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Thread: My Roam Mobility Experience: Your call is very important to us

  1. #1
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    My Roam Mobility Experience: Your call is very important to us

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    I went for a short day trip to the US the other day. Since I wasn’t staying long I decided to bring along a Roam Mobility SIM. Here’s what happened.

    In the past when I travelled to the US, I usually brought along a T-Mobile prepaid SIM Card. Once, I was in New York and had some T-Mobile SIM cards shipped to the hotel I was going to stay at ahead of my arrival. When I arrived at the hotel I checked in, grabbed my SIM cards and then had to spend time activating them. Service was $3 a day and for that you got unlimited talk and text within the US and 200MB of HSPA data (if you go over 200MB you get EDGE speeds which is for most intents and purposes useless).

    There were a few problems. First off, T-Mobile SIMs aren’t that easy to find in Canada.

    From the time when I arrived at JFK to when I managed to activate my SIM card I had no data.

    While service is only $3 a day, T-Mobile doesn’t allow you to only add $3 to your account - instead you have to add a minimum of $10 which depending on the length of your stay, can be a bit inconvenient.

    I don’t make a lot of calls home but when I’m using T-Mobile, calls back to Canada aren’t free.

    Anyways, despite these complaints, I was mostly happy with T-Mobile. It certainly beats using my Canadian SIM card and roaming down south. Then again, these complaints were enough that this time around, I was going to skip going with T-Mobile since I was only going for a day trip. Yes, <gasp> I was going to be data-less for 6 or so hours.

    Then I remembered that Roam Mobility had SIM cards for $20 plus tax which you can buy locally. Since I decided to pick up a Roam SIM on short notice, ordering one from their website wasn’t an option so I decided to pick one up in store. Futureshop, BestBuy and Staples (among other stores) sell Roam SIMs but a quick check of each store’s inventory showed that they were sold out everywhere. Fortunately, a Staples about 20 minutes away had a few left so I picked one up.

    Service is $3.95 Canadian + taxes for unlimited talk and text while you’re in the US. That includes calls back to Canada while you’re down south and 300MB of data. It uses T-Mobile while you’re travelling. In fact, when I popped my SIM in, my Android phone tried to setup its data connection as a T-Mobile one. However, before data will work you’ll have to setup a new connection with Roam’s APN which is simply ‘roam’. APN names don’t get any more simple or logical then that!

    Setting up service was really easy. You go to their website, register a new login and then enter the number on the SIM card and then they give you a phone number. What I really like about Roam is that they don’t make you buy refill cards with expiring balances or anything. If you just need service for one day, all you have to pay is what that one day costs. What’s really great is that you can schedule your service AHEAD of time. I wanted the service to start the next day at 9:45AM. I scheduled this and then paid the $4.46 with my credit card.

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    The next day, when I crossed the border I got a text with details on how to set up data on my phone (which I already did).

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    I asked my passenger to try surfing the web to see if data was working properly but it didn’t. Next I asked him to make a call but that wasn’t working either - the recorded message said there was a problem with my account.

    I’ll admit, when this happened my first instinct should have been to call 611 but it didn’t occur to me to call that. Instead I found free WiFi at a mall and looked up Roam’s support number.

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    What really annoyed me was that I had to wait 30 mins on hold before my call ended abruptly without me speaking to anyone. I’m not sure if was my phone’s fault, the network’s or Roam’s system dropping me. I called back and this time I had to wait 8 more mins. Yes, close to 40 minutes of “Your call is very important to us. Please wait for the next available agent”. Nothing says your call isn’t important like playing that message over and over again.

    Anyways, eventually I did get through to support who were very nice. They told me that the activation probably wasn’t pushed through correctly and that they’d push it through again. They told me to turn my phone off for 15 minutes and then turn it back on. I waited a minute, rebooted my phone and was finally connected! Hurray!

    After that I was generally happy with service. I decided to bring my Huawei Mate. I figured its 4050mAh battery would be ideal for a day of heavy usage. I had its hotspot feature running the entire time I had service. It provided service to my iPhone 5s, my friend’s 5s, my Nexus 5 and the Surface Pro 2 (only for a few minutes) Ray reviewed recently. Between the 5 devices, we used 65MB of data in a couple of hours. I also made one long call back home.

    I didn’t run any speedtests but my data connection didn’t feel as snappy as it does back home. Still as far as service goes, I was generally happy with it and thought it was well worth the $3.95 and the $20 I spent on the SIM.

    Later that day, I got an email stating that my service was going to end soon. That was a nice touch.

    Still, the fact that my SIM didn’t work right away and then having to wait 40 minutes on hold soured my experience.

