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Communications for Expats in Canada

Submitted: November 2013

Moving to a new country is always a challenging experience and establishing some means of communication is necessary to facilitate this transition. While you always have the option to use your existing mobile phone in Canada, this is costly due to high roaming charges. Hence it is recommended that you explore the many telecommunication plans available in Canada.

It must be said upfront that the cost of these services varies significantly across Canada; the same provider may even offer cheaper rates in one province than another. This is because many communication providers operate according to geographical locations, and companies may have different competitors depending on the location. For example, Bell, Aliant, Eastlink, Rogers and TELUS are the telecommunication providers in Halifax whereas Bell competes with Videotron and Primus in Montreal. The following table, found at the website listed below outlines the main service providers in selected cities:

www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/publications/reports/rp120406.htm

Table 1

SELECTED CANADIAN CITIES AND SERVICE PROVIDERS

City

Basket

Service Providers

Halifax

Wireline

Bell Aliant, EastLink

Broadband Internet

Bell Aliant, EastLink

Mobile Wireless

Bell, TELUS, Rogers

Mobile Internet

Bell, TELUS, Rogers

Bundles

Bell Aliant, EastLink

Montreal

Wireline

Bell, Videotron, Primus

Broadband Internet

Bell, Videotron, Primus

Mobile Wireless

Bell, TELUS, Rogers, Primus, Videotron, Public Mobile

Mobile Internet

Bell, TELUS, Rogers, Videotron

Bundles

Bell, Videotron, Primus (as applicable)

Toronto

Wireline

Bell, Rogers, Primus

Broadband Internet

Bell, Rogers, Primus

Mobile Wireless

Bell, TELUS, Rogers, Primus, WIND, Mobilicity, Public Mobile

Mobile Internet

Bell, TELUS, Rogers, WIND, Mobilicity

Bundles

Bell, Rogers, Primus (as applicable)

Regina

Wireline

SaskTel, Access Communications

Broadband Internet

SaskTel, Access Communications

Mobile Wireless

SaskTel, TELUS, Rogers

Mobile Internet

SaskTel, TELUS, Rogers

Bundles

SaskTel, Access Communications

Vancouver

Wireline

TELUS, Shaw, Primus

Broadband Internet

TELUS, Shaw, Primus

Mobile Wireless

Bell, TELUS, Rogers, Primus, WIND, Mobilicity

Mobile Internet

Bell, TELUS, Rogers, WIND, Mobilicity

Bundles

TELUS, Shaw, Primus (as applicable)


Landline

You can contact to one of the providers listed above in order to obtain information regarding landline plans. In order to get connected with a landline, call the customer service number of your desired provider or visit one of their physical locations. You may even have the option of an express installation procedure for next day installation.

Alternatively, you may choose to reject the traditional landline service and sign up for a free telephone service. Free Phone Line is one such service which enables you to make calls via your computer. For more information, please see the link below:

www.freephoneline.ca

Mobile Phones

Canada uses the standard GSM system in addition to the CDMA depending on your geographical location. As such, while you can bring a mobile phone from your home country, you will need to determine whether your potential provider is able to support it. When choosing a mobile phone provider it is essential to enquire about the various contract lengths should you opt for the post-paid option, as you do not want to be locked into a contract unnecessarily.

The average monthly cell phone plan costs from C$35 to C$60. You can refer to the article below for a great overview of mobile phone plans in Canada:

globalnews.ca/news/676741/whats-the-best-cheapest-canadian-cellphone-plan-out-there

Please refer to the following websites below to compare rates for mobile phone plan, once again depending on your location:

You can also use the following website to estimate to cost of your plan by inputting your monthly voice, text and date usage:

www.celagora.com/en/search

Internet

There are several internet service providers in Canada which offer a dial-up and broadband options. There are a variety of plans ranging from C$30 to C$250 depending on monthly usage and download speed. Unlimited plans with fast download speeds can be quite costly and you may often have to sacrifice “fast” internet for more time online.

Please refer to the following resource to compare internet rates:

www.comparemyrates.ca/internet-plans

For an overview of the broadband rates across Canada, please refer to the following article:

www.cbc.ca/news/business/why-do-canadian-broadband-rates-vary-so-much-1.1387144

If you choose not to sign up for an internet plan but may require the service from time to time you can visit one of Canada’s many internet cafes. Please refer to the link below for a list of internet cafes:

www.yellowpages.ca/search/si/1/internet+cafes/Canada/rca-00720540-Internet-Cafes

You can also explore the possibility of choosing one provider for all your telecommunication needs. Many companies offer bundles for internet, landline, mobile phone and television which can be a cost effective option. Please refer to the following links below for bundle packages at some of Canada’s leading telecommunication providers:

 

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