Your tons with iPhone is limited. For your usage pattern, unlimited calling on Virgin or Koodo will run you $40, add $5 for unlimited texting, then another $25 for 2GB of data. That's about as cheap as it get if you want unlimited calling/texting. Some carriers charge $35 activation fees. $10 for SIM cards. Calls back to the US will run you an extra 30-45 cents per minute or pay $30 for unlimited US calling addon.
Also if you travel outside of your phone number's local area, expect to pay long distance to receive calls. That's something you Americans aren't used to.
That, or if you have a T-Mobile compatible 3G/4G phone you can get all of this plus unlimited data for less than $50/month on WIND or Mobilciity.
All comments are my own opinion and do not reflect the views of my employer or affiliated groups.
Another thought is using google voice, are there any companies that have good data coverage and sell a data only
I don't do 13k in Canada, i'm only in canada 1-3 days every 2 weeks or so
Remeber, OP is american, so he/she does not have a canadian credit history. They can qualify for PREPAID only. These plans suck with virgin/koodo. (koodo doesnt even have prepaid, but i guess they are bringing it soon)
He/She cant get those, they're postpaid.Not really any good data only options here unless you have an iPad or tablet imei to use to get yourself a tablet 5gb plan. That goes for $35 from bell/rogers.
Still, the OP would, at least, need a Canadian billing address.
"I didn't get fat by accident. This was a personal choice. " - Kevin Gillespie
OK. Here is another alternate plan. See if it works :
1. Buy in the States a phone from Google (Galaxy Nexus) which works with Windmobile of Canada if you do not mind paying $350 for a quality phone. Alternatively you can buy a Huawei 8651 phone (from Windmobile) at $150 that gives you Android 2.3 wifi hot spot for your netbook/ipad/tablet while in Canada
2. When you are in Ab, get to one of the Windmobile shops and get a sim card from them at $10 and join their prepaid $40 plan (with unlimited call/Text/web) plus $10 US wide calling and texting. You will get a Can tel # for a month for around say $80.
That is all you need to pay.
After using the sim card for a month, just cancel the Canadian phone # with Windmobile. No hassle at all.
BTW there is no extra charge if you tether your internet connection of Wind mobile to your netbook/ipad/tablet at all. It is all inclusive
Since the OP travels to Canada so often, buying a relatively cheap but fully functional phone helps. Also the OP posted this question in a Wind forum which tells us that he is fully aware its strength in unlimited calling and web (under 5 G) use.
Another cheaper Wind phone Huawei 8651 costs $100. That also works for wifi hotspot and Android 2.2.
To avoid cost in roaming while in Canada, shut off 3G data and use only wifi (McDonald or all public library). You will not be hit with high phone bill as you are in prepaid plan.
When you are roaming in Canada receiving text or incoming call alert from Windmobile is included in the prepaid plan. I used this method to save costs while even abroad.
I think a good point to make is if you're spending only $150+, you'll probably end up paying more with a plan from one of our carriers.
Unless of course Verizon's CDMA network suddenly decides to be compatible with T-Mobile's HSPA+ Network.
Nevermind Bell.. LTE is fine.
Virgin Mobile unlimited Canada talk $50 + pay as you go data $30 for 3GB + unlimited international text $5 = $85 + tax, still cheaper than the $150 the OP is spending but a lot more expensive than Wind.
When I visit, I just use my Verizon phone with the Canada voice plan and 100MB for $25 data. It is enough for my needs.
I am not in an office building, I drive a semi and have a lot of routes from phoenix to calgary so i shouldnt have too much of a problem if the carriers have good signal on the road