    If you asked me if I’d recommend Roam while I was waiting on hold I’d say no, but now that I’ve had a chance to reflect I’d recommend it but just be aware that you might run into the same problems I encountered. If you absolutely must have something the moment you cross the border and can’t tolerate any hiccups then try something else. Anyways, if you have any problems remember you can just dial 611 to get customer service.

    I liked how they sent a text with details on how to set up my data connection (I didn’t need it but it’s a nice touch) and how you can schedule service. Those 2 things are huge.

    I get the feeling that Roam runs into activations not being pushed sometimes. With that in mind there should be option to automatically re-push activations via their automated system rather than having to wait to speak to a person. Heck, there should be an option to just send a text to re-push activations. Just reply to their text with ‘push’ - that sort of thing.

    Anyways, I’d recommend Roam for anyone who’s going to travel down south - especially if you’re only going for a short while. It’s just too simple to use not to.

    3.5 Howies out of 5

    Pros:
    Easy to setup
    Can buy SIM locally

    Cons:
    $20 for a SIM is expensive
    Long wait time to talk to a live person

  2. #2
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    my 2cents

    I have used it twice. First time was for a 9 day trip to Hawaii and it worked from the moment I landed on my unlocked iPhone 4s from Telus. The coverage was a little spotty but it worked very well over all. Second time was for a 2 day trip to Washington State and the experience was very similar. The data speeds on the iPhone were just as bad as they said they would be on the website (2g or something horribly slow, but at least it would load maps and iMessages).

    I am looking forward to trying it in the new Nexus 5 on my next trip, but i don't know when that will be.

    I really like the fact that you only need to use it one day per year to keep the same US phone number.

    My biggest beef is that most Canadian carriers dropped free SMS to the states. Seems like Koodo still has it but I know my Telus plan does not include it anymore.

  3. #3
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    I haven't tried Roam yet, but I have heard very good things from those who have.

    I would suggest to everyone interested in using it to keep an eye out for their SIM swap program. They have it quite often. You just mail in an old US SIM card (even if it's no longer active or valid) and they'll mail you a free Roam SIM. I got mine within a week of mailing in my request. Looking forward to trying it out on my next trip to the US.

  4. #4
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    Yep experience will vary. Roam worked without issue for me, simply using their self serve tools.

    My friend however could not get it to work. Somehow roam assigned a number that was assigned to someone else. Roam was never able to resolve the issue.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoreD View Post

    My biggest beef is that most Canadian carriers dropped free SMS to the states. Seems like Koodo still has it but I know my Telus plan does not include it anymore.
    I checked this issue once i read it as ti seemed rather wrong as i know on Virgin i have it actually international and my friend on Rogers has it, after checking i can state it seems i was right. Wind.Mobilicity,Public mobile,Chat-r,Fido, So it seems only the Big3 have removed them but their flankers and new entrants all provide either Ca/Us or Global texting in their plans. I guess my friend on Rogers has an older plan.
    Instructions for the $48- 5 GB sk/mb Koodo plan, get it anywhere in Canada!!:

    http://www.howardforums.com/showthre...here-in-Canada

    Phones using: Leeco x527 Le 2, CM14 Android Nougat 7.0 with pixel launcher Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro Snapdragon 650, Lg G3's for wife,daughter and son

  6. #6
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    Sometimes they do promotion so the SIM is free. You have to send in a used SIM to exchange it. Before it had to be U.S.SIM, later on any SIM will do.

    I hadn't gotten to it it yet even I received the free SIM I have T-Mobile and on gold reward, so I only have pay $10. Per year to extend it for one year.

    Last summer I was in T-Mobile hq area, Bellevue, and LTE wasn't turned on yet, but dc-HSPA+ was not bad.

    Howard, if 200MB is not much for you, how was it with 300?

    Now wind mobile has the cheapest is roaming if you are on monthly plan $29. Or above, at only $15. Whole month, unlimited everything! And it can roam on AT&T too.

    Sent with the HoFo App
    No longer on a leash by Fido

  7. #7
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    Don't forget about the free T-Mobile 200MB/mo data offer. It is probably enough for GPS on your phone to get you around.
    Bell SK+fongo:
    $85 Unlimited NA, NA text, US Roaming, 15GB

    Chatrlicity:
    $30 Unlimited NAM , $30 Unlimited Province Wide

  8. #8
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    Your timing is excellent. I am going to Gulf Shores, Alabama in March (driving). I got my SIM during the swap last fall, so I saved $20. I am curious to see how it will do on the drive down I-75 before I cut off at Cincinnati and work my way South-West.

    I do still have a T-mobile Garminfone (1700/2100) around I use as an offline GPS system, but I doubt it would be fast enough to hotspot from.

  9. #9
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    Likely the reason those stores were sold out is that about a week ago Future shop / Best Buy was having a sale on Roam SIM cards for half off online.

