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Whenever I head down to the United States with my Nexus (yes, the Nexus pass really is worth it in my humble opinion..here’s a post on how to apply for it) which is about every few months or so when I do my outlet mall or Trader Joe’s run, I usually (well, 99.9% of the time) turn my phone on airplane mode.  I am not the type to want to rack up hundreds of dollars on my cell phone bill for a few hours in the United States roaming on data or texting for over $1 a text.

No, that would be my worst nightmare.

Nor am I the type to be organized enough to call my telephone carrier company (be it Rogers, Bell, or Telus) to set up a roaming data or telephone or text messaging plan for an additional $X number of dollars a month.

Related: Negotiating A Cell Phone Plan – Still Alive and Kicking

So when I heard of this company while researching ways to save on roaming fees while traveling, I stumbled upon the company, Roam Mobility.  Don’t worry, I didn’t get endorsed for this review, but if Roam Mobility wants to send me some free text+ data days I won’t say no! (haha).

Related: Step-by-step Guide on How to Save Money on Your Cell Phone Contract

Roam Mobility is a company based out of Richmond, a few minutes south of where I live.  I saw that there was a recent promo code for a $5 off discount on the USA Travel SIM card (so buying two would only be $15) so I thought it might be a good idea to try it out.

Here is how you get set up with Roam Mobility.  It was a little confusing for me initially because I’m not a techie.

Get a SIM Card

I signed up for a SIM card online from the Roam Mobility website and used the discount code (I think I googled it somewhere) and my package (small package that fit into my humble condo mail slot which is a bonus because the last thing I would want to do is to go to the Canada Post outlet to get my package) arrived very soon, I think in about 2-3 days after I placed the order.  It was also automatically tracked.  It comes with a little tool to open up your iPhone and a nice folder to keep your SIM card paraphernalia neat and tidy.

Alternately, I believe you can buy the Roam Mobility SIM card at your local London Drugs, if you live in western Canada of course.

Sign Up for an Account and Activate your SIM Card

Then you sign up for an account (if you bought from the website you likely have an account already) and when you receive your SIM card, activate the SIM card on your registered account.  It takes a few minutes to do this.

Sign Up for a Plan

Once you activated your SIM card, you will be given a phone number that you will be assigned for an entire year (or longer if you continue to use your SIM card).  It will be active for a year, and you will be assigned another phone number if you don’t use your SIM Card for over a year.

One the Roam mobility site you can sign up for a plan, the cost is dependent on how many days you want.  I signed up for a Text + Unlimited data plan for one day.  You can plan and input when you would like your plan to start.  I paid for it online and it only cost $2.05 after taxes.  Of course, the longer you stay in the U.S.A. the more you will pay.

Put your SIM Card in When You are in the States

Once you’re in the states (or even earlier) you can put your SIM card in your phone.  Make sure your phone is unlocked.

Oh, and don’t put your Nano SIM without the tray into your iPhone 5 like I did, otherwise you panic and sweat and needless thoughts of needing to go to the Apple store will set in.

You have free phone calls back to Canada if you bought the telephone option.

Forget About It- Don’t Worry About Extra Charges

When I got a text from Roam with the welcome to the U.S.A. and that I had 1MB of data I freaked out and tried not to use the data.  However, I clarified with Roam that this was perhaps the speed of the data, and that I paid for my plan so I will not be overcharged.  This was indeed the case apparently because I did not get charged extra money.

All in all, I am impressed… but not with myself for putting the Nano SIM into my iPhone without the tray of course.

Readers, have you tried Roam Mobility? What do you think about it? 

Article comments

Mark Gilmore says:

do not use this service.very poor customer service. you pay $100 plus for a 3 month plan and when phone does not work,no refunds,and you are out the money and no phone. use a reputable phone provider.

BeeBee says:

You are required to buy the plan before leaving Canada.
You have no idea if it will work.
When it does not work there is no acccess to customer service by telephone.
They answer an email with reference to frequently asked questions.
Many areas with weak or no service even in well populated regions.
Texts from android to Iphone will have a response sent to another number.
I am shocked that they can get away with such horrible service

Cz'r says:

Same as above.
0 customer service .
0 coverage in New York.
I’ll be tossing these SIM’s and going to AT&T.
So much for supporting Canadian businesses.

Brad says:

Purchased roam for my vacation, couldn’t get it to work kept saying invalid sim and yes the phone is unlocked. No phone support so once you buy it your screwed if it dont work,Support has been useless email you a ticket that does nothing. Please dont buy its a scam just use your current provider and add on us calling same price no hassle.

