Roam Mobility raises prices on plans for Canadians traveling to the U.S.

Daniel Bader

January 23, 2016 6:19pm

We’ve already gone through it with our domestic carriers, and now one of Canada’s best ways to visit the United States, Roam Mobility, has raised prices on its daily and data-only plans.

Roam Mobility, the former name of the brand’s parent company, now called Otono Networks, operates as a true MVNO of T-Mobile, allowing it to resell the carrier’s 3G and LTE networks with its own branding. Customers buy a SIM card for a compatible unlocked device, along with a plan that is activated online before leaving Canada.


In a statement to customers, Roam notes that “like many Canadian businesses, the recent global and currency market shifts have had a negative impact on our costs,” forcing them to raise prices a modest amount. Its most popular plan, a daily talk-text-data, has increased by $1 CAD to $4.95 per day, but the company notes that it has also negotiated with T-Mobile to increase daily 4G LTE data allowances from 400MB to 500MB. The plans also include unlimited talk and text to U.S. and Canadian numbers.

Customers who buy 30-day plans now get 15GB where they would have previously received 12GB, but the overall cost has risen by $14 CAD overall, since customers still only pay $1 per day after the first 14 days of use.


Other changes include slight modifications to Roam’s data-only plans, which have increased by $2 apiece.

Defending the price increase, Roam notes that “even with the price changes, we are still the best value roaming option for Canadians and we are proud to provide our customers with more data and better rates than any of our competitors.”

Otono Networks recently launched two new products: a prepaid roaming SIM card for Americans traveling to Canada; and a global roaming plan card for iPad users.

For more information, hit up Roam Mobility.

  • deltatux

    damn, the value just got lowered. Hope to see the Canadian Dollar come back up a bit so it won’t suck too much for imports but still great for our exports…

    • cartfan88

      What exports?

    • Mo Dabbas

      maybe he’s talking about Alberta’s oil which is being sold now at $18 a barrel (yeah, that low).

      Ok, I’ll be serious now. Some actually benefit from the low dollar. For example, Canada exports a lot of meat to the US. low CAD helps farmers. Also, the filming industry (especially in Quebec and BC) is having a great time now since a lot of US film studios are shooting now in Canada since its cheaper for them. Also, Canadian mining companies, especially those trading with commodities that had a sinking price last year (like base metals), are now having a little break since they are selling in USD but operating in CAD.

      That’s what I came up with real fast. I’m pretty sure tourism will increase in Canada from US due to the low CAD. So yeah, it’s not all bad ….. mostly bad, but not all.

    • It’s Me

      A lot of US software development companies are looking north again too.

    • Anaron

      It’s bad for the average Joe that works in Canada and gets paid in CAD. Salaries aren’t adjusted because the dollar happens to be weaker. Yet, the price we pay for things in CAD goes up. What used to be $59.99 CAD is now $80+. It sucks on an individual level but it benefits companies, especially if their foreign (namely, the US).

    • MassDeduction

      In addition to tourism improving, the frequency with which Canadians would travel outside the country (and the amount they spend when they do) is likely down sharply. More travel within Canada, and staycations.

    • It’s Me

      It sucks but since they likely pay TMobile in US dollars and charge in Canadian, a 25% increase is less than we might have expected. Sounds like they renegotiated their deal with TMo so maybe that’s why it’s “only” a 25% increase.

      Wish I’d locked in at the lower rate for a trip south later this year.

    • MassDeduction

      I wish I’d locked in beforehand too, because the 400MB/day allotment has always been sufficient for me in the past. It would have been nice if they’d given us a week to lock in prior to the price change. It would have led to a flurry of people paying early for trips they have planned, giving Roam Mobility a burst of revenue now for services that (in some cases) are far into the future.

      For me, in recent trips I’ve actually alternated on a day-by-day basis between Roam Mobility and Roam Like Home (on data-heavy days I tended to use Roam Mobility, on days in more rural areas I tended to use Roam Like Home due to it having access to AT&T coverage). In the future I’m now far more likely to just use Roam Like Home, as the price is now the same (well, only five cents different). Roam Mobility is still more value in some ways as it has its own data bucket, and I’m on a flex data plan so data increases are a cost to me, but Roam Like Home lets me use my Canadian number which is a pretty significant convenience. It’s also nice to not have to decide in advance of exactly when my trip starts and ends, and it’s nice to pay after the fact rather than in advance.

