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Canada’s not great for cell phone plans. Canadians don’t have access to the same unlimited data deals or shockingly low prices available south of the border or across the pond. With that in mind, you obviously still need a mobile plan in the Great White North. To be fair, some of them aren’t that bad.
So how to choose the best cell phone plans in Canada? We have big, seemingly reliable brands like Rogers and Bell, and smaller discount brands offering what seem like decent savings. Is there a catch? Does a big name really mean better service? Let’s find out.
The best cell phone plans in Canada:
We’ve gone through the current offerings from major providers available across the country, and we think we’ve landed on the best Canadian phone plans you might want from each one.
We determined the “best” plans according to a very precise and indisputable scientific rubric. By that I mean we looked at plans that seemed about right for a more or less average phone user. There’s a lot of filler and fine print on these websites, and it can be a chore to read all your options. If you’re looking for “normal” coverage — without an international plan or 100GB of data — these plans are for you.
A lot of these companies offer plan customization, including family plans and service bundles, so don’t treat this as a complete and unabridged breakdown of offerings.
Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best cell phone plans in Canada regularly as new ones are announced.
When it comes to finding the best cell phone plans in Canada, we have to level with you — Bell plans aren’t great ways to save money. But you can bundle them with other services, like internet, TV, and even a landline, which can save you some money and reduce the hassle of multiple monthly bills.
If you want unlimited Canada-wide calling, unlimited text, and unlimited non-shareable data, Bell offers that at CA$75 per month. But keep in mind that the internet speed gets reduced to just 512Kbps after you use up 10GB of data — which doesn’t sound very unlimited. If you want more data, you can get a plan that includes either 20 or 50GB of data for CA$95 and CA$125.
For shareable data, you can pick from the Connect Everything 10, 20, and 50 plans. Options start at $85 per month and increase by CA$20 and CA$30 respectively. All three plans include unlimited talk and text nationwide.
Keep in mind that these prices are only available to those who bring their own device to the network. If you get a phone from the carrier along with the new plan, you’ll have to dish out an extra CA$20 per month for each of the three unlimited plans.
For those who are looking for something cheaper and don’t need data, Bell has a plan called Basic Phone 35. It gets you unlimited calls and text in Canada for CA$35 per month. Bell is also offering the Connect Everything 20 for CA$85 and Unlimited 20 for CA$80 per month right now as a special promotion. You can opt for the Canada/US version of each plan for just CA$20 more per month.
Call it the curse of the major Canadian providers: Rogers plans won’t save you much either. They’ll save you money if you also have Rogers internet or TV, though. You can also share data on family plans, which might be worth factoring into your decision making.
A family plan is also a great way to counteract the Canadian provider curse, as Rogers will give you CA$10 off for each additional line you add.
For the basic “unlimited” plan with unlimited Canada-wide calls, text, and data (speed gets reduces at 10GB), you’re looking at CA$75 per month. Rogers is also offering an opportunity to up the data to 20GB for a very limited time at just CA$5 more per month. If you want even more, there’s a plan with 50GB of data that comes in at CA$125 per month.
Keep in mind that these prices are only available to those who bring their own device to the network.
Fido plans are the way to go for standard smartphone use. They offer talk and text or talk, text, and data plans at very reasonable prices. If you really want a way to avoid the Canadian provider curse, Fido might just be the way to go.
For data-free users, CA$35 will get you unlimited Canada-wide talk and text. If you want data, the most basic plan gets you unlimited text and talk in addition to 1GB of data for CA$45 per month. Fido has reworked the data caps on many of its higher-level plans recently, and the data works out for the better. Unfortunately, the price makes a bit of a jump as well.
Instead of 5GB for $50, you can now get 6GB for $55 for the time being. An extra 2GB will boost the cost to $60, but you can see some of the included perks in the image above.
Need a new device? For a few extra bucks or more per month, you can get a significant discount on a slew of smartphones that Fido has on offer. Fido also has different promotions running throughout the year that are definitely worth exploring.
Telus tends to rank alongside Bell and Rogers, though its presence is a bit smaller in Eastern Canada. As such, it has those big-name rates, unfortunately.
For CA$75 per month, you get unlimited nationwide calling and texting, along with “unlimited” data, which is capped at 10GB. You can bump that up to 20GB for an additional CA$10 per month or 50GB for an extra CA$50 per month. That means you might be better off with Telus than Rogers or Bell if you’re looking for a plan with significantly more data.
Right now, the Telus Peace of Mind Connect plan is just CA$85 per month for 20GB of data. You may have to log in to see all of the latest options though, so be ready for at least a basic sign-up process.
Check out family plans for savings, or, if you need a new phone, upgrade to a two-year contract to get a free or discounted device.
5. Freedom Mobile
Freedom plans are known for being very cheap. Formerly known as Wind, Freedom has limited coverage, but the company is refreshingly candid about its shortcomings. It recognizes it’s not perfect, but seeks to offer an affordable alternative to Canadians.
The cheapest cell phone plan Freedom offers Canadians gets you 250MB of data, unlimited texts, and 100 minutes of talk for CA$15 per month. You can get similar plans with more data for more money, but if you want unlimited calling there are plans for that too.
You can also check out the Freedom Big Gig Unlimited plans that start from CA$50 per month. Unlimited plans start at 1GB of Freedom data with an extra 500MB Freedom Nationwide data that you can increase as you expand your plan. The base Unlimited plan offers calling at CA$0.05 per minute, but for CA$60 and up your calling is unlimited.
The prices may have gone up a little bit recently, but Freedom is still cheaper than just about anything else in Canada.
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Koodo cell phone plans are another way to save money without sacrificing data or coverage. If calling isn’t too important to you, you can get Koodo plans for as little as CA$30 per month. For CA$50 per month right now, you can sign up for a pretty solid standard plan with unlimited calling across the country, unlimited texting, and 4GB of data.
Koodo also offers “shock-free data” on all its data plans. That means you can’t go over your data limit and rack up overage fees. Instead, your data shuts off automatically when you reach your limit. You do get a heads up before that happens though, and Koodo will offer you the chance to buy more data. It may not be a game-changer, but shock-free data can avoid some nasty surprises when your bill reaches your inbox at the end of the month.
Koodo is also emphasizing its Tab on each of its plans too. It allows you to put a certain amount of money on your plan towards your next new device up to $720 per year.
And the winner is…
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There’s no easy calculation to tell you which of these are the best cell phone plan in Canada because these companies offer some seriously different levels of service.
Freedom wins the bargain basement award for its ultra-affordable plans. Freedom Mobile is also the least likely to work everywhere you go, or to have a fast internet connection — but maybe that’s still worth it to you.
Then there’s the question of service bundles, family plans, and savings on new devices which can complicate your choice. That doesn’t mean we can’t make a few overarching judgments.
It’s tough to beat CA$50 for a basic plan with more than decent data, calling, and texting offerings. That’s a huge discount from what you’d get from the bigger providers, and Fido and Koodo also have solid networks. For my money, the shock-free data pushes Koodo just an inch ahead. Ultimately, the choice comes down to your particular needs, so do look over the pros and cons of each provider above.
There you have it — these are the best cell phone plans in Canada available in our opinion. We’ll update this list with more providers over time, but this should get you started.