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Phone network in Canada – How to choose the right carrier

Last updated on December 17, 2023

Are you looking for a phone network to use while traveling to Canada? So you don’t have to set foot in Canada to start learning, you can find out and choose a network operator while still in Vietnam. So how to choose a reasonable carrier for your needs? In this article, I will guide you.


In the article, I will mention the concept of BYO (Bring Your Own Device), which means you already have a phone and just want to make a sim and choose a service. Otherwise, they will automatically understand that you want to buy SIM + Plan + Phone by default. Contrast Vietnam, right? Hehe.

In addition, I will mention data services or data packages. This is actually 3G, 4G capacity similar to Vietnam. For example, say a 4GB data package means you have 4GB of 3G or 4G network to access the internet on your phone.

Phone networks in Canada

In Canada, when you use your phone, you don’t buy a scratch card and then load it up, then use it up and buy a top-up scratch card like in Vietnam. But you will register a phone number and then choose a prepaid plan and use it.

This prepaid package is what I call a “plan”. True to what I call “prepaid”, when you choose a plan for yourself, then you pay that plan monthly. After paying, the plan will run and you will be able to call and text.

Some of you said that there are scratch cards in Canada too. Yes, but this scratch card is in the form of a gift card. You can buy this gift card to give to others or recharge yourself.

But that’s too much trouble, in the age of technology, when choosing a plan, you add a bank card every month, and it is automatically deducted, healthy. Waste of time carrying the car to go out to buy a card and then top up to spend on gas.

Some major phone carriers

In Vietnam, there are only a few state-owned phone networks, but in Canada, there are many private companies with many different brands. In fact, there are only three largest companies: Rogers, Bell, and Telus.

These 3 companies are called “The Big Three” (fun translation: “Three pillars”) of the telecommunications industry in Canada.

Then some of you asked why you go to the mall and see other brands. Well, actually, those companies are “subsidiaries” of the 3 big guys above. Those companies are called “Flanker brands” and the family tree of the three men is as follows:

Phone network in canada
Genealogy of 3 great telecommunications industry leaders in Canada

As you can see, Fido, Virgin, and Koodo are in the 1st generation, so it is called “1st Level Flanker”. Similarly for Chatr (Read as Chat Arr), Lucky and Public Mobile will be in the “2nd Level Flanker” group.

Why are people divided into sub-brands?

All marketing strategies. Small brands at Lv1 usually target a young audience. The same for Lv2 will be for those who only use cheap plans.

Some other phone carriers

In addition to the famous names above, we will come across a number of other brands, such as Freedom, SaskTel network, Videotron…etc.

SaskTel network is Saskatchewan’s only company and coverage is only in SK province. Videotron is a company in the province of Quebec.

As for Freedom, you see more, but it only provides services in a few key cities such as West Ontario; Edmonton, Calgary, Alberta; or the Greater Vancouver Area in the province of BC. Freedom’s packages are much cheaper than the above 3 families, but the quality is also “cheaper”.

Personally, when I was in Calgary, I used Freedom and gave up. The network (wave or 4G) is very weak, only strong when going in the center, going out of the city a bit will drop. Customer service is extremely fake and disrespectful to customers. As for me, I won’t go back to using Freedom no matter how cheap it is.

The difference between levels

Based on their marketing policy, I can refer to the following tiered services:

Three pillars: Roger, Bell, and Telus provide calling and texting packages with data as usual. In particular, in these 3 companies, there are unlimited data packages. That is, for example, if you have 4GB of data, if you use up 4GB, you will not be disconnected from the network, but you can still use the internet but at a slower speed.

In contrast to the Lv1 Flankers (Fido, Virgin, Koodo), I also have basic services such as calling + texting, and data. However, if you use up all the data in the plan, you will lose connection to the internet.

As for the Lv2 Flankers (Chatr, Lucky, Public Mobile), they have basic services but much cheaper prices. They also have packages that only listen to calls and texts, but no data. Even the package limits the time to listen to calls and the number of messages for those who have too little need to make calls but still want to have a phone number for when needed.

Choose a phone carrier

Go “Shop around”

Now I know who the service providers in Canada are. Now I’m going to shop around for each place.

To see the price of each company’s plan, go to their website by following the link below:

I’m currently using Koodo, so I will show you guys how to go to Koodo’s website to see how their service packages are priced. Do the same for other websites.

Step 1: Go to Koodo’s website by following the link above. Create an account and log in (Other similar websites).

Step 2: Click the Shop item on the menu and select Plans.

You will now have the following options:

  • Orange frame: You have a phone and just want to buy a number and choose a plan.
  • Blue frame: You want to buy a phone with a new plan and number.

Whether you choose BYO or Plan to buy the phone, the information below will be similar, including:

  • $32.00 per month is the amount you will pay monthly excluding tax (Tax depends on the province you live in, for example, BC is 12%) for calling and texting services.
  • Pay-per-use data means you pay for as much data as you use Don’t be foolish, this pays 3G to death ).
  • Unlimited minutes is to listen to calls and release the throttle.
  • Unlimited messaging is also loose.
  • 8 GB of Shock-Free Data at 4G speed means you have 8GB of data at 4G speed.
  • Unlimited  Canada-wide minutes: make calls within Canada comfortably.
  • Unlimited international messaging: text to numbers outside of Canada freely.

