Canadian Cell Phone Service Recommendations

Canadians have traditionally been stuck with one of the least competitive (and thus most expensive) mobile phone service markets in the world.

Fortunately, there a few cracks of daylight starting to show, with a handful of newer carriers offering much more reasonably priced plans. And by supporting competition like this, the entire market will be forced to lower prices, a win for almost everyone.

These recommendations are maintained by Christian Smith, creator of Coverage Critic, with substantial crowdsourced input from the MMM community.

“I want decent coverage at a low price.”

Public Mobile runs over Telus’ network and offers excellent prices. Most Public Mobile plans are limited to what the company calls “3G speeds.” Data access on these plans will be throttled to a maximum of about 3Mbps. That speed is much slower than the speeds today’s networks usually offer, but 3Mbps is fast enough that most subscribers won’t find internet performance to be sluggish.

Public Mobile doesn’t offer conventional customer support. Instead, customers can make use of support documents, a community forum, and a ticketing system.

Public Mobile offers a wide range of plans stretching from a low-use plan for $15 per month to a $50 per month plan with 8GB of data.

They also have a referral program, so if you do sign up be sure to save your code and share it around with your friends.

To get your own signup bonus, you are welcome to use the code 9MNRWQ, courtesy of my Canadian friend and occasional MMM contributor Mr. Frugal Toque.

Example plan: Unlimited calls and texts with 1GB of data for $25 per month.

Visit Public Mobile’s Website

“I want a solid all-around experience without breaking the bank.”

Koodo Mobile is a flanker brand of Telus. Koodo offers a very user-friendly experience with service that is generally much cheaper than service offered by the Big 3.

Example plan: Unlimited calls and texts with 5GB of data for $50 per month.

Visit Koodo’s Website

“I’m usually in cities, don’t mind lackluster coverage, and want to save money.”

Freedom Mobile has a fairly small network with coverage in many of Canada’s densely populated areas. The carrier also has roaming agreements that allow for service in other parts of Canada.

Freedom Mobile’s plans vary in how much roaming access they allow on other companies’ networks. Those who live within a Freedom coverage area may be able to get a good deal with Freedom Mobile’s low-cost plans.

Example plan: 100 minutes, unlimited texts, and 250MB of data for $15 per month.

Visit Freedom Mobile’s Website

“I live in Quebec or the Ottawa area.”

If you live in Quebec or Ottawa, you may be within Fizz’s subscription area. While Fizz’s subscription area is limited, many of Fizz’s plans provide service in other parts of Canada so long as the majority of a subscriber’s phone use takes place within the subscription area.

Example plan: Unlimited calls and texts with 2GB of data for $32 per month.

Visit Fizz’s Website

Further Details

Example plans: Choosing an example plan and example price for each carrier can be difficult. Not all taxes, fees, promotions, and discounts are necessarily accounted for. The examples often assume purchases are made online. Pricing for Public Mobile may be lower than the example pricing in certain regions.

Limiting data: Since mobile data tends to be expensive in Canada, I strongly advise limiting data use when possible.

A work in progress: This set of recommendations is newer and not as thoroughly researched as the other lists of the best cell phone plans found on MMM and Coverage Critic.

  • Dan July 8, 2020, 2:40 am

    I recommend Zoomer Wireless, which is a flanker brand for Rogers.

    800 minutes, unlimited text, 5GB LTE data for $36/mo. You can even access the “extended network” for greater coverage, which allows you to roam onto Telus and Bell towers for free.

    One caveat, this plan is a “promotional offer”, although they seem to offer it every other month.

  • Ben July 26, 2020, 5:59 pm

    Koodo’s prepaid plan is the best kept secret in Canada. I’ve been on it for a couple of years and saved a bunch of money. The base amount is $15/month which includes unlimited texting. From there, you add boosters for talk and text. The best part is, the boosters never expire as long as you keep paying the monthly service fee. I rarely use phone minutes; I still have half of the 600 minutes that I bought last year for $30. I go through data faster, but a 1 GB booster ($30) will last me 2 or 3 months. Between home and work, I’m rarely off WiFi. I convinced my mother-in-law to switch and she’s had the same talk and data boosters for over a year, just paying the monthly amount. A final benefit is that you can purchase talk, text, and data boosters for USA (also never expire). These are a bit more expensive than the Canadian equivalents but very reasonable for a trip to the States. Far better than the roaming rates you’ll pay from the big carriers.

    Adding boosters is easy to do online or by phone using a credit card. If you attach a credit card to your account and do automatic top-ups (i.e. enough $/month to maintain your account) you save 10% on the monthly amount. I don’t know if this was a promotion, but it’s still active on my account. So effectively I pay $13.50/month for the basic service.

    I hope this helps someone else save money!

    • Mr. Money Mustache July 31, 2020, 10:33 am

      That’s an okay base cost but YIKES, 30 bucks a gig for data!?

      It would work for some people who rarely travel, but even at my frugal level which is about a sixth of what most people use, I’d still be running up a crazy phone bill.

      What are your opinions on this versus Public Mobile?


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