    I picked one up by pricematching Futureshops price at Memoryexpress. So got it for $7.50 instad of $20. Not as cheap as the sim swap program but I needed it this week.

    I am in Hawaii right now, I have the roam card in a Nexus 7 tablet on a data only plan. For my phone I have a redpocket mobile SIM. (AT&T MVNO)

    Since my phone does not support AWS 1700Mhz I wanted something on AT&T and I bought some redpocket mobile SIM's on ebay back in the fall. They are a decent MVNO option for Canada travellers if you can get the SIM ahead of time.

    For Roam I scheduled the activation online and it worked right away. My issue is that the welcome text message continously popped up on the tablet. The nexus 7 can receive SMS but cannot send so the network obviously never got a delivery receipt and just kept resending the stupid roam mobility welcome message over and over. I ended up putting the SIM into my phone so that the phone could report the message was delivered to get this to stop. So if you put a roam mobility sim with data only plan into a nexus tablet you will be bombarded with welcome messages until you either disable notifications from the SMS apk or put the SIM into a regular phone.

    Coverage around Maui has been pretty similar between T-Mobile and AT&T networks so far sticking to the resort areas. Speeds on both networks slows down from time to time as they both seem to be a bit overloaded. Will see how it fares when doing a bit of driving later on in the week.

    Certainly roam mobility had the advantages of being easy to get in Canada. Easy to setup before you go. and Payments in CAD. Big down side for most will be it runs on t-mobile network so many phones will only get edge except in the small list of cities that have been converted to support 1900Mhz HSPA.

  10. #10
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    Re: Nexus 7, if you're rooted, install the Xposed framework, download the Nexus SMS module, install, activate and reboot. You'll now be able to send and receive SMS using an app of your choice.

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

  11. #11
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    My experience:

    I had an AT&T pay as you go which used to offer data packages and no longer do. I also had a T-Mobile SIM card. The T-mobile ended up expiring, leaving me with my no data AT&T. I did notice a significant difference in reception in various areas. AT&T was always better, T-Mobile was weak most of the time and had a lot of no-signal areas. Neither my AT&T or T-mobile included free long distance calls to Canada, so I had to use a VOIP program for those calls.

    Here's what I like about RoamMobility and why I switched
    - Calls to Canada included
    - no worry about it expiring
    - Data included

    However, the downside I found is that they use T-mobile network, which compared to AT&T, gives slower data and poorer reception. But for the value, I can live with that since I have to for now anyway.

  12. #12
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    I recently traveled to Washington State and used Roam Mobility for first time. I purchased SIM from London drugs for $20 and activated it online. I set the date and time for it to start a week in advance. Once I got to Port Angeles from Victoria, I noticed that talk and text had started working but data wouldn't work. I simply rebooted my iPhone 4S and it started data. I only got 2G data as 3G data was only available in Seattle and not in smaller cities. I spent 2 days in Mount Hood (Great Wolf Lodge) without 3G but it didnt bother me as hotel offered a good WiFi. There were strong 3G signals north of Olympia and all the way to Canadian border. I am very impressed with Roam and will definetly use it again, eventhough 3G wasnt available everywhere but talk and text was available all the time.

  13. #13
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    $20 / sim is nuts... considering wind folks can get a MONTH'S worth of service for $15

    they should be handing out sims for free in the streets

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Conviviality View Post
    $20 / sim is nuts... considering wind folks can get a MONTH'S worth of service for $15

    they should be handing out sims for free in the streets
    True, they should but the $20 up front is probably part of their business model.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by howard View Post
    True, they should but the $20 up front is probably part of their business model.
    Could be why Dodad went out of business in about 6 months time. Their SIM's were free, you just needed to pay for shipping at $3.

    I have a Roam Mobility SIM and found the service to be acceptable, the whole lack of T-Mobile coverage outside of city centers did come into play when we went to Sundance outside of Salt Lake City. Being on a highway without google maps to guide me has become a little scary (so helpless).

    My Gloabal Romaing / Mobility Pass SIM should be arriving next week. One of the great things about it is it roams on pretty much every carrier in a given country. So for any country you can think of that's pretty awesome! Even includes the MNC codes on their site so you can choose the cheapest carrier as it doesn't seem like that portion of things is automatic.

    Although its not as cheap in $ / GB as Roam Mobility if you get their data only plans, your credit stays in your account for 365 days, not just 30.

    The neat thing is even if you travel in Canada you could still use it. Feel like trying out the Telus / Bell network instead? Or try Rogers for a while? Seems like you can just choose their network and be good to go. Useful because Telus / Bell has better coverage nation wide.

    Note the billing is in $USD / 100 kB:
    https://secure.globalroaming.com/rat...S/en/usd/GB/US

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