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RTuesday (Offline)
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Default Prepaid 3G data in Canada - 21-01-2011, 06:38

Is there any availability of prepaid 3G data in Canada? Mainly across BC and Alberta, including outside the cities (I'm aware coverage in BC can be sparse in rural areas).

I have an Option 452 stick so can do most bands including AWS, although the main coverage on the newer carriers seems to be a few (mostly eastern) cities only.

In theory, my Truphone sim at "only" $2.78/MB seems to actually be the best deal, although I don't trust their rates calculator and it's probably GSM/Edge only.

This is for a period of a few months this summer, using the usb stick as a backup when there's no hotel wi-fi, so hopefully won't get heavy use. Solomobile for one doesn't allow tethering or laptops on their "unlimited" data add-on (and has lots of exceptions and add-on fees).

Any ideas?


Sims: Telcel MX, T-Mobile US, Virgin Mobile UK, Orange UK, Knowroaming
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Stu (Offline)
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Default 21-01-2011, 16:09

Data Plans - Virgin Mobile Canada

The devices are CDMA and you need to use their equipment. Virgin runs mostly on the Bell network.
   
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RTuesday (Offline)
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Default 22-01-2011, 00:17

Looks like Virgin Mobile now use Bell's HSPA network, which is interesting - a bit better coverage than CDMA in many areas (suh as Sask., and Atlantic Canada):
Coverage Maps - Virgin Mobile Canada

Even so, it asks me to "pick a phone" before picking one of the "broadband to go" plans. The modem devices are both HSPA+. I can't spot how to buy them other than as part of their "tab" system: 10% of the monthly bill applied to the cost of the device until it is paid for (in other words, a contract).

So, is there any way to get a true prepaid sim on Virgin Mobile Canada, and use the $10 a month data add-on? Could I just buy a cheap refurbished phone+sim from them ($30) and move the sim to an unlocked data stick I already have?

The broadband-to-go is a OK price, but it's basically an open-ended contract rather than prepaid.


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RTuesday (Offline)
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Default 22-01-2011, 01:29

Looking further, I've found how to switch Virgin Mobile Canada's store to show the prepaid options. Which then only has a CDMA device for $80.

So, no 3G prepaid on Virgin Mobile? No way to get a sim-only? I could plug the CDMA device into my travel router, but $80 seems a waste for a device that'll only have limited use for a couple of months.

Looks like I'll have to stick to wi-fi only.


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Default 22-01-2011, 03:52

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTuesday View Post
Looking further, I've found how to switch Virgin Mobile Canada's store to show the prepaid options. Which then only has a CDMA device for $80.

So, no 3G prepaid on Virgin Mobile? No way to get a sim-only? I could plug the CDMA device into my travel router, but $80 seems a waste for a device that'll only have limited use for a couple of months.

Looks like I'll have to stick to wi-fi only.
Virgin Mobile Canada (as well as the US) is CDMA and thus no SIM.

Rogers/Fido has data, but it's for WAP only.


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RTuesday (Offline)
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Default 22-01-2011, 20:38

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Originally Posted by weekilter View Post
Virgin Mobile Canada (as well as the US) is CDMA and thus no SIM.
Virgin Mobile Canada do have sim cards for their newer service on 3G HSPA, but as I found after ploughing through their messy website for a while, the prepaid is currently limited to the older and slower CDMA/EDVO network (even for voice).

Doesn't look like I would be able to get any form of service on their 3G network, as a non-resident. Hopefully that will change when they start to phase out the CDMA and move even the prepaid over to HSPA, but pobably not this year.

So, apart from Virgin Mobile Canada's aging EVDO network on Bell, there doesn't appear to be any other prepaid data in Canada, is that correct? CSD/WAP doesn't count ...


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bylo (Offline)
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Default 23-01-2011, 18:06

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTuesday View Post
Is there any availability of prepaid 3G data in Canada? Mainly across BC and Alberta, including outside the cities (I'm aware coverage in BC can be sparse in rural areas).

I have an Option 452 stick so can do most bands including AWS, although the main coverage on the newer carriers seems to be a few (mostly eastern) cities only.
WIND might be an option if you're OK with coverage only in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. Their network is AWS/1700 Mhz/BandIV. You can buy a SIM for $25 and sign up for a data plan at a 50% discount until the end of January. Their Infinite plan is $25/month for "infinite" (5GB, possibly throttled thereafter) data with no contract. They're also VoIP-friendly if that matters.


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Default 31-01-2011, 04:09

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Originally Posted by bylo View Post
WIND might be an option if you're OK with coverage only in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. Their network is AWS/1700 Mhz/BandIV. You can buy a SIM for $25 and sign up for a data plan at a 50% discount until the end of January. Their Infinite plan is $25/month for "infinite" (5GB, possibly throttled thereafter) data with no contract. They're also VoIP-friendly if that matters.
It would appear Wind has a new wrinkle. Today a co-worker from Germany Armed with her X10i went into a wind shop to get a sim and get a prepaid sim/data package and was turned away. The salesperson was not able to process her request because she did not have a Canadian Drivers license or Credit card . Now she was able to go to another location and get the sim card but this is becoming the norm now with wind.. Sales people that are clueless. I am have no doubt she will be returning it as this 1/2 duplex and constant dropped calls in the gta is getting silly!
   
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Default 31-01-2011, 15:12

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockjock View Post
The salesperson was not able to process her request because she did not have a Canadian Drivers license or Credit card.
AFAIK there's no regulation in Canada that requires either piece of ID to buy a SIM or prepaid phone. For example you can buy a SpeakOut phone and airtime at any 7-11 store with cash and no ID. I've done this several times.

Quote:
I am have no doubt she will be returning it
See: Wind mobile final sale, no refund.


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RTuesday (Offline)
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Default 13-06-2011, 02:57

Just to follow up on this, I've been in Canada over a month now.

I haven't needed mobile data, free wi-fi has been good enough, seems to be almost universal in (better) vacation rentals, and in McDonalds, most coffee shops, etc.

3G coverage is excellent though, so it'll be nice when prepaid 3G is a viable option, but it's really not that needed. For voice, as mentioned on another thread, I'm using eKit, which for a low user like me is good enough (for a heavy user, the per-call costs would add up).


Sims: Telcel MX, T-Mobile US, Virgin Mobile UK, Orange UK, Knowroaming
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