AT&T cell usage in Canada

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htdrag11
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AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by htdrag11 » Fri Jul 01, 2016 7:08 pm

I did not find much useful info on the forum but want to give it another try before going to vacation in August for a week out west.

We've a family share plan of 10GB. Both my wife and mine are locked phones. For text in Canada, it will be 50 cents each. For voice it will be $2/minute. There is also a plan for $40, too rich for my blood.

Is there any other options, besides hunting for free wifi in McD or coffee shops? We will bring our Garmin with Canada maps pre-loaded, so there is no need for Waze or Google maps. Google Hangout is another way for us to chat in free wifi area. Our Airbnb rental also has wifi.

Thanks in advance.

LifeOfRiley
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by LifeOfRiley » Fri Jul 01, 2016 7:13 pm

I'm planning a trip to Canada later this summer and have looked into it. Seems like getting one of the AT&T Passport plans is the best option in my situation. https://www.att.com/shop/wireless/inter ... aming.html It seems like the thing to be most wary of is data usage by smartphones. From what I've read, one can rack up a huge bill pretty quickly with data usage.

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htdrag11
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by htdrag11 » Fri Jul 01, 2016 7:26 pm

Yes. The Passport costs $40, plus $1/minute and 200mb of data (plenty). That is almost the cost of my daily Airbnb rate!

Thank you for the reply.

jerryd
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by jerryd » Fri Jul 01, 2016 11:34 pm

We were also in the same boat last month, and following the advice given at Howardforums (http://www.howardforums.com/showthread. ... ming-Bonus), I called up 611 and asked to be transferred to retention. Told the person I am thinking of switching, since T-Mobile has free roaming in Canada. I asked for the Free Canadian Roaming, and he put it on all 3 of our lines. 1GB of data per line, and unlimited talk and text to and from Canada.

I called up from the airport a few minutes before our flight, and the call took all of around 10 minutes.

Also mentioned in https://www.att.com/esupport/article.ht ... /KM1045615

"Call 611 and ask for retentions. Ask retentions to place the FREE 'Canadian Roaming Bonus' on your lines. It includes free talk/text while in Canada and 1GB of data. Again, it is FREE"

Later, we got a text inviting us to enable free Mexico Roaming bonus, but I don't have any use of that.

Katietsu
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by Katietsu » Fri Jul 01, 2016 11:57 pm

To further bolster your position with a retention specialist, the Verizon Travel Pass is just $2 in Canada per a 24 hr period. You have access to all your talk , text and data as per your regular plan. And you are charged only when you use it.

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StealthWealth
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by StealthWealth » Sat Jul 02, 2016 12:06 am

We recently signed up for Google Fi for international travel. We spent 2 weeks in Canada and it was $30 for unlimited calls and 1GB of data. We got a refund for unused time/data when we suspended service and it gave us the ability to use it as needed. We pre-dwnloaded maps and never felt like we were cutting corners on usage. We got a Nexus 5x for $200 and just plan to turn it on and off as needed for international travel. I like the ideas others have mentioned although I think Google Fi will come in useful for some future travel plans for Europe and Asia.

Not sure if this is the best option but it seems appropriate for our needs.

DSInvestor
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by DSInvestor » Sat Jul 02, 2016 12:07 am

Also mention that Cricket Wireless has a plan for $45/month (all in cost) that allows for unlimited calls, text and 5GB/month LTE data in US, Canada and Mexico.
Wiki

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htdrag11
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by htdrag11 » Sat Jul 02, 2016 2:20 pm

jerryd wrote:We were also in the same boat last month, and following the advice given at Howardforums (http://www.howardforums.com/showthread. ... ming-Bonus), I called up 611 and asked to be transferred to retention. Told the person I am thinking of switching, since T-Mobile has free roaming in Canada. I asked for the Free Canadian Roaming, and he put it on all 3 of our lines. 1GB of data per line, and unlimited talk and text to and from Canada.

I called up from the airport a few minutes before our flight, and the call took all of around 10 minutes.

Also mentioned in https://www.att.com/esupport/article.ht ... /KM1045615

"Call 611 and ask for retentions. Ask retentions to place the FREE 'Canadian Roaming Bonus' on your lines. It includes free talk/text while in Canada and 1GB of data. Again, it is FREE"

Later, we got a text inviting us to enable free Mexico Roaming bonus, but I don't have any use of that.
Jerryd,

You are a live saver. I did not even mention about switching.

Happy 4th!

