Canadians travelling to the U.S. now have the option to access their regular mobile talk, text and data plans while roaming south of the border.
A new “Roam Like Home” plan was unveiled by Rogers (which owns MoneySense) on Friday. It allows customers to use their device anywhere in the U.S. just as they would at home. The service is provided for a flat daily fee as opposed to paying per megabyte (MB) or going through the process of buying a travel pack on top of an existing Canadian bundle.
The roaming service is available only to Rogers’ Share Everything plan members and costs $5 per day for up to 10 days, or a maximum of $50 per month. Canadians visiting the U.S. for more than 10 consecutive days can access their regular plan at the regular cost for the remainder of the month. In other words, snowbirds will pay $50 extra for the first 10 days (on top of their regular plan costs), after which they can access their Canadian plan at the regular rate for 21 days before having to renew.
Share Everything plan members only need to opt into the service once, by texting the word “travel” to 222. Every time they cross the border after that, “Roam Like Home” will kick in automatically.
The goal was to make roaming simple and affordable, Rogers CEO Guy Laurence told a group of journalists earlier this week. Customers, he said, shouldn’t have to wonder whether they should use their mobile phone when they cross the border.
“It is your Canadian plan, you’re just using it in the States. It’s identical in every respect,” Laurence said. “For the cost of a cup of coffee, why wouldn’t you?” he said.
Research shows that 49% of Canadians who travel with their mobile devices actually turn the data service off, often because they’re afraid of the charges. Sixty-six per cent of respondents to a company-commissioned survey said they wait until they get home to upload a photo from their trip, for instance.
A typical U.S. travel pack including up to 200 MB of Internet usage costs roughly $40 per month with Rogers so “Roam Like Home” could offer substantial savings to day-trippers, such as cross-border shoppers, family vacationers and snowbirds alike.
With “Roam Like Home,” users will get access to U.S. services through Rogers’ network partners, such as AT&T and T-Mobile. “Roam Like Home” will be available starting Nov. 10.
“I would love to take this to other countries. We need to road test this in the U.S. first,” Laurence said.