Bill Hughes says:

My wife and I have used RM for the past 3 years without issue. We each have a snowbird plan on our phones. However, we were not impressed this year to find that there is no person to person customer support, just email. Cutting personnel makes me wonder if they are in financial difficulty.

Dan says:

Atrocious customer service. In the end, SIM card works.
I had some difficulty activating the card and spent a frustrating 1/2 hour lost in the branches of the phone tree to find that Roam has discontinued it’s phone support. An email to their customer support went entirely unanswered for 11 days — until today I was contacted. For what it’s worth, an email to their sales dept was promptly answered.
In the end, I was able to get the card to work with some troubleshooting. For my future trips, I will look for another solution.

M. Hamilton says:

Am not impressed since they have discontinued personal contact on phone. I have a new SIM, and activated it in Sept, planning our trip in January /17. When logged in to my acct, I am unable to “reschedule” my date of start of plan. Recheduling does not show up at all. I have submitted my problem online and received reply just sending me to their “how to section” which of course I had already done prior to contacting them. It would be so much easier to be able to talk to someone directly. Now I don’t know if I am inputted to begin on date I have recorded.

D So says:

It used to work since I used them for several years, the previous one was just 2 months ago in LA for a week, it worked fine. Today I go th Buffalo for one night and subscribed a one day text talk data plan for $5. After crossing the border I started swaps the SIM card but it did not work, no phone, no data, I struggled with it for 2 hours without getting it connected, the worst thing is they now do not have real person in phone support, it is just recorded message telling me to go to their website to check how to connect. I sent them 2 emails and none of them get reply. I have to get WiFi until checkingbin hotel. But no luck on connection nor do they give me any support. This is completely unacceptable for such change in service. I will not trust this company anymore.

Claude Gauthier says:


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!

steve says:

No No No Never use this company unless you want frustration. Terrible service, misleading advertising, non-to-non-existing customer service. Forget it – period!

Katie says:

Their coverage map is wrong – I got this plan knowing that it wouldn’t cover me everywhere (we had a lot of national parks on our trip) but often went days after without coverage. Our 41 days trip we probably only had cell coverage 50% of the time. While I expected it to not cover some areas I was disappointed it had no coverage in main centres and towns as well

M. Qadeer says:

The service didn’t work at all in Brooklyn NY, despite following all the instructions and adding additional funds as instructed . Roam has been stalling to reimburse or make any decision on a refund for over a month despite repeated calls to customer service. This is lousy customer service and I won’t use it in future. I would caution others to be careful in signing on Roam Mobility.

Kevin Woo says:

Roam Mobility is good when it works, but the company has extremely bad customer service. I’ve been trying to resolve a dispute for over a month. Their service did not activate last time I was in the US. They charged me for attempting to check the status of my activation by making an outbound call, only to be redirected to their CSR line. I was on hold for CSR for over two hours that day and did not get through to a live person. Bad !

elias says:

Their service is very misleading. The coverage map often shows full LTE coverage in rural areas. But there is little to none in actual fact. And they do not refund or credit for making you pay for a service they do not deliver. Works ok in large centres. Beware.

Sorry you had to learn the hard way this is NOT a company that is worth dealing with. For now, what I do is use Fongo with free wifi (which you can find pretty well anywhere) to make free calls North America wide. This saves me from buying anything as long as you aren’t expecting calls while you are travelling during the day. Roam Mobility…may the fleas of a 1000 camels invade your armpits !!

Dorothy says:

Be *very* careful if/when you buy from this company!! A much better idea is to buy and AT&T SIM card which gives full coverage across the US and unlimited data, then install MagicJack which uses your data to call back to Canada. There are probably other US SIM cards that will work too. As long as they have enough data, calling to Canada is free even without an add-on for Canada.

For what I paid for non-existent service from RoamMobilty, I could have got AT&T service that included calls to Canada.

Their coverage maps are not accurate. I got zero coverage in an area that they supposedly covered.

So you MAY get good coverage. Go with RoamMobility if gambling is your thing and you don’t mind being stranded without service – not even 911 service!

Also in their “Partner” coverage areas, there is NOT full coverage even with paying $1.00 extra on top of their Talk-Text-Data pan. The service is minimal with only Talk and Text and minimal data (10 mb?) per day, which is not enough for using Google maps for navigation. So essentially in their “Partner” coverage areas, you pay extra for much LESS service.

