cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

US Roaming Add ons : Decommissioning of US 3G (HSPA) Networks

darlicious
Mayor / Maire

US Roaming Add ons: July 2022

 

Edit: January 10th 2023 

Please see updated info on US Roaming and new links later in this thread to complement this post.

 

https://productioncommunity.publicmobile.ca/t5/Get-Support/US-Roaming-Add-ons-Decommissioning-of-US-...

 

Edit:

As reported by many pm customers using pm's US Roaming add ons for the last few months AT&T appears to no longer be a roaming partner with pm. Please only try connecting to T-Mobile. However if you do successfully connect to AT&T please report your findings and location to this thread. Thx! (12/28/22)

 

Public Mobile's roaming partner's AT&T and T-Mobile began the decommissioning of their 3G (HSPA) networks this year (2022) with AT&T starting on February 22nd and T-Mobile on July 1st 2022. This affects the voice services in the US when Public Mobile customers purchase and use 10 Day US Roaming Add ons. Public Mobile posted the following notice on the add ons page at publicmobile.ca/plans earlier this year once AT&T began decommissioning their 3G network.

 

Important: As of February 22nd, 2022, some United States (U.S) carriers will begin turning down certain 3G/HSPA networks in the U.S. As a result, some customers using U.S. roaming add-ons may be impacted by differences in coverage or service quality (including 9-1-1 calls) when roaming in the U.S. This shutdown will not impact your service in Canada.

 

But how does this impact your services when roaming in the US? Public Mobile customers will still connect automatically (with the autoconnect setting in your phone) to AT&T's and T-Mobile's 4G LTE networks to send/recieve SMS/MMS texts and use mobile data (depending on the 10 Day US Roaming add on purchased). However US Roaming talk add ons and/or talk components of US Roaming bundles will be impacted. Until VoLTE is enabled for Public Mobile customers the ability to use their voice services will be dependent on the remaining network connectivity with its roaming partners.

 

AT&T is virtually unusable at this point for voice services with their 3G network decommissioning nearly complete. Going forward US Roaming Talk add ons can only be used by manually choosing T- Mobile. In areas where the 3G network has not been decommissioned customers will still connect to the 3G network for voice services. In areas that no longer have access to the 3G network customers may be able to connect to T-Mobile's 2G (GSM) network. In the coming months connectivity to T-Mobile's 3G network will also disappear until only access to their 2G network will be available.

 

2G networks have been maintained by some mobile network providers as it was the fallback option for voice services before VOLTE was developed for the 4G LTE network and still plays an important role for certain technologies and provides better signal coverage over long distances and building penetration.

 

T-Mobile has not confirmed a date for the decommissioning of their 2G network. Updates will be posted on their website. Your phone will automatically switch to 2G to send or recieve a voice call. You will be unable to text or use mobile data during a voice call.

 

This map shows T-Mobile's 2G network coverage.....

Screenshot_20220712-020939~2.png

**Localized 2G network coverage can be found by using the link at the bottom of this post.

 

The best workaround for these issues would be to download a voip provider like textnow that offers free calling and texting on WiFi and mobile data. Purchase a 10 day US Roaming data add on. You can receive incoming pm SMS texts. You can send and receive MMS texts. You can send SMS texts on text now along with send and receive voice calls. MMS texting works but does count against your roaming data. Calls and outgoing SMS on textnow will only use your mobile data while away from WiFi. A US Roaming data add on will provide you with all of your services on your phone albeit in a slightly round about way.

 

For basic info on 10 Day US Roaming Add ons and how they work read the spoiler below....

