In Ontario nearly all telephone services are managed by Bell Telephone. While there are other telephone suppliers in outlying areas, they rely on Bell’s phone lines and connections to work. You can set up your phone service at Bell’s website. You will be assigned a phone number in the local calling area, and it will be listed in the next publication of the phone book.
This monopoly makes phone rates less flexible than in other areas, but the rates are consistent throughout Ontario. There are several companies offering long distance service plans. While Bell offers a decent long distance program, it is worth considering the rates of other companies. The following are some of the long distance phone companies currently in operation:
- Metro Access Ltd: http://www.metroaccess.com
- Toronto Telecom: http://www.torontotelecom.ca
- Distributel: http://www.distributel.net
To acquire a landline in Toronto, you must get in touch with your landline provider, either by phone or internet. Bell Canada has an extensive online service that allows you to sign up right on their website. Home phone plans range from $20 to $45 per month, depending on the type of services you require. Generally, after signing up for home phone service, a 24 hour wait is required while your phone line is checked for potential problems, and your phone number is entered into the system.
Cell phone service and coverage in the Toronto area is excellent, with several different companies providing cell phone service. Some service plans cover a specified amount of airtime for local and long distance calling. Others are set up as pre-paid plans where you buy cards from local stores and use the minutes as you go. Either way, you need to purchase a plan with one of the cell phone companies before you can use your phone.
Most plans offer special deals on the purchase of a new phone as a part of their introductory package. Be aware that many of these packages require you to sign a contract, forcing you to stick to your current company and plan for a set period of time. Services such as text messaging, dial tone downloads and internet browsing cost extra. If you plan to use these features on a regular basis, be sure to choose a plan that supports them.
- Bell: http://www.bell.ca
- Telus Mobility: http://www.telusmobility.com
- Fido: http://www.fido.ca
- Koodo: http://www.koodomobile.com
- Rogers: http://www.rogers.com
- Virgin Mobile: http://www.virginmobile.ca
- Yak: http://www.yak.ca
To sign up for a cellular phone service, you must go in person to your provider’s nearest location. Once there, you will be required to show identification such as government issued photo ID and a major credit card. You must also provide proof of your current address, either through your government issued ID or a recent utility bill that has your address listed. A cellular representative is required to take you step-by-step through your plan and the necessary payments before you sign onto the plan of your choice.
Those expats from the U.S should take note that no Canadian provider offers a “call anywhere in Canada” service, and that long distance charges will apply if you try to call anywhere outside your area code.