Cell Phone Plan Tips for Canadian Snowbirds

Updated: Jul 15

By Carlo Lapuz, Marketing Specialist, January 26, 2022



Hello Canadian snowbirds, some of you may be travelling to the States for warmer weather and sunshine or to visit beloved friends and family. Whatever the case may be, we understand travelling comes with enough stress and your cell phone does not need to be one of them. There is nothing more frustrating than purchasing a travel SIM card and realizing your phone doesn’t work. To help spare you some headache and a ton of frustration, we will share some practical cell phone tips to help prepare you for your trip.




Check Your Carriers Coverage


Before purchasing a phone plan, it is important to make sure that a carrier has sufficient coverage to help prevent spotty reception. Most carriers provide a coverage map on their website to help you see how strong the coverage is at certain locations. A coverage map will provide the band or frequency available in certain areas. This is important because cell phones rely on radio frequencies to send and receive information. Ideally, you will want to make sure your carrier has at least 2 available frequencies that your phone can support for optimal service. However, not all phones and carriers are designed the same and they each have different specifications so make sure they match.

To find your phone’s specifications, you can do a google search if you know the model or try this handy website called imei.info which determines your phone’s bandwidths based on the IMEI number.

If you’re using our Jethro SC490, it can support the following bandwidths:

4G: 4G Volte, 2,4,5,7,12,13,17,66

3G: WCDMA 850/1900/2100Mhz

2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900Mhz


Click here to check the coverage in your area with Jethro Mobile. Simply type in a city, state or zip code and drop a pin near your location.


Jethro Mobile runs off the T-Mobile network. You can find a list of their band and frequencies here and see if it matches with your phone’s specifications.


I Crossed the Border and Still Have No Service


If you are traveling by land to the US, it is quite common to see “no service” or “no signal” displayed on your screen upon entry. Depending on where you are coming from, you may have to drive a little further into the States until the phone registers a tower. If you still cannot establish a connection, try turning the phone off and on again to restart the device.


Make Sure Your Device is Compatible with Your Carrier

As previously mentioned, you will also want to make sure that your phone matches the carrier’s frequency. These two things go hand in hand. Without being too technical, network providers operate different technology and frequencies. Similarly, most cell phones are designed to work with specific frequencies.


Another reason to check device compatibility is because some carriers may restrict certain phones from their network. Your phone could match their frequency but if the phone is restricted, your service may be limited.

Our services operate under the T-Mobile network and will work with most 4G/5G unlocked devices. Most service providers will include a device compatibility check on their website (if not then contact their support team to find out). To do this, you will need your phone’s IMEI. An IMEI is a unique ID assigned to your phone.


To get your phone’s IMEI, dial *#06# on your phone.


Click here to check your device’s compatibility with Jethro Mobile. If your phone is not compatible with Jethro Mobile, you will need to use another phone or choose another network provider.



Make Sure Your Device is Unlocked

Some carriers may place a “lock” on their phones to restrict service only to their network. This ensures that you do not switch services until your phone is fully paid off. If you want to use other providers with your phone it must be unlocked.


There are a couple of ways to check if your device is unlocked:


1. You can contact your original service provider, and they will be able to tell you if the phone is locked and remove it. There may be some additional fees to get it unlocked especially if you are still in contract.


2. If you purchased the phone directly from a manufacturer, chances are it is already unlocked. To be certain, contact the manufacturer or the place the phone was purchased from.

If your phone is locked, consider getting another unlocked phone. If you’re looking for a basic device during your travels, our Jethro SC490 phone is GSM unlocked and is compatible with most carriers. To find out more information about our phone click here.



Activating Your Jethro SIM Card

We try to make the activation as straightforward and easy as possible. You do not need the SIM card inserted in the phone to activate it. You can insert the SIM card into the phone once you are ready to use the service.


There are two ways to activate your SIM card:


1. Register or Log-in to your account at www.jethromobile.com. Click on “Activate” at the top right corner and follow the prompts.

2. Call our customer service at 1-888-509-6199 between 9am-5pm Pacific Standard Time 7 days a week.


To activate the SIM card, you will need the following information:


1. The ICCID or SIM card number which starts with “890..”

2. A name for the account

3. An email address to send you your US phone number

4. A US address where the service will be used


To get a local area code, you must provide a US address. This can be the address to a hotel you are staying at or the place you are visiting.


