I just returned from a week in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show, checked my data usage and compared it to what it would have cost with any Canadian company at a low (NOT!) $6/MB for data. Considering the fact that I had used 320MB of data, the price tag with my provider, Bell, would have been a whopping $1920 for that data alone. Talked into Roam Mobility for the week, unlimited US talk, free Canadian calls without roaming fees, unlimited international text, 2GB of high-speed data, tethering and voicemail cost me all of $27.95 CDN. Forgive my rant but we need to find a way to break free of a system where ‘the big three‘ can pay off governments to maintain sky-high prices and prevent fair competition. How is it that I could make countless calls from Las Vegas to Ontario for that $27.95, and without a single roaming fee?
UNDERSTANDING OUR NEEDS
A few years ago we started a blog called The SSD Review, that started another called Technology X, that saw us grow into Essentially Tech Media Corporation, and now we can be found anywhere in the world on any given month. Today, we travel from Canada to the US several times a year and we must stay connected by phone, text and data. Not such an easy task… My latest scheme was to use just a bit of trickery and invest in a monthly US IPAD data plan which allowed for data, text and voice through Skype or Google Voice, Google Voice also taking just a bit of imagination to get up and running as a Canadian. Regardless of what people say, GV and Skype aren’t nearly as good when on the move and, well, the IPAD is not a replacement for a phone.
CANADIAN TALK, TEXT AND DATA RATES
Just as a start, let’s look at the various Bell Mobility US Add On options to achieve our goal of talk, text and data for a week in the US; it would be Las Vegas actually during CES from which we just returned. As we are a business, technically we need to look at their business options listed below. Looking at typical consumer options, we could get a talk and text for an additional $30 which gives us 100 minutes of talk, 1000 minutes outgoing texts and unlimited incoming text. Once you go over the 100 minutes, each additional minute would be tacked on at .50/min. I don’t know about your better half but mine is also my business partner and two of her calls exceeds that 100 minutes by a leap. Data is our next goal. Check out Bell Business Rates where they list pricing at $6/MB, leaving us with that incredible data only total of $1920 I spoke of earlier Really? How do they get away with this? If you want to see how this would stack up with your carrier, check out their up to date Comparison Overview.
ROAM MOBILITY TALK, TEXT AND DATA RATES
I have already stated that our cost for a week of US unlimited talk, unlimited text, 2GB of data, for calls to Canada, tethering and voice mail cost would be $27. If you carry a Samsung Galaxy Note II as I, and end up using it as a GPS or even tethering to your IPAD, that 2GB of data is a very comfortable feeling. This was the first time EVER in the US that I was able to have the above features and not monitor my data closely. Roam Mobility rates can be found here. Rates alone aren’t all Roam offers, however, as Roam has to be the only place you can still buy a phone for $50 with the SIM card included and no additional fees.
GETTING STARTED WITH ROAM
As with any company, Roam Mobility is not without its hitches, however, the most important thing to remember is that money, in this case, is not one of those hitches. They will save you tons. You do need to have an unlocked phone though which may cost you up to $50 to unlock in some cases, this being a one time fee. There is, of course an alternative to purchase one of their phones. Next up is the purchase of a SIM card which will run you $10 and can be purchased at several local stores or even Futureshop. From there, you set up your account at Roam Mobility, purchase your plan and even set a time and date to turn it on. Once in the US, switch over SIM cards and follow their simple set up instructions and you have it…unlimited talk, text and lots of data….with free US to Canada calls.
OUR EXPERIENCE FIRST HAND
While at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas last week, two of us stayed connected exclusively with Roam. Roam Mobility uses T-Mobile in the US and we did experience one or two intermittent data drops but we believe these the results of building size, rather than carrier. They were very quick drops in taxi, all non-repetitive and service was back almost immediately. As far as data speed, T-Mobile is the fastest in the US right now, and although we never hit LTE speeds, we also never felt anything slower than we would normally experience in a 3G environment. I remember commenting on how quickly a video had uploaded at Margaritaville after the mermaid just went for a dip into during our meal.
Right now, there are only two negatives I can think of with respect to the ROAM Mobility case study; the first being that we still have to have different phone numbers for Canada and US travel, and also, there is no access to your US number mailbox when the account is not active. It would be a huge plus for that mailbox to be active on return to Canada between activations.
On the plus side, there is absolutely no cheaper, more reliable and better way to travel the US today if you are a Canadian. To be 100% honest, Roam Mobility did set me up with the card and plan for this report, however, that simple $35 would never had merited this report if it wasn’t deserving of such. Anyone who knows me knows I say it like it is regardless. Today, our US IPAD data account was canceled as was our Skype phone number, both monthly costs which will exceed that of this choice 10 times over, not to mention the tens of thousands saved in roaming and data charges we would save annually.
NEW CELL RULES IN CANADA
In doing a quick one over of the Roam Mobility website, we also found something particularly interesting that all should be aware of:
Roam Mobility is one of the very few that we almost wish we could award with something higher than our Editor’s Choice. It is finally great to see a company that is there for the people more than just its own business success.