Updated 2 weeks ago

In Canada, every province has its own rules and services regarding telecommunications. There is no national service. Several providers offer services like landlines, international calls, internet, mobile phone, and satellite television. There is a lot of competition between the various service providers of the country. Note that Canada offers a VoIP phone service.

There are differences in prices between local calls, whose range may vary according to the place where you live; the long-distance calls in Canada and in the USA; and international calls. If you travel, even in the same province, your calls could become more expensive. Check the coverage with your service provider.

Landline in Canada

For a basic landline phone service, you will have to pay between 10 and 45 CAD. This will allow you to give unlimited calls to Canada and the USA. There are also unlimited packages. However, you will probably have to pay additional fees for the set-up.

You may also be required to pay a security deposit when you request the installation. The amount of the deposit will be calculated according to the amount of your phone expenses. After twelve months of services, the deposit will be returned to you with the appropriate interest rate.

Some service providers have sales centres that can help speed up the installation of the landline. It should happen within three days and should cost between 20 and 120 CAD according to the place where you live. Note that your service provider will not provide you with a phone to use. You must buy it or rent it.

The monthly bill for the provided services includes all the services you subscribed to, for example, call number display, call waiting, answering machines and adding your phone number on the ex-directory. Some of these services may be included in the basic price. Note that the service providers may ask you to sign a long-term contract to be able to subscribe to these offers.

Using your mobile phone

In order to work in Canada, a phone from abroad must be tri-band, which is the case for most of the current phones. If you come from outside North America, you should double-check the frequency of your phone and the network used by your service provider in Canada.

You must also be sure your phone is unblocked in order to install the new SIM card you will receive. It is then recommended having your phone unblocked before your arrival in Canada because it will be complicated to find stores that can do it there. Once your phone is unblocked, you can buy a new SIM card and load credits.

Making calls in Canada

In order to stay in touch with your family or your friends, you can use prepaid phone cards. These cards will allow you to save a lot of money because international calls from a mobile phone or a landline phone can be quite expensive. You can buy cards in supermarkets and convenience stores (called "dépanneurs" in Quebec) in most of the big Canadian cities.

You can use them with any phone, at work, at home, in a mobile phone or in a phone booth. If you use a free access phone number, you can also call from a friend's house or from work without seeing the call charged on their bill.

Choosing a mobile package

Before choosing your service provider, you should have a look at the various offers. Le package you choose will depend on how you use your phone: if you use the Internet a lot, if you send a lot of text messages, if you call a lot, etc.

Take some time to have a look at the services offered in each package and at the offers that seem interesting: in Canada, some services like call waiting, call forwarding, call number display and answering machine may not be included in the price.

According to your service provider, you can choose a fixed-term package or not. If you decide to cancel the service before the end, you may need to pay fees equal to one month of your subscription times the number of months left before the official end.

In general, contracts in Canada are on a two-year or three-year basis. If you think you may move during this period, it may be wiser to choose a service provider that you can find in every province because this will allow you to keep your subscription.

 Useful links:

Bell Canada
Rogers
Telus
Virgin Mobile
Videotron

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