SRenaeP
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by SRenaeP » Tue Jul 05, 2016 7:28 am

StealthWealth wrote:We recently signed up for Google Fi for international travel. We spent 2 weeks in Canada and it was $30 for unlimited calls and 1GB of data. We got a refund for unused time/data when we suspended service and it gave us the ability to use it as needed. We pre-dwnloaded maps and never felt like we were cutting corners on usage. We got a Nexus 5x for $200 and just plan to turn it on and off as needed for international travel. I like the ideas others have mentioned although I think Google Fi will come in useful for some future travel plans for Europe and Asia.

Not sure if this is the best option but it seems appropriate for our needs.
How are you able to turn Google Fi on and off? Do you have an 'extra' phone number that you don't regularly use?

I recently switched to Google Fi from AT&T (ported my existing AT&T number) and HATE it with the exception of ease of international use. I'm actually planning to switch back to AT&T tonight.

-Steph

rob65
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by rob65 » Tue Jul 05, 2016 11:15 am

I'm not an expert and this is slightly off topic from your original question, but make sure your phones are set so that they won't do automatic updates over a cellular network.

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StealthWealth
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by StealthWealth » Tue Jul 05, 2016 10:58 pm

SRenaeP wrote:
StealthWealth wrote:We recently signed up for Google Fi for international travel. We spent 2 weeks in Canada and it was $30 for unlimited calls and 1GB of data. We got a refund for unused time/data when we suspended service and it gave us the ability to use it as needed. We pre-dwnloaded maps and never felt like we were cutting corners on usage. We got a Nexus 5x for $200 and just plan to turn it on and off as needed for international travel. I like the ideas others have mentioned although I think Google Fi will come in useful for some future travel plans for Europe and Asia.

Not sure if this is the best option but it seems appropriate for our needs.
How are you able to turn Google Fi on and off? Do you have an 'extra' phone number that you don't regularly use?

I recently switched to Google Fi from AT&T (ported my existing AT&T number) and HATE it with the exception of ease of international use. I'm actually planning to switch back to AT&T tonight.

-Steph

Steph, you are right we bought the phone and set it up with a completely different phone number just for use during international travel. The $200 upfront cost seemed to be offset with just a couple of trips although the free Canadian roaming sounds like something to explore (and would be even cheaper obviously). We will be spending time in Asia and Europe and have read mixed reviews about service. I love the idea behind it though...

We haven't tried Google Fi as an everyday solution but were considering it with the new Nexus phones coming out. We are debating between the Oneplus 3 on ATT or the new Nexus on Fi. I have been nervous about substandard quality with Fi because ATT is pretty good here (Southern state). We also have a fairly good plan with ATT with 40GB of mobile data that we hardly dent but would be much more expensive to duplicate now. Not sure if it is worth it to save $40/month between 2 lines.

What is it that you hate? I always getting folk's impressions!

-Stealth

SRenaeP
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by SRenaeP » Wed Jul 06, 2016 6:59 am

StealthWealth wrote:
SRenaeP wrote:
StealthWealth wrote:We recently signed up for Google Fi for international travel. We spent 2 weeks in Canada and it was $30 for unlimited calls and 1GB of data. We got a refund for unused time/data when we suspended service and it gave us the ability to use it as needed. We pre-dwnloaded maps and never felt like we were cutting corners on usage. We got a Nexus 5x for $200 and just plan to turn it on and off as needed for international travel. I like the ideas others have mentioned although I think Google Fi will come in useful for some future travel plans for Europe and Asia.

Not sure if this is the best option but it seems appropriate for our needs.
How are you able to turn Google Fi on and off? Do you have an 'extra' phone number that you don't regularly use?

I recently switched to Google Fi from AT&T (ported my existing AT&T number) and HATE it with the exception of ease of international use. I'm actually planning to switch back to AT&T tonight.

-Steph

Steph, you are right we bought the phone and set it up with a completely different phone number just for use during international travel. The $200 upfront cost seemed to be offset with just a couple of trips although the free Canadian roaming sounds like something to explore (and would be even cheaper obviously). We will be spending time in Asia and Europe and have read mixed reviews about service. I love the idea behind it though...

We haven't tried Google Fi as an everyday solution but were considering it with the new Nexus phones coming out. We are debating between the Oneplus 3 on ATT or the new Nexus on Fi. I have been nervous about substandard quality with Fi because ATT is pretty good here (Southern state). We also have a fairly good plan with ATT with 40GB of mobile data that we hardly dent but would be much more expensive to duplicate now. Not sure if it is worth it to save $40/month between 2 lines.

What is it that you hate? I always getting folk's impressions!

-Stealth
This is what I posted on another thread about my experience.