 

Spoiler
  1. While you have to have an active plan to purchase and use US roaming add ons the type of plan you have does not affect the roaming add ons features.
  2. US roaming add ons start the moment you confirm and submit your purchase in your self serve account and expire 240 hours later (10 days×24 hours).
  3. You can pre-load the funds needed to purchase the add ons in your self serve account so you only have to log in, select the US roaming add on and then confirm and submit your purchase.
  4. Wait til late as possible to purchase since they are immediately valid so on free wifi at the destination airport or stopping shortly before the border at mcd's or timmy's to buy the add on while on free wifi.
  5. If you are staying longer than 10 days you must wait a minimum of 24 hours to purchase the same US roaming add on or contact the moderators to add it before the waiting period ends.
  6. If you have two US roaming add ons with a talk feature that overlap the talk feature basically gets disabled. This is the issue if you hear 3 beeps and your call disconnects after 1 minute and 53 seconds. Avoid this....but you will have to get one removed by a CSA to get your calling feature back if this happens.
  7. After purchase reboot your phone and manually select either at&t or T-mobile to get better reception. Some areas have better coverage by either provider so when travelling around the US you will be better served by choosing the provider with better signal strength by locale.
  8. You will recieve incoming texts without any US roaming add ons. 
  9. All US roaming add ons have either unlimted text, talk or both. Only data has limits depending on your purchase 250mb/500mb/1gb. Once the data is consumed it will just stop you could then purchase different roaming add on, wait 24 hr to buy or contact customer support to buy the same US roaming add on again. (* except talk as previously mentioned.)

    After purchasing a US Roaming add on and once stateside ensure you enable roaming on your phone, reboot and manually choose either AT&T or T-Mobile as your network provider.

Edit:

Removed info related to the old self serve account layout. And added new link to the 611/IVR map.

 

To visually navigate the 611/IVR system (or 1 855 4PUBLIC and enter your 10 digit phone #) rather than follow the prompts use this map/diagram here .

You will need to enter your 4 digit account pin # for all access beyond basic account info and loading payment vouchers (press 1 and 1 again to load vouchers).

 

Please note:

Public mobile has limited roaming coverage thru its partner AT&T in Alaska. T-Mobile does not work for roaming in Alaska. Better service may be best obtained from Alaskan mobile provider GCI depending on the purpose of your travel.

 

To see 2G network coverage for specific areas use the link below...

 

**https://www.gsma.com/coverage/#466

 

 

To contact customer support : Submit a support ticket via SIMon the chat bot Click here 

Or if you cannot submit a ticket via SIMon then Click here   ....for additional member supplied info.

48 REPLIES 48

darlicious
Mayor / Maire

@DennyCrane 

The 2G network map should be reliable for T-Mobile. Of course you could always source other network maps that could be more up to date. Are you a regular visitor to the US?

DennyCrane
Model Citizen / Citoyen Modèle

Makes me nervous to rely on it then! It was linked further up as a current map, but I agree this doesn't make sense. Can't be current.

 

Im heading to Southern California next weekend and was hoping to be able to rely on voice and text via PM, data via Ubigi.


@DennyCrane wrote:

Screenshot_20221031-205725.png

The thing I'm not clear on is that if AT&T has pretty much completed their 3G shut down, why is there so much coverage showing on this map still? This is as of now. 


That must be an old map because that network no longer exists.

DennyCrane
Model Citizen / Citoyen Modèle

Screenshot_20221031-205725.png

The thing I'm not clear on is that if AT&T has pretty much completed their 3G shut down, why is there so much coverage showing on this map still? This is as of now. 

treefrog
Town Hero / Héro de la Ville

@darlicious 

Great post! The map link is very handy to have. Who knew the 2G network coverage is as extensive as it is? Thanks 

@MaraDeb- They could be in secret of course. But I doubt it.

The company should be providing much more detail to those unsuspecting customers that don't do research beforehand (entirely understandable) to learn the workarounds and methods to use the add-ons. So ya wanna buy roaming add-ons eh...well here's what you need to do to make the best possible use of them. Like right at the moment a roaming add-on is selected into the cart. Of course people still have to read as we know people don't. But at least it would be there.

MaraDeb
Good Citizen / Bon Citoyen

Why do I feel like half the people on this thread are employees of Public Mobile? Or hired by them to gas light customers...

MaraDeb
Good Citizen / Bon Citoyen

Exactly - why offer the service if it likely will not work? I would have purchased a T-Mobile SIM card as I have for longer trips had I known.

And I don't think it should be up to the customer to have to do a bunch of research to find out if an offered product will work.

