Author Topic: Cheap Canadian cell phone plan?  (Read 6470 times)

sweatypillow

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Cheap Canadian cell phone plan?
« on: July 23, 2014, 04:29:03 PM »
Hello, I will be moving to Canada from the United States in late-August for college. Anyone know of any cheap data plans?

Also, any Canadians know where I can buy cheap warm clothing for winter? I will be in Montreal!

Thanks for the help :)

Daley

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Re: Cheap Canadian cell phone plan?
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2014, 05:50:17 PM »
I would highly recommend you read the unabridged guide before your move. I know it's mostly US-based, but there's plenty of relevant information for Canada as well, including cheap VoIP calling options, mobile usage strategies, software, equipment, and other fiddly bits.

As for the major Canadian MVNOs that're going to have reasonable bulk data prices with service in Montreal, your four core providers are going to be Fido, Koodo, Solo and Virgin. Mobile data isn't going to be cheap, which is saying something given how expensive it is down here. Learn how to go on a data diet, and take advantage of WiFi hotspots and your campus WiFi network.

For a reasonably full list of known Canadian MVNOs, I've got them here and you can always check HoFo (look under both Canadian Carrier and Canadian MVNO). There's cheaper than those four in other areas, with the cheapest mobile provider with US/Canada calling and 5GB of data is Wind at $50CAD/month (an extra $10/month gets you US roaming as well), but unless you decide to relocate to Ottawa or one of their other supported cities, it's simply not an option. I only mention it as an academic point.

As to your other question, as someone who's gone through a few winters up in that particular part of the world (including one heinous January in Montreal where I walked eight blocks in a snowstorm from my hotel with pneumonia and strep throat to see a doctor at a clinic, and walked back), I encourage you to learn to dress in layers and keep dry. Invest in good thermal underwear (wool or something breathable), find a good parka, get a toque, a decent pair of winter boots and some winter socks (no cotton), and a good set of fingerless+mitten gloves. The rest is downhill and can mostly be regular clothing (some of that should be core wardrobe anyway), and after enough time out in the cold, the frost kinda kills the nerves in your skin. As for cheap places, there's your currently local Goodwill or Salvation Army, and there's plenty of thrift stores up there as well, which includes the Salvation Army. Be frugal, but don't be cheap.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2014, 05:54:59 PM by I.P. Daley »

daverobev

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Re: Cheap Canadian cell phone plan?
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2014, 06:47:10 PM »
Seven Eleven/Speak Out is probably your best bet (prepaid).

If you go over your allowance the rates are horrible. With Koodo, I think it's something like 45c/min (and they bill by the minute).

I use Wind even though I'm outside their zone, but I don't use data.

An alternative might be to get a Telus 'tablet' plan - $5 min, and it auto-ups as you use data. Obviously no texting and no calling from the phone (you have to use a non-Telus phone else they know it's a phone) - you'd have to use Fongo (free phonecalls) and TextPlus (free texts) on the data.

Carless

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Re: Cheap Canadian cell phone plan?
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2014, 09:21:18 PM »
I use a dumb phone with PC mobile - it's $100 per year, and carries over if you renew in time.  Not a huge number of minutes, but I always have something to carry over to the next year as I mostly skype and email.  You can get a phone from Loblaws for ~$50.

I've never seen anything cheaper.

local calls $0.2 per min, long distance $0.6 per min, outgoing text $.15 each, incoming free.

Also, wherever you are is local - change cities and everything around you is local.

strider3700

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Re: Cheap Canadian cell phone plan?
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2014, 12:54:12 AM »
Not sure what the ISP situation is like in Montreal but on the west coast Shaw is everywhere and when you get a home line you can register your phone/tablet for their wifi and have coverage in tons of places.  Cell plans are so bad I don't have a phone and just use my tablet on wifi.  Very rare that I can't get a connection.

sweatypillow

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Re: Cheap Canadian cell phone plan?
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2014, 10:36:02 PM »
Thanks for all the replies! You have all been very helpful.

I use a dumb phone with PC mobile - it's $100 per year, and carries over if you renew in time.  Not a huge number of minutes, but I always have something to carry over to the next year as I mostly skype and email.  You can get a phone from Loblaws for ~$50.

I've never seen anything cheaper.

local calls $0.2 per min, long distance $0.6 per min, outgoing text $.15 each, incoming free.

Also, wherever you are is local - change cities and everything around you is local.

I've looked around on the site, and don't see the exact plan you're talking about... It sounds absurdly cheap, but I just don't see it. Please help. :(

Goldielocks

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Re: Cheap Canadian cell phone plan?
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2014, 03:05:03 AM »
My daughter has a student Fido plan.  It is unadvertised but is prepaid plan with rollover, and works out to about $15 per month for lots of talk text and unlimited data(WiFi) for her owned smart phone.  Big three network too, as mobilicity at $35 per month plan had poor service in pur area, so wee ended it.

