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Mobile users in the US and Canada tend to pay more for a complete cell phone package than anyone else in the world, according to a new report from the New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative (OTI).
OTI examined prepaid, unlimited, and postpaid plans in 11 countries in order to determine the best rates in each.
Of those on the lower end of the scale, India is the only country that managed to stay low for texts and data, too. OTI didn't cite specific examples in its report, but it did say that cost structures varied as a direct result of competition and innovation in each country. The European Union has already begun to crack down on "bill shock" when it comes to cell phone bills, and the US is currently working on it.
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Conde Nast. If you plan on staying in Canada for more than a year it is worthwhile to join a phone company with a cell plan.
However, there are new up-and-coming cell phone service providers (Koodo, Wind, Mobolicity and Public Mobile, for example) that are giving these companies a run for their money by offering cheaper rate plans.
If your plan does not have unlimited calling then beware that the monthly limit will be used for incoming calls as well as outgoing calls.
If you plan to embark on a career or do any kind of professional work in Canada, it is recommended that you sign up to a cell plan with data and unlimited texting and calling, at least for local calls. A stark reminder that you are up against it when looking for value with cell phones in Canada.
Many providers offer international calling or international texting packages as standard so you can keep in touch with home. If you travel to the US often, it may be worth considering purchasing a US SIM card or using your foreign SIM card as Canadian roaming rates are very expensive. Petro-Canada offers pre-paid mobility phones that offers good value for money: Petro Canada Prepaid (Rogers Network).
Some helpful information to help you choose which plan and phone (Samsung pictured on left,Apple smartphone on right) are right for you. Sponsored content is written by Global News' editorial staff without any editorial influence by the sponsor. Sponsored content is written by Global News' without any editorial influence by the sponsor.
While there's no such thing as the perfect cell phone plan, Canadian customers have access to better and better plans as the market in this region becomes more competitive. As you compare different plans, keep in mind that regional carriers can sometimes offer a better deal than their nationwide counterparts. Most major carriers tend to package the voice and data together as a single unified plan, but this may not be the best solution for everyone.
Compared to what is available from other major carriers in Canada like Telus and Bell, the $39 Smart Plan from Fido offers one of the most aggressive values on the market.
Customers who need more minutes and data may consider the $60 Smart Plan for unlimited anytime minutes and 2GB of data.
None of the major nationwide Canadian cell phone carriers provide unlimited calling for just $20 a month, but you can get it from Wind. All of Wind's base plans are generally less expensive than those from Bell, Telus and Rogers. The $20 plan includes unlimited local calling and unlimited messaging, but data is charged at $5 per 100MB.
Much like Wind Mobile, Mobilicity is centered around major metropolitan areas with limited coverage outside of major cities.
If you are searching for the cheapest cell phone plan and you are an infrequent user who doesn't need a smartphone, you may want to consider a pre-paid option that is not provided through one of the major Canadian carriers.
These types of low cost cell phone providers use the network infrastructure of a major carrier, but sell their own cell phones, offer their own plans, and handle their own customer service. For areas where conventional cell phone coverage is not available, a satellite phone is often the only option for communication with the outside world.
A basic Iridium phone subscription, as ordered through Roadpost.ca, is $59 per month, including zero minutes. Realistically, the best cell phone plan in Canada may well be the one that you negotiate with the retentions department of your current carrier.
The first step is dialing 611 (Fido customer service), entering the cell phone number, selecting “change Data or Voice Plan” by pressing 2. Minutes of negotiation later pretend we realized something and say, “Wait, you cannot do transfers and cancellations, right?” Fido agent will transfer us to Fido customer relation department.
Most larger North American cellular carriers still base their plans around voice minutes -- how quaintly 2006 of them. Don’t forget their low-cost brands that are out to punish any competitors trying to enter our profitable market. A recent report by the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative (OTI) concluded that Canada tops the entire world for the most expensive voice and data rates.

