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Mobile Data ,Which MIFI and Cell Phone Service For Canadian FTers


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I've tried to get my head around the best "value for money" (not necessarily cheapest) options as a FT Canadian RVer in regards to how we will likely travel and utilize as travelling gypsies on a more permanent basis, but I just keep going around in circles so would really value in most simplistic terms your feedback based on experience, what you would do as a Canadian Travelling (not static) FTer spending winters in the USA.

 

In a nutshell from what I can gather Verizon (albeit many talking about Straight talk also?) is likely the best service provider to go with when USA based but other things come into play spending only a few months here and there down South and then travelling across Canada during the summer. So to that end ...........

 

We currently have a Bell Mobility Plan between myself and daughter that is 2GB's shared data, unlimited Canada wide phoning and unlimited texting including internationally from within Canada C$105/mth (C$53 each) - I'm typically very frugal with phone use data (never tethered in my life), using wifi mainly being SnB's based a lot, and don't really do anything much other than check email, phone within Canada and text/imessage. Iphone5.

 

For extended RV trips to the USA of 4 to 6 weeks often, we have just added on a travel package at C$40/mth for 200mb data, unlimited texts, and 200 mins any time calling between USA and Canada. Utilizing Open Business Wifi's every couple or three days for doing anything of substance on my laptop. However, going FT we want something a little more reliable and robust moving forwards I'd think as well more convenient access instead of chasing down business wifi's. We really aren't CG/Resort folks for the most part so won't be tapping into that option hardly ever.

 

We have for the past 7 years had a tracfone (not the easiest or clearest to use for sure) that we add minutes to once a year for a $100 (that now is totalling over 900 carrying forward when due to update again next week). So for calling when we spend more time in the USA we can for sure make use of that, but am thinking once this is caught up and expired I'd possibly like to not continue with this as an option, unless of course you advise differently from cost perspective trade off. It's an extra phone it'd be nice to be able to drop so to speak.

 

So what do you have and use across Canada wide during the summer months travelling, and what do you have and use in the USA? When in the USA do you put your Canadian phones on vacation mode, or put in a different and if so which SIM card but does it still utilize your known Canadian phone number? Do you just pay a monthly small travel add on like we've done until now, and then do a prepaid Verizon $60/5GB data set up? If you do that when you don't use it for 6 months when back in Canada, and return to the USA, is there any issues having to purchase something to reactivate the "mifi" each winter, or is it simply a case of just prepaying with Verizon on the website $60/5GB and it all starts up seamlessly again? I ask because Verizon tricked us a long time ago when we set up home service on our Fla home when putting it on vacation mode, and now charge us $40 each time, as well we got tricked into another contract (long story, but I don't trust Verizon when their lips move).

 

We are just in a quandary as to which is the best, simplest and easiest convenient way to ensure we have reasonable use as a FTer access to laptop internet, odd phone calls, unlimited text/imessage, and switch on/off iPhone email checking.

 

Naturally there's certainly things we'd like to continue as we do now in our SnB's, so we truly do feel "at home in the RV". For example I like to have our trading platforms open during market hours, as well a buddy forum for sharing ideas back and forth (that would be perfect, but if not feasible $$$'s wise, then I can reduce down substantially in that regards). There's also an average of 9 hrs per week of on-line shows we'd love to be able to continue to watch daily, when parked up anywhere (albeit we are happy to binge watch episodes somewhat when parked where access to unlimited wifi is available). We certainly wouldn't be prepared to pay anywhere near an extra $150 per month just to watch TV so to speak on the computer just for bandwidth extra. Challenge we have is one of the programs drops episodes off the website after 30 days and another after 3 months. So it's not like we could go longer than a month getting behind on episodes.

 

We don't mind paying an extra few bucks a month for one much better service over another but we definitely won't have the budget or be prepared to pay $100/$150 extra a month, as that would eat into another part of our budget.

 

Thanks for your input and suggestions and any advice about starting up and leaving on vacation charges/issues when restarting either side of the border.

 

Cheers, FTW.

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Walmart sell Straighttalk mifi's (both Verizon and ATT models - but you must look closely at the box to see which model the mifi is)... You might also look at using your phone as a hotspot... Then I would recommend looking at just buying a Cricket Wireless sim which Walmart also sells (I have their 10gb + hotspot for $65)

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We use Verizon and have 20 Gigs for $120. Deals come and go and you have to watch the web site for deals. As a web designer and video editor, I chew through a lot of bandwidth each month. The only personal use is email and web viewing. Netflix, Roku, YouTube, others eats your bandwidth. As an example, Ms. Joan watched 2 soaps on the CBS website and consumed 1gig of data within 90 minutes. You'll need to see what your 9 hours of video consumes. When we found a campground with good wifi, we'd binge our online shows or find a Starbucks and watch a couple hours over coffee.

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We have not noticed any problems with the ATT coverage. ATT has been aggressively expanding their network and I feel it is as good as Verizon. Of course, there are dead spots but all carriers have them. We will say it is much better than T-Mobile coverage which we had once considered.

 

We have had ATT now for at least 4-5 years and no problems. We tend to wander all over the US. This will be our first trip to Canada in 15 years. I am not expecting good coverage no matter who I use since we are going to Gaspe and the Canadian carriers show no coverage.

 

Not all carriers will cover you in Canada, Straight Talk doesn't but Cricket will. Also, 10G of 4G data with Cricket for $10/month. Don't think I can beat that deal. I bought a phone that I can tether, I think up to 10 items. Haven't tried that yet, only had phone a week.

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Some will say that AT&T is better then Verizon and others will say the Verizon is better then AT&T.

If you want to know which is better then I would go to an outside source for the information, such as Consumer's

Reports. Good Luck

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I sure wouldn't use Consumer Reports to evaluate anything. They don't have the problems or concerns that an RVer has. There are other websites that look at the offerings from an Rvers viewpoint. I haven't looked at them recently so I can't say who comes out the "best" but "best" is in the eye of the beholder.

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We are Canadian fulltimers and I use a lot of data. I DL most of the TV we watch and rely on OTA for other TV. We use Verizon in the US, 20gB for $100 and in Canada I use Rogers for Internet and am trying out PCmobile for phone. Verizon in the US has better service than AT&T in my experience. I had a Wind phone that worked off AT&T in the US and sometimes could not get reception even when I could skype over my Verizon internet. I use Rogers in Canada cos it has the best data plan - 50gB for $110.month. I had a Rogers phone last year but found a few places I couldnt get a signal. PC Mobile runs on Telus so I am hoping for better coverage.

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