Since moving to Canada in 2006 I’ve struggled to find a good deal on a cell plan. I started with Fido, which got bought by a big 3 – then switched to Koodo later on – which also got bought by a big 3.
That seems to be a big problem in Canada. A small upstart cell provider will come along with decent prices and decent service, before promptly being absorbed into a giant communications conglomerate hungry for more “shareholder value.”
Consistently the cheapest plans have been from a hardly known carrier that continues to fly under the radar year after year. 7-11 speak-out wireless.
With speak-out, the time you buy doesn’t expire after a month like it does with all other pay-as-you-go providers. Top up once, and you’ve guaranteed yourself that phone number for a year. It’s the perfect plan for casual phone users such as myself who only use a cell phone for travel and emergencies. At all other times I use either a landline or VOIP.
With a minimum time purchase of 25$ it only costs $2.08 per month to keep your account open. The next best option Virgin Mobile costs 15$/month with its minimum top-up or $8.33/mo for it’s 100$/365 day topup.
You can use any SIM-capable phone with their pay-as-you go plans costing 25 cents a minute for the most basic plan. This is the cheapo phone my brother got when he started using SpeakOut. As an independent contractor he needs to have a cell phone at all times. He claims it only needs to be charged once a month.
7-11 is slowly updating their geriatric plans with data packages that beat all others I’ve seen in their pricing. But the best idea in Canada is always to avoid using data as much as possible anyway.
SpeakOut is a no-frills, no-bullshit and no-advertising alternative to the worst cell phone landscape in the world.
Canada Cell Plan Links
SpeakOut has the best cell phone plan for someone who sees a cell phone as a necessary evil and would rather use it as little as possible. At 25 cents a minute flat rate, their per-minute billing is far superior to the more common 35 – 45 cents a minute rates of other providers.
I used Virgin for a few years when I thought it was the best option for me. They have an unpublished promotion where they double your topup credit after a number of months with no activity. Works well for me because I only travel once or twice a year for conferences which is when I turn my phone on.
Wind is probably the best carrier if you live in a major city and only call people in that same city. Unlimited local calls for 20$/month but it suffers from the same outrageously priced addon bullshit that makes the bigger carriers so unappealing. 8$ extra for a bunch of basic features that should be free and are free with prepaid plans.
For The Others, Consider their Advertising Budgets
It’s a good idea to realise that the big 3 cell phone carriers spend obscene volumes of money on advertising. You have to consider that just like it does for any product or service, advertising drives the price up. When you agree that you will pay Rogers 80$ or more per month for the next 2 years, you are crowdfunding their TV ads. So for a better deal, look to companies that don’t advertise or only advertise minimally.