To be fair, some of the issues may be the phone (Nexus 5x) and not the actual Google Fi network/service, but it's annoying nonetheless.

The most annoying thing is the lack/ease of wifi connectivity. I've found that the phone will not automatically detect wifi networks. I have to manually turn the wifi off then on to see available networks. Then once I connect, the wifi doesn't stay connected. It seems to constantly drop out even when I know the signal is good (e.g. when sitting two feet from my home router with other devices continuously connected). Part of the Google Fi appeal for me was only paying for the data I actually use. When I'm at home, I'm on wifi and shouldn't be using data. I was quite dismayed to find out I was no longer on wifi after streaming music for over an hour (I intentionally only do so when I know I'm on wifi).

I don't talk a lot on the phone but the few conversations I have had thus far seem tinny/far away and glitchy even when I was on an LTE network.

The battery doesn't last as long as I would expect from a new, late model phone. My previous phone was a Samsung Galaxy S3 mini. When new, I could go two days without needing to charge it. The Nexus needs to be charged daily and I actually have to watch to see how much charge is left. I don't want to have to constantly monitor battery usage, have chargers stashed everywhere, etc.

Transferring contacts, etc. from the old phone to the new wasn't as easy as I expected given that the old phone was already using/synced to my Google account. However, I am willing to admit user error could be a factor on this one.


Here is my experience during a recent trip to Canada. I put my phone into airplane mode upon departing the US. I took it out of airplane mode after landing. After a few minutes, I got a message (not sure if it was text, SMS or what) from Google Fi saying welcome to Canada and stating the applicable cost (no surcharges except $0.20/min for voice calls).

I did not make any voice calls and texting was seamless. I did have problems with Google Maps, Uber and Yelp (the main things I use when traveling). Even though the 'location' service was enabled on my phone, none of those apps recognized it as such as kept prompting me to enable. I've never experienced issues with those apps before but I'm unclear if the problems were due to the Google Fi service, being on a foreign network (Rogers, IIRC) or the actual phone itself. The ability to easily transition to an international network is the ONLY thing I find acceptable. However, for me, the rest of the annoyances aren't worth not having to buy a local SIM a few times a year.

-Steph

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StealthWealth
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by StealthWealth » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:45 pm

SRenaeP wrote:
This is what I posted on another thread about my experience.

To be fair, some of the issues may be the phone (Nexus 5x) and not the actual Google Fi network/service, but it's annoying nonetheless.

The most annoying thing is the lack/ease of wifi connectivity. I've found that the phone will not automatically detect wifi networks. I have to manually turn the wifi off then on to see available networks. Then once I connect, the wifi doesn't stay connected. It seems to constantly drop out even when I know the signal is good (e.g. when sitting two feet from my home router with other devices continuously connected). Part of the Google Fi appeal for me was only paying for the data I actually use. When I'm at home, I'm on wifi and shouldn't be using data. I was quite dismayed to find out I was no longer on wifi after streaming music for over an hour (I intentionally only do so when I know I'm on wifi).

I don't talk a lot on the phone but the few conversations I have had thus far seem tinny/far away and glitchy even when I was on an LTE network.

The battery doesn't last as long as I would expect from a new, late model phone. My previous phone was a Samsung Galaxy S3 mini. When new, I could go two days without needing to charge it. The Nexus needs to be charged daily and I actually have to watch to see how much charge is left. I don't want to have to constantly monitor battery usage, have chargers stashed everywhere, etc.

Transferring contacts, etc. from the old phone to the new wasn't as easy as I expected given that the old phone was already using/synced to my Google account. However, I am willing to admit user error could be a factor on this one.


Here is my experience during a recent trip to Canada. I put my phone into airplane mode upon departing the US. I took it out of airplane mode after landing. After a few minutes, I got a message (not sure if it was text, SMS or what) from Google Fi saying welcome to Canada and stating the applicable cost (no surcharges except $0.20/min for voice calls).

I did not make any voice calls and texting was seamless. I did have problems with Google Maps, Uber and Yelp (the main things I use when traveling). Even though the 'location' service was enabled on my phone, none of those apps recognized it as such as kept prompting me to enable. I've never experienced issues with those apps before but I'm unclear if the problems were due to the Google Fi service, being on a foreign network (Rogers, IIRC) or the actual phone itself. The ability to easily transition to an international network is the ONLY thing I find acceptable. However, for me, the rest of the annoyances aren't worth not having to buy a local SIM a few times a year.

