Roam Mobility – LTE FTW

Roam Free with LTE

There’s been a fair amount of blowback on these forums in regards to Roam Mobility’s migration to LTE data. If you didn’t know, users have had to pay a $1.95 upgrade fee per SIM for LTE access in the U.S.A. And as far as I know, that upgrade is mandatory. Perhaps more contentiously, access to LTE requires that a new phone number be assigned to your Roam Mobility SIM.

What no one seems to be talking about, however, is the new service itself. I think it’s pretty great.

Roam Mobility Speed Test

During a short hop from YYZ to JFK en route to Australia I put a pair of Roam SIMs into a pair of Nexuses for the girlfriend and myself, and did this speed test as soon as we touched down. It might not be as fast as LTE on our Big Three carriers, but I’d bet anyone on WIND Mobile would be thrilled with an upload number like this.

Speeds were similarly fast at LAX later that evening, and then again in both LAX and JFK ten days later on the way home. Setting up the SIMs required only two additional steps than before, and unlike before both SIMs were up and running on the very first try:

  1. Enter “roam” as a new Access Point Name (APN)
  2. Enter “310” as the Mobile Country Code (MCC)
  3. Enter “260” as the Mobile Network Code (MNC)
  4. Reboot and enjoy!

If you couldn’t tell from those MCC and MNC codes, you’ll be roaming on T-Mobile—same as before.

My experience with Roam was orders of magnitude better than last April, where service was cheap but data speeds weren’t great. Being able to call home and put my fretting mother at ease was an added bonus. Granted, the phone number change isn’t an issue for me. Travellers to the U.S. who require a permanent number there might be better served by either a prepaid T-Mobile SIM, Google Voice or a proper SIP line. But before you go for that T-Mobile $3/day SIM, consider that Roam currently gives you more data, albeit at a slightly higher price.

The other issue with Roam is the expiry of their SIM card—and the phone number associated with it—if you don’t use it at least once every 365 days. I actually think that’s fair. But the cost of a replacement SIM? Not so much. At $19.95, they’re just too pricey; $10 would be a lot more reasonable.

I’m not sure when I’ll find myself south of the border again, but when I do I’ll most likely use Roam Mobility. Depending on how long you plan to stay it might end up being more expensive than WIND’s ridiculously-cheap U.S. roaming add-on, but for those not on WIND the improved data speeds makes Roam an even better value than before.