Ring+ vs. Freedompop vs. _____? for Canadians roaming in the U.S.?

I'm Canadian and currently using Roam Mobility when roaming in the U.S. It's pretty good, it uses T-Mobile's network (and I have a handset that supports Band 12, which helps). It costs $4.95 CAD per day, which includes unlimited phoning and texting (including long-distance back to Canada), and 500MB of LTE per day. At the current exchange rate that's only $3.82 USD per day, and extremely competitive compared to other per-day alternatives (such at AT&T's $2 + $1 per 100MB plan).

However, I've recently become acquainted with free options such as Ring+ and Freedompop. Are there other free options of note? I prefer GSM, and I understand that Freedompop does offer GSM service, but I can live with Sprint service if it's for free (as I'll still have the ability to roam onto T-Mobile and/or AT&T when necessary) or if the data/minute/text allotments are higher. So I'm assuming I'd be using the Sprint side of Freedompop if I went that way.

This would be for occasional trips only, just a few times a year for a trip that's less than a week. I wouldn't be doing a lot of usage. My understanding is that Ring+ requires you to use it at least once each billing cycle? I can potentially do that, I live close to the border, but it would probably only work if Sprint has refarmed ESMR in Washington State. How important is that consideration? Does Freedompop have that as well? If so, do they have it for both their Sprint-based service and their T-Mobile-based service?


I have family in the U.S. that can activate the service for me and send me the SIM/phone/whatever. I'm OK with an activation fee, buying a phone, what have you, so long as it's a one-time cost that offers a long-term savings. I'm also just fine with phoning/texting back to Canada not included, because I can forward my Canadian number to a U.S. number, and I can use Skype/Whatsapp/etc. as well.

Do either of them require running apps? My hope would be to use a Windows phone, but I could suck it up and use another platform if need be.

Any advice based on the above criteria?


Quote Originally Posted by Steven Hurdle View Post
    ...I've recently become acquainted with free options such as Ring+ and Freedompop. Are there other free options of note?

    Ringplus and Freedompop are the only free ones I know of. Neither are very reliable for voice service. Ringplus works most of the time, but not as reliable as standard carrier cell voice service. Ringplus routes their voice calls through their own servers. Free calling on Freedompop is VOIP over cell or wifi data. Sprint is not known for ubiquitous high speed data for VOIP calls.

    This would be for occasional trips only, just a few times a year for a trip that's less than a week. I wouldn't be doing a lot of usage. My understanding is that Ring+ requires you to use it at least once each billing cycle? I can potentially do that, I live close to the border, but it would probably only work if Sprint has refarmed ESMR in Washington State. How important is that consideration? Does Freedompop have that as well? If so, do they have it for both their Sprint-based service and their T-Mobile-based service?
    Ringplus' requirement is some usage for outgoing calls in a 60 day period. We have no idea how closely they are monitoring or enforcing that. Don't know about Freedompop. For Ringplus you could put a SIP client on a phone or other computer and use their Fluidcall wifi calling to do the 60 day thing from anywhere.

    I have family in the U.S. that can activate the service for me and send me the SIM/phone/whatever. I'm OK with an activation fee, buying a phone, what have you, so long as it's a one-time cost that offers a long-term savings. I'm also just fine with phoning/texting back to Canada not included, because I can forward my Canadian number to a U.S. number, and I can use Skype/Whatsapp/etc. as well.
    Other than the Truly Free plan on Ringplus they require a credit card for the account. I doubt they will accept a Canadian one. Ringplus has an initial $5-$30 Top Up requirement rather than an activation fee. The money is yours to spend or languish in the account. For many of us it is effectively an activation fee.

    Do either of them require running apps? My hope would be to use a Windows phone, but I could suck it up and use another platform if need be.
    Ringplus does not require running an app. Don't know about Freedompop. An allowed Windows phone will work on Ringplus, but that will limit your selection.

    Any advice based on the above criteria?
    Take a look at Tello paygo. Not free but inexpensive with no monthly cost and minimal balance and usage requirement.

    Good luck eh

    Quote Originally Posted by bobdevnul View Post
    Take a look at Tello paygo. Not free but inexpensive with no monthly cost and minimal balance and usage requirement.
    Thank you for your other responses. I'm curious about this. It says U.S. calling is $0.03 per minute, but Canadian phoning is only $0.01/minute (excepting the territories). Is that a long distance surcharge on top of the U.S. rate, or is the Canadian rate cheaper for some reason? Ditto the SMS rate, it says it's $0.01 to the U.S. and $0.01 to Canada. Does that mean it's a total of $0.01 to text Canada, or a total of $0.02 per SMS? I've never paid per SMS before, so I guess I'd have to be careful with concatenated SMSs!

    For light data use this might indeed suit my needs (the equivalent of $20/GB, apparently non-expiring). I take it Tello uses the mobile network for calls and SMSs, not VoIP?

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