Customer service is nothing short of abominable. I did not get ANY coverage at my destination which showed as full coverage on their map. I emailed and phoned the company and asked for a refund for the balance of my plan, but waited 12 days for a customer service person to contact me. She acted as though I were still using their SIM which I had replaced with a AT&T SIM, totally ignoring my request for a refund.

This has now gone several rounds the customer service rep wants to do “trouble shooting” with me. The prospect of getting about $54.00 back does not look good!

The proved to be a poor gamble for me. Next time I’ll plan to stop at the first decent-sized town across the border to get a local SIM card. AT&T’s “Go-phone” plan is workig for me. Just need to remember to cancelat the end of the month.

Bruce says:

My iRoam card did not work in Europe. It dropped every call I ever made within a minute. I had a UK number for the card but it sucked big time. If a call completed it was too distorted to hear. I switched to my Telus card and everything worked fine.

neil beady says:

My experience was about the same. Checked coverage map on their site for the location of my trip (Wellsboro Pennsylvania). Good coverage indicated, but I bought the partner upgrade to be safe. It was pretty much useless with poor service in Wellsboro and none anywhere outside of town. The partner service, provided by Indigo had no data. So calls only. Needed gps/maps to get around, but no data. I have used Roam Mobility for several trips to the US and find that the coverage maps are wildly optimistic or pure B.S. So, be aware of what you are buying. The main Canadian cell providers now offer similar plans at a similar rate and without the sim card switching hassle. What seemed like a great idea (roam mobility) is a sad disappointment.

Paul says:

Roam mobility customer service and poor business practices are a big turn off. Without much warning they changed their expiration duration to 6 months and shafted their occasional customers by removing their sims from the system. Beware.

Bill says:

George Burr

Bought a data+text+message plan, at $4 a day it was marginally cheaper than
my Koodo rate. BUT the data portion never worked properly.
No Google maps when I needed it (Aberdeen Oregon).
Maybe that is because, Aberdeen is in Washington State not Oregon

Helena says:

I would not use them again because of poor customer service. I and my partner travelled to Canada for 3 weeks and signed up for the 2 for 1 deal for SIM cards with a 3 week pre paid plan.
Roam only sent one card and spent the next 3 weeks stalling on all our follow up calls. Eventually sending the second after we had left the country. Customer service and follow up was appalling even though they acknowledged their mistake.

Stan says:

Maybe Roam Mobility, works in other areas of the USA, but if you are going to Hawaii (Big Island) don’t bother. RM is partnered with T-mobile and s
The coverage is terrible. We were staying in a populated area that is clearly shown as an area of 4g coverage and we could not get a signal. We could get AT&T, so better to buy a SIM card from that carrier in Hawaii. Worse than not getting a signal was the terrible customer service from Roam Mobility. They refused to acknowledge that there was no coverage and blamed it on our phones (-all 4 With a mix of IOS and android), even though by turning on the roam function with our home sims we could get AT&T just fine. Roam Mobility consistently asked for the same information over and over always saying they would get back to us within 48 hours, but never did. When we asked for a refund, they again said they would review and get back. 3 times and each time I had to write back to ask about the status of their review. Still being ignored 4 weeks later.

LD says:

Roam Mobility just raised their rates by 25%. They are now the same cost as Rogers Roam Like Home. You get more data with Roam Mobility, but the rate hike is outrageous.

I wouldn’t hold my breath for a refund. Even after a BBB complaint that they never even responded to, I received nothing by way of notification from them. They are clearly a bad company that cares nothing about customer service.

I doubt they’ll be around much longer

Ahawkings says:

Have you tried any of the more expensive alternatives like KnowRoaming or iRoam?

AHawkings says:

I used to be a big fan of Roam Mobility, but after my last trip to the U.S. I don’t think I’ll use them again. I checked their coverage map before purchasing my plan and saw that they didn’t have very good coverage in West Virginia so I paid the $1 more/day for the additional coverage through a “partner”. None of the calls I tried to make would connect. Their support people tried, but were unable to resolve my issue. After I returned I called them and asked for at least a partial refund, they said they’d look into it, but I still haven’t received one or heard back from them.