Ask for a student plan or special to see if they still have it.

I think calls and texts are free after 3pm or something, too.(student)

We almost went for the speak out plan, but this was only a little more for a lot more minutes.

Deano

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Re: Cheap Canadian cell phone plan?
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2014, 05:13:53 AM »
I can't say much about cell phone plans-I have a shitty Bell plan at the moment, but for good quality winter wear, go to Mountain Equipment Co-Op. Generally they're your "buy for life" option-good quality stuff that can last years if not decades. I have some mec stuff that just refuses to crap out-10 plus years of heavy Canadian winter use. They do a decent job of ethically sourcing and you can buy online if you choose. There is an MEC in Montreal I believe as well... if not Ottawa has one. 

daverobev

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Re: Cheap Canadian cell phone plan?
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2014, 09:09:17 AM »
Thanks for all the replies! You have all been very helpful.

I use a dumb phone with PC mobile - it's $100 per year, and carries over if you renew in time.  Not a huge number of minutes, but I always have something to carry over to the next year as I mostly skype and email.  You can get a phone from Loblaws for ~$50.

I've never seen anything cheaper.

local calls $0.2 per min, long distance $0.6 per min, outgoing text $.15 each, incoming free.

Also, wherever you are is local - change cities and everything around you is local.

I've looked around on the site, and don't see the exact plan you're talking about... It sounds absurdly cheap, but I just don't see it. Please help. :(

It's the non-plan, 'Anytime' - just top up $100 and you're good for a year.

JoyBlogette

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Re: Cheap Canadian cell phone plan?
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2014, 11:04:42 AM »
I use a dumb phone with PC mobile - it's $100 per year, and carries over if you renew in time. 

Me too.  This is the cheapest I've found for pay as you go.  Plus paying for each minute and each text helps me to be more efficient in my usage.

daverobev

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Re: Cheap Canadian cell phone plan?
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2014, 02:33:05 PM »
I use a dumb phone with PC mobile - it's $100 per year, and carries over if you renew in time. 

Me too.  This is the cheapest I've found for pay as you go.  Plus paying for each minute and each text helps me to be more efficient in my usage.

Wind is actually cheaper; I put $40+tax on every 6 months. It roams to Rogers, no 'long distance', 20c/min and 15c to send a text.

But for $10 difference, or if you can't get to a Wind store, who cares.

JoyBlogette

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Re: Cheap Canadian cell phone plan?
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2014, 08:07:08 AM »
Wind is actually cheaper; I put $40+tax on every 6 months. It roams to Rogers, no 'long distance', 20c/min and 15c to send a text.

I couldn't find any information on their pay as you go plans on the website.  I live in Ontario so I should be within coverage.  Do you have a link you could share?

Daley

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Re: Cheap Canadian cell phone plan?
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2014, 08:49:43 AM »
I couldn't find any information on their pay as you go plans on the website.  I live in Ontario so I should be within coverage.  Do you have a link you could share?

I think (and it looks like) the older "Pay Your Way" a-la-carte pricing that Dave's talking about using has been discontinued with Wind back in April. It appears it's only available to customers who already had the service before the switch and were grandfathered in.

http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r29164869-WIND-Mobile-Stops-Pay-As-You-Go-Service-Plans
http://mobilesyrup.com/2014/04/03/wind-mobile-has-700000-subscribers-celebrates-by-launching-a-plethora-of-new-unlimited-options/
http://forums.redflagdeals.com/pay-your-way-wind-mobile-1516541/
http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php/1813799-Introducing-Pay-Your-Way-2-Unlimited-Day?p=15486106#post15486106

Goldielocks

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Re: Cheap Canadian cell phone plan?
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2014, 11:35:33 AM »
Okay,  I asked my daughter more about her plan.
We were strongly comparing everything to the Speakout 7-11 plan at the time they made a decision. 
SpeakOut would have run around $12 per month for the year, we think.
Speakout seemed to have high charges for exceeding your amount - "oops" penalties.

We chose:
Koodo prepaid $15 per month, and 1000 minutes (rolling over) for $50 = $230 per year. 
Wifi data only, but she uses a full smart phone. The phone was surprisingly less money than I thought, if you shop around for deals, and don't go for big names.  (she MMM article, almost similar phones can be found here, or you can now buy a phone from someone else). This plan relies on using unlocked phone.  No hidden charges that that appear.

Unlimited text and picture sending (she is a teen)
At this rate, her birthday money and babysitting more than covers her phone costs.

We needed a better cell coverage area than the Mobilicity plan we previously had for 3 yrs, as we live on the border of their coverage areas.  This has the full network coverage of the big 3.

The student plan I referred to earlier was an alternative that a friend has with another large network (Fido), with free calling after 3pm. which is not advertised.  It was not a prepaid plan, so we went with guaranteed $'s.

It is not the cheapest plan out there, but is a great plan for someone who wants a SMART PHONE, and texting, and access to the larger network.

