Facts vs FUD: Roam Mobility vs Rogers

Peter Nowak was previously mentioned on these forums as one of my heroes of mobile tech. Yesterday he tweeted this:

Unless I’m mistaken, the “heat” he refers to is coming from Roam Mobility and, to a lesser extent, KnowRoaming. And unless I missed it, Peter didn’t pursue the story any further, so I thought I’d step in.

So Much FUD

The link in Peter’s tweet directed me to the Rogers RedBoard, the official blog of Rogers Communications — specifically a post from June 17th, 2013 entitled:

U.S. roaming: What you need to know to make an informed choice

… wherein Rogers makes the case for its own exorbitant roaming fees over a prepaid SIM card.

Rogers Prepaid SIM
Device Keep your existing handset Pay to unlock your handset or purchase a second device for your trip
Phone number Maintain your existing phone number and address book – keeping communication easy Switch to a local number – which friends and families may not recognize when you call or text.
Coverage Extensive coverage thanks to 22 direct roaming relationships. Access to a single operator’s network.
Speeds Access to 3G/4G data speeds on partner networks. Customers may be limited to 2G data speeds only.
Billing Keep tabs on your spending with one single bill that includes all your wireless services and roaming. Track spending on prepaid SIM cards in addition to your bill for your services at home.

Ted Rogers

That sound you hear is just maniacal laughter from the ghost of Ted Rogers, is all… Anyway, here’s my own version of that same table:

Rogers Prepaid SIM
Device Keep your existing handset. Keep your existing unlocked handset.
Phone number Those you communicate with abroad may incur additional charges by having to call or text your Canadian number. Use a local number — and if that’s an issue use email or IM instead.
Coverage Access to a single operator’s network (at a time). Access to a single operator’s network.
Speeds Customers may be limited to 2G data speeds. Customers may be limited to 2G data speeds.
Billing The sky’s the limit! You won’t know the damage until you get your next bill. Control your spending by pre-paying a set amount, which is kind of the whole point of prepaid, right?


The Numbers

I myself am particularly interested in the subject of U.S. Roaming as my girlfriend and I will be visiting New York City next month. In fact, I’ve already purchased a pair of Roam Mobility SIMs and set an activation date for them. We really don’t care about talking or text; we just want data, as much as we can get.

Fortunately for us, Roam Mobility’s current promotion offers a data bucket three times the usual allotment — a hefty 900MB each for three days. As an added bonus our plans include:

  • Unlimited talk
  • International SMS
  • Free long distance calls back home.

Cost per person per day of service: $3.95 CAD

Meanwhile, over at Rogers, the following “travel packs” are offered for the USA:

  • $7.99/day for 50MB of data
  • $40/month for 200MB (less than 7MB/day)
  • $80/month for 500MB (less than 17MB/day)

If and when that Roam Mobility promotion expires they’ll still be offering twice as much data as Rogers for less than half the price. On paper at least, Roam Mobility is the clear winner here.