Help me keep my phone number a year from now
January 27, 2008 3:48 PM   Subscribe

Canadian Phone Question: I'll be leaving my city and province for a year, and I'd like to make sure that I have the same phone number when I return as when I left. What are my (cheapest) options?

The obvious choice would be to have my number (it's a cell number) transfered to a land line at a relative's house, but that's about $50 + 12 x $25 = $350. What other options do I have?

For the record I'm in Montreal and will be out of the province for 6 months to 1 year.
posted by furtive to Technology (12 answers total)
Some cell phone companies have emergency plans which are very cheap. Maybe you could switch to that for that number while you're gone and just pay the monthly fee which shouldn't be much.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:52 PM on January 27, 2008

I know telus used to let you 'park' your cell number for something like $4 a month, perhaps you can ask around at a few cellular stores in Montreal.
posted by jjb at 4:00 PM on January 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Loan access to your cell phone service to somebody for that time, and maybe charge them a few dollars less each month than you pay for service, if you have trouble finding takers.

Or better, perhaps, the telus website indicates that it's possible to switch any cell-phone to prepaid (second bullet point, center of page, near top). Just do that, buy as few minutes as you can get away with, and it should hopefully not end up costing you an arm and a leg.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 4:41 PM on January 27, 2008

Yes there are less-than-$10/mo cell phone plans for the sort of phones that are left in cars for emergencies only. They are very expensive per minute to use, but you don't care about that.

Change to one of those plans, leave your phone in a drawer, and your total cost will be $100ish/a.
posted by rokusan at 5:07 PM on January 27, 2008

If you have a GSM phone and you're currently with Rogers, you can transfer to a pay-as-you-go account and then buy a $100 one year credit.

If you don't have a Rogers account but do have a GSM phone, you might call Customer Service and see if they will transfer your number anyway.
posted by Neiltupper at 5:09 PM on January 27, 2008

a couple questions to help narrow down followups:
- who's your provider?
- are you on a contract?
- will you be taking the phone with you?
posted by heeeraldo at 5:24 PM on January 27, 2008

If you've got a relative that has a land line park the number there with smart ring. It's only $5 a month in BC.
posted by Mitheral at 5:34 PM on January 27, 2008

Transfer to a wholesale VOIP provider like Unlimitel. Then, not only can you hold it for $2.50/mo, you can use it from anywhere in the world with a SIP softphone. (Or for an extra $5/mo you can have it forward to another number.)
posted by mendel at 5:52 PM on January 27, 2008

i just canceled my fido account because i moved back to the states, but the rep i spoke to offered to park my number for some low fee (i dont remember how much, but it wasnt a lot - i wasnt really paying attention because i had no intent to come back.) so presumably fido will do this if you ask them to.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 7:13 PM on January 27, 2008

Call up and say you want to cancel your phone and explain why. They will offer the parking fee for $10/month or whatever. Tell them you think it's too much, and that you'd prefer just to cancel. They will then say "well, since you've been a customer for x years with us, we can just do it for free."

At least, that's what happened when I left Canada for 6 months and tried to cancel my number with Fido.

The Canadian wireless industry is terrified of "churn", so if they think there is a chance you will come back to them in 6 months or a year, a company will do what it can to keep you.

Good luck!
posted by modernnomad at 1:45 AM on January 28, 2008

What modernnomad described is exactly what I did, and many friends have done. It works as long as you're not on contract.
posted by Salamandrous at 8:26 AM on January 28, 2008

I ended up switching to Pay as you Go, putting $100 on the card, and buying a second SIM card for a 403 area code. Of note: if you don't activate the sim card through the store but do it yourself on the phone you save an extra $10.
posted by furtive at 1:13 PM on April 7, 2008

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