Long Term US/Caribbean Usage

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Is there a plan I could get that allows me to use my iphone in the US (and possibly the Caribbean) for up to six months? Or would it be cheaper to get a new phone in the US?
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Posted 4 years ago

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David, Mobile Master

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Cheapest would be to unlock your phone. Depending on your stay in each country and your voice SMS and data use, to either buy a local SIM, or get a Koodo package, which will cross borders. If you are saying within one country in the Caribbean then a local SIM in each of the USA and the Caribbean country in which you stay will likely be best.
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Depends on how & how much you use your phone. Keep in mind US phones will usually NOT roam in Canada when you return, or do so at $$$ rates.

In the US, some of the "budget" carriers throttle your data speeds on their "unlimited" plans, so don't plan on watching Netflix on the phone.

My experience with 2 US carriers. Both the following have decent web sites to let you find out what your expenses will be:

ON THE CHEAP: If you want low volume talk only to US & Canada, buy a cheap burner phone from Tracfone.com. Put your Koodo plan on vacation. No unlocking necessary. You can pull the SIM and probably still use your Koodo phone for data functions on WiFi.

Non-smart flip phones start at $5 when they are on sale and can go up to $120 for a Moto E with large screen and recent software. Check the Tracfone site for airtime and data rates. Data is NOT LTE -- limited to 3G on the Verizon network. Separate buckets for talk, text, data and service days.

Canadian long distance available at no extra charge, but you have to dial an access number first. However, you can program 10 speed dials with US, Canadian and Mexican numbers. For light use pure voice, this is the cheapest because your minutes never expire. Just have to purchase enough service days. If you are a recurring visitor to the US, such as a snowbird, it will cost you about $80 a year to keep this phone alive with service days and several hundred minutes.

Customer service is based on another non-anglo planet, but if you have no problems, the actual phones & service are very reliable. Disadvantage: you will be lugging an extra phone around and have to re-enter your contacts manually on the burner phone. Advantage: no unlocking fee, Koodo phone ready-to-roll when you head home because it's untouched.

MORE DELUXE: Put Koodo plan to sleep and buy a SIM from ConsumerCellular.com.

No charge for SIM or activation. $25 a month gets you decent minutes and data, lots more talk, text and data for very little extra $. Several phones can share one plan. They use AT&T network, which is Koodo's roaming partner in the US. Canadian long distance & texts come out of your regular allocation with a 4 cents a minute surcharge. Data is LTE & customer service is US-based and very helpful.

Advantage: contacts intact and familiar features all work since it's your original phone. Disadvantage: may have to change some settings just before you get back to work on Koodo again.

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