      The real question in all this, IMO, is whether this (and the effective price increase of alternate U.S. roaming options, such as the prepaid options of the big U.S. carriers, due to the decline in the Canadian dollar) becomes a justification for price increases by Rogers and/or Bell closer to Telus’ $7 rate. Or Rogers could keep the $5/day rate, but raise the billing cycle cap from the current $50 to $100, which would be an increase (but only for people on extended stays in the U.S.). Every other country Rogers has rolled RLH out to has a $100/billing cycle cap, and Telus has a $100 cap, and Rogers have heavily advertised the $5/day rate but not heavily promoted the $50 cap, so that’s where I’d expect to see Rogers make a change if they indeed choose to make one.

    • MassDeduction

      The value was undeniably lowered for the Talk/Text, the Text/Data, and the data-only options. The value arguably wasn’t lowered for the Talk/Text/Data as it went up about 25% and includes 25% more data. If you don’t need that much data then it’s possibly not as good value, and if you needed more value (and were adding extra days on that you didn’t need just to get more data) then it’s possibly more value. Ultimately it’s arguably a different value proposition as opposed to a worse value proposition.

  • LeMuffin

    notwithstanding their inexistant customer service, I really liked what they had to offer. Unfortunately for them, they are now the same price as ROAM like home which makes them irrelevant…

    • 4SerenityNow

      Unless you have the equivalent of 500MB/day from your current provider I’d say Roam is still the better value.

    • LeMuffin

      If your current data plan is appropriate at home, it should be abroad, but I acknowledge that use case. Also keeping your current regular number is a major plus.

    • Josh Brown

      Unless you get 15 GB a month just use Rogers one number and you are way better off.

    • LeMuffin

      The 6gigs I have are plenty for me US or CAN. Can’t be bothered to switch sims and refill on the ROAM website at this point. Also prefer att to tmob in the us.

    • Josh Brown

      How much do you spend a month on 6 GB of share everything?

      Only place I don’t get service in US is in west Virginia. But when I go to NYC for work I find T-Mobile better than ATT.

    • LeMuffin

      My 6gb share everything is 55$ a month.

      When I vacation ATT is better and UT, NV, and FL. Obviously there will be some specific places where it will vary, but overall that’s how it is for me.

    • Josh Brown

      There is no such thing as a share everything plan with 6gb for $55. Just the phone line is $50 a month and 5gb of data is $100. So min your bill will be $150 + tax.

    • LeMuffin

      In Quebec, 6gb with local calling and premium tab is 80$. I get 30% off with my corporate plan, so that’s 56$. I can post details if you don’t believe me.

    • Josh Brown

      Wow that is a huge difference from Quebec to Ontario. That is the cost of just the voice and text here. I hate Rogers for that. One of the reasons I don’t want to give them any more money than I have to.

    • Bill Patrick

      Josh, it is because of a 4th competitor (Videotron) that the prices differ. More competition = better price plans. Guess PKP is ACTUALLY good for something!

      I think it’s the same with Saskatchewan and Manitoba with their 4th competitor (SaskTel).

    • Josh Brown

      Hopefully Shaw/wind does it here, but I doubt it.

    • MassDeduction

      I used to strongly prefer AT&T to T-Mobile in the U.S. when it came to coverage. Now I only moderately prefer AT&T. So long as you have a handset that supports band 12, T-Mobile is now surprisingly competitive when it comes to coverage. Yes, if you don’t have a band 12 handset then T-Mobile coverage is nowhere near as good. But when roaming you should ideally make sure you’re doing so with devices that support all the deployed frequencies of the roaming partner so that’s nothing unique to T-Mobile.

    • ChristianFletch

      >>”If your current data plan is appropriate at home, it should be abroad”

      Are you joking? If you are travelling abroad you rely WAY more on maps, navigation, transit info, searches for restaurants, etc., compared to sitting at home.

      At home I get by on 1GB/month but could chew through that every three or four days when travelling.

    • LeMuffin

      I use my phone a lot for work so for me it’s the same. I think there’s still a business case for roam. But it’s less compelling than it was before.

