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Getting smart about cell phone plans in Canada

Today is the beginning of a concerted effort on my part to figure out where the soft spots are in cellular rates, here in Canada, and to exploit them.  I currently spend just north of $500 every month with Rogers using my BlackBerry.  That comprises $330 for 1750 minutes on the North American one-rate plan, which allows me to roam anywhere in the US and Canada at the same rate, plus $100 for 200M of monthly data, some minor service features, and (of course) taxes.  Because it's a business plan, and unlimited roaming, Rogers has said "no" to any notion of free evenings and weekends, or any other plan that might give you a similar break.


Yesterday I cancelled the North American one-rate plan, substituting a Canada-wide 1250 minute plan for it.  The Canada-wide plan allows me to roam anywhere in Canada, but not the US. I only visit the US for a few days every other month, so this is likely not going to impact me. Price: $150.  Savings: $180. 

This morning I activated a new SIM for my Nokia N95.  I added the Rogers MegaTime 200 plan, for $39, which allows unlimited evening and weekends (starting at 5PM), plus unlimited on-network calls to Rogers customers.  In addition, I added the new MyFive promotion, which gives me unlimited calling between 5 people on any network. The people I call most are my partner Howard, my home, my parents, and my brother-in-law.  They're all in MyFive, which means I don't pay to call any of them. Cost: $10.  And, of course, the obligatory caller-ID / voice mail and data plan package: $20.

And finally, I added a TalkPlus account. The TalkPlus account was the impetus for starting down this path because, aside from its many many other benefits, TalkPlus allows me make any long distance call a local call and charges me between 1 and 3 cents per minute to call most places in the US and Canada.  This is one helluva deal compared to Rogers' 30 cents per minute. Plus, I can simply buy a pay as you go card anytime I am travelling in the US, and experience the same benefits.

At this point I've likely reduced my bill by about $100 / month. But I have many more minutes and much more data than I will every likely use.  For example, the N95 is a WiFi enabled phone as well, and I will try to make calls in my office using our WiFi hotspot and TruPhone in order to avoid burning up that precious 200 minutes of airtime that Rogers has so stingely allocated on this plan.

Next month, I will fine tune the plans after examining my bills.  My intent is for the BlackBerry to remain my mobile email device, but to shift as much of the calling traffic from it to the lower priced consumer plans as I possibly can. 

Stay tuned!

{ 17 comments… add one }

  • Vito July 11, 2007, 11:50 am

    Don’t get me started on Canadian mobile phone rates…

    I use my BlackBerry on Rogers as well – do you really need 200MB of data on your blackberry? I e-mail all day with mine and haven’t cracked 15MB. Mind you, I never download attachments.

    Also, I have an Unlimited Incoming calls plan – so all calls I recieve are free.

  • Sheila March 1, 2008, 8:07 am

    My son is in BC and we need a cell phone plan with free incoming from the states. It is mind boggling how different cell plans are in the us and canada. I am going nuts trying to find an average priced plan that has the features he needs. He must have free incoming and would like to be able to received e-mail and text, but we would settle for the free incoming from the east coast of the us.


    • jelly April 19, 2012, 12:25 am

      try WIND mobile, they've just come to canada, i think,and i live in bc. they're fairly cheap, so chech their website out :) hope i helped!

  • Toni April 21, 2008, 9:07 am

    I’m also trying to find a plan that will allow me to make calls equally when I am in Canada and the US without roaming when I am in either place, because I literally will spend equal amounts of time in both places week to week for the foreseeable future starting later this year. At this time there appears to be no American plan to cover both, but Bell and Telus both have north america plans and I may go with one of them. An intriguing notion is using skype on a phone with an unlimited data plan and just paying their 25 pounds (british) per year for their unlimited us-canada calling plan, though I know of no one personally who does this and haven’t done much looking into it to see if it would make sense financially. Also I don’t know how the call quality might be.

  • Ryan May 5, 2008, 1:45 pm

    Vito asks, “Do you really need 200MB of data on your blackberry?

    Then he states, “Mind you, I never download attachments.”

    You have a device to read e-mail, but you can’t read attachments…

    And you don’t see a problem with this?

    My Gosh!