-Steph
Thanks for that Steph. It sounds like our needs are roughly equivalent when travelling. We have not used the phone for any voice calls of consequence. We did not have problems yet with the location features and also use the 5x. I appreciate the thorough response and it makes me think sticking with the ATT line for now is probably best. I would get frustrated switching and then switching back to a lesser plan and for us I think that outweighs the relatively small cost saving at this point in time. I am looking forward to testing it in Asia/Europe in the relatively near future though and I hope that Google is pushing things forward quickly.

-Stealth

ustf
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by ustf » Wed Jul 06, 2016 5:05 pm

If you don't mind or can switch, I would recommend tmobile. Free data and texting in 140+ countries. Calls are 20 cents per min. Tried it in Singapore and Japan,.. Works great.
Not so great in India where it depends on what network your phone catches unto whole there.
Last edited by ustf on Thu Aug 04, 2016 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SRenaeP
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by SRenaeP » Mon Jul 11, 2016 2:57 pm

StealthWealth wrote:
Thanks for that Steph. It sounds like our needs are roughly equivalent when travelling. We have not used the phone for any voice calls of consequence. We did not have problems yet with the location features and also use the 5x. I appreciate the thorough response and it makes me think sticking with the ATT line for now is probably best. I would get frustrated switching and then switching back to a lesser plan and for us I think that outweighs the relatively small cost saving at this point in time. I am looking forward to testing it in Asia/Europe in the relatively near future though and I hope that Google is pushing things forward quickly.

-Stealth
Definitely stick with AT&T. Based on my experiences, I attempted to switch back to AT&T and thus far, have not been successful. AT&T is telling me that I can't keep my old number (they keep getting some Google Fi related error) and I would have to get a new one, which I don't want to do.

-Steph

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goingup
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by goingup » Mon Jul 11, 2016 4:07 pm

htdrag11 wrote:
jerryd wrote:We were also in the same boat last month, and following the advice given at Howardforums (http://www.howardforums.com/showthread. ... ming-Bonus), I called up 611 and asked to be transferred to retention. Told the person I am thinking of switching, since T-Mobile has free roaming in Canada. I asked for the Free Canadian Roaming, and he put it on all 3 of our lines. 1GB of data per line, and unlimited talk and text to and from Canada.

I called up from the airport a few minutes before our flight, and the call took all of around 10 minutes.

Also mentioned in https://www.att.com/esupport/article.ht ... /KM1045615

"Call 611 and ask for retentions. Ask retentions to place the FREE 'Canadian Roaming Bonus' on your lines. It includes free talk/text while in Canada and 1GB of data. Again, it is FREE"

Later, we got a text inviting us to enable free Mexico Roaming bonus, but I don't have any use of that.
Jerryd,

You are a live saver. I did not even mention about switching.

Happy 4th!
Thanks for this. I'm going to try it next month when we travel to BC. :beer

TwentyFifty
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by TwentyFifty » Mon Jul 11, 2016 7:10 pm

Seamless phonecall to att retentions. Dialed 611 and at prompt said retentions and was directly connected. Was able to ask for canada roaming bonus without fuss. they also noticed that current data alotment for the family plan was below standard so bumped from 15 gig to 20 gig a month without contract.

Have been in Vancouver for a few days now. Wifi in hotel, roaming onto Rogers typically when out and about. good signal strength. Mainly google maps and google to figure out where to go so hopefully will stay under 1gb in canada. will try and post an update when next statement comes out. hopefully no surprises :/

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6miths
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by 6miths » Mon Jul 11, 2016 7:22 pm

htdrag11 wrote:
jerryd wrote:We were also in the same boat last month, and following the advice given at Howardforums (http://www.howardforums.com/showthread. ... ming-Bonus), I called up 611 and asked to be transferred to retention. Told the person I am thinking of switching, since T-Mobile has free roaming in Canada. I asked for the Free Canadian Roaming, and he put it on all 3 of our lines. 1GB of data per line, and unlimited talk and text to and from Canada.

I called up from the airport a few minutes before our flight, and the call took all of around 10 minutes.

Also mentioned in https://www.att.com/esupport/article.ht ... /KM1045615

"Call 611 and ask for retentions. Ask retentions to place the FREE 'Canadian Roaming Bonus' on your lines. It includes free talk/text while in Canada and 1GB of data. Again, it is FREE"

Later, we got a text inviting us to enable free Mexico Roaming bonus, but I don't have any use of that.
Jerryd,

You are a live saver. I did not even mention about switching.

Happy 4th!
I love a happy ending! This is a great forum. Enjoy your time in Canada.
'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so!' Mark Twain

jlawrence01
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by jlawrence01 » Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:56 pm

DSInvestor wrote:Also mention that Cricket Wireless has a plan for $45/month (all in cost) that allows for unlimited calls, text and 5GB/month LTE data in US, Canada and Mexico.