If you’re looking for a discount on your cell phone plan, the clear answer is to move to India or Hong Kong.
I have a $17.50, 250 weekday minutes voice plan, and with a good data plan (that I use most of the time), I average about 100 minutes of voice calls per month. I used to have a corporate plan but I dumped it as I could do way better with just a personal account. I’ve lived in India, and the rates are so competitive because of the competition there.
I just moved to the UK from Canada- about a week after I got here, I picked up a LG GT 540 optimus(cheap android phone) for 100quid- 160 cad with taxes already in. Until the Canadian Government steps in, Rogers and the others will keep charging all they want and we will have to pay it if we want a cell phone. Its hard for companies to make it cheaper because we just don’t have the population in canada compared to the countries with the lowest rates. Operating costs in Canada, with our sheer size and relatively small population may play a part. Is it any wonder that our cell phone rates are high, and why we have little to no competition here? Guess what, Canada is a very dense country if you consider that most (%70) of the population lives in the small and dense areas of the Lower Mainland, the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor, or the Quebec-Windsor Corridor. You really think the Rogers and Bellus have to cover every square inch of Canada’s land mass? Overall, the foundation said that mobile users in the US need to pay at least $59.99 for a complete cell phone package that includes voice, text, and data (which we'll break down in a minute). Again, the US was among the top three when it came to expensive texts (and again, the US rate was doubled because we pay for both incoming and outgoing texts), along with the UK and Hong Kong.
But those measures only address bill inflation due to unexpected charges; the base rates are still higher in the US than almost all other developed countries. The ones that hold the majority of the nationwide market share are Telus, Bell, Rogers and Fido. Their phones are pretty basic, but if you don’t care about having the latest Blackberry or iPhone, then these companies might be right for you. Michael contacted us on our Facebook forum to tell us about this website, where you can check which network will support your phone.
You will probably find that it gives you greater freedom and opportunity to establish yourself and network. I get service outside of Vancouver city, never had any problems using it anywhere in greater vancouver and Burnaby and I make calls and use the data internet out in the middle of nowhere in Surrey on a daily basis.
Before choosing a plan, consider whether you use more daytime minutes or evening minutes, and whether features like text messages and wireless data are important to you. Each plan includes unlimited nights and weekends, unlimited family calling, call display voice mail, call waiting and conference calling.
There is also a larger Data Flex option starting at $35 a month for up to 1GB, and going all the way to 9GB for $90, based on usage. It provides a good amount of data and voice, among other features, at a price that undercuts many other offerings. Heavy talkers in major Canadian cities will find that Wind has among the lowest prices in town.Their coverage area includes Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto, among others, but the network is continuing to expand. Aside from the $0 per month "Pay Your Way" plan where minutes, texts and data are charged on a per-use basis, the main Wind plans run $40 per month, or less. To achieve a comparable number of minutes, text and data from a major nationwide carrier would easily cost double, if not more, particularly because the major carriers typically don't provide unlimited data at all. For example, SpeakOut Wireless and Speak Out 7 Eleven offer low-cost prepaid plans in Canada.
If you do not need access to a large number of minutes or a data plan, one of these options may be your best choice. Not surprisingly, satellite phone plans in Canada are substantially more expensive than conventional mobile phones. A rollover 30 minute bundle is $35 per month, going up to $220 per month for a rollover 240 minute bundle. If unfortunately Fido is convinced that we’ll stop contract anyway without any space to negotiate, and they really cancel our plan, what we can do is just paying the cancellation fee and going to WIND to sign for a new plan. We're in an era of smartphones now, and Canada's Rogers is revamping its plans to reflect a data-first reality while possibly wringing out a few dollars more. Gee, at that rate, you’re better off using a pay phone to make a call–that is if you can still find one! Just went straight to voice only, then straight to text only, then data only and added the 3 up. We’re hardly of any interest to any company who wants to make money while offering us prices comparable to the rest of the world.
These companies offer special rate plans and usually offer discounts on mobile phones if you commit to a one or two-year contract.

It might also save you money in the long run, as you will not incur additional charges beyond the monthly fee. Be wary, however, that at the moment coverage does not extend beyond the main cities in Canada and you will get charged a roaming rate for use outside city limits. In this way, the plans from Telus that segregate voice and data needs could be among the most flexible in Canada. This plan is available to monthly subscribers or customers who have a two-year Tab24 agreement, as would be the case with several of the Android smartphones from Fido. Even the $25 starter plan includes unlimited province-wide calling and unlimited North American text messaging. That's because the wireless provider is motivated to keep customers since it's less expensive to retain a customer than it is to sign up a new one. A quartet of newly active Unlimited Talk and Text rates hand out the now-trivial messaging and voice time like candy: apart from a $55 entry plan that includes a still-healthy 1,000 minutes of talk, they all offer unlimited local or Canada-wide calling as well as unlimited MMS and SMS. Comparatively, users in Canada must pay US$67.50a€”making Canada the only country to top the US. Give me a break, stop your bitching, and when you have to go to Fort Mac or wherever the hell in the middle of nowhere you are, be thankful you have coverage, because garan-freaking-teed without the rate plan costs you would never otherwise have coverage.
They state they look for the most cost effective plan, but then piece one together from various bits which really don’t exist in the real world. So while you can get a cheaper rate by taking the combo pack, it is still higher than the other countries. So profitable in fact that other upstart companies are chomping at the bit for a piece of the action. Simple: Because more money spent by consumers = more taxes in the federal (and provincial) coffers. Once you have determined your needs, it's time to begin reviewing plans to find the best deal. As you get close to the end of your contract, you can try negotiating with the retentions department for a better plan, telling them that you may be able to find something better elsewhere.
Do I start by just adding features to my present phone plan then ask for the iphone at a later time?
Not only that, but we have a seemingly techno-phobic (or, perhaps more accurately, techno-ignorant) government (on both sides of the aisle, I might add).
I have, and I can tell you, they will not compete against each other on wireless because it is so damn lucrative. If I want to use the internet, I can use wi-fi on the phone for free, it’s faster too. She sends about 200 texts a month, and she’d need enough data to check email and Facebook throughout the day.
Just be sure to arm yourself with information about alternatives from other carriers and negotiate accordingly. I wanted to buy a WP7 phone, but the only somewhat good phone (Samsung Focus) is exclusive to Rogers, and the make you buy a data plan ($50 is the cheapest). Data bandwidth is pretty reasonable and unlimited – nowhere near 4G levels but typical of 3G.
Rogers' strategy is no doubt meant to draw a few data-heavy Galaxy Note II and Lumia 920 buyers into more lucrative service echelons, but it's a refreshing break from pricing that still treats the basics as scarce resources. If we support the upstarts where possible we drive the big three into submission, or at least make them start to play nice(r).
This is bullcrap, we have the worst selection of phones in the world, with the highest rates.
I see all the rest of my friends paying 60 a month on Chat-r or Fido and getting 100 MB data, I think Wind is Vancouver’s best kept secret.
Update: It's well-known that the major Canadian carriers tend to imitate each other's cellular plans, and there's no sign they're letting up. It’s like our Canucks, they suck ass, have never won the Cup, and we have the most expensive tickets in the NHL.
MobileSyrup has heard that both Bell and Telus should have uncannily similar plans as of November 9th and 8th, respectively.
Does anyone know if it’s possible to buy and unlocked phone online and bring it over to Bell?
About the only practical difference is Telus' decision to focus on the top three tiers and hike prices by $5 across the board.

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