Cell Phone Provider in Toronto

Hi all

I’m moving to Toronto in September and in need of a Cell phone. The problem is that I’m very green around the gills when it comes to them! I’ve never owned a cell phone, so I’m not sure if all the providers give all the same options etc.

I’m not getting a land line so this phone will be my primary line, I want to be able to call back to Newfoundland and receive calls from Newfoundland regularly as well as the ability to TXT a lot. This in addition to using it for calls within the city (i don’t foresee there being a huge amount of these in the first few months.)

Can anyone guide me in the right direction, any providers to avoid? etc?


In my experience in the Greater Toronto Area they are all the same (Bell/Telus/Rogers). Fido I have never used but I hear it is fine if you restrict yourself to Toronto area calling only, so I don’t think Fido would fit for you.

For TXTing it really depends on what you mean by a lot, but I would recommend you get a TXTing plan added on. I believe my added plan is like $10 called spark 10 or something. I get 100 text messages, some websurfing thing (I never use my phone to surf), call display and voicemail. I am on Telus.

Telus , Rogers and Bell are the main three providers , there Fido of course but i have not seen any difference between their plans and their owner , Rogers.

Check all three websites and pick and choose what you want from what they offer and then drop in to one of the many dealerships and see if they comp you any goodies.
I should point out as well that there are a couple of minor players in the game as well, Solo , which is owned by Bell and Virgin which leases Bells service and petro canada and 7/11. These will primarily be paygos with options for monthly service.


I’ll suggest Rogers. I should point out that I am biased since both my brother and SIL work for them.

Fido was bought by Rogers and its network was merged with that of Rogers. For me as a Fido user, that meant that I could use a much larger network, which was a huge step up for Fido users. Rogers took over Fido’s large collection of roaming agreements, which was a step up for Rogers users. Otherwise, not much difference.

Rogers/Fido uses the GSM protocol.

Bell and Telus have two competing networks that use the CDMA protocol; their phones are NOT compatible with Rogers. You cannot take a Rogers/Fido phone to Bell or Telus and ask them to activate it. Or vice versa.

Rogers and Fido have the most phones that are usable internationally; if you travel, this may be of importance to you. (Most of the world uses the GSM protocol.)

Fido still has more stylish typography and design than Rogers, though. :slight_smile:

According to Fido’s wireless coverage map, most of the major cities are covered, though not contiguously. Is it possible to call from one city to another city on the network, even if the two cities aren’t part of the same contiguous coverage area? For example, can someone in Toronto call someone in Regina?

Yes. You can call any phone in Canada or elsewhere. A mobile phone only needs the radio link where it is, between it and the cell tower; beyond that, calls use landlines.

Of course, if the phone you’re calling is also a mobile phone, that phone also needs to be turned on and have access to its network and tower. But as long as it has that access, it doesn’t matter where it is. Calls from one tower to another go via landlines.

so through Fido, i would be able to call someone back home?

Consider looking at the “business” phone plans… when it comes to cell phones, they might be more useful for you but the “business” name is misleading enough that you wouldn’t necessarily look. I used to commute from Hamilton to Mississauga, and since the two cities were long-distance to each other, not a single regular plan was appropriate for me. At the time, the “Business 150” plan from Bell suited my needs; reasonably inexpensive for 150 minutes/month anywhere in Canada or the US, any time of day. For a primary phone, that seems worthwhile!

Bell seems to call them the “Canada and North America” plans now:



Generally, (at least as of last November) Bell is more expensive once you factor in service charges and all the extras you might want (the family plan my husband and I now have with Telus came out to about 25-30$ less per month for the equivalent from Bell) though looking at it quickly, they seem to now be similar. I seem to recall Bell not being allowed to lower their prices due to market share/monopoly laws, but maybe I misunderstood that, or perhaps the other companies have taken enough share of the market that it doesn’t apply.

My suggestion? Head to the nearest mall or shopping area, go visit Bell World, the Telus and Rogers (and even Fido) stores, tell them what you want, compare prices for service, then choose your plan and then the phone. You’ll get the best value that way.

If you are thinking of having cable TV, internet and your phone, consider a package deal from Bell (well, satellite TV) or Rogers. Telus doesn’t have tv/internet service. Package deals can save you a lot of money too… we pay about 50$ less per month for (digital)phone/cable/internet than when we paid landline phone separately with Bell.

Shop around, and until you make a choice, just buy a calling card to make your calls!