Moving is often one of the five most stressful things a person can do, and that goes double when you’re going to a new country. Another common source of hassle and headaches is trying to find a new cell phone plan. You see all these different names and companies and phone plan options, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
However, if you break it down and see what your options are, you can figure out how to choose a Canadian cell phone provider that works for you and your needs. Understanding the main provider options and what you can expect from their plans and services will help you get connected to the mobile data maps in no time at all.
The Big Three
While you may see a lot of different names for phone plan options, almost all of them come down to the Big Three while you’re in Canada. If you’re from the United States, you’re familiar with names like Verizon, T-Mobile, or AT&T, as they offer the largest nationwide coverage. Naturally, Canada has their own giants in cell phone service providing: Rogers, Bell, and Telus.
The Big Three do their job well enough and have a coverage map that allows you to travel to most parts of the country, even remote areas, and remain connected. Telus and Bell offer slightly more coverage in rural areas than Rogers, so you may want to choose one of them if you know you’ll be living in or spending a lot of time in a more remote region. However, if you know you’re going to live in a more urban area and find that Rogers is more affordable, they’re certainly not a bad option.
If you’re looking for a nationwide cell service plan, you’ll likely sign up with one of these three. Because these three companies have such a strong grip on the market, you should know that Canadian data plans are notoriously expensive. In fact, Canadian cell phone plans are some of the most expensive in the world. The lack of any real competition means the Big Three can charge more because they know people will pay the extra cash for their cellular needs.
Now you may find yourself wondering if there’s more than just the Big Three when it comes to cell service providers. You may remember hearing about brands like Fido, Koodo, or Public Mobile. The truth is that most of the other service providers that you see are called flankers. Flankers are basically subsidiary companies that belong to the Big Three, so even if you decide on a plan with one of them, you’re still paying money to Rogers, Telus, or Bell and using the exact same coverage maps that they do.
There are two distinct layers of flanker brands. The first-level flankers are Virgin Mobile, Koodo Mobile, and Fido, owned by Bell, Telus, and Rogers, respectively. First-level flankers generally advertise themselves toward more individual consumers who need an adequate phone plan with a decent data cap and may need it for work or other professional purposes.
The second-level flanker companies are Chatr Mobile, Lucky Mobile, and Public Mobile. Like with the first-level flankers, Rogers, Bell, and Telus, respectively, own these three companies. Advertising on these second-level flankers is generally toward those looking for a budget phone. If you need a simple device with minimal data and just plan to call or text occasionally, these providers may work for you. Since they use the same coverage maps, you’re still likely to have a good connection, but you won’t have much else to work with.
Between the Big Three and their flanker subsidiaries, nearly 90 percent of Canadian residents have plans with one of those three. The remaining percent use a regional provider like SaskTel if they live in the Saskatchewan area or Videotron for people in Quebec. Unfortunately, many of these regional providers only have coverage in their respective regions, so they may not be a good choice if you plan to travel. However, the increase in competition means that you may find better prices on plans from the Big Three in these regions, so it’s still a good idea to shop around.
Pros and Cons of the Big Three
When figuring out how to choose a Canadian cell phone provider, you realize quickly that you’re going to pay one of the Big Three. However, do you want a direct plan with them or with one of the flanker companies?
The most notable advantage of partnering with one of the Big Three directly is if you want a large or unlimited data plan. The Big Three are also the best options if you want to set up a family plan with multiple lines. However, these are more expensive than the flankers, so it may come down to how much data you think you need.
Pros and Cons of the Flanker Brands
First-level flankers, like Fido, are a nice middle ground if you want a data plan ranging between 2GB and 15GB per month. These options are more affordable than the Big Three, but they often don’t have multiple-line plans available if you need a family plan.
Second-level flankers, like Lucky, generally cap at 8GB per month but have the advantage of offering some of the only prepaid phone plans. Most other options are strictly a BYO affair when it comes to getting your plan, but if you need a new device, albeit a basic one, the second-level flankers are a good place to start.
Because they’re all in direct competition with one another, Telus, Rogers, and Bell are often very close to one another in price and services. If one of the Big Three makes any noteworthy changes, the others will likely follow suit. While Rogers may fall slightly behind in coverage in rural areas, they may have better rates, depending on where you live.
No matter where you live, you want to ensure that you have a steady, reliable connection. Having a cell phone signal booster in Canada can greatly enhance your signal, resulting in fewer dropped calls and faster connections no matter where you’re at. SureCall’s boosters have a 60-day money-back guarantee and a three-year warranty, making it a safe option for your time spent here. For more information, feel free to reach out to us anytime via email at Sales@SureCallBoosters.ca.