    • MassDeduction

      Agreed. I struggled to decide (and often alternated from day to day) between Roam Mobility and Roam Like Home before. Now there’s far less incentive to alternate. I do have a dual-SIM handset so there’s the option to use Roam Mobility on a particularly data-heavy day, but most of my travel is for work and I am in convention centres (or similar) that offer me WiFi. And, you know, I’m there to do stuff, not be on my mobile devices all day! 🙂 So, it’s possible I’ll only use Roam Like Home in the future.

    • SV650

      Maps and navigation apps not needing a cellular connection are available for a small price. Searches for restaurants, etc., can often be done while connected to Wi-Fi, or by asking suggestions from locals or the concierge, often with better results.

      While YOUR use case may consume far more data when abroad than at home, such is not the case for others.

    • MassDeduction

      “HERE Maps” has best in class offline map functionality. I haven’t used any data for maps when travelling in years.

    • Bill Patrick

      Does Here Maps store all the maps on your phone like Navigon?

  • MoYeung

    It figures …

    • Josh Brown

      I like more data. It is worth it to me.

  • vn33

    I understand the reality is our dollars suck and Roam Mobility still have to make money. So I understand the $1/day increase, and appreciate the extra 100Mb that comes with it, which softens the blow.

    • MoYeung

      The percentage increase is alarming though.

    • Josh Brown

      It is less than the difference in the dollar, and they gave us 100mb extra. How is that alarming?

    • danbob333

      Going from 1.95 to 2.95 is a 51% increase. Much more than the variation in exchange rates.

    • Josh Brown

      Well I was looking at 3.95 to 4.95 which is the plan most use.

  • Canadensis

    I think this may be short-sighted of Roam Mobility, considering options like Rogers’ Roam Like Home and Telus Travel Pass are far more convenient and getting pretty reasonably priced.

  • Adam

    The value proposition for Roam Mobility was already kind of dodgy: pay them a lot of money to get dodgy US network coverage without keeping your own phone number. It costs way more than just using your existing provider’s roaming and curbing data usage. But with a price hike, it gets even less likely to be a better option….

    • MassDeduction

      T-Mobile’s network is not dodgy. Those who think it’s dodgy either used it prior to their aggressive 2015 expansion, or have used it recently but done so without a band 12 handset. These days T-Mobile covers nearly as many people with LTE as AT&T and Verizon do, thanks to T-Mobile now possessing low-band spectrum for the first time (the lack of which being what has held them back in the past). It sounds like you’ve parroted something you’ve heard, or something you experienced that is no longer accurate, or you travelled with a device that didn’t support all of T-Mobile’s deployed frequencies (and, importantly, not band 12)

      I also don’t think that Roam Mobility is asking you to pay them a lot of money, their prices are incredibly competitive with other roaming options.

      Curbing data use doesn’t account for much when, for example, Fido charges $8 for only 50MB. Pretty challenging to curb data use to below 50MB per day for some people.

      How is as little as $2.95 a day “way more” than using your existing provider’s roaming options? That’s not true on my carrier, or most carriers I’ve ever looked at.

    • Adam

      I travelled to California in the summer of 2015, with an iPhone 6. T-Mobile’s network stopped working entirely any time I was in a crowded space. Three other friends on (all different) Android phones experienced the exact same problem. Amusement park? Zoo? Convention centre? Doesn’t matter if you have 5 bars perfect signal, nothing works.

      The iPhone 6 doesn’t support band 12. Nor, it would seem, do most Android phones. A network expansion that is only supported by a handful of phones is not terrible useful.

      The one friend who was roaming on Bell via Verizon, though? Never had any problems whatsoever.

      Roam Mobility charges me $5 a day for a service that doesn’t even work in crowded areas and doesn’t let me use my normal phone number. Fido charges me $0 a day if I disable roaming data and rely on wifi (and wifi calling). Yes, Fido’s roaming prices suck, but given the choice between paying Roam Mobility $20 for a short trip, or just using wifi, there is definitely a value proposition there, and raising their prices makes me even less likely to go for it.

    • MassDeduction

      There you go. You used an iPhone 6. The iPhone 6 doesn’t support band 12, so you got absolutely none of T-Mobile’s low-band coverage. You were trying the network with the equivalent of one of the network’s hand’s tied behind its back. T-Mobile’s network was rapidly enhanced throughout 2015, and was almost unrecognizable from January to December (if you have a band 12 device). I travelled to the U.S. and used Roam this summer, and made sure to acquire an inexpensive dual-SIM band 12 device before I left. There are lots of devices that support band 12, but they’re mostly newer devices as band 12 is only just rolling out now. Why would older devices have supported something that didn’t previously exist? The iPhone 6S, as well as most new Android and Windows Phones, support band 12.

