Buying a US cellphone to work in Canada

Discussion in 'Canada' started by theshnizzle, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    If I buy a cellphone from someone on this site that is locked to a US carrier,can I unlock it here to use with any carrier?

    Thanks
    #1
  2. istephens

    istephens FJR Pilot

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    If it's locked to a US carrier, then it'll still be locked in Canada - the will be either locked to the original carrier, or not locked at all.

    Fear not though, your US phone will roam just fine on Canadian networks, ie if you're on AT&T , then it'll just work on Rogers here. You might might want to buy roaming and long distance package from your carrier before you leave though. That's what I do when I go to the US - I'm on Rogers, so I buy a travel pak, and then I don't get slammed with a huge roaming bill when I get home.

    Hope that helps.

    Ian
    #2
  3. istephens

    istephens FJR Pilot

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    Hmmmm might have misunderstood the OP - my previous post is likely not fully applicable.

    You might have to get the US carrier to unlock it. I suspect the carriers can't unlock each others phones, but I could be wrong. It'd be safest to see if the seller can unlock before sending it to you.

    I know that Telus and Rogers charge some fee to unlock, so I assume that the US carriers would too.

    Ian
    #3
  4. tat2

    tat2 where's ya too?

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    If you can get the phone unlocked and the frequencies that the US carrier uses are the same as the carrier you intend to use it on here match your in luck. If you get the IMEI number (15-18 digits on back of phone) from the seller you can call your carrier to see if they will support it.
    #4
  5. jon_l

    jon_l Long timer

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    Be sure to check with your phone company, to see what plans they have for Canada. Should be an easy and cheap package, for $25 or so, to get calling, text, and a little data.

    I buy a travel package from Rogers when I travel South, and things are almost always cheaper in the US.
    #5
  6. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    I really want to use a iPhone as pay as you go on the bell network. Already have a iPhone on Rogers on a plan but I don't want/ need a phone plan for the second phone as I will be using to to receive about 6 to 8 phone calls a month for a duration of about 10 seconds, don't need a phone plan for that.

    The Rogers coverage sucks compared to bell so I am hedging my bets by having to phones with complete coverage.

    And, no, I am not a low level drug dealer......:D
    #6
  7. gunnerbuck

    gunnerbuck Island Hopper

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    The last time I tried with Telus "pay as you go" they offered no service for south of the border... Try as I might they would not offer up any kind of and kind of service for me on that plan, they wanted me on a contract plan... I'm pretty sure the other providers are in the same boat as they all seem to be in cahootz at ripping off Canadians...
    #7
  8. Ron from BC

    Ron from BC Long timer

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    I used a US pay as you go phone for years as it was much cheaper than paying the roaming fees from the Cdn carrier. As wifi is so available now I just use an app on my cdn smartphone to call back home.
    #8
  9. Happy Wanderer

    Happy Wanderer Day Dreaming.. .

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    What I'd like to do is keep my Telus Samsung Galaxy but get it unlocked and then get a pay as you go SIMM card from AT&T or Verizon or whoever in the US but just use the same phone. Anyone know if this can be done?
    #9
  10. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    Can't you just use Skype in that case? I have used it like,twice,in the comfort of my own home,so clearly I am an expert...:evil
    #10
  11. Happy Wanderer

    Happy Wanderer Day Dreaming.. .

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    Yeah I could but the main recipient of my calls home is not computer or PC savvy. Calling an actual phone with Skype is pretty cheap using WiFi I suppose but I would like the convenience of having my cell and contact info handy.
    #11
  12. juames

    juames Have Fun, Don't Die!

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    Used this on my Android...worked great. You then go to an AT&T store in the US to get a SIM card.

    http://www.mobile-phone-unlock.com/




    #12
  13. Ron from BC

    Ron from BC Long timer

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    Yes, I understand Telus now unlocks phones, for a fee, and then you do as you say....stop off in Bellingham pick up a sim card for a us carrier and away you go. IIRC it's about 40 cents us calling back home as opposed to 1.50 or cdn then tax to roam back.

    That said, don't forget to get an app to phone via wifi back home for free. I Talkatone (google voice) and it works exactly like your normal phone and you can call any in NA on wifi for free. I rarely use my TMobile pay as u go phone now as wifi is so accessible.
    #13
  14. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    I have no clue what you mean by your second paragraph.i go down to the states a lot during riding season,and just got my phone bill,$47 in fees!!!!!!!! Txt,roaming.....aiieeeeee!!!! I am assuming I could buy a sim for an iPhone,but don't you have to call and get a number activated or something How does the US SIM card thingy work?
    #14
  15. Ron from BC

    Ron from BC Long timer

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    Ok...

