile browsing.

Koodomobile also has some interesting CDMA stuff ( They are not prepaid, but if you pay full freight for the phone, you can go month to month. Koodo rides on the Telus Mobility network. There does not appear to be any tethering options.

I haven't found great data solutions for Canada. If you are on ATT contract, you now buy 50 megs in Canada for about $60. It is better than you can do on the prepaid side. On Rogers, you can add a smartphone mail option for $15 which gives you two megs or so of non-email data.

Even with a contract Rogers phone (I traded one phone of my family plan to a Cannuck relative for one on his Rogers plan), I can't add serious data on a month to month basis. There is a good deal on 4 gigs of data for $60, but I have do a three year commitment just to add the data. [I was wrong, see PhotoJim's post below which says that the deal is 6 gigs for $30, but with a 3 year contract]

I've also look for companies that rent Canadian data cards and have not succeeded.

Last edited by Stu; 06-09-2008 at 18:12.. Reason: Eating Crow
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PhotoJim (Offline)
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Join Date: 10 Dec 2006
Location: Regina, SK, CA

Default 06-09-2008, 17:35

I think the issue Stu was recognizing was that Canadian providers tend to charge long distance charges when you are outside your local calling area. Canada, like the US, uses geographic numbers for mobile phones, but nationwide calling tends not to be included in the plans. There is evidence that it is coming, but it is not a tomorrow thing.

There are several new providers that will be offering service in the near future. Their native coverage will be UMTS 1700 (we expect). The first that will likely be online is Globalive (which uses the Yak brand but is heavily backed by the investors of the European Wind provider, so this could be Wind Canada - we don't yet know). The carrier promised a few days ago that it would have attractive, practical prepaid service and implied that it would be a lot more like European prepaid service than typical Canadian service. In fact, their focus is going to be on prepaid, which is very innovative here where postpaid is king. (Then again, if I lived in Europe I might use prepaid on a daily basis as well - the plans available are not at all unattractive.)

As of yet, there is no good data plan on prepaid for any provider. Rogers allows pay-by-the-kilobyte coverage but it's costly. US carriers are not much better in the GSM world. T-Mobile offers very basic restricted data only. AT&T has good wireless data on prepaid, but it does not permit roaming except in Mexico. (It won't even roam on the local providers in North Dakota or Montana, whereas T-Mobile will.)

You could get a postpaid account on a short-term basis (you may want to figure out what, if any, penalties you'll pay and factor them into the cost), or simply avoid using wireless data and stick to using WiFi.

(Stu: the Rogers deal is 6 gigs for $30 which is really a fantastic deal, but yes, it does require a three-year commitment. Still, I snapped it up. For my purposes, 6 gigs is as good as unlimited.)

If you can be patient, wait for the new providers. There will be a bunch (perhaps four or more).

CA: SaskTel, Wind postpaid; Rogers, Bell postpaid iPad flex plans; US: T-Mobile postpaid data, prepaid voice; PureTalk (AT&T MVNO) prepaid voice/data; AT&T prepaid iPad plan

Hardware: Too much but notably iPhone 5, iPad Mini Retina LTE, Moto G LTE (N.A. version), iPhone 4. All unlocked.
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Default 06-09-2008, 17:43

Thank you guys for the info.

I think Ill go for a contract if nothing new will rise up.
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VladS (Offline)
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Posts: 590
Join Date: 22 Jun 2004

Default 14-09-2008, 22:38

As of July 1st the 7-11 SpeakOut rates went up:

Local calls:
$0.20/minute when using $75 or $100 refills
$0.25/minute when using $25 or $50 refills

Long distance to US and Canada:
$0.20/minute on top of the local calling rate (effective rates of $0.40-0.45/minute)

A less expensive option is Petro Canada Mobile. It is operated by the same company as 7-11 (Ztar) but is distributed by Petro Canada, one of the largest (if not the largest) gas station network in the country. The per minute rate is $0.20 and the long distance cost is only $0.10 on top of the local rate. Refills are available starting at $20 and are good for 180 days.

There are web sites for both packages:

Petro Canada Mobility:

Mobile phones: iPhone 5, Blackberry 9900, Nexus S, Samsung S3322 duos
Mobile data cards: Huawei E587u-5, Huawei E583c, Huawei E160
Postpaid SIMs: CA: Fido, Wind; INTL: Telna
Prepaid SIMs: DE: Fonic, Lidl; AT: yesss!, bob; UK: O2; US: AT&T; RO: Orange, Vodafone; FR: b&you, Lycamobile; NL: Lycamobile; BE: Lycamobile, Jim Mobile; CL: Entel; MX: Telcel; INTL: eKit Blue, eKit Yellow
Dead SIMs: too many to list
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Fossie (Offline)
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Posts: 11
Join Date: 05 Mar 2008
Location: Linz, Austria

Default 04-12-2008, 19:02

I am traveling to Canada (Toronto area) for about 10 days in April and I want to buy a prepaid SIM card. The above-mentioned "7-11" and "Petro Canada" SIMs look very interesting. On the websites, I didn't find any information on the availability and prices of "starter packs" without handsets. I'm sure someone over there knows more about it. Thanks!
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