During activation, you will have the option to start the service immediately or pre-schedule for a future date and time (EST). However, please note the service will only work after you have crossed over the border.


Whether you activate immediately or pre-schedule, you will receive an email confirmation with your local US phone number after 5 minutes.



Extending or Renewing the Plan


If you decide to stay in the States a little longer than expected, our renewal process is simple and easy. You can renew your current plan or change it. We understand flexibility is key when you are traveling so, we try to provide you with many options. Here is a list of our Jethro Mobile Prepaid Travel US Plans.


To change or renew your plan simply log in to your Jethro Mobile account and choose renew/change plan. Then pick the best plan for your needs. If you need more data, choose “Buy add-on.”


If you need assistance with renewal, call our customer support at 1.888.509.6199 and one of our representatives will be happy to assist you. We are available 7 days a week between 9am to 5pm Pacific Standard Time.


If Your Trip Gets Cancelled


We understand that things don’t always go as planned and you may need to cancel your trip. If you haven’t activated the service yet, that’s great. You can hold on to the SIM card until the expiration date on the white card that came with the package.


However, if you have activated the plan, please give us a call and we can suspend the line up to 80 days until you are ready to travel.



Set Up Your APN Settings to Enable Data


APN or Access Point Name is the entryway for your device to connect to the internet via your carrier. Each network provider has a different APN setting and can be obtained by calling them. For newer phone versions the APN will set up automatically. However, if your phone is an older model, you will need to enter the APN settings manually. This is an important step if you want to enable MMS (multimedia messaging services) or use data during your vacation. Also, you will want to make sure that you have data included with your cell phone travel plan.


If you are not sure how to set up the APN on your phone, we have created a tutorial to help you.


For the Jethro SC490 and Jethro mobile APN settings watch our video “How to Navigate the APN Settings on Your Jethro Device.”


APN for Your Android Phone

For APN Setting on your Android phones, please watch this video

Step 1: Go to Settings

Step 2: Select ‘Connections’

Step 3: Select ‘Mobile Networks’

Step 4: Select ‘Access Point Names’

Step 5: Select ‘Add’

Step 6: Select ‘Name’ and Type ‘Jethro’

Step 7: Select ‘APN’ and type “wholesale”

Step 8: Select ‘MMSC’ and type “http://wholesale.mmsmvno.com/mms/wapenc

Step 9: Open the Upper Right Menu and select ‘Save’

Step 10: Select ‘Jethro’ and restart the phone


APN for Your iPhone


For a video on how to set up your APN setting on your iPhone, go to this link

Step 1: Open Settings

Step 2: Select ‘Cellular’

Step 3: Select ‘Cellular Plan’

Step 4: Select ‘Cellular Data Network’ under carrier

Step 5: Under ‘Cellular Data’ in APN→ type “Jethro”

Step 6: In APN under ‘LTE Setup’→ type “wholesale”

Step 7: In APN under ‘MMS’→ type “wholesale”

Step 8: In ‘MMSC’ under ‘MMS’→ type “http://wholesale.mmsmvno.com/mms/wapenc


Now that your APN setting is all set-up, enjoy sending MMS and all the wonderful things you can do with data.


3G-4G Canada vs US


In North America, you may have heard the term “3G Sunset” buzzing around. Basically, this means that most carriers if not all carriers in Canada and the US are phasing out 3G networks. If you own a phone that only supports 3G, consider upgrading to a 4G LTE device to get the best quality services. While both the US and Canada are planning to eliminate 3G networks completely, they have different timelines for doing so. In the US, 3G is expected to be phased out by early 2022 while in Canada, 3G will be completely phased out around 2025. Therefore, it is important to make sure that your Canadian phone is at least a 4G LTE and not 3G for optimal mobile service in the US.


Happy Travels!


That is all of our cell phone travel plan tips. Now you are ready to travel to the States hassle free. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and we hope you have found it useful. For more articles and tutorials about our phone, feel free to browse our blog at www.jethroshop.com/blog. If you have any questions, our customer support is available 7 days a week.



Call us- 1.888.509.6199

Email us- info@jethromobile.com

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