  • Able May 23, 2008, 6:58 am

    Toni: US Canada plans

    I live in Canada most of the time but am frequently across the border and make a LOT of calls while roaming across borders. I have signed up for the Verizon Canada Plan. It is reasonable and no long distance and roaming charges anywhere in US/Canada. It does have unlimited Ver-Ver calling but only in the US. In Canada V2V is counted as part of your minutes.
    Only trouble is that there is no text messaging plan while in Canada.

  • Able May 23, 2008, 11:00 am

    BTW the Verizon Canada plan I think charges $69-79 for 900 day time minutes + 1000 W&Nights + 1000 V2V

  • Kassie September 11, 2008, 2:33 am

    I live in Canada but my boyfriend lives in the states. I used to be able to text him for a flat rate with Rogers but all of a sudden they changed it on me! Now its 25 cents a text incoming and outgoing, it really adds up. Does anyone know of a plan for me?

  • Lui September 27, 2008, 2:16 am

    I am also on a Canada One Rate plan with Rogers and travel to the US a few times a year. I simply (if there is such a thing with Rogers) change from the Canadian to North American plan and back again. my monthly bill is never over $200

  • stephanie March 16, 2009, 11:11 pm

    if you have a blackberry, you can go to skype.com and download skype for your mobile phone. i havent tried this yet, but my boyfriend in canada and i are about to try it. using skype on the computer has always been great and free. from what i can see the costs are considerably less than what he is paying now. good luck

  • Wil March 30, 2009, 12:14 am

    How did you make out with Skype and the WiFi Phone Stépnanie?

  • Corey Oliver July 2, 2009, 12:03 pm

    The Cell Phone Revolution is Here! Unlimited Incoming and Outgoing Calls, Unlimited Incoming and Outgoing Text, Unlimited Email and Internet, No Roaming Charges, No Long Distance Charges and No Contracts!

    The cost for this truly unlimited plan will only be $79.95/mth. For only $10/mth more you can also have unlimited calling to 42 countries around the world.

    You will be able to keep your existing cell phone number and cell phone as long as it is a GSM Unlocked phone. Simply put in your new SIM card and you get all the unlimited benefits.

    This is not just a minor upgrade – this is a FULL communication revolution.

    The Parent company is a Multi-billion dollar-Multi-National Corporation that conducted 32 billion dollars in telecommunication sales last year. They are the only company in the world to carry this Multi-patented technology.

    The company is Buzzirk Mobile – Launched in US on July 1st 2009 and coming to Canada in a couple of weeks. SIM cards and plan activation will be available through associates only. Contrary to the claims from Rogers, technology advances are supposed to bring consumer costs down, not propel them upward. No more 5000% mark up on text messaging and no more gouging the North American marketplace.

    Happy to share more info.

  • lite August 24, 2009, 2:46 pm

    The best plan in Canada is $14.7 for unlimited incoming/outgoing.

    How to get it ?
    First, get a Telus prepaid account and add an option " One number numimited " . This service will cost you $7 for every 30days + 0.75 911 service fee . So in total you paid $7.75 to telus for one month.

    Second, you can get a " Magic cell number ", at $6.95 per month.
    Combine this two services, you can get unlimited minutes from your cellphone. 7.75+6.95= $14.4 how can you ask for more?

    if you need text massage, you can add $5 text addon over Telus prepaid account, so you can get unlimited incoming text and 250 outgoing text.

    Too good to be true, google and study it ! you won't regret .

  • tech diva August 27, 2009, 7:27 pm

    Do NOT get involved with Buzzirk Mobile … it is a scam. Google it.

  • howdy September 15, 2009, 5:04 am

    I looked it up…….did not find the “magic number” option….

  • blaaa February 3, 2010, 9:54 pm

    http://en.alldaytalk.com/Cell/cellphone_magicnumber.asp for the magic number option. Sounds intriguing but again overly complicated.

    Canada sucks when it comes to decent cheap, reliable mobile phone service.

    Is way behind the US and decades behind Europe and Asia.

  • David April 28, 2011, 2:50 am

    Trying http://www.budphone.ca if you have a Blackberry, Android, or iOS device. Budweiser has partnered with Freephoneline.ca to make this cool marketing tool that allows us Canadians to make unlimited calls to anywhere in our country!

    It’s basically the same as alldaytalk.com, except Budweiser is paying your monthly fee. one number unlimited + budphone = free calls (just make sure to update that one number whenever you’re in a different service area, and you CAN’T receieve calls :P)

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