Save Money on Roaming in the USA: Roam Mobility Review

I’ve been using Roam Mobility since 2014 (it’s 2017 now so that’s 3 years!) and it’s my ‘go to’ option when I am traveling to the United States but I have never used it for more than 2 weeks.  Because we are going to Hawaii for 5 weeks, I’ve been researching the best option for phone/Internet/texting when we are there.  I am too addicted to my phone (sad isn’t it) to be able to just use wifi when I’m there. Also, if we are taking the car we will need GPS because I am terrible with directions.  I don’t want to pay $5 (or whatever it is) a day extra to rent a GPS from the car rental company.  Gosh, what did we do before Google Maps came about!

I was going to use Telus but then I saw that they are charging $80 for for 1GB of data AND there is risk of going over with the data (which is seriously my absolute worst fear).  Roam Mobility’s plan is $64.95 for 30 days and it includes 4GB of data plus phone and text.  Knowing that I won’t have any overage charges is, well, priceless.  Roam Mobility offered to cover a 30 day plan while I am in Hawaii (how nice of them!).  Views and opinions are my own and I was planning to buy the 30 day plan anyway.  I will be adding the Roam Mobility daily plan to top up the 30 day plan since we are there for 5 weeks.

roam mobility plans

 

Roam Mobility has daily plans, I usually get the talk, text, and data plan because it has unlimited 4G LTE Internet for the day.

There are also 30 day monthly plans or data only plans:

how roam mobility works

  1. First you need to get a Roam Mobility SIM card.  It’s $9.95 and includes free shipping.  If you guy two, it’s $14.95.  If you’d rather not purchase anything online, you can also find them at your local 7-11, London Drugs, Petro-Can, and Staples.
  2. Also, make sure you have an LTE phone so that you can get LTE coverage (e.g. fast data)
  3. Then you need activate your SIM card.  You can do this by logging-in to Roam Mobility and activate your SIM card.  You’ll need the 19 numbers underneath the barcode from your SIM card.
  4. Check your Coverage.  This is an important step otherwise you will be annoyed when you get there that your coverage isn’t very good and your’e only getting one or two bars of Internet service.  You can check your coverage by going to the U.S. Coverage Map and inputting your location.  Anywhere where there is 4G LTE then you’ll be getting fast coverage.
  5. Top-Up!  Figure out the plan that will work best for you and then you pay for the plan.
  6. Schedule when you want your plan to start, if you’re flying into your location, it’s best to set it up for 15 minutes prior to you landing.  Then you should be able to have Internet/Phone/Text etc. ready for you when you land (if that’s the plan you choose of course)
  7. Insert your Roam Mobility SIM card into your phone and turn it on when you get to your U.S. destination
  8. You should receive a text from Roam Mobility to alert you that your service has started
  9. Enjoy your data, phone, and texting when you get to your U.S. destination, knowing that you won’t go over what you paid!
  10. When you get back home to Canada take our your SIM and put in your regular SIM.
  11. To keep your SIM card active, you need to top-up or subscribe to a plan for before 12 months is up.

unlocking your phone

You have to have the phone unlocked in order to be able to insert and use your Roam Mobility SIM.

The great thing is, as of December 1, 2017, the CRTC ( Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) has banned unlocking fees that the telecommunications providers charge and when you buy a new phone after December 1 2017, it will already be UNLOCKED.

This saves you at least $25 if you were to have it unlocked by your telecommunications provider (I paid $25 to unlock my phone a few years ago with Telus).

customer service

As mentioned above there is no phone support (from my experience), instead, the best way to reach Roam Mobility customer service is to go on their website and Create a Ticket.

There’s also a lot of FAQs available on their support page.

Pros of roam mobility

The great feature of Roam Mobility is that it is consistently cheaper than the ‘add-on’ roaming package with your local provider (e.g. Telus, in the example above).   Even better is that there are no hidden fees and no overage fees.  What you pay is what you pay.  It’s all 100% pre-paid.  No surprises.  I’ve been using it for over 3 years at least 1-2 times a year and this rings true (pardon the pun).  You don’t have to worry about a $1000 bill when you get back home to Canada because you didn’t know you went over your data allowance (again, this is MY WORST FEAR WITH DATA!).

Another thing that I really like about Roam Mobility is that they give you a US number and you can keep it and re-use it for the life of your SIM card.  So you ‘own’ that US number.  What’s great about that is that since Roam Mobility has unlimited nationwide calling, you can go ahead and give that restaurant your number when making a reservation for Nobu Restaurant (I wish, I’ve never been but want to!).

It’s also very convenient to use, I don’t have to be on hold for 1 hour to speak to a customer service rep to add on this service to my account (seriously I have been on hold for 1 hour on multiple occasions with Telus).  Just a few clicks and then it’s all prescheduled and ready to go when I get there- which is really helpful when you are trying to do a gazillion things at once to get ready for your upcoming trip.

Finally, there are lots of features along with the Roam Mobility plan too, including free long distance calls to Canada (if you have a phone plan), free picture and video messaging, including voicemail, caller ID, and call waiting.

cons of roam mobility

Earlier this year when I went to Palm Springs (via a flight) to watch the BNP Paribas and when I got there, my data and phone wasn’t working.  I think I spent 15-30 minutes frantically taking out the SIM card and putting it back in, waiting for the signal to work, and then turning my phone on and off multiple times. Anyway, I figured out that when I scheduled my Roam Mobility plan, it was for a different time zone, which makes sense, because the data on my phone worked fine a few hours later.  Oops.

Also, if you are going to an area where the coverage isn’t great, then the reception won’t be great and you won’t have much service.  Keep this in mind when you are buying your plan!  One time I didn’t have very good reception driving down the Oregon Coast but that was a few years ago so perhaps the coverage has changed.

Finally, if you use your original carrier in Canada you’ll get to keep your number and people can text you at your regular number.  It’s more continuous.  However, you can work around this by using whatsapp, iMessage, Facebook messenger etc. for your calls and texts.

Canadian readers, have you used Roam Mobility?  What has been your experience like?

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About genymoney

GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle.

4 comments on “Save Money on Roaming in the USA: Roam Mobility Review

  1. I have never used ­ Roam Mobility. Sounds like a great deal. I just came back from 6 days in the US and I forgot my phone charger at home. So for the last 4 days I decided to shut my phone off and not have any technology. Not being connected was harder than I thought it would be and it might be a future post. Have a great time in Hawaii.

    • @Steve- When I don’t have my phone nearby I go into a panic attack. There’s been studies that show there are actual withdrawal symptoms similar to addiction. So kudos to you for not using it! I think there may be other providers available out there now, but it’s the one I’ve been using all along.

  2. I purchased the extra $7/day with Telus when I went to the US but it wasn’t for extended period of times so it worked out ok. I switched to Koodo last month and they have the same type of deal (same company) so I was going to do the same next week when I (also) leave for Hawaii (only 2 weeks!)but will check out Roam mobility before I do. Thanks for the info.
    Caroline recently posted…Grocery Budget – October 2017My Profile

    • @Caroline- Ahhh you’re going to be in Hawaii too, with your children! You’re welcome, hope you like it and hope you have a wonderful time!

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