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Thread: Tracfone roaming in Canada (Ottawa)

  1. #1
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    Tracfone roaming in Canada (Ottawa)

    Hi, I've had a Tracfone Motorola C139 (GSM) for several years now but I have never been able to roam in Canada (specifically in Ottawa, Ontario). I've read other messages saying that roaming in Canada is possible with Tracfone so I was just wondering (hoping) that it would work if I got a different phone (the message I saw seemed to say it was possible with Kyocera (which I think is CDMA))

    Let me know. Thanks.

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    Tracfones will not roam in Canada. There might have been a freak occurrence or else someone was near the border and connected to a US tower. If TF catches you using Canadian towers, you can get your phone permanently deactivated. It is very expensive for them when they have to pay providers they don't have contracts with.

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    Tracfone cut out the Canadian roaming a couple of years ago. I would try T-Mobile's prepaid plan, that roams in Canada at 60cpm (which is about what a Canadian carrier charges for a long distance call anyway, BTW). It would work in Ottawa for sure. BTW, Ottawa is a very nice town, I like the architecture of the old government buildings.

  4. #4
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    Don't tell anyone but a CDMA TracFone CAN work in Canada, only to call the USA though. My in-laws went on a trip to Newfoundland and Greenland this summer. They drove to Ottawa then flew from there. In Ottawa they needed to make a local call but could not with the TracFone. They were able to call my wife at home (Vermont) however. Then when they got back to Newfoundland from Greenland, there was some scheduling problem getting back to Ottawa. My MIL was able to call my wife again but NO Canadian's cell phones would work. NONE!

    I wouldn't take a US TracFone to Canada EXPECTING to be able to use it. but it MIGHT work in some places

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    Having to pay excessively high roaming charges you have made on your Tracfone would be very noticable to Tracfone and they could easily track down the guilty parties phone. I would not have more tied up in the phone than you are willing to lose (phone + airtime).

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    TracFone officially, does not roam in Canada. On a past trip to Montreal though, I brought both GSM (on AT&T) and CDMA (on Verizon) TracFones with me, in addition to my T-Mobile postpaid that I had at the time.

    Both TracFones registered on the networks up there, the GSM on Rogers and the CDMA would fluctuate between Bell and Telus. Although I did not actually use the GSM phone to make a call while I was up there, the CDMA phone displayed the voicemail icon once I was up there. Both phones continued to work (once back in the U.S.) afterwards.

    AT&T's own prepaid will now roam in Mexico, but not in Canada - something that MUST change. As an earlier poster noted, T-Mobile prepaid will roam in Canada.
    America Movil/Straight Talk/TracFone customer since 2004.
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    Thanks for all the responses. I'll probably look at swapping my phone for a CDMA. I don't want / need to make make roaming calls but I would like my phone to work if I need it (with our Motorola, I don't think I've ever even picked up a signal when I was in Montreal or Ottawa which is annoying because it means we can't have our phone forwarded to the Tracfone until we're actually in the US).
    Last edited by michelb; 10-29-2010 at 09:23 PM. Reason: missed a word!

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    Quote Originally Posted by michelb View Post
    Thanks for all the responses. I'll probably look at swapping my phone for a CDMA. I want / need to make make roaming calls but I would like my phone to work if I need it (with our Motorola, I don't think I've ever even picked up a signal when I was in Montreal or Ottawa which is annoying because it means we can't have our phone forwarded to the Tracfone until we're actually in the US).
    As it's already been mentioned, just make sure the phone and number is disposable to you. They've gotten stricter with roaming outside the U.S. where their phones may register on the network and work, but the ToS means you agree not to use it outside TracFone's service area. Some have had it work, then gotten cut off midway through their stay because TracFone's billing caught up with the roaming charges and they turned the phone off.

    I would just invest in a cheap T-Mobile phone kit ($15-20 at WalMart) and that way you'll have a phone and network designed to roam in Canada with zero risk of being turned off for violating the ToS. I do plan on going to Canada in the next few years and I already decided I would bring my T-Mobile prepaid SIM. I don't want roaming charges on my postpaid family plan, and I don't want to risk bringing a TracFone only to have it shut off just when I need it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by IsLand_BoY View Post
    ...
    I would just invest in a cheap T-Mobile phone kit ($15-20 at WalMart) and that way you'll have a phone and network designed to roam in Canada with zero risk of being turned off for violating the ToS. I do plan on going to Canada in the next few years and I already decided I would bring my T-Mobile prepaid SIM. I don't want roaming charges on my postpaid family plan, and I don't want to risk bringing a TracFone only to have it shut off just when I need it.
    Thanks for the info. Maybe I'll do that but I'll probably try the TracFone first because my minutes are quite a bit cheaper (with 'Double minutes for life' that I already have, looks like it's usually about 30%-50% cheaper for TracFone minutes than for T-Mobile minutes). More importantly, a good majority of our calls are from / to Canada and with TracFone it's the same rate as US calls, T-Mobile charges $0.39 to call Canada. For people calling us, TracFone has the 'international neighbors' (or whatever they call that) so we can just get local numbers and they don't have to pay long distance. All in all, TracFone works very well for us except not being able to roam in Canada.

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    Just thought of something else - would my ability to roam be affected by which carrier my GSM phone is assigned to (probably AT&T). If I changed my number so that I was assigned with T-Mobile, would I possibly be able to roam in Canada?

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    Just know that you are accepting the risk of your phone being permanently disconnected. You would still be able to port your number out most likely, if that happened. I guess I'm just trying to avoid the "OMG TracFone shut my phone off!! They stole all my minutes! All I did was use my phone in Canada!" type of thing. I just don't want to see you try and save a few pennies only to lose all of your TracFone minutes and the phone itself.

    As far as AT&T vs. T-Mobile, I'm guessing both would work but hopefully someone else can chime in with real-world experience. At least EdwardP confirmed that his AT&T-based TracFone registered on the network up there. That's a good sign.

  12. #12
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    Interesting info. Guess I'll have to look at the TOS. Never really thought about it. Certainly my MIL wasn't trying to pull one over on TF and she only used it once in Ottawa and once in Newfoundland. Figured if the phone works, it works

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    When we say your phone will be killed (rendered useless), we mean NO ONE will ever be able to activate that phone ever again. Trac is known for retaliating completely out of proportion to what you did, such as trying to find all phones associated with you and killing them all. Apparently they seem to want to set an example with everyone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tracfancier View Post
    When we say your phone will be killed (rendered useless), we mean NO ONE will ever be able to activate that phone ever again. Trac is known for retaliating completely out of proportion to what you did, such as trying to find all phones associated with you and killing them all. Apparently they seem to want to set an example with everyone.
    Gee, a little harsh if the transgressor was not intentionally/knowingly violating the TF TOS! Couldn't they just send a nice note saying "BTW, if you aren't aware, you are not allowed to use your TF in Canada, even if it gets signal". Nail them IF they CONTINUE to violate the TOS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bruceha_2000 View Post
    Gee, a little harsh if the transgressor was not intentionally/knowingly violating the TF TOS ! Couldn't they just send a nice note saying "BTW, if you aren't aware, you are not allowed to use your TF in Canada, even if it gets signal". Nail them IF they CONTINUE to violate the TOS.
    They expect that you read and understand the TOS. So any violation they take it as willfully defiant.

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