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cHEAPER INTERNATIONAL CALLS
February 5, 2009
8:17 am
isobel
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Advice please. I frequently travel to Canada and although I can make cheap calls to Canada on my cell phone the calls from there to UK are very expensive. Can you recommend an international sim card which works in Western Canada and offers cheaper cell phone rates to UK. Thanks

February 5, 2009
9:01 am
bylo
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You don't need an international SIM card. You just need a decent long distance provider for your current SIM, e.g. YakCell.

February 5, 2009
11:24 am
sapien
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I don't mean to hijack this thread but on a side note, does yakcell work with SO or any other prepaid cell service? I have yak LD on my home line but I've been told most of these services only work on postpaid cell service. I've been told that some cell co's even block access numbers from those sorts of companies because they're taking revenue away from them.

February 5, 2009
11:48 am
bylo
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does yakcell work with SO or any other prepaid cell service?

Works for me. You have to call a local access number then use it to dial the LD number. Or you can call their 416, get a busy signal and wait for a call back. In either case you pay local airtime plus whatever Yak charges for LD. So it's even cheaper to use Yak to call LD within Canada and US than to pay SO.

February 5, 2009
2:35 pm
Big Ang
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To answer the original question, your best option probably to get a SIM card from a prepaid carrier (so you're not being overcharged for your roaming use) and then get a separate long distance solution. Why 2 separate parts to the solution? Because all the cellphone companies in Canada love to overcharge their customers for long distance charges.

In regards to your SIM card, your options are Speakout, PetroCanada Mobility, Rogers, and Fido. Bell, Solo, Telus, Koodo, Virgin Mobile, and President's Choice Mobile use CDMA and won't work with your GSM phone.

With Rogers and Fido, the SIM card will cost you $35. They have a variety of different price options for prepaid, but the one disadvantage is that the airtime expires after 30 or 60 days, which probably wouldn't work for you. (Rogers does have an option where the $100 airtime takes 1 year to expire)

With PetroCanada Mobility and Speakout you cannot buy the SIM card separately from the company. You can either buy a SIM from someone on this forum, or you can buy an inexpensive phone which includes a SIM. Phones (with SIM and $5 airtime) start at at $59 at PetroCanada and $74 at Speakout. Unfortunately for you their low-end phones only have the GSM frequencies that work in N.America so you won't be able to use it in the UK. The advantage of PetroCanada and Speakout is that the unused prepaid airtime doesn't expire for 6months to 1 year (respectively).

With the long distance part, you have 2 options. You can either buy a prepaid long distance card or set up an account with a service like YakCell. With both of those options, you have to call a number, type in a code, then dial the number you want to call. The prepaid card is easier to set up, might be a little cheaper, but then you have the risk of it running out in the middle of a call if you run out of money. With a service like YakCell you have to have it set up ahead of time, but once it's set up you don't have to worry about it except to pay the bills.

Bear in mind, with both of those services you can use them with any phone, not just your cellphone. If you use it with your cell, you will be paying for local airtime in addition to the long distance charges.

Hope this helps. If you're still not sure what to do, tell us how frequently you travel to Canada, if you stay in the same city each time, and how often you'll be making phone calls when you're here.

February 5, 2009
2:51 pm
bylo
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To answer the original question...

To clarify, my original response assumes that Isobel already has a PetroCan Mobility SIM (after all, this thread is posted in that subforum.)

If she does not, i.e. has only a UK SIM then your response applies. My comments below are intended to complement that response.

Unfortunately for you their low-end phones only have the GSM frequencies that work in N.America so you won't be able to use it in the UK.

If Isobel already has a quadband phone she can use it in Canada with a Canadian SIM and overseas with her UK SIM.

With a service like YakCell you have to have it set up ahead of time, but once it's set up you don't have to worry about it except to pay the bills.

YakCell requires that you register with them, i.e. give them a valid credit card number. I don't know for sure if they'll accept a UK card. If not then a prepaid LD card may be the only option.

how frequently you travel to Canada... and how often you'll be making phone calls when you're here.

Also do you travel to other countries? If you do then a so-called "International SIM" may be your best option rather than buying SIMs and airtime for each country individually.

February 5, 2009
2:53 pm
Big Ang
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isobel,

Don't forget that, unlike the UK, when someone calls your cellphone from the UK, they are not charged extra because they are calling a cellphone instead of a landline. The long distance rates for calling a cellphone are the same as calling a landline.

However, if you are receiving the call, you are charged the regular per-minute rate of usage. IMO this way makes more sense, since the person receiving the call is the one paying for the convience of using a cell instead of a landline.

February 5, 2009
4:56 pm
iamdrumming
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If you need a long distance service, I recommend JustDial.ca

The rate to the UK is 2.5 cents/minute, and unlike most other long distance companies, there is no expiry dates. I have been using them a couple years now.

March 10, 2009
6:53 pm
Guest
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i hear you can make low to even free international calls with rebtel. anyone try that?