DennyCrane
Model Citizen / Citoyen Modèle

This is great. Looks like the area i frequent still has a huge blanket of both 3G and 2G coverage. I use Ubigi for data, but nice to know I can still text and make phone calls with my PM phone number. 

jib_tech
Model Citizen / Citoyen Modèle

@darlicious 

Great info! This will come in handy for my next trip South.

darlicious
Mayor / Maire

@Kristowhy 

US Roaming Data add ons are full speed 4G LTE as offered by their roaming partners. Public Mobile cannot throttle the data speed of another provider regardless of roaming agreements unless the partner chooses to throttle their data speeds. US providers can and do prioritize network access with resellers(MVNO's) but nowadays that would mostly occur with 5G network access over 4G LTE.

hTideGnow
Mayor / Maire

Hi @darlicious   great info .  

 

thanks.

Kristowhy
Model Citizen / Citoyen Modèle

@darlicious wrote:

@Kristowhy 

Public Mobile is the best of the bunch when it comes to prepaid provider US Roaming options in Canada. Fizz has a better price on data at $10/1gb but only offers US Roaming data. Chatr has expensive pay per use options even more if you only have a talk+text plan. Lucky has no US Roaming options. Zoomer and Cityphone have pricey pay per use rates as well.

 

Post paid providers average $12/day capped between $180 and $240/month. Freedom is a reasonable $7/day and Videotron's $10/day capped at $100/month is a bargain in comparison. Top Tier has the option of Canada/US plans w/50gb priced between $105 and $115/month.

 

Public Mobile is the only provider with both AT&T and T-Mobile as roaming partners. Every other Canadian provider has a roaming agreement with AT&T only.


This is an excellent summary of the sad state of telecom in Canada from the big 3 telco mafia.   Sure, PM may be the "best" with multiple roaming partners but presently you cannot use them properly without crazy workarounds.

 

At the end of the day, you either pony up for tier 1 plans, juggle anemic and complicating prepaid options that may or may not work, or get a local US SIM or travel SIM. 

 

Is PM US roaming data guaranteed to work on LTE south of the board, and if so, is it restricted to 3Mbps like it is here in Canada?

darlicious
Mayor / Maire

@Kristowhy 

Public Mobile is the best of the bunch when it comes to prepaid provider US Roaming options in Canada. Fizz has a better price on data at $10/1gb but only offers US Roaming data. Chatr has expensive pay per use options even more if you only have a talk+text plan. Lucky has no US Roaming options. Zoomer and Cityphone have pricey pay per use rates as well.

 

Post paid providers average $12/day capped between $180 and $240/month. Freedom is a reasonable $7/day and Videotron's $10/day capped at $100/month is a bargain in comparison. Top Tier has the option of Canada/US plans w/50gb priced between $105 and $115/month.

 

Public Mobile is the only provider with both AT&T and T-Mobile as roaming partners. Every other Canadian provider has a roaming agreement with AT&T only.

Kristowhy
Model Citizen / Citoyen Modèle

Great write up @darlicious!  

 

Why is PM still selling US roaming capabilities when such a long list of workarounds are required?   The reality is that until PM gets their VoLTE act together, roaming south of the border is a risky and frustration prone experience.  And this applies to Koodo prepaid as well.  Obtaining a travel or local SIM is definitely the least painful avenue for now...IMHO. 

 

Personally, I will not use US roaming with PM or Koodo until this is resolved.  In the past, I successfully used (without any issues) Koodo voice, text and data while in the US.   It's now time for Telus to make good again! 😊🙂  It's clear to me that US roaming was/is a low priority for Telus as the US decommissioning has been known about for quite some time.   

 

Meanwhile, other providers such as Primus (which appear to use Rogers) decided to completely remove US roaming all together as of July 1.  See below:

 

https://wireless.primus.ca/addons#addons-tab-travel

 

Primus removes US roaming capabilitiesPrimus removes US roaming capabilities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yummy
Mayor / Maire

Amazing info. IF only those complaining here for lack of service in US would read it, the rest of us could help others more efficient instead of providing same answers over and over again.

softech
Mayor / Maire

thanks @darlicious   for the useful info.  

 

The Coverage map is especially useful.   Can also lookup coverage for other carriers in other countries as well

 

 

RossN
Mayor / Maire

@darlicious what would we do without you 🤗