Canada: iPhone 4 for a student

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by flynz4, Jul 26, 2010.

  1. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #1
    I've read most of the Canada thread, but I am still confused. Here is our situation:

    My daughter is starting a graduate program at UBC in Vancouver starting late August. We would like to get her an iPhone 4. We do not know for sure which carrier to go with yet. We know that most (all?) carriers have a 3 year contract, and her graduate program is only 2 years. I also heard that the ETF's are quite expensive. Also... she does have an iPad 3G if that factors in (I read about a Bell offer to share minutes).

    I just learned that Apple will be offering unlocked iPhone 4's in Canada. This leads to a series of questions.

    1 - Will all Canada Apple Store iPhones be unlocked?
    2 - If I get her one from Apple, can she switch between Canadian carriers at will without a contract?
    3 - She would like a phone as soon as she moves up to Vancouver. Can I order one on 7/30 and have it delivered to the US?
    4 - If not... could we have it delivered to the address of a family friend living close to Vancouver?
    5 - She will be living in the U.S. about 3+ months/year during school breaks. Can an unlocked phone accept a U.S. SIM card and switch to ATT during her trips home?

    Thanks in advance.

    /Jim
     
  2. jsh macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    #2
    1 - Will all Canada Apple Store iPhones be unlocked?

    Most likely, yes. We will know for sure Friday. It's possible that it's only online orders.

    2 - If I get her one from Apple, can she switch between Canadian carriers at will without a contract?

    Yup.

    3 - She would like a phone as soon as she moves up to Vancouver. Can I order one on 7/30 and have it delivered to the US?

    Nope, Canada only.

    4 - If not... could we have it delivered to the address of a family friend living close to Vancouver?

    Yup.

    5 - She will be living in the U.S. about 3+ months/year during school breaks. Can an unlocked phone accept a U.S. SIM card and switch to ATT during her trips home?

    Yes, that's the point of having an unlocked phone. :)
     
  3. draz macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    #3
    1. Yes all of them
    2. Provided she is not under contract with that carrier yes
    3. No it ships to Canadian address only. What you do with it is up to you
    4. Of course =)
    5. Yes it can!
     
  4. singhjeet29 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    #4
    Seeing as the questions have been answered already, I thought I'd just add some 'advice'. Even though her graduate program is 2 years, not to worry you can change the area code for your number at any time by just calling the carrier and telling them you're moving. And if she is going to be in the US for 3+ months a year I would recommend that she/you get an unlocked phone from Apple and then go with whichever carrier is able to give you the best deal.

    I don't know about other carriers, but I know Rogers has student packages, and knowing the nature of the Canadian cell providers, they likely all have the exact same student deals.

    gL
     
  5. canadianipad macrumors regular

    canadianipad

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    #5
    I think you're getting some incorrect information here. According to your profile you live in Portland. If you live in the U.S. you can't order the iPhone 4 from the Canadian Online Store no matter where you want to ship it.
    You'll have to have a Canadian credit card and Canadian address.
    It's the same policy in the U.S. and other countries. As a Canadian, I can not order an iPhone 4 from the U.S. and have it sent to someone in the U.S.
     
  6. g35 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2007
    #6
    I'm not sure if you're aware of this but just in case: if you buy at full price from Apple, that's the only way to get it factory unlocked. If you walk into an Apple store and get it subsidized by any of the carriers, it will be locked.

    At least that's how it works with the 8GB 3GS.

    And of course if you get it from any of the carriers bypassing the Apple store altogether it will again be locked.

    Just cause some people have had it confused before.
     
  7. flynz4 thread starter macrumors 68040

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    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #7
    Regarding bold section above.

    She will be getting a Canadian address, but I do not think she will be getting a Canadian credit card. Is there any way for a US student living in Canada to order one online from Apple without a Canadian credit card?

    If we pick one up at the Apple store in Vancouver:

    1) Can we pay with a US credit card?
    2) Can we get it unlocked?
    3) Any speculation on availability by the end of August?

    /Jim
     
  8. canadianipad macrumors regular

    canadianipad

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    #8
    Yes - have the credit card company add the Canadian address. I know of several Canadians who have holiday homes in the U.S. that have both addresses on their credit cards - thus allowing them to order from American sites and have items shipped to American address.

    If you go to the store, yes, you can pay with your American crdit card.
    Yes, you should be able to get the unlocked vesion.
    Tough to say on stock by the end of August. Just look at the American wait. It's 3 weeks. So who knows.
     
  9. flynz4 thread starter macrumors 68040

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    Portland, OR
    #9
    I am adding the Canada+US plan to our existing AT&T family plan. That will allow all of us (including her) to use reasonably priced "Voice ONLY" on either side of the border. The big issues comes with data usage. Provided that she keeps the "Data Roaming" feature turned off, then she can can probably use her existing AT&T iPhone 3G until she is able to get a Canadian iPhone 4. The big problem will arise if she forgets to turn off data roaming at the border... or if she gets a lot of text messages (billed at International rates). The quicker we get her onto a Canadian plan... the less likely that I get "cell phone bill shock".