For all plans:

  • Additional data $13/100 MB: every 100MB you use in excess will be counted as $13 excluding tax.
  • A $50 connection fee applies when purchased in-store: when you go to the store to buy a SIM, you need to pay $50 for the roaming fee. Money people make to connect your number to the public phone network.
  • $0 connection fee when you order online! : Same as above, but if you do it online (do it yourself), it won’t cost you any money.
  • $5 SIM card charge: The cost of the sim card is $5.

For example, I have a need to make calls, send messages and go online. I often watch Facebook or search Google Maps when traveling so I need data. So I will choose the $55.00 package.

Total amount for me to have a phone number and be able to make calls online:

  • Shop: $55 + $50 + $5 = $110 + (12% BC tax) = $123.20
  • Do it yourself online: $55 + $5 = $60 + (12% BC tax) = $67.2

Each month I will have to pay: $55 + (12% BC province tax) = $61.60

Note: In the example above, I chose BYO – Available phone. If you want to buy more phones, in addition to the above service fee, you will have to pay an additional installment payment for the phone you choose.

Buy a phone with a service pack

If you want to buy a phone and pay in installments when you buy a sim card and connect to the network, you can choose from Tab Plus, Tab Mid, or Tab Basic.

Because you want to buy a phone again, often companies will limit the number of packages that you can only use to ensure their profits because they will basically spend money to pay off your phone to the company. phone production. As for the installment payment, you pay them back.

Note: When buying a phone in installments, these service companies often ask you to make a down payment of at least $200, $500 or even $1000. If they only ask for $200 but you want to down $1000 then your monthly installment will be smaller.

The installment period will usually be 24 months to 48 months. The longer it is, the lower the interest rate. There are companies that will have a term of 12 months but the interest rate will be much higher. But I see these days they quit for 12 months.

You can buy in installments at 3 Tam Tru companies or 3 companies at Lv1. And Lv2 usually only has fake phones, folding handles, or Nokia bricks. These are companies for low income or not so much demand for phones.

Tips to get cheap plans from phone carriers

Tip 1:

You go shopping around the plans between phone companies, you choose the one you like but the price is higher than the lowest one on the list. Then you call the Customer Service of that company to show that you want to buy from them but their price is higher than the other party. You ask them to give you a better price. 80% of you will get them for better prices. For example, if you have to pay $55/month, they can reduce it to $50 or $40/month.

Tip 2:

If you are using the Internet or cable TV at a company that company is in the branch of the genealogy above. You can “scream” them so that they discount the plan for you. For example, I use Telus’ internet and Koodo’s phone. I called Koodo to say that I am a customer of Telus, ask them for good phone plans or else I will cut them all. 90% of them will give you a better plan. This depends on your negotiation skills.

Tip 3:

Find another company with a better price than jump over to use. Their companies compete with each other, so they will constantly offer promotions or good policies to entice customers. If you don’t have a contract with any company, you can jump anytime.

You can change carriers but not lose your number

This may sound strange to those who have just passed because, in Vietnam, the phone number follows the network operator, but here the phone number follows you. Which carrier you use is up to you, they don’t have the right to force you to do that. Hehe, the land of liberal democracy.

If you already have a number and need to change carriers. You go to the store or contact the customer service of the company you want to change. For example, I want to change from Koodo to Roger. I’ll call Roger’s CS.

At this time, when you receive your request. They will register your information in the system, choose a plan of your choice, and send a new SIM card to you by mail at the address you will provide them. They’ll give you a phone number for the call center’s switchboard.

Once you receive the SIM, you insert the new SIM into your phone and take another phone and call the Phone Number Management Center at the number given above, then talk to the staff, ask them to change your number from Koodo to Roger. The staff will ask for some account information, IMEI number… etc. You prepare to provide the switchboard staff.

They will do the procedure to change the number and then about 1 hour you will see the new SIM you have activated the phone signal, and now your phone number has been transferred to another carrier.


Based on your phone usage needs, you can choose your carrier and service plans to your liking. As far as I can see, you who belong to the following subjects can choose a network operator in the following direction:

  • Young people: listen to calls and text with girlfriends/boys a lot, surf the web with 3G a lot but don’t have much money to pay the plan => Flanker Lv1
  • Working adults: listen to calls and text relatively, surf the web with a lot of 3G, and have a good income => Three pillars
  • Retired elderly: listen to calls and text less, surf the web with 3G, low-income => Flanker Lv1.
  • Retired elderly: listen to calls and text less, don’t surf => Flanker Lv2.
  • People who just want to listen to calls and text, go online, then catch wifi at home or free on the street => Flanker Lv2.

Thank you for reading all my posts. Please donate to me if I have helped you to add more interesting knowledge.


See more articles: Life in Canada

Published inTips and instructions.🇨🇦 Canada in me

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