Last month, I signed up for the Canada coverage for my trip throughout the province of Alberta. The call coverage, through Rogers Wireless, was quite excellent.
Last edited by jlawrence01 on Sun Aug 07, 2016 12:29 am, edited 2 times in total.

CFIT
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by CFIT » Mon Aug 01, 2016 8:40 pm

For those who have gone through AT&T retention and had free cell and 1GB data for Canada, did you get any kind of confirmation? I went through the process two or three weeks ago but when I landed in Quebec City this afternoon I had a text from AT&T warning me that I would incur big charges for phone calls and data usage unless I went with one of their expensive out of country plans. From what I'm seeing the free Canada deal has not been added to my plan. Any advice?

Thanks.

wtxdxer
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by wtxdxer » Mon Aug 01, 2016 9:25 pm

I don't recall if I received an email but when I logged into my account online and looked at My Wireless Plan it showed "AT&T Canada Roaming Bonus" on each phone.

Regards, Alan

CFIT
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by CFIT » Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:23 am

Thanks! I spent 20 minutes on the phone with "Olive" in AT&T retentions two weeks ago and despite her reassurances the Canada roaming bonus was not added to my phones. Not that great a loss since I will have wireless while in Canada and don't anticipate having to make a phone call but it might have been useful to be able to use Google maps from time to time.

gordons1
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by gordons1 » Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:31 am

purchase "Keep Go". They offer you the ability to turn your phone or a device they sell - into a hot spot for your main cell.....you can call from any country in the world back to the use for pre purchased GB of data...inexpensively. Google Them...it really works well

integrity
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by integrity » Tue Aug 02, 2016 1:47 pm

Wanted to say a big thanks to jerryd and others -- I just had AT&T add the Canadian Roaming Bonus to my shared account with my wife. They simply added it with no objections. We each get 1GB of data per billing cycle, plus have unlimited talk and text. This will save us several hundred dollars per year by replacing the onerous and expensive AT&T Passport feature. Wow, I can't believe I'm saying this but great customer service from AT&T.

desiderium
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by desiderium » Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:38 pm

CFIT wrote:Thanks! I spent 20 minutes on the phone with "Olive" in AT&T retentions two weeks ago and despite her reassurances the Canada roaming bonus was not added to my phones. Not that great a loss since I will have wireless while in Canada and don't anticipate having to make a phone call but it might have been useful to be able to use Google maps from time to time.
This happened to me after I called retention and was awarded the data roaming privilege. I incurred $300 in data charges after crossing the border. I called the number and was offered the $40 passport plan. Because of the forum, I knew that wasn't right. When I protested the guy hung up on me.

Next up, they have an option to use Twitter to make service inquiries. I signed up for a Twitter account (through the ATT app) and within about 12 hours I had someone who solved the problem. I had to call Victoria to give her my account security info. Turns out the original rep in retention didn't add certain "SOC codes" to my account. It took about 10 minutes on the phone with someone who knew exactly what to do. My roaming charges were wiped out and the new data roaming for Canada (to 1GB free on my shared data plan) was added to all the phones in my family.

I highly recommend using the Twitter function do resolve customer service problems with ATT. Much better than being on hold forever with people who aren't really paid to solve your problem.

CFIT
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by CFIT » Wed Aug 03, 2016 1:28 pm

I posted about this problem on AT&T forums (where I've received great help in the past) and was told that legacy wireless plans like mine were not eligible for the bonus Canada roaming.

https://forums.att.com/t5/Wireless-Acco ... 03#M234097

If so, it is unfortunate that the customer service person was not apparently aware of the limitation.

Thanks for your assistance and advice.

LoveMyDog
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Re: AT&T cell usage in Canada

Post by LoveMyDog » Thu Aug 04, 2016 4:04 pm

We travel at least twice a year and have found knowroaming.com to be the perfect solution for us. It's a "sim card on a sticker" that is permanently stuck to your existing sim card. When you're abroad, all you need to do is to tell the phone to use that sim sticker, restart your phone, and you'll be connected to the local network at the posted knowroaming rates.

I like it so far. The switch from one sim to another is not the smoothest but eventually you'll make it work in 10 mins tops with a few phone restarts, maybe. Once you're set up you're all set until you need to switch again. When I was traveling in Europe and flew from one country to another, although I didn't have to switch sims, I had to restart my phone to make it work for some reason.

Still, I like the convenience of not having to worry about data roaming at all. No need to buy another sim, no need to keep track of when a sim expires.

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