Unfortunately with the pandemic, we witnessed a lot of great businesses close down, and Roam Mobility was one of them. I used Roam Mobility for a few years and unfortunately in July 2020, Roam Mobility Canada ceased operations and are no longer in business. It was a bit sad and nostalgic to get rid of my Roam Mobility SIM card, and I actually still use their little SIM card holder with the little pin to access the SIM card. I started looking at a Roam Mobility alternative and decided to give Lycamobile amd Airalo a try for a recent trip to the United States.
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I liked that with Roam Mobility USA you could pick your area code so it would seem like you were a ‘local’ in the area of the United States that you were traveling to. I also liked that you could talk and text with Roam Mobility. You could also pick up Roam Mobility SIM cards at convenient places, like London Drugs. Roam mobility plans were great and so flexible.
Unfortunately one has to adapt to change. Here are some Roam Mobility alternatives that I considered. Having an alternative helped me feel better about throwing away my Roam Mobility SIM card.
Note that most of these alternatives, you need to have an unlocked phone so that you can switch your SIM card easily. These options that are US SIM cards for Canadian travellers will help you save money on your phone costs while traveling.
Roam MObility Alternative
Telus Easy Roam
It is tempting to keep your own phone number and continue to have your phone operate ‘status quo’ but while in the United States and North America. I can see how this would be important for someone who has a business and needs to operate it or be accessible while they are on vacation, especially if you are used to fast Internet (and like to save money on Telus Internet).
The gist of Telus Easy Roam is that you keep your existing data plan and you have unlimited talk and text while you are in the United States. Telus Easy Roam used to be $8 per day but now it is $14 per day with Telus.
For a two week trip that works out to be $196.
KnowRoaming has plans that are ridiculously dirt cheap and also conveniently they have an eSIM card option now. What is an eSIM? An electronic SIM lets you activate a cellular plan from a carrier without having a physical SIM card.
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This means you don’t even need to fiddle with your phone and take out your SIM card on the plane with the airplane seat table down, hoping that you don’t drop your tiny SIM card in the recesses of the economy class seat.
For a 30 days package to the United States, it is only about $4.50 CAD for 1GB of data.
This is dirt cheap especially if you don’t use very much data and can use VoIP services to call or text. I have yet to be savvy enough with my phone and technology to set up VoIP comfortably so I didn’t end up going for this package.
Also, my version of the iPhone does not seem compatible with KnowRoaming’s eSIM (it’s too old as a 2018 iPhone). Here’s a list of compatible devices with KnowRoaming’s eSIM. Apple has a special add on to the newer phones (is it a chip?) so that you can use an eSIM. It’s not possible to use an eSIM on older iPhones unfortunately.
KnowRoaming uses AT&T coverage in the United States.
For a two week trip if you can set up free VoIP for phone and texting, it works out to be $4.50 with KnowRoaming.
Airalo is a company based in Singapore and was founded in 2019. They are the world’s first eSIM store. After I finally upgraded to an iPhone 13 from an iPhone 8, I was able to use this because it is eSIM compatible.
Airalo is used by over 5,000,000 people worldwide and they provide data for your mobile phone in over 200 countries and regions in the world. Pretty impressive!
I used Airalo for my recent trip to the United States because it had more options in terms of packages and data plans, I needed more than 1GB of data but didn’t need 10GB of data.
Similar to Knowroaming, Airalo also uses VOIP for texting and phone calls, so I downloaded the Talkatone app to get an US phone number.
It is easy to install, you install the app and then they have instructions on how to set up the eSIM. When I got to my destination, I toggled the “Travel” eSIM under Settings>Cellular and was instantly connected to T-Mobile.
I’m going to be going to Dubai soon and plan to use Airalo. It also has good coverage in South America too.
I had a 3GB data plan for 30 days in the United States and it was $8 USD.
Lycamobile was the one that I ended up using as a Roam Mobility alternative. Other than a few set up glitches, I was very happy with Lycamobile. It provided me fast Internet and dare I saw it was easier to use (after initial set up) than Roam Mobility.
This makes Lycamobile a very similar Roam Mobility alternative for your USA travel needs.
