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The Roaming Data Saga

Posted by on June 9, 2011

WARNING, this post is very long and boring, only nerds and people with lots of time on their hands should read on.

When planning for this 30 day trip to the western states, I planned to have either my Rogers iPhone 4 or Kara’s Telus iPhone 4 unlocked so that we could use an AT&T sim card for data at a fraction of the price. Only recently it became law in Canada that the carrier must unlock devices for the customer for a small fee and if several criteria are met, I was happy to hear this. So I called Rogers and they said that they would unlock it, but only after the term was over. 🙁 Then I called Telus and they said that they could unlock any smartphone – except the iPhone 4. When I asked why, I got some baloney answer about a deal they made with apple.

I ran out of patience, options and time, so I put a roaming data package on Kara’s phone which gives us data at $1/MB instead of $3/MB. But even though we tried to be sparing, we were still using 15MB per day looking up weather, GPS maps and campsite information. We’d spent $50 alreasdy in the first few days, clearly this was not going to work.

The second half of this story is that I wanted to get Kara a new iPad 2 for a while, but with the trip coming up – it did not seem like a priority. (and everywhere in Saskatoon was always sold out) But with what we were paying for data, it seemed justifiable.

You see, the iPad 2 (3G version) is not locked when you buy it, you can put in any sim card and it will just work. Knowing this, we ran into CD’A to get a iPad 2!

They didn’t have any, only the CDMA Verizon version 🙁

After a quick email conversation with Kyle, we knew that we did not want the CDMA version, we needed the GSM version for when we get back to Canada.

So we took a short 20min drive to the next state (seems odd) and stopped in Spokane at a Best Buy where the girl there told me that the sim was not removable. Ahhh!

Then we went down the street to the AT&T store and there they confirmed that it was removable and even offered to put Kara’s Telus sim into the store demo iPad to show that it was not carrier locked. And to top it all off, they had stock on the black and Best Buy only had white ones, so that sealed the deal.

We bought the black iPad 2 with 3G, FaceTimed Ramon and got a credit card with a US address on it, Bought 2GB of data for $25 and we were set.

Now instead of paying $1 per Meg, we are paying $1 per 100 Megs – much better!!!

Thanks again to Kyle for his quick advise and to Ramon for the US credit card.

Now I just need to sell Kara’s original iPad, Tim? Jay? Kyle? Let’s start a bidding war in the comments. 🙂


2 Responses to The Roaming Data Saga

  1. Kyle

    You look pretty excited about the iPad 2 🙂 As for the store people not knowing anything that seems to be everywhere. Knowledgeable staff are always hard to find 🙂

  2. Tim

    Lol, ok since I’m experienced with auctions and how they work, I’ll bid $20! No? Is that not fair?

    Seriously, happy that you finally got your data needs figured out down there, nice to see the updates are going to continue!