    Do you have any idea how expensive the unlocked iPhone will cost? I am assuming about $700 for the 16GB.

    I'll be looking for the reports on Friday!

    /Jim
     
  10. DeusInvictus7 macrumors 68020

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    Location:
    Kitchener, Ontario
    #10
    Just be careful when picking out a plan, since some of the "better" ones are only available on a 3-year contract. Usually if you build your own plan it will end up being about 5 or so dollars more a month, but you can keep it monthly instead of a term.
     
  11. flynz4 thread starter macrumors 68040

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    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #11
    Thanks for the tip. We will look at the various plans once we get up there at the end of August.

    I did call my rep at AT&T today, and she confirmed that if my daughter comes south with the Canadian unlocked iPhone 4, that she will be able to put in an ATT SIM card, and use it here. I'll probably just keep her on my ATT family plan at $10/month and drop her down to the $15/mo data plan. Then she can switch SIM cards each time she crosses the border.

    The only thing they said might get screwed up when she switches SIM cards is the voicemail. I guess we will cross that bridge when we get to it.

    Sometimes I think I should just stick to my original plan and get her a cheap 10key phone... and let her use her iPad for data. I guess I am too much of a softee.

    /Jim
     
  12. flynz4 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #12
    I'd like to thank everyone so far with the help. Now that the iPhone is available in Canada, any further advise for me buying one for my daughter? As a recap... she will be starting a 2 year graduate program at the end of this month at UBC in Vancouver.

    I see that if I get a Bell (or maybe Rogers) locked phone... it is only $179. I think the unlocked ones are in the $650 range if I remember correctly. How much would it cost for her to break her contract and pay the ETF in 2 years... assuming she is really done by then? With possible co-op programs... she might stretch out the masters program to 3 years anyway.

    One last question for now. She currently has a US iPhone on my family plan. She has a lot of paid apps. Will she be able to connect her Canadian iPhone to her US iTunes store account? She does not want to have to re-purchase apps.

    /Jim
     
  13. stuffradio macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    #13
    It's $159 at Rogers, not sure if Bell is 179 instead. Unlocked I think you are correct... it's over $600 anyways.

    At Rogers the ETF is $20/month up to $400 and then there is another fee per month for breaking your Data contract.

    You can use your US iTunes just by signing into it... that way you won't have to re-purchase everything.
     
  14. flynz4 thread starter macrumors 68040

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    #14
    Perfect... we were really hoping the US iTunes store would work out. I am still not sure if I will get her an unlocked phone or not. One small advantage, is that she could change SIM cards at the border and use it on my family plan here in the states. However, since she already owns a 3GS iPhone as part of my family plan... she could just switch phones without messing with SIM.

    I'll take a look at the various plans when we get up there at the end of the month. Hopefully, there will be good availability by then.

    /Jim
     
  15. flynz4 thread starter macrumors 68040

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    Portland, OR
    #15
    Now that we are into the "availability window" of the iPhone 4 in Canada, does anyone have an estimate of what availability will be like at the end of the August?

    I am now torn between getting an unlocked or subsidized phone. The price difference seems pretty substantial. Her masters program is 2 years, but she will likely extend to 2.5 years or longer. It might be cheaper to just pay an ETF as it seems that the fee is pretty close to the extra cost of the unlocked phone.

    She will be spending about 4 months a year in the US. I suspect the best option is probably to just keep her on our family plan with her existing iPhone 3G and she can switch phones at the border. The family plan is just $10/mo for the line, plus $15 for the cheapest data plan (200 MB) plus tax. She is already on a contract until Dec '10. Do you think she could add a reasonable US roaming plan for $25/month to a Canadian plan?

    Finally... I have been looking at the UBC student plans (offered by UBC bookstore via Bell) and I do not see any iPhone plans. Just straight phones or BlackBerry. Does anyone have good info on student plans?

    Thanks again in advance.

    /Jim
     
  16. silverblack macrumors 68030

    silverblack

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    #16
    How much does she even care about having the iPhone 4? If not, did you consider unlocking her 3GS and have she use that for a few months until she settles in. Since she has an iPad, it's probably ok for a while.

    If you are getting the iPhone 4, a few more things to keep in mind:

    1. Both ECF and DECF applies for the iPhone.
    ECF: The greater of $100 or $20 per month remaining in the service agreement term, to a maximum of $400 (plus applicable taxes).
    DECF: The greater of $25 or $5 per month remaining in the data term, to a maximum of $100 (plus applicable taxes)
    Total Cost: Maximum $500 (plus applicable taxes).