    1. When you buy a SIM from a provider yes you will have to phone and get a number. That number will stay with you until such times as your plan expires (30,60,90 days or even a year etc). The activation process is very seamless. The caveat is that your phone must be unlocked so it will accept the new SIM.

    2. Earlier I referred to a smartphone in general and not a particular manufacturer/model. I believe that the only CDN big provider that does not offer an unlock for the iPhone is Bell and there are rumors that they too will fall in line with the rest by the end of the year. Telus and Rogers currently unlock your phone for a small fee.

    Regardless which option you look at they're both much cheaper than paying CDN cell fees when in the States. When I get close to the border, southbound, I turn my cell data off and then use Talkatone with a wifi connection to phone back or domestically in the States. There are many apps that will do this for both the Android and iDevices.

    Hopefully the OP doesn't get too twisted that his thread has been somewhat hijacked....:huh
    #15
  16. Happy Wanderer

    Happy Wanderer Day Dreaming.. .

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    Hey Ron, that "small fee" you are referring to is $50 at Telus.
    There are local shops here in Vancouver that will do it for $20 to $30 bucks.

    I am trying out the online un-locker suggested by juames which is $7.95 IF they succeed. Been down this road before with my last Telus phone with those guys and it looks like this might go the same way. They emailed for more info this morning and asking me to confirm the IMEI number again. Just like last time they need to "manually" calculate the code.

    They could not unlock my last Telus phone and neither could the local hacks. I think the problem is Telus phones have two locks on them. A Samsung lock AND a Telus lock. Both need to be hacked to truly free your phone.
    I know Apple iPhones from Rogers can be unlocked pretty easy as I know several folks here who have done that.
    #16
  17. Ron from BC

    Ron from BC Long timer

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    Understood, I was trying not to go to 'deep' in the options as it opens up many other discussions (Jailbreaking and Unlocking through other means as you mentioned). Unfortunately the modem software version on my iPhone is not software unlockable so I have to wait until Bell offers the service which I'm hoping will be prior to May when I start traveling again.

    I can't stress enough how convenient those apps are that allow you to phone via wifi. If traveling in a real remote area and wifi isn't available and I really needed to make a call bad, short of using the SPOT messenger, I'd just go ahead and turn the cell data on my phone and call.

    (I'm sure Mr. Funnel has a different technological option in his towed orb time machine...hehe)
    #17
  18. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    folks just went thru this unlock business with ATT and iphone 4.

    can't speak about other phone, but process unlocking iphone 4 is a pita! unlock doesn't mean you can use it on other carriers. this is due to lack of capacity to change APN Carrier settings.

    sure your iphone is unlocked, but without a means to change your APN settings. your phone is still locked to ATT or who ever.

    there's two ways to access your APN settings with iphone.

    1. download a APN tool targeted at corporate customers from Apple's site. be prepared to find this yourself as Apple support knows nothing about existence of this tool.

    2. visit a website to download an app that changes APN settings for you. visit on iphone in wifi mode, then follow instructions: http://www.unlockit.co.nz/unlockit/
    #18
  19. nvdlboy

    nvdlboy Been here awhile

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    Wouldn't the TELUS lock on the Samsung go away if you put in a new SIM card? Or is it a frequency type setting on the phone that locks it on to the appropriate radio frequency range for the carrier (e.g.800 mHz, 1900 mHz, etc.)?
    As for the iPhone, I haven't unlocked mine, but I wish I had before going to the UK this summer so I could have had a smartphone, fortunately we had a couple of cheap flip phones that we used over there. The lock on the iPhone tends to follow the agreement that the carrier has with Apple - e.g. you can get an unlocked phone from the Apple store for full price, but if you want one cheaper then it's subsidized by the carrier (and that you'll have to pay the subsidy back through your contract). Everyone slams the carriers for having locked iPhones, but I think if you look a little deeper it has to do with the way that Apple wants to control their products in the marketplace.
    If I travelled in the States more often, then I'd buy a cheap pay as you go phone down there, as it is now, I am careful about my U.S. usage.
    BTW - I suspect that most Canadian pay as you go phones won't roam because the higher rates charged for roaming would chew through your available time very quickly... plus the carriers have to offer some advantage to their monthly contracted customers.
    Good luck!
    #19
  20. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    I think my bro and his fellow coworkers may have something to do with locking them up.:evil If so good luck to the hackers and if they succeed he won't be far behind locking them up even better.I won't tell...I don't like Telus.:wink:

    Hope you had a good ride on HWY 20 then down on the ferry.:clap
    #20