I got my Lycamobile SIM card from Amazon. It was mailed to me but I organized this ahead of time (about a month ahead) to make sure I receive my SIM card before my United States trip.
The thing is to make sure you activate your SIM card at the right time. You can activate it ahead of time while you are in Canada (this is one thing that I really liked about it), but once the 30 days are up your SIM card will need to be reloaded. For example, if you activated your SIM card on February 28, your plan will expire on March 28. If your trip ends on March 31 you are in a bit of trouble.
To activate your Lycamobile SIM card, you can go to the Lycamobile US website to activate your SIM. There are some confusing numbers you will need to enter, like the TAC code, ICCID, and PUK code. Thankfully the online chat function is great and they can walk you through where to find these numbers on your Lycamobile SIM card.
That’s what I did because it was too confusing. The customer service chat representative was very helpful.
Make sure you put in your hotel or Airbnb address so that your number will be a ‘local’ number too. For example, we put our Airbnb’s ZIP code and then got a local area code 808 number for Hawaii.
While in my United States destination (Hawaii and Florida on two different occasions), the Internet was fast, there were no issues. The phone quality and texting was straight forward and there were no issues too. Lycamobile uses T mobile network. Some people say T mobile is not as good as other networks in the United States.
Phone calls and texts to Canada were free too, it was nice to call family back home without issues and drop in phone quality. I also had to call Westjet to contact them about missing baggage and the phone quality was great.
You can keep your SIM card and just reload the plan that you want before your trip through the Lycamobile website.
For a two week trip to the United States, this SIM card cost about $25 CAD.
Another option is Mint Mobile. The exciting thing is that the owner of this company is Ryan Reynolds, a Vancouverite! He recently sold Mint Mobile in March 2023.
Their plans cap off at $15 a month and this includes unlimited talk and text and nationwide coverage with 5G or 4G LTE (whichever is strongest).
The only downside is that the minimum purchase is 3 months AND you have to have a US address to register. Ryan Reynolds was working on Mint Mobile for Canada but he needs your help to write to members fo the Parliament. You can visit Mint Mobile Canada here to help out.
This would be a good plan for Canadian snowbirds who stay down in warmer areas of the United States for 3-6 months at a time. There’s also free calling to Mexico and Canada with these plans.
This price also includes the SIM card. And there’s free activation for customers age 55 and up too.
You can even hot spot it and save money on Internet if wifi is not available where you are traveling to.
So for a two week trip to the United States, this would be $45 (because the minimum is for 3 months).
Still better than using something like Easy Roam for Telus.
As you can see there are a variety of price points depending really on how tech savvy you are and how attached to using voice and text on your phone you are.
If you want ultimate convenience and want to keep your phone number the same, your cellular service provider should have a roaming type package that you could just set up.
If have a newer phone and you are comfortable using VoIP (calling numbers on your phone without having a carrier provided phone number) then KnowRoaming is probably your best deal.
If you are staying longer or close to three months in the United States like many Snowbirds usually do, Mint Mobile sounds like the best US SIM card for Canadian Snowbirds.
If you are a non-tech savvy individual like me and like having a phone number and want as close of a Roam Mobility alternative as you can get, Lycamobile is quite similar and I was happy with my experience and will likely use them again.
Of course there are even more alternatives to a Roam Mobility SIM Card, such as buying a T-mobile SIM card ahead of time or even when you arrive at your United States destination (if you are a relaxed traveler, I am not one of those).
Roam Mobility Sim Card (GoodBye)
Hopefully these tips will help you will help you tuck away your Roam SIM card and lay it to rest. There are new and improved Roam Mobility options out there. Definitely when I get another iPhone (I think I am going on year 5 right now) I will use something like KnowRoaming where you use an eSIM.
Travel is opening up again and there are many great credit cards to take advantage of that offer welcome bonuses to offset your travel costs, such as the Westjet World Elite Mastercard, the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite, and the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite.
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Have you found a Roam Mobility alternative that you’re happy with? Please share!
GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for blog updates, a free dividend yield spreadsheet, and the free Young Money Bootcamp eCourse.