I am leaving for internship in America for four months and I would like to keep my phone? What's the best and cheapest option?

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Bradford Rogers

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Posted 4 years ago

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Chad Burr, Mobile Master

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Are you looking to suspend your service or use your phone in America

Koodo Suspend Service: If you're on prepaid:

90 days after your last top up, the service will be suspended and you'll have 29 days to make another payment and restart your service, after 30 days however, you'll loose your number and boosters and will need to buy a new sim.

If you're not on prepaid and you get a monthly bill:

You have two options: you can change your plan to seasonal hold. For 15$ per month you can change to the seasonal hold plan. This plan allows you to keep your service active but not your phone. When you come back to you just change plans back to an available plan. The drawback to doing this is that if the plan you are on now isn't available when you get back, you won't be able to switch to it again. So you have to decide if it's worth it to potentially loose your plan or just continue to pay your normal bill.
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Some random Mobile Master, Mobile Master

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90 days after your last top up, the service will be suspended [...]

Chad, the service stops working 30 days after the last top up, not 90 :oP You do, however, have 90 days after the last day of service to top up and get the service active again. If no top up is made within that time frame, however, the account is wiped off along with boosters and all that.
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Chad Burr, Mobile Master

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Ok thanks I'll update my brain.
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Use your Koodo phone and swap the SIM: ConsumerCellular

SIM card will be amongst the cheapest. SIM was free at time of writing. Can be bought at Sears or Target stores for $10, refundable on your first bill. They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee on their service.

$10 a month to use pay-per-call @ 25 cents a minute for those who just want an emergency phone, or $15 a month for 200 minutes. 4 cents a minute surcharge for calls to Canada. Pay-per-call adds up fast, as in reaching voice mail, getting a wrong or out-of-service number, others getting your voice mail while the phone is off, etc. 20 minutes will cost you 5 bucks, so may as well go for the 200 minutes right off the bat and not have to worry. Figure $38 a month including taxes, fees and Koodo sleep, assuming your phone is unlocked, so that one-time cost will have to be considered as well.

Make note of your APN values because you will have to re-establish them when you put the Koodo SIM back in on your return.

Consumer Cellular service based in Oregon with rapid call-back... you don't have to burn 20 minutes of cell time on hold waiting for them. Coverage area is AT&T. Data is LTE if your phone has that feature.

You will use your Koodo phone, so all of your contacts, etc. will stay the same. Phone number will be U.S. and your callers pay long distance from Canada, as per Tracfone.

Advantage: You can switch your plan with them any time until billing day, so you can bump up or down to any number of plans without penalty or prorated charges.

All the above considered, the $45 Koodo US roaming packing is valuable if receiving a lot of calls from back home is important to you. If you are footing the bill for Canada-wide Koodo calls from family members in Canada, their calls to your Koodo are not long distance.

No physical changes to your phone at all and no settings to re-establish when you return home.

You will have to also figure in the cost of your basic plan as well.


Options for Occasional Cell phone use in the US

Prepaid “burner” phone: Tracfone can be found on sale at Family Dollar for as little as $5 sometimes. I have a flip phone I keep in the car in case anyone needs it. Costs me about $80 a year to keep it going year-round. They widely advertise $7 a month, and they are not far off. The only extra expense is local sales tax. No hidden fees. No extra charges for long distance to Canada, but no international texting. Add the $15 a month to put your Koodo to sleep and you are probably around $25 a month taxes and fees included for minimal calling. Pull the SIM out of your Koodo phone and you can still use data via WiFi and have your contacts handy.

Tracfone customer service is based on another non-anglo planet entirely, though if you have no problem the phones and system are reliable.

You will have 2 phones, a different US-only phone number and calls from Canada to you will be long distance for the caller, which may limit your incoming. Phone won’t roam into Canada. Data, if you need it, is 3G max. Verizon coverage area, with no roaming on data.

Minutes & data never expire — buy extra service days to keep things going. You will get emails warning you near expiration and there is effectively a 7 day grace period to re-instate service without losing minutes, etc. Minutes and data widely available in Dollar stores and Walmart or on-line if you set up a US credit card (can be a pre-paid Visa, available in Walmart or DollarStores).

If you do decide to go whole hog, they also offer Android phones ranging from very entry level to good midrange in terms of quality, and can transfer whatever credit you have on an existing phone to the newer one.

Your choice.


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