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May 19, 2004

Fallen Rib

Finally have the opportunity to take a vacation and we are headed to Canada (Ontario). Mainly will be around the Georgian Bay in a town called Thornbury, but we will also be traveling to Toronto for a day. I have a Nexus 5 that will be going with me, what options for prepaid do I have in Canada? Is it realistic to expect much data? Basically we just want to have an emergency contact option in the event it's needed and use Google hangouts a bit to message.

Edit : Found a good resource :

mAlfunkti0n fucked around with this message at Jul 22, 2014 around 18:50


Aug 31, 2001

I've done this recently. Getting prepaid service in Canada isn't bad, and ~$50 can land you 2 GB of data for a month. There's two challenges:

The first challenge is actually obtaining a SIM. Probably the best way is to have someone pick one up for you and mail it in advance of your trip, but that assumes you have a host or at least a Canadian friend willing to do it. You can get one yourself once you arrive in Canada, but you'll have to seek out a wireless store during their open hours, which may not be the most convenient thing to do on arrival.

A third option is to order a SIM card from a website like mrsimcard and have it mailed to you before leaving. I ordered a Rogers card that way and it came in a few days. You pay a premium for the convenience of course, but it's worth it to have working data service on arrival so that you can focus on your trip.

The second challenge is paying for refills, or otherwise paying for service. Rogers, and I think all of the other carriers, won't let you refill/pay for service online using a non-Canadian credit card. Again, the best option is to have a Canadian contact purchase a refill for you who you can reimburse later. You can purchase refill vouchers in person using a non-Canadian card at a grocery store or some place when you arrive. Anecdotally I did not find any refill vouchers at Safeway, but I didn't look too hard.

Again, the third option is to purchase a refill voucher from mrsimcard, who will email you the voucher code you need to pay the service balance online. Even though he just emails you the code, it can still take a couple of days to process. I imagine he actually has someone in Canada purchase the vouchers to send him the codes.

Now there's some catches with the mrsimcard route, which is what I did. You'll want to order the SIM and vouchers in advance, and it's best to activate the card and service online before you leave the country (I assume you're in the US). On Rogers, 2 GB of data costs $50 for 30 days, so you'll need at least a $50 voucher. mrsimcard sells $40 and $60 vouchers, but not $50. The $60 one is fine though, as that will give you a little extra for voice minutes should you need them.

The problem I ran into is that the $60 voucher was actually a combination of $40+$20 voucher codes. When setting up the service, you actually need a $50 or more voucher to add the data plan. I think if I had had that, it would've been smooth sailing. Since I didn't though, I activated the service with the $40 voucher and no plan, with the intention of adding the $20 as a refill right away. Unfortunately to do that you need a PIN which they don't give to you when activating the service. Instead, I had to call Rogers (I think 800-575-9090) to obtain the PIN, but the customer service rep was also able to add the second voucher and data plan for me over the phone.

Beyond that, service worked as soon as I arrived, which was helpful as I was using Google Maps as my GPS. It worked fantastically throughout my trip. The only problem with the service itself is that the Rogers APNs on the N7 break tethering which I couldn't fix without a rooted device. I don't think it's intentional, so it may have been fixed in the 4.4.3/4 OTAs that came out recently.

Also when activating the service you'll probably need to give a Canadian address. Just give the one for the hotel or wherever you're staying. Do remember what the postal code is though, as I had to give it to verify my account when getting the PIN from the Rogers rep.

ExcessBLarg! fucked around with this message at Jul 26, 2014 around 20:47

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