Sam Stouros says:

Poor service and no refund yet.
Bought the Snow Bird plan for our son in collage in the US January 2016. Service did not work properly from day one and cancelled it the same week after our son worked with their technician for several hours. They have yet to refund the $169.33 even after several phone calls and several emails. The refund policy says no refund if you activate the coverage, but how do you know if the service is going to work without activating it. This is not how an honest company who wants long term clients should operate.

Contacted my credit card to dispute the charge and made a BBB complaint.

This company will not refund a legitimate claim, nor respond to a BBB complaint. In short, they are a company not worthy of your money. I strongly suggest you don’t support an unethical company such as this

Carol Cote says:

I am new to this sim card idea. I will be in the mission, TX, area, for the winter. How will I know it it will there? Overall the American infrastructure leaves something to be desired. I used tracfone last year, and it was less than stellar.

Kyle says:

Best to call your provider and talk about that Carol.

Jack Code says:

I travelled to Cape Code with Roam Mobiliity (with my Nexus 5) but quickly found out that the coverage is far from perfect. When there’s coverage, that works great. But unfortunately, there’s a lot of areas without data coverage in the Cape. My hotel, for example, had no data coverage! Of course, Roam Mobility’s official coverage map says the whole Cape Code area is 100% covered with LTE, but that’s far from the truth!

In summary, if you can live with sporadic data connection, get your email and web access sporadically when it works and accept all the other times is does not work, then that’s a great service. For the other ones, I would recommend looking elsewhere.

I recently purchased an 8 day plan while touring New York State and Vermont, which never worked at all, in spite of three attempts by their techncial support. Now my request for a refund is being met by total silence. I am tired of companies that take your money and dont deliver, then unethically refuse to refund your money
Dont use this company….their are other alternatives albeit a bit less convenient.

Jack Code says:

I called consumer services myself to understand why I get no data service. They finally admitted their coverage map is wrong and that they don’t really cover the whole area as advertised. I asked for a refund and was told that they simply do not refund once the plan is activated. There was no way for me to know that before buying and activating the plan; I even called before buying the plan to verify coverage. So there advertising is some kind of a scam, and like you say, they did not deliver for me either.

Joe says:

Was your phone unlocked?

George Burr says:

Bought a data+text+message plan, at $4 a day it was marginally cheaper than
my Koodo rate. BUT the data portion never worked properly.
No Google maps when I needed it (Aberdeen Oregon).
Their new service is more complicated and expensive. And no refund.
I won’t use them again.

BeachBoy says:

I have used the $2 or $3 per day plan from T-Mobile.
But now the ROger’s option is even better, $5 and unlimited everything, including data… much easier than swapping SIM cards.

Nick says:

I’ve had Roam for around a year now and like it very much. My main reason for getting it was so I can budget for a fixed data cost while in the US. It’s much easier navigating down there with Google Maps! My only negative with it is that it piggy-backs on the T-mobile network in the US, which has spotty 3G coverage in areas like rural Washington. I do not know how the LTE coverage is for Roam, it may be better than 3G.

Another step to remember when setting up is that your phone has to be unlocked, but that can be done with your carrier for a fee.

BK says:

I’ve used ROAM on 3,4 trips now and its a godsend.

However, for the sake of readers, I think you should bold/underline/highlight the fact that you need an unlocked phone. Especially for the more umm…older readers.

Kyle says:

“older readers”… actually giggled at that BK

Barbara Stinson says:

I am one of those of “older” readers, and very aware that a fully unlocked phone is necessary for this plan to work. I have a fully unlocked phone, purchased the Roam Sim card, signed up for the snowbird plan and activated my account. Sounds good right? It was good for two and a half weeks into my 3 month vacation in Florida. Then all of a sudden it didn’t work. Lots of accusations on Roam’s part that my phone was not fully unlocked … it was and is! No acceptance on Roam’s part that the sim card could be faulty even though other sim cards work in my UNLOCKED phone. Every email communication (in excess of 20 communication attempts) with Roam ends in a suggestion to contact them at a phone number. I have no phone number now! So am I out over $100 for this plan? Buyer beware when it comes to Roam (Bell) Mobility.

RH.Campbell says:

Accusations and excuses they are very good at. Providing quality of service, not at all

It constantly amazes me how they can continue to survive when time after time they treat their customers dishonestly, and cheat them out of what the client has paid for in good faith. This company doesn’t respond to consumer complaints, doesn’t respond even to formal BBB complaints, and won’t issue refunds when they are clearly warranted. Buyer beware !!! Don’t waste your money;’ go with free Fongo and a WiFi connection for making calls.