Edit:  I just learned that she bought a used phone from the KOODO dealer, yep, same place as she started her phone plan setup. It was a 1 yr old smart phone, mid-range model, turned in by a previous customer for an upgrade.   I think about $50-$100.  of the 1000 minutes, half was a bonus signup offer, so only paid about $25....   the point is to ask the dealer what other plans, phones, specials, or deals they have.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2014, 02:33:28 PM by goldielocks »

daverobev

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Re: Cheap Canadian cell phone plan?
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2014, 12:25:08 PM »
I couldn't find any information on their pay as you go plans on the website.  I live in Ontario so I should be within coverage.  Do you have a link you could share?

I think (and it looks like) the older "Pay Your Way" a-la-carte pricing that Dave's talking about using has been discontinued with Wind back in April. It appears it's only available to customers who already had the service before the switch and were grandfathered in.

http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r29164869-WIND-Mobile-Stops-Pay-As-You-Go-Service-Plans
http://mobilesyrup.com/2014/04/03/wind-mobile-has-700000-subscribers-celebrates-by-launching-a-plethora-of-new-unlimited-options/
http://forums.redflagdeals.com/pay-your-way-wind-mobile-1516541/
http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php/1813799-Introducing-Pay-Your-Way-2-Unlimited-Day?p=15486106#post15486106

Ahh, shame! Poor Wind, they aren't making any money, possibly due to cheapskates like me...

Spudd

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Re: Cheap Canadian cell phone plan?
« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2014, 12:59:48 PM »
As for the major Canadian MVNOs that're going to have reasonable bulk data prices with service in Montreal, your four core providers are going to be Fido, Koodo, Solo and Virgin.

I'm sorry to report that Solo seems to be kaput. I went to their site and they told me to go to Bell instead.

sweatypillow

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Re: Cheap Canadian cell phone plan?
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2014, 02:05:43 PM »
It is not the cheapest plan out there, but is a great plan for someone who wants a SMART PHONE, and texting, and access to the larger network.

This seems like the cheapest plan to me. You know of cheaper ones?

Daley

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Re: Cheap Canadian cell phone plan?
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2014, 04:13:37 PM »
I'm sorry to report that Solo seems to be kaput. I went to their site and they told me to go to Bell instead.

I am truly sorry to hear that.

sweatypillow

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Re: Cheap Canadian cell phone plan?
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2014, 08:16:04 PM »
Anyone know of any cheap Koodo smartphones?

Daley

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Re: Cheap Canadian cell phone plan?
« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2014, 08:25:45 PM »
Anyone know of any cheap Koodo smartphones?

Koodo is just a GSM provider. All you need is a carrier unlocked GSM phone on the 850/1900MHz North American bands. The world is your oyster.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2014, 08:27:22 PM by I.P. Daley »

daverobev

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Re: Cheap Canadian cell phone plan?
« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2014, 08:30:16 PM »
Anyone know of any cheap Koodo smartphones?

I got a Bell prepaid Huawei Y300 or something similar, $58 I think it was. Maybe $3 for an unlock code.

Now, that was a few months back, but... check RedFlagDeals Hot Deals forum for cell phones.

ScienceSexSavings

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Re: Cheap Canadian cell phone plan?
« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2014, 06:14:55 PM »
I just switched to Fido in June and so far it's been excellent. I have a Moto G ($225 new from carrier, or buy used for less) and the annual prepaid unlimited text plan, since I rarely make calls. The plan is just under $100/yr. I chose to add on 100MB of data for $10/month. If I do this for 2 years, which is the time period required to get a "free" phone on a contract around here, my average monthly cost will be $27.70, which is pretty damn cheap for Canadian cellular! I turn mobile data off in the settings menu anytime I'm not using it to ensure that background usage won't burn through the small amount I have.

thecornercat

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Re: Cheap Canadian cell phone plan?
« Reply #22 on: August 15, 2014, 10:20:28 AM »
Ooh Montreal! That's where I went for university as well. And did five winters there. For clothes, what I would recommend is don't be cheap. Obviously, don't pay more than you need to, but winters are cold and keep getting colder. Yes, layers, for sure, but get good-quality boots and a good-quality jacket. The kind of thing that might last you ten years. I didn't do this and ended up replacing my boots almost every year. You pretty much live in those boots for 6 months out of the year: they get a lot of wear, they get wet, they get salted.


For the jacket: heh, I remember I did the first winter in Montreal on a $15 jacket from some random store. It wasn't a winter jacket -- I made it work with a ridiculous number of layers. I don't recommend this. You are going to be moving in and out of warm/cold spaces and you'll want to easily be able to take off layers and store them. (Keep in mind storing them. Once you get in class and are taking off your gloves, mittens, scarf, hat, jacket, sweater, etc., and then have to put them back on... all of this takes up space and time.)


For a place like Montreal, I'd think of winter clothing as an investment: buy carefully and thoughtfully!