Cell Phones US/Canada

I will be traveling in the US and Canada for several months this year.

Will I be able to buy a pay-as-you-go (no contract) cellphone easily and cheaply in Canada? Will it work in the US also? Also vice-versa, if I buy one in the US wil it work in the US.

About how much would it cost?

Would calls be charged differently in the US and Canada (in Europe you are really stung if you use a cellphone in a country other than its base.)

Also, what about just buying a local SIM- I have a tri-band cell phone.

Where abouts in Canada will you be?

The major carriers are:

Rogers Wireless
Bell Canada (Bell Mobility)
Virgin Mobile (Won’t work in the US, only Canada)
Telus Mobility

There are some regional players in other areas (SaskTel, I think in Saskatchewan for example).

The best rates for pay as you go are from Virgin, however their phones aren’t subsidized so they can be expensive (they have a $50 model though I think), and their service won’t work in the US (they don’t a have a US roaming partner yet).

The other providers have great deals on handsets, but usually only for contract terms (1-3 years).

You could always look into renting one for your stay. (see here, and here). Google for other rental places.

Ottawa and Toronto. I have a tri-band unlocked phone, so a local SIM card seems the best idea.