      Were all your friends using Roam Mobility? If so, I have had that same experience with Roam in places where T-Mobile customers weren’t having that issue. It’s a known issue with MVNOs: they’re the first to get dumped by the network when the network is experiencing congestion. It’s not a problem specific to Roam. Admittedly it’s far less likely when roaming with a Canadian provider as they generally give you both T-Mobile and AT&T to roam on.

      I’ve done several roaming solutions (using Fido and limiting my usage, using Roam Mobility, using Roam Like Home, purchasing local prepaid service in the U.S.). Had you had a band 12 device you would have likely had better coverage on Roam and few (if any) capacity issues since band 12 is not yet anywhere near congested on T-Mobile.

  • Claude Gauthier


    It is now two years that I deal with Roam Mobility. Since my first experience, the service was changed and deteriorated. I paid for my cell phone unlock in order to use the services provided by Roam Mobility. ($ 50 per phone) Then I bought two of their SIM card ($ 10 per card) and finally, I bought two of their package. Until then, it’s OK! Then I was contacted via email to warn me that I should buy a package, because after a year, the SIM card will be expire. I had to buy two packages because I have two SIM cards. ($ 10 for packages that I did not need) Then they increased their price ($ 4.95 per day instead of $ 3.95.) Well OK, all companies are increasing their rate, but 25% it’s still a lot! That’s not all. After using their service again, I received a new email informing me that I had to buy another package, this time after only six months instead of one year. It starts to look like a scam. I called the customer service how informs me that I can buy a plan for a day at an approximate date of my holiday and that time came, I was going to change the dates of my package and add days . In May 2016, so I bought a package for July 25. Eventually, we decided to go to Florida by car and leave in the morning of 21 July. We go through boarder and stop into a McDonalds to use their wireless to change the dates of the package purchased weeks earlier. I then unable to change the dates of my plans and I look at their support section of their website. It provides a procedure that does not work. The company is located in Vancouver and their customer service is not available before 11 am. It is then 7am. I still need to use my cell phone for emergencies and for the GPS so I bought two plans of 21 days cost me $ 80 each. After two hours of downtime, we can finally leave!

    Along the way, I try to reach the customer service, but the line is bad then I decided to call back later. Later we have a flat tire on the 95 road and we finally arrive at our destination at 11 pm on Friday night. So I postponed my call for Monday, July 25 at 11 AM, as they open at that hour.

    When I got up Monday morning, I see that they have canceled the two planes of 21 days and have activate the two plans of one day.

    Skip 11am, I call them to correct the situation and the first person I talk to offer me a credit of $ 62 on the $ 80 paid, and bought me a new plan whit the credit. The problem is that the new plans expire on August 7 while that the plan they canceled ended on 11 August. She told me that I only have to buy two new plans for four days, additional cost of just over $ 40! final bill: 160 + 40 + 10 = 210 instead of $ 160 I would have had to pay. Seeing my displeasure, the person became condescending and the phone line was unfortunately interrupted. I waited a few minutes for them to re-contact me, but I have not received any calls. I had to get back to them and ask to speak to a supervisor. The latter being unavailable, the person informs me that he will call me back between 24 hours and 4 days. Three hours lost on the phone and holidays that begin to be expensive and frustrating.

    The next day, the supervisor calle me back kindly and said (too kindly) he understands me, but he can not do anything. He finds it normal that the system cancels a 21-days package after four days of use, for a flat fee of 1 day. He refused to refund me on my credit card and only offers me a store credit.

    After spending $ 650 in 24 months with ROAM MOBILITY, I’ll never do business again with this company that is unable to offer a service for which customers pay. Why not just said, ‘Sir, do not worry, we will offer you the service until August 11, and you will not have to pay additional fees. We are sorry for the inconvenience and enjoy your vacation.” I would have lost $ 10 plans purchased in May and it would not have bothered me. No! Four hours to discuss on the phone with them and get a poor service. Please be advised before you invest your money with this company that does not care about offering the service for which customers have paid, to be understanding and satisfy customers. All they want is to make more money.

    If I owned this company, I would make changes to my policies and my customer service!