    2. The $30/6gb data plan (best value) requires a 3 yr contract even if you paid for an unlocked phone. (no contract for voice plan)

    3. Roaming voice and data plans are separate. You'll need to buy both. They are outrageously expensive, and very limited minutes and MB available. Not worth it. Probably get her a go phone plan, and use only her iPad for data.

    4. You can find more information regarding Canadian carrier on howardforum.
     
  17. flynz4 thread starter macrumors 68040

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    Portland, OR
    #17
    I think my wife wants her to have an iPhone 4 more than my daughter cares. My wife really likes the idea of using FaceTime (we both have iPhone 4s). We know we can use Skype for video calls, but for the most part, that would only work when she is home. Using a laptop for Skype doesn't work too well when she is out and about.

    One thing that we have considered is getting her an iPhone 4 here in the states since I have the US + Canada family plan... which would give us "essentially unlimited" minutes, but that plan does not apply to international data. I could have her shut "data roaming" off when going into Canada... so she could still use FT (which is WiFi only). The bigger problem is international texting... which would cost us a fortune. I do not know of an international text message plan for US. I do not know if it is possible to shut off text messages when leaving the US. If that existed... then this might be a good option. Of course... if she left her "data roaming" on by mistake... I would end up with a larger bill than her tuition... which would not make me a happy dad. She does have an iPad 3G, so she could use that for email etc when away from WiFi... but still, the text messaging might kill us. One other potential problem... if we went with a US plan, AT&T might cancel her because of excessive time out of her home area.

    /Jim
     
  18. wineandcarbs macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 2, 2008
    #18
    Since she'll be in Canada longer than in the US (8 months of the year), would you consider her getting a Canadian plan? Rogers has data plans now that include both Canada and US data. I'm not sure if the other carriers here do too, but I'm guessing they do. It would mean that whether she's in the US for the summer or here in Canada for school she can use data without worries about roaming charges. She won't be able to use the phone as a phone when she's in the US though since she'll be roaming for voice... but maybe she could get a prepaid US SIM for the summer if her iPhone is unlocked.

    If she does get a Canadian plan and have data on, she can text people in the US by emailing them using the carrier's email-to-SMS address. For example, to text someone with T-Mobile you can email them at PhoneNumber@tmomail.net and they receive it as a text and can reply as a text. That's what I do to message people in the US since my plan only includes texting to Canadian numbers. However, this won't work if she is using an American plan and turning off data since it requires emailing.
     
  19. Komiksulo macrumors 6502

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    Location:
    Ontario
    #19
    Be aware that texting doesn't work over WiFi. I'm an an area with spotty GSM coverage but plenty of home internet and WiFi... oftentimes I can't send a text unless I go outside to get a decent cellphone signal.
     
  20. silverblack macrumors 68030

    silverblack

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    Nov 27, 2007
    #20
    Textplus is a free app that would solve your problem for international and wifi texting. However it really doesn't make sense for her to keep a US number living in Canada for 2 years plus. She'll makes friends in Vancouver and they won't be keen calling her LD all the time.

    Finally are you sure that her graduate program runs only 8 months a year. Is it a course-based degree? Most thesis based degrees run the entire 12 months with at most 2-3 weeks of vacation.
     
  21. wineandcarbs macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    Right - without a good cell phone signal you can't text.

    I agree with silverblack that it doesn't make sense to keep a US number if you're in Canada for that long. Good point about the friends she makes here not wanting to call LD. Also, I didn't think of the fact that she's in a grad program, in which case it could run all year if she opts to take courses all 4 terms (spring/summer/fall/winter).
     
  22. flynz4 thread starter macrumors 68040

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    Portland, OR
    #22
    You are 100% correct... it only makes sense to get her a Canadian plan.

    Which brings me back to my other decision... should I get her an unlocked phone, or one tied to Rogers or Bell? Since she is going to likely be there for close to 3 years... I am leaning toward a subsidized phone. I would keep her existing iPhone 3GS on our family plan for $25/month which is pretty minimal. She could switch phones at the border.

    /Jim
     
  23. flynz4 thread starter macrumors 68040

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    #23
    Thanks for the info. I'll check out textplus. I'll check if it runs in the background on an iPhone 4.

    You are also spot on that as she makes friends... communicating with them will be a lot more important than calling mom and dad... so it only makes sense to get a Canadian plan.

    /Jim
     
  24. silverblack macrumors 68030

    silverblack

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    #24
    Not so much about summer courses (that's more an undergrad thing). If her thesis involves any research, she likely needs to stay in the summer.
     
  25. flynz4 thread starter macrumors 68040

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    Portland, OR
    #25
    In addition, she is planning to do some coop work in her field. That will likely push out how long she lives there... plus she may plan to stay in Canada.

    I am downloading textplus as we speak. Thanks for the tip.

    What is your opinion on an unlocked vs subsidized iPhone? I suppose if I get her an unlocked iPhone, then she can just get a pre-paid SIM for her US visits... and come December (when her contract is up), I can drop her from my AT&T family plan.

    /Jim
     

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