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I am travelling to US and Canada from Australia this year and was wondering what would be the most economical and hassle free option for having mobile data and call time on my iPhone that gives me good coverage on both east and west coasts for both countries.

Option 1: Buy individual Sims for each each country and switch upon arrival in that country. Option 2: Buy one Sim that works in both countries. Will there be any roaming changes?

Any good providers, I'll throw in a free Sham-wow along with an up-vote and potentially an accepted answer.

  • What data volumes do you think you'll need and how long will you be in each country? Will you be outside of cities much? – Carl Jan 25 '15 at 16:28
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Looks like it'll be option 1 unless you can get a good roaming deal at home before leaving. I travel a lot between the two countries and also only really care about data, as far as I know there's no prepaid-SIM that even allows roaming between the two. For a long time I was using dual SIMs RedPocket / Koodo, it seem though the best option is getting a US contract from T-Mobile that includes data and text roaming in most countries, including Canada, but this is only open to people with US residency.

In the US, among others Net10 and StraightTalk SIMs are widely available in shops locally. T-Mobile also has some good value plans in their stores ($45/2GB). I prefer RedPocket's service and rates, but SIM cards are hard to find locally outside of Chinatowns.

Canada is unfortunately rather expensive, I think Kodoo is the best option if you're looking for data though their coverage is limited to urban areas, the SIM is around $20, a base plan to get your line activated for a month is $15 you can add data $30/GB.

  • Hey Carl, Thanks for sharing your experience. I presume you can purchase any prepaid SIMs without any US/Canada residency constraints at all major airports. – Chamkila Jan 26 '15 at 0:53
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    Hey Chamkia, gladly. There's no residency needed for the prepaid. SIM cards, and especially these cheaper ones, aren't common at airports but they are pretty easy to come by at stores. Kodoo and Tmobile have their own stores. Net10 and StraightTalk are sold at drug stores (Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid), some small shops, some independent phone stores, big box stores (Walmart, Kmart). RedPocket is generally sold in phone stores that serve a Chinese diaspora population (often near Chinatowns). It pays to do a quick search beforehand so you can find one quick on arrival. – Carl Jan 26 '15 at 1:05
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Not a complete answer, but I used Similicious during a month long trip to Canada from the UK last year. Can't fault them. I took data only (used skype for calls, but they have voice/data plans), they asked about where I'd be to ensure best provider (was primarily in Alberta so got Rogers and 4G for most of the trip) and device to ensure correct sim type was sent and phone was capable.

SIM was dispatched to me in the UK without problems, they asked dates I would be there, and it just worked when I put the phone on in Calgary airport (in fact I ended up streaming Spotify for the last few days as I had too much data left!)

So I'd endorse them wholeheartedly for Canada.

  • Simililicious looks good. Thanks for the suggestion. – Chamkila Jan 25 '15 at 23:51
  • I've had good luck with keepgo.com which seems to be similar and offers a SIM claimed to cover USA and Canada (and a lot of other places). – Tom Harrington Jan 26 '15 at 5:57

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