Help a cheapskate pick a cell phone model and plan.
January 23, 2008 9:57 AM   Subscribe

We've all basically acknowledged that Canadian cell/mobile industry players are wankers and price themselves waaay too high for what we get. So until they get their act together I'm going to be cheap on my next purchase/plan.

My requirements are :
1/ phone model must be Mac-friendly, speak to iCal, Address Book, sync well etc
2/ Instant Messaging is a must; particularly on AIM; adding MSN and/or Jabber is a plus
3/ email/web browsing etc, not particularly important, but nice if it works well and doesn't add much cost above #1 & 2

Not looking for fancy phone - just one that works and does the above well.

I'm currently on Bell, and don't particularly have loyalty to them, although it seems their rates are pretty good for basic voice and data - sticking with Bell is fine (and easy) if the deal is right. I don't really like Rogers as a corp, but if someone gave me an iPhone for free and said I had to use Rogers, I wouldn't think twice (but this isn't gonna happen!).

Would prefer to keep any contract to a 1 yr max.
posted by iTristan to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
While this isn't useful now, Rogers is the only GSM carrier in Canada, which means that when the iPhone eventually comes north, they'll be the only ones offering it. Might be something to considered as we may get iPhones in the next year.

To the best of my knowledge, Bell is least awful carrier when it comes to mobile data. If #2 & #3 are indeed important, then you're probably best sticking with them. Unfortunately, I know little about mobiles + Mac, so no big insight for #1.
posted by Nelsormensch at 10:10 AM on January 23, 2008

1. iPhone
2. iPhone
3. iPhone

I'm using one on Rogers and with their 10MB/month for $10 I get enough data to synch my mail and do the occasional surf when no wifi is available. I bought my phone in the states for $375 CDN back when USD was $1.08CDN).

My friend is using a Nokia that does MSN/AIM on Fido, and I think they offer a 12MB/$12 internet plan. I'll get back to you when I get the details.
posted by furtive at 10:47 AM on January 23, 2008

Correction: I just confirmed it's 12MB for $10 on Fido.
posted by furtive at 10:49 AM on January 23, 2008

The model he's using is a Nokia 6300 (cheap cheap) and it does MSN and Yahoo
posted by furtive at 10:55 AM on January 23, 2008

Most of the cheap nokia or samsung or whatever phones can do IM with the help of a java app you could install. Same goes for web browsing (opera mini) and email (flurry). About sync with your mac i think most non crappy (by which i mean of a brand you have never hard about. Or that is so lame that your carrier rebranded it) that has bluetooth should do it. (maybe with the help of an isync profile from the net)
posted by kall at 11:15 AM on January 23, 2008

Virgin Mobile has good rates (and friendly terms -- e.g. longer-lasting prepaid minutes). They use Bell's CDMA network

Cityfone also seems to have good rates, but I don't know anyone who's used their service so I can't say how service is. They use Rogers' GSM network.
posted by winston at 11:34 AM on January 23, 2008

People need to stop tossing the iPhone around like it can do everything.

1. Its not cheap.
2. The plan is not cheap.
3. It cannot IM.

This should narrow down your list - iSync compatible phones
posted by mphuie at 11:36 AM on January 23, 2008

Blackberries do 2/ (google talk, yahoo messenger, blackberry pinning) and 3/ very well. All of the Canadian carriers offer them. I don't know how well they work with macs.

The Pearl is a bit of a pain to type on, but the cheapest and lightest bb. The Curve is a nice compromise with a full keyboard.
posted by bonehead at 12:04 PM on January 23, 2008

There are some free third-party tools that will sync your Blackberry with the OSX apps, as well.
posted by iknowizbirfmark at 12:06 PM on January 23, 2008

mphule: aside from your point about the iPhone not cheap the rest of what you mention is BS. I'm using the same plan as my previous phone, which is $20 a month, and I use instant messaging (mostly MSN) all the time with it. There are software options such as Apollo (soon to be replaced when SDK is released) or web based ones such as Meebo. The only thing I did (and my friend didn't feel the need) was at the 10MB/$10 on rogers.
posted by furtive at 12:21 PM on January 23, 2008

Telus has the lowest data rates among mainstream Canadian carriers- much MUCH higher than US rates but still.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 12:36 PM on January 23, 2008

In terms of cheap wireless plans, check to see if your employer has a corporate plan with Rogers. Mine does, and I've been able to sign up with their Employee Purchase Plan.

This plan gives me:

-unlimited evenings and weekends (starting at 18:00)
-1000 Rogers-Rogers minutes
-200 anytime minutes

I'm pretty happy with the service Rogers gives me, and with a (unlocked) GSM phone I can change the SIM out whenever I travel and have a local number.
posted by vansly at 2:50 PM on January 23, 2008

My employer is me - my own company is small enough not to have any plans per se other than me footing the bill as we're discussing.

I had been thinking about the iPhone but have avoided it for a few reasons, as much as I love Macs ... :
1. I do believe iPhone 2.0 will have some vast improvements (EDGE, more complete IM/video chat out of the box, 3rd party apps in full swing, etc)
2. even with cross-border wrangling, an iPhone isn't cheap
3. Rogers are wankers but I know they'll be the iPhone carrier so will have to suck it up eventually - hopefully with realistic data plans (they never told me about the $10 one though }:-< )

This is why I'm in the waiting mode. The iPhone's only just started to make things change and I just don't like cell phones enough to invest in this (I'm more of a laptop early-adopter). Hence the 1yr plan so I'm not stuck.

So I'll continue to check out some models mentioned here - I'll start with Nokia, other suggestions are welcome.
Cheers all
posted by iTristan at 4:38 PM on January 23, 2008

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