September 9, 2012

By: James Bishop, Manager, Product Marketing, TELUS

When seeking relief from the harsh winter, Canadian snowbirds first have an extensive checklist to go through to make sure their sunny travels run as smoothly as possible: everything from who picks up the mail and checks on the house to coordinating accommodations in their vacation destinations – the list goes on and on.

One thing that jet-setting snowbirds definitely shouldn’t overlook is how they plan to stay connected with their friends and family while enjoying their golden years in the sun. No one wants to miss hearing about a grandson’s first steps or a granddaughter’s dance recital, and they certainly don’t want to rack up unnecessary charges on their mobility bills.

If you’re a snowbird, consider adding a few more items to your to-do list:

  •  Sign up with an established carrier who has a reliable network
  •  Use plans and features that minimize fees and help you keep track of usage
  •  Make sure you bring a reliable device along for the trip, loaded up with all the necessary apps and features

Let’s talk about how to ensure you have the best possible mobile experience while you’re out on vacation.

For the snowbird staying close to home…

If you plan on touring southwestern British Columbia during the winter, or any other warmer Canadian destination, first make sure you’re with a reliable service provider that has the best possible network to keep you connected to the ones who matter most.  A carrier that offers a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network is your safest bet.  

Simply put, LTE is the gold standard of wireless networks. It is ultra-fast and reliable, allowing you to link to the people, places, and things that matter most to you. It’s great for travellers who need access to maps and travel guides, and those who want to stay connected to friends and family via email or Facebook while out touring Canada.  

On TELUS’ 4G LTE Network, customers will experience dramatically faster downloads when surfing the web, reading emails, getting the latest chart topping music, or watching TELUS Optik TV on the go. Downloading a 600 megabyte album of songs with a 4G LTE-capable device will take just 3.5 to 7 minutes and a 1.2GB HD movie from iTunes will take between 7 and 14 minutes. Importantly, if TELUS customers travel outside of 4G LTE network coverage areas, they will move seamlessly from 4G LTE to the existing 4G HSPA network with no disruption of service.

The access your network gives you to data is great because you can then browse the web, view photos of your family on Facebook, and watch your favourite television shows online.  However, to avoid accumulating any additional mobility charges while vacationing in Canada, you should keep an eye on how much data your smartphones and tablets are consuming, as you can go over your allotted monthly limit and receive overage charges.

Setting up a notification tool is important. Whether you’re using a phone, a smartphone, or a mobile internet key, TELUS will send you a text message to your mobile device notifying you that you’re close to your monthly limit. You can then adjust your plan accordingly, so you don’t rack up any unwanted charges. TELUS Smartphone users can also download the new TELUS My Account app to track usage right on their device.

For the snowbird flying a little farther away from home…

If you plan on heading to the United States or Mexico, there are a few more things to do to make sure you’re not stuck without service or that you don’t incur unnecessary mobile charges:

  • Use a Travel Pass:  If you’re travelling to the United States, adding a US travel package to your wireless service in advance of your trip will help you keep your mobility bill in check.  For $40, TELUS can automatically set you up for using your device south of the border – calling minutes, messages or data used in the US will be separated from your monthly bill and will not be deducted from your regular monthly allotment. And another tip – when possible, try connecting your smartphone to a local WiFi network in the hotel, coffee shop or airport for greater savings.
  • Use a travel coverage tracker: Keeping track of international coverage and rates is simple with a tool to help you build a handy itinerary for your entire trip.  You can simply enter your destination country and select your device in the TELUS Travel Coverage Tracker on telusmobility.com and it provides you with coverage and calling rate details for wherever you go.  

The must-have devices for the snowbird’s winter season…

What’s a great network and great service if you don’t have a great device to keep you connected?  Generally speaking, you want to go with something that’s intuitive, functional and fun to use.

If you’re a smartphone user who likes to be on the cutting edge, then the Samsung Galaxy S III may be the device that’s right for you. It’s an intuitive tool that works the way you want it to. The Smart Stay function helps to prevent any unwanted dimming on the phone, keeping the screen active as long as your eyes are on it. A game of Angry Birds will never be interrupted by a few seconds of inactivity again when you’re keeping the driver company on your long haul.

The phone’s revolutionary S Voice feature allows you to interact with it using simple voice commands in English, French, Spanish, German and Korean, allowing for a hands-free experience – something that’s great if you’re a road warrior who needs to stay connected behind the wheel.

For simplicity, elegance, and style, it’s hard to beat the Nokia Lumia 610 running on the Windows Phone operating system. If you are just starting out in the smartphone scene, this device should be high on the shopping list, as it’s very easy to use. While not an LTE device – it runs on TELUS’ vast and reliable HSPA network – its large screen, combined with the easy-to-read graphics make getting your content simple. 

Another great feature of this phone is that it comes pre-loaded with a navigational application that comes with every Nokia smartphone:  Nokia Drive.  With maps for about 90 countries, options for 2D and 3D viewing and a variety of downloadable voices for audible directions, you’ll never have to stop and ask where the highway is ever again.

So what about tablets?

If you’re an RVer who’s wondering if tablets are right for you, make sure you check out the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE. Thinner and lighter than other tablets on the market, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE offers blazing fast speeds and exceptional performance. It features a great deal of multimedia functions, as well as a front-facing camera that allows you to video chat with friends and family, while the rear camera with LED flash is perfect for taking pictures. The tablet is also capable of playing, recording and storing HD video – essential for documenting your life on the road!

And what’s a phone without a little fun?

If you’re ready to hit the road with your smartphone and tablet, you’ll need to load it up with some handy applications to make your life a little easier (and fun).

  • Tripit is a great application that makes organizing your getaway easier.  It gives you all your trip details at your fingertips on your smartphone, calendar, and online.  All you need to do is simply forward your travel confirmation e-mails from anywhere you book to a Tripit address.  Tripit then automatically creates a simple itinerary combining travel plans with maps, driving directions and more – which can easily be shared with others.
  • For the traveling couples who love to belt out tunes while on the road, there’s no need to turn on the old AM/FM radio – Rdio is the way to go!  For $10/month – which can be added directly onto TELUS customers’ mobility bills – Rdio users can play just about any song, album, artist and playlist as many times as you like, interruption free.  The app is available across all major platforms, including iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone. Rdio also enables you to sync music to your phone, so you can still listen to your favourite driving tunes if you lose your mobile signal while taking the scenic back road.

Being armed with the right tools and technology can take your vacation to a whole new level; giving you on-the-spot access to information you need, better connectivity with friends and family, and of course, a bit of fun. With just a little research and planning, your smartphone, mobility rates, and coverage will be the least of your worries when it comes to your next big adventure.

For more information on coverage and traveling with your mobile device, please visit www.telusmobility.com.  One thing is for sure – once you get your plans and devices in order, you’ll have more time to think about which sandals you should be packing in your suitcase!

September 9, 2012

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