How to use the Fairphone in Canada

Looking for some pointers for North American customers, I feel utterly lost! I apologize if these have been answered but I seem to also be lost on navigating the forum, perhaps in my enthusiasm to support this great project ASAP! :stuck_out_tongue: Feel free to point me in the proper direction if necessary.
First off, can register this phone with Canadian cell phone providers, and how straightforward is the process? Would anyone know which companies would be preferable to work with, if any? ATM I don’t have an existing contract, so the world’s my oyster.
Since supply is out at the moment, I checked some of the product distributors, but they all seemed to require signing up for their service/contract. However the companies are based out of Europe, and I need service in Canada, so I haven’t been able to order one. I’m fine with waiting for the January pre-order, but if there’s an option to get it sooner that would be great.
Lastly, I’m imagining I have to place an international order to obtain my phone; anyone have a rough idea of how much I might expect to pay for duties and shipping internationally?
Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for your help!
~ Kim

Search for “Canada” here (in the forum). There do exist a list of preferred providers, because many of them won’t work in 3G for instance, not using the right radio bands. The FP is compatible with all bands used in Europe, but not everywhere else.
My son in Montreal renounced buying a FP because his phone provider would have been compatible only with the phone bands, not the data ones…

Other than that, be aware that the present FP model is almost exhausted (only 1000 remaining when they reopen in January).
After this, the next model will come later in 2015, supposedly in May. I don’t know if there will be delays, what I can state is the previous batch wasn’t late.
This next model, that you won’t be capable to order before May (and that might come later, ordering is not delivering), will be more ambitious, and most certainly will features more worldwide bands. But IMHO it’s more a matter of “then wait 6 months”.

If you can select a contract supplier that does feature the right bands (and proper coverage for your region ;)) then be ready to jump on the January reopening, knowing that IIRC in the last batch the order went by at some 150~300 per day: thus, 1000 will be over in a matter of three days. Be… really ready.

Last: the delivery at FP at this moment (and in january too) is planned only to Europe. They won’t send you one in Canada.
Then you probably will find someone ready to get the parcel somewhere here for you, and resend it to Canada. The parcel itself is quite small (say, a small stack of pocket books); even putting it as is inside a larger cardboard shouldn’t be too costly IMHO.

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Great, thanks a lot for the reply! I think you answered everything, well, that isn’t going to be just a matter of trial and error for me but I think that’s the nature of going off the beaten path a bit!

@Herve5 is right (and I have discussed it with him already before :smile:
Don’t make the same mistake I made. Edge/2G is maddening. Plus there is some kind of radio interference so that if your phone is in the same room as an AM radio or some cheap computer speakers, you will hear loud buzzing whenever you are about to receive a text message and some other times. This does not happen with the 3G frequencies. Anyway don’t get a Fairphone if you plan to use your cellular data plan or you will be very disappointed. The western world is using 4G/LTE, while you won’t even be able to use 3G in North America. In the US I can tell you T-mobile works on 2G. In Canada, Rogers and Fido work (though Fido is terrible in general). If you are going to Newfoundland you will be screwed since Rogers/Fido only works in the capital city and nowhere else.

If you are an iPhone user you will pull out your hair. This thing is buggy as hell.

As for how I got it, I have a good friend in France, so I used her address as the shipping address, then she shipped it to me. Less than $40 if I recall. If you go this route, be sure to indicate that it’s a gift on the customs form, and put a value just below the maximum value allowed for duty-exemption on gifts (I usually put $50 for packages coming to Canada)

Best of luck to you!

Actually if you really want one I can sell you mine (including blue case). How’s that for sustainable :wink:
There are a few tiny scratches on the corners, but the screen is mint.
I’m hoping to get a used iPhone from a family member when they upgrade theirs at xmas, so I will be looking to pass my FP on to a happy new home.
I’m in Canada. Send me a personal message if you’re still interested after hearing about all the issues… the dual sim IS a real plus for travelers!

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Is there any trick to getting it to work in Canada? I’ve tried a card from fido, but it won’t connect to the network. Any help would be really appreciated.
Thank you.

Fairphone can handle the following frequency bands:


  • 2G/GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
  • 3G/WCDMA: 900/2100MHz

Bottom line: You will be able to use your FP in Canada, where fido has cell towers. However, since the FP has 3G only on the 900 and 2100MHz frequencies, only calls, SMS and slow internet (EDGE) will work.

That was fast! Thank you Stefan. Yes, I am only looking for phone and sms service and don’t care about internet and I live in an area covered by their EDGE towers. Is there any reason why the phone won’t pick up service from the sim card? It recognizes the card’s name (fido) but no bars light up. It just keeps searching and timing out. Any ideas?

Two guesses:

  1. Did you try the second SIM-slot?
  2. You might have to disable 3G. To do so, go to Settings > Wireless and networks > more… > mobile networks > 3G service > Activiate 3G and switch it to “off”.

Thank you Stefan. I’ve already tried using the other sim-slot, but I’ll see if 3G is activated. Thank you.

Okay, so the card from Fido didn’t work for some reason. I went to Rogers and it worked immediately, though. So if anyone else in Canada is having this problem, I guess Rogers is the place to go. Thanks for your help.

Nice Article !! Thanks for give me a good information. :neutral_face:

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This page is also a good starting point to find out more: Will my Fairphone 1 /1U work in another country?