Telephone and Cell Phone Options for Expats in Vancouver
Setting up a telephone (landline) or wireless service (cellphone) is easy in Vancouver and around British Columbia. However, it is definitely more expensive than you may be used to if you are from outside of Canada. You simply call the provider of choice and the customer service representative will guide you through the process of setting up a new account, choosing which monthly services you would like, and scheduling an appointment for the hook-up/installation. In the case of a landline, your new home may be pre-wired for certain providers, thus, it might just take a simple phone call to get you all set up. Typically, you won’t have to wait longer than 1 week or 10 days to get your new services started. Technicians are professional and friendly and can answer any technical questions you might have about how your new services operate.
Wireless services can be activated immediately by visiting one of the many wireless dealers around town. You can choose from prepaid (pay as you go) plans or signing up for a contracted term/monthly plan (you must sign a contract and will pay a high fee to get out of it before the term is up; terms are generally 3 years). For those relocating temporarily, prepaid would be the way to go, although typically it costs more and you must also purchase the phone rather than getting it for free, as with many monthly plans. Rates start at around 20 cents/minute for prