As the whole world is fighting to overcome Covid 19, the government, as well as other services, are providing some relief to the people of their country. Similarly in Canada, most of the big telecom brands are making life easier for their users. Some carriers including Rogers, Telus and Bell are waiving roaming fees to make life easier for customers stuck outside Canada. Rogers and Bell offer concessions all across their telecom and media properties, while Telus Health is helping Canadians with an informative app and podcast.
Like other countries across the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic is being fought by Canadians on all fronts by closing workplaces, schools, restaurants and other public spaces. Many Canadians are working from home for the first time and haven’t set up a workspace. Some world travelers may be stuck with no way home and a cell phone plan that charges them $12 per day just to stay connected.
Here are some of the low-cost plans that you can avail now. There are new, lower monthly rates for basic talk and text plans and wireless plans that include a few gigabytes of data. Consumers that find themselves working away from the office can now find cheaper unlimited data plans.
Talk and Text Plans $25 and Under
Freedom Mobile has been offering Canada’s cheapest talk and text plan with unlimited nationwide minutes for a while. Other carriers like Koodo and Fido have dropped prices on their plans by up to $10. Most carriers now have talk and text plans for $25/month or less.
- Freedom Mobile- Prepaid Talk + Text plan- No Data Included|Per 1 Month Recharge| $14 + $10 Upfront
- Fizz Mobile: Unlimited Quebec Minutes & Text Messaging Plan| No Data Included|No Contract| $22/mth
- CityFone- $25 Talk & Text Plan| No Data Included|No Contract|Deal: Get 10% off any plan when you bring your own phone|$22.50/mth
- Public Mobile- Unlimited Canada-Wide Talk + Text + 500MB + 500MB Bonus|1GB Data No Contract| Deal: Save $2 every 30 days with AutoPay Reward| $23+ $10 Upfront
- Lucky Mobile- $25 Unlimited Minutes Canada-wide Calling Plan|1GB Data Per 1 Month Recharge| Deal: Get 50% off your SIM card when buying online|$25+ $5 Upfront
- Chatr Wireless- $25 Nationwide Talk & Text plan|500MB Data No Contract|Deal: Get 500MB bonus data when you sign up with Auto-Pay|$25/mth+ $10 Upfront
- Koodo Mobile- $25 – No Tab/BYO Plan with No Data| No Data Included No Contract|$25/mth
- Fido- $25 Talk & Text Plan| No Data Included No Contract|$25/mth+ $10 Upfront
Koodo and Fido are offering new plans with 5GB of data for only $50/month, Cityfone and SimplyConnect offer 5GB of data and 800 minutes of nationwide talk on $40 monthly plans. Sign up for two years and Cityfone or SimplyConnect will even throw in a Motorola G7 Play totally free. No upfront costs or extra monthly charges.
Waiving in data coverage and roaming
Most Canadian wireless companies have stepped up by eliminating data overages, long-distance charges, or closing storefronts to help combat the spread of the deadly virus.
Rogers was one of the first companies to act in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, the company has committed to eliminate data caps for home internet, waive all long distance and roaming charges, offer flexible payment plans to customers in financial strife, and offer free collaboration software to business customers. Rogers has also committed to supporting Food Banks Canada with one million meals and an awareness campaign.
- No long-distance fees applied for nationwide calls in Canada, even if your plan only includes local or province-wide minutes
- All roaming charges (i.e, Roam Like Home, Fido Roam and pay-per-use fees) will be waived for Canadian postpaid customers outside the country in over 180 countries supported worldwide
- Rogers will not suspend or disconnect service for 90 days while customers may be suffering financial difficulties
- Business customers can receive six months of Microsoft Teams and Office 365 collaboration software to help them work from home
- Ignite customers can access a variety of premium news and educational channels for free using the Rogers Ignite app or web site (mobile data charges may apply)
- Updated March 27: 88 retail locations will remain open with reduced hours in order to provide critical services, but most storefronts will close until April 14, 2020
- These changes apply to customers of Fido and Chatr
- More information about COVID-19 and what changes Rogers has made to regular service can be found on their site
Bell has added extra capacity for mobile internet customers with Turbo Hubs, Turbo Sticks and MiFI devices. Every qualifying customer will receive an extra 10GB plus $10 credit to existing plans for the current and next billing cycles.
- Customers travelling outside Canada will have Roam Better, Roam Sweet Roam (Virgin Mobile) and pay per use roaming charges waived until April 30, 2020
- The standard return policy period on all devices has been extended from 15 days to 30 days (Bell and Virgin Mobile)
- Consumer and Small Business customers with mobile internet will receive an extra 10GB of data plus $10 credit for free to make it easier to work from home
- Bell TV subscribers can access a wide selection of premium channels on free preview, including news channels and educational content using the Bell Fibe TV website, Android appor iOS app (mobile data charges may apply)
- Bell Let’s Talk initiative has created a $5 million fund to help organizations promote social distancing efforts and mental health
- Closing many retail locations, all kiosk, and all The Source storefronts until March 31, 2020
- Some Virgin Mobile locations will also remain open, but many will close until March 31, 2020
- Lucky Mobile call centre and kiosks have closed
- A FAQ page has been posted on the company’s site addressing Bell’s response across all services
Babylon is a free healthcare mobile app from Telus Health, and it’s available to install on Android and iOS devices. Using advanced AI, it can help to diagnose your symptoms and potentially connect you to a licensed doctor by video chat.
The new Telus Talks Health podcast launched, and the first episode discusses the COVID-19 pandemic. The 23-minute episode speaks with psychiatrist and author, Dr. Diane McIntosh, about how to stay calm, cope with social distancing and manage your mental health while in self-isolation.
Telus has also committed $10 million toward purchasing new medical equipment, including ventilators that have been in high demand as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The funding will also go towards supporting frontline healthcare workers and isolated Canadians like seniors.
- All roaming charges (i.e., EasyRoam, Travel Passes and pay-per-use fees) are waived for postpaid Telus customers outside North America
- Customers roaming inside North America (U.S., Mexico, Caribbean and Central America) will not have roaming charges waived
- Consumer and small business customers financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will be provided flexible payment options
- Nearly all storefronts and mall kiosks have been closed, with critical services available at select locations
- Telus Health offers Babylon, a free app that helps you identify symptoms and even connect residents in Ontario, BC and Alberta with a licensed doctor by video chat Google Play– Apple Store
- The new Telus Talks Health podcast discusses the COVID-19 pandemicand how to limit the emotional impact on your life
- The Telus Friendly Future Foundation has announced a $10 million commitment to improve public healthcare capacity and response across Canada
- Telus Mobility’s response also applies to customers of Koodoand Public Mobile, although all storefronts and kiosks for those two brands will be closing until further notice
- Telus posted the company’s response and FAQ about the COVID-19 pandemic on their site
Shaw Communications, the parent company of Freedom Mobile, initially closed all retail storefronts and kiosks on March 16, 2020 On March 20, Freedom Mobile reopened 14 stores to assist customers with emergency needs. Limited retail stores, dealer and partner locations that are open can be located on Freedom Mobile’s Find A Store page, but call ahead to confirm they’re open. Special offers on their site are available to existing customers online or over the phone
- Freedom Mobile is donating $1 million to support Community Food Centres Canada
- Customers with 3GB of Freedom LTE data or less (including plans with no data) will receive an extra 2GB for 30 days; the data is activated by logging into MyAccountor by responding to Freedom Mobile’s text message
- Over 100,000 Go WiFi hotspots are open and freefor Canadians who need to access the internet
- Freedom Mobile will offer flexible payment arrangements for customers suffering financial hardship
- Any updates to Freedom Mobile’s COVID-19 response will be posted on their site
- Roaming fees on the Daily Traveller Pass are cancelled till April 20, 2020. Also for customers outside Canada. Some stores are closing temporarily to protect customers, employees and partners Remaining stores will stay open to provide essential services
- Fizz Mobile has posted about COVID-19, but there are no changes to their rates
- Videotron has posted a response to COVID-19 and the page will be updated regularly
- SaskTel is the only Canadian carrier to waive all wireless data overage charges until March 31, 2020 on prepaid and postpaid plans
- Store hours have changed and can be found on the SaskTel Dealers webpage
- Information about the virus and steps SaskTel is taking to respond to customer needs can be found on their web site
CityFone and SimplyConnect
- All long-distance fees to calls within Canada are waived until April 30, 2020
- Travel Packs and any pay-per-use roaming fees in supported countries will not be charged for periods between March 16 and April 30, 2020
- No customers will be suspended or disconnected in the next 90 days, recognizing potential financial difficulties
- Flexible payment options will be made available for those finding difficulty in paying their bills
- Cityfone has up-to-date messaging on their web site, and SimplyConnect also have a page mirroring information for their customers
- International roaming and easyTravel fees are waived travelPack purchases can be refunded if you cancelled your trip
- No services will be suspended or cancelled as a result of late payments
- Flexible payment solutions will be made available
- Long distance charges to anywhere in Canada will be waived for customers not on a nationwide calling plan
- No service suspension fees to small businesses who need to temporarily close
- Full updates availableon the Eastlink web site
- Customers who are currently out of the country will have long distance and SMS charges waived until you come back to Canada, up until May 15, 2020
- The Tbaytel Store will be closed until April 6, 2020
- All changes in service can be found on Tbaytel’s COVID-19 Update page
- Storefronts are remaining open, but with reduced hours
- Any additional changes to service will be reported on their web site
For more details you can browse the websites of these above telecom carriers for latest information. (source: Whistle Canada)