Things to Look for in Choosing a Calling Plan

Calling Plan

When you buy a phone, you are evidently looking for a telecom provider offering the best calling plans. When purchasing a cell phone from the operator, he often wants you to sign a two—or three-year contract by offering discounts on the handsets. You would sign the contract for a particular plan on the pretext of getting a discount.

However, it is the customer’s liability that if he/she chooses to terminate his/her subscription before the end of the contract, he/she may be charged a penalty, such as a $200 cancellation fee. This makes it confusing for the customer to know what calling plans are best for them.

Choosing a Calling Plan

Choosing a calling plan in Canada depends on your needs and usage patterns. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a calling plan:

  1. Usage Patterns:
    • Assess your calling habits. Do you make a lot of local calls, long-distance calls, or international calls? Understanding your usage patterns will help you choose a plan that aligns with your needs.
  2. Local vs. Long-Distance Calls:
    • Some plans may include unlimited local calling but charge separately for long-distance calls. Consider plans with inclusive long-distance minutes or unlimited long-distance options if you frequently make long-distance calls.
  3. International Calling:
    • If you make international calls, check if the plan includes international minutes or if international calling add-ons are available.
  4. Data and Text Messaging:
    • Many calling plans include data and text messaging along with voice minutes. Consider your data and messaging needs to find a comprehensive plan that covers all your communication requirements.
  5. Contract vs. No-Contract:
    • Decide whether you prefer a contract plan with a fixed term or a no-contract (prepaid or month-to-month) plan that offers flexibility. Contract plans may offer subsidized device prices, while no-contract plans provide more freedom.
  6. Network Coverage:
    • Evaluate the service provider’s network coverage in your area. Reliable coverage is essential where you live, work, and travel frequently.
  7. Additional Features:
    • Consider additional features providers offer, such as voicemail, call waiting, caller ID, and conference calling. These features can enhance your calling experience.
  8. Budget:
    • Determine your budget for a calling plan. Different carriers offer plans at various price points, so find one that fits within your budget while meeting your communication needs.
  9. Promotions and Discounts:
    • Check for promotions, discounts, or bundle offers. Carriers often introduce special deals that can provide extra value, such as discounted rates, bonus data, or device offers.
  10. Customer Service and Reviews:
    • Research customer reviews and considers the service provider’s reputation for customer service. Good customer support can be crucial if you encounter any issues with your plan.
  11. Roaming Options:
    • If you travel frequently, check the roaming options available with your plan. Some plans include international roaming or offer travel add-ons.
  12. Family Plans:
    • If you have multiple lines, explore family plans that may offer discounts or shared data options for multiple users.

Before deciding, compare plans from different providers to find the one that best meets your requirements.

Things to Look for in Choosing a Calling Plan

Choosing a calling plan
Choosing a calling plan

Specific points should be considered before buying a calling plan. The individual should tackle these questions or points honestly before purchasing a plan.

Do you use the phone most frequently/What is your Usage or need for a phone/What time do you use the phone often?

You need to ask this question: How many times a day, week, or month do you use the phone, or at what time of day, night, or evening? If you know that most of your usage is after 8 p.m., then you should go for a “night” calling plan, in which you may talk for unlimited time if the call is placed between, let’s say, 7 p.m. and midnight.

It is important to understand during which times of the day you will enjoy such discounts, as they may vary from carrier to carrier.

Do you need additional services?

Additional services such as call waiting, call forwarding, caller ID, and unique ringtones should be considered whether you need them. Some carriers bundle them in their primary offering, though not everybody will benefit from the service at the same level. Also, such add-ons increase your bill in the long run.

In Canada, your cell phone bill will come with a few add-ons that are important to understand. Here are three other fees that you may see in your bill:

  • System Access Fee: This fee is somehow a way for the carriers to inflate your bill, which could go as much as CAD$ 9 per month. If you come from Europe, you may be familiar with “call connection fees of about CA$0.10 every time you press the “send” key.
  • Emergency 911 Service: A few pennies could save your life.
  • Taxes: In Canada, services such as the phone have two types of taxes, which add up to 14% of your total bill.
  • Which package will suit me and my budget?

Many carriers offer postpaid, prepaid, and monthly services. The best deal you wish for depends on your phone usage. In contrast to Europe, prepaid service is not very common in Canada.

However, most carriers will have at least one form of prepaid service. You may be required to recharge your phone at different frequencies (once every 15,30 and 60 days).

Monthly packages start at approximately CAD$20 (excluding taxes) and up. For CAD$, you should be able to get at least 200 minutes of talk time. Per-month billing is usually convenient if you want to enjoy the relatively lower per-minute rates.

What is a paid plan?

In Canada, you may choose a prepaid or a “pay as you go” billing system. In the former, you refill your account by purchasing extra minutes.

The second option is getting a monthly bill for the cellular service. You are not forced to get a long-term contract with your wireless provider to enjoy the reduced rates that usually come with it.

However, if you need to buy a phone, then be prepared to pay a substantially higher price if you choose not to sign a two or three-year contract.

If you choose to get a prepaid system, note that per-minute rates in the prepaid world are substantially higher than if you got a package of, let’s say, 200 minutes per month.

A prepaid phone may be a better deal if your phone usage is low. If you do not have a credit card and prior credit history in Canada, you may have to get a prepaid system.

The wireless companies in Canada offer several prepaid packages based on the card you buy, and there are no switching costs between prepaid packages. That said, a CA$30 prepaid card may have a different per-minute rate than a CA$10 one.

From where shall you buy prepaid cards?

Prepaid “refilling” cards can be bought at major electronic stores, cell phone outlet stores (Bell World, Fido/Rogers, etc.), convenience stores, and even at Canada Post (Canadian Postal Services Company).

What is Per minute rates-per-second billing?

In Canada, many wireless carriers (but not all) provide a per-second billing system at no extra cost. The advantage of such a system is that if you make calls less than a minute (or a minute and a fraction), you get billed for the actual seconds you talk instead of the full minute.

What about if you go for a Contract or opt for a No-contract plan?

Choosing to have a contract

  • You may get a new phone with it at a reduced price.
  • There may be significant penalties (between CAD$ 100 and as much as CAD$500) if you decide to terminate the contract before its expiry date. Standard penalties vary from the actual cost of the cell phone handset you have or an amount equivalent to the monthly rate of your package multiplied by the number of months remaining in your package.
  • The average contract duration is two to three years.
  • If your stay in Canada is shorter, you may pay more than anticipated.

Choose not to have a contract

  • You will still enjoy better rates than via prepaid.
  • If you need a phone, the carrier will sell it to you at the market price for the phone without any discounts.

After all is said and done, you must compare the plans offered by different carriers and decide according to your needs and budget.