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Phones in Canada


Do you need a land line or a mobile phone? Or Internet connection? Expat.com gives you an insight of the Canadian telecommunications network in this article.

Each of Canada's provinces has its own telecommunications network. Several service providers offer communication services such as fixed phone lines, international calls, internet, as well as mobile telephony and cable TV. Bell is still the main service provider although it no longer holds the market monopoly.

To make local or long distance calls, you must first choose a service provider. There is strong competition going on among the different service providers in the country. Note that Canada has also introduced the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service.

Choosing a service provider in Canada

Basic local land lines generally cost between CA$ 30 and CA$ 45. You will be entitled to unlimited local calls within the area. Note that you may have to pay a security deposit when you apply. The price of the amount paid will be given according to the amount you spend on telephone services. This money is returned to you with an interest rate in effect after twelve months.

You can go for one of the prepaid phone cards available in Canada for unlimited local calls. Prices vary and some may even allow you to make significant savings. You will find these cards in most supermarkets and shops in major cities.

How to subscribe for a land line?

Some service providers allow you to save money by offering preferential rates in your area. You should check with the various service providers before making your choice. You can call the customer service of your supplier to order the desired service.

Some of the service providers have outlets that can speed up your connection request. The installation should be made within three days and can cost between CA$ 20 and CA$ 120 depending on where you live. However, the telephone is not provided. You will need to purchase it from an electronics shop.

Monthly billing for the service you request include the caller ID, call waiting, the answering machine and the red list if you have ordered it. Some of these services may be included in a single offer. Note that phone companies should not ask you to sign a long term contract to subscribe to these offers.

Using your cell phone in Canada

Canada has two types of mobile phone systems, namely CDMA and GSM operating in the range of 800, 850 and 1900 MHz frequency. The mobile phone that you brought with you may not fit the Canadian network. For example, if you come from Europe you need to check your mobile phone's frequency to know if it will fit in any GSM service provider. If not, you will not be able to use it to make phone calls.

You should also make sure that your mobile phone is unlocked to be able to get a new SIM card. You will have to unlock your cell phone before you arrive in Canada as it will be difficult to find such shops. 

Making phone calls in Canada

To stay in touch with family and friends abroad, it is better to use prepaid phone cards. This will allow you to make savings in terms of mobile phone bills for international calls which can be quite expensive. Prepaid phone cards can also offer a range of benefits on your international calls such as price saving you up to 90% on the cost of a normal call.

You can use them on any phone, whether at work, at home, on a mobile phone, or even in a telephone booth. If you use a free access number you can also call from a friend's place or from work without the call being billed to the address from where you called.

Choosing a package

Before you choose your service provider, ask about their offers and services to determine which type of package suits your needs. Decide if you will need additional services such as call waiting, call forwarding, caller ID, as some service providers may offer these services as an extra.

If you prefer a subscription, your phone bill will include some taxes and options. Note that if you decide to cancel the contract before the due date, you may be asked to pay heavy penalties equal to the monthly price of your package added to the number of months remaining. This may also lead you to pay a fine ranging from CA$ 100 to CA$ 500. Contracts generally last for a period of two to three years in Canada. You can also go for a second billing at no extra cost which will be beneficial if you make calls less than one minute.

 Useful links:

Bell Canada www.bell.ca
Rogers www.rogers.com
Telus telus.com
Virgin Mobile www.virginmobile.ca
Shaw Communications www.shaw.ca
Cogeco www.cogeco.ca
Videotron www.videotron.com
Manitoba Telecomm Services MTS www.mts.ca
SaskTel www.sasktel.com

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
expat.com Your favourite team
Member since 01 June 2008
Small earth, Mauritius
1 Comment
4 years ago

It is a great guide for anyone looking for a phone provider. I wished I did my research before buying my phone. Now, I\'m tied with my contract. Fortunately, the 3-year contract is down to 2 years http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2013/06/03/business-crtc-wireless.html. The new policy will take effect for contracts sign after December 2, 2013. And another thing is to make sure you have all the features you need in the package you sign up for; otherwise, you\'ll spend more for a feature like call display which is already included in some of the providers.


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