A very Canadian question.
November 9, 2013 1:27 PM   Subscribe

Our mobile phone contract is up with Bell and we'd like to not renew with them again. Admittedly Canadians get the short end of the stick no matter what mobile provider there is, but is there at least a more decent end of the stick?

Bell was only providing us with a mobile phone. We do not have our Internet (Videotron) or our landline (VoIP) through them. We're considering PAYG but really, that probably won't fit our needs. I'm the primary mobile user in our marriage, so I'd like a decent deal with emphasis on texting/Internet use. I currently have a iPhone 4 but am also looking to upgrade.

Suggestions? Recommendations?
posted by Kitteh to Technology (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I guess you are in Quebec?
posted by KokuRyu at 1:50 PM on November 9, 2013

Best answer: I switched from Telus to Virgin after researching extensively last year.
My requirements were unlimited phone calls anywhere in Canada and cheap data.

I purchased an iPhone 5 from Future Shop (they were the best deal at the time for phone prices) and signed up with Virgin I have what is currently called a gold plan.

Check your Bell data use, so you know how much data you actually use and figure out who will give you that for the cheapest.

I believe Virgin uses Bell's towers if that matters.
posted by Snazzy67 at 2:06 PM on November 9, 2013

Response by poster: Yes, but moving to Toronto in November 2014.
posted by Kitteh at 2:06 PM on November 9, 2013

Wind provides the lowest cost for data, but their actual service is spotty.
posted by windykites at 2:15 PM on November 9, 2013

Wind has good coverage in downtown Toronto (I don't know about the GTA since I don't spend much time outside of downtown). In my experience, it's equivalent to Bell in terms of coverage/quality, but way, way cheaper. I don't think you can use an iPhone on their network though.
posted by quaking fajita at 2:34 PM on November 9, 2013

I've had a great experience with Wind. I live in Guelph. If you plan to be travelling between cities a lot, sometimes there are blank spots on the highway, but generally I haven't had a problem.
posted by torisaur at 2:40 PM on November 9, 2013

There's a lot of problem with coverage from some of the local Toronto providers in Montreal from experience, which might or might not make a difference depending on your plans once you move. If you're moving in a year, I'd just continue with Bell for this year without signing a new contract, then switch your number and your plan once you move instead of possibly getting yourself in an inconvenient 3-year contract.
posted by jeather at 2:53 PM on November 9, 2013

Best answer: I've got a really good no-contract month-to-month rate with Koodoo right now; about $30 for calling (unlimited evenings and weekends + some adequate number of daytime minutes, anywhere in Canada) and unlimited texting. They do pay-as-you-go data at a reasonable rate, but I don't use it so don't know about the options.

I think it's really best to avoid new contracts when you're moving. They are a pain. When you bring your own phone, you can get the same plans that are offered on contract, with a 10% discount for having the phone already. Something to consider--it works really well for me. I've been through several providers over the past year, looking for a good rate with good coverage attached, and I've found Koodoo to be the best.
posted by snorkmaiden at 3:56 PM on November 9, 2013

jeather: "switch your number and your plan once you move instead of possibly getting yourself in an inconvenient 3-year contract."

Three year plans are illegal now; the max is 2 years.
posted by Mitheral at 4:49 PM on November 9, 2013

I use Wind Mobile and, yeah, the coverage is spotty. But for the past few years, around this time, they have offered something called the "Holiday Miracle Plan", which is what I'm on. $40 per month prepaid for unlimited North American calling and unlimited data. (Although they throttle the bandwidth severely after you use up 10Gb of data.) If you can stand the low-quality network and the no-quality tech support, their prices are some of the most reasonable around.

(I'm about to switch to Telus because I need their coverage for work. I fully expect my bill will skyrocket.)
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 7:47 PM on November 9, 2013

Best answer: I'm pretty happy with Koodo, who are Telus's budget brand. Cheap data and surprisingly good coverage.
posted by scruss at 7:57 PM on November 9, 2013

Best answer: I've been with Koodo for years and I like them. The phone options are a little limited but coverage has never been a problem for me in Ottawa and Toronto and the price is right.
posted by GilvearSt at 9:31 AM on November 10, 2013

Best answer: I'm happy with Koodo too. No contract and they give you free phones (not iphones mind you).

Once I was broke and couldn't afford to pay, and was going to cancel, and they offered to pay half of it for me when I signed up again.

Also, you can change your plan anytime you want online. I've never had problem with coverage, and I don't pay any roaming fees so I can make long distance calls anywhere in the country.

Also, it may be just as bad with Telus (Idon't know), but Bell's new policy about collecting customer information is pretty damn worrying:

"Bell, which boasts close to eight million wireless subscribers, has said that on Nov. 16 it will begin compiling and analyzing GPS location information, which websites customers visit, the apps they use, what they search for online, the TV programs they watch, and their “calling patterns.”
posted by winterportage at 1:10 PM on November 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Wind doesn't have as much coverage as I'd like. I live in Toronto and had Wind for 3 years, and switched to the Short End of the Stick just so I could have coverage when I visited my parents (~Kingston). If you're going to be travelling to Montreal with any frequency, it will be a pain not to have coverage outside the GTA.

P.S. Welcome to Toronto! We'll try to get a law-abiding mayor in place before you arrive.
posted by heatherann at 1:56 PM on November 10, 2013

Response by poster: It's Bell's impending policy that winterportage talks about that is the reason for us not to renew. No one is saying that the other mobile carriers aren't/won't do the same thing--they just won't tell you---but Bell has also been consistently unpleasant to deal with for the past two years.

Also, we're not going to be going back and forth to Quebec once we move to Toronto, if that has any bearing on the matter.
posted by Kitteh at 5:29 PM on November 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

I actually live in Quebec currently... and I have no problem on that front either.
I travel to Montreal all the time and make calls there... did the same in Toronto and no problem with extra fees or anything of the sort.
posted by winterportage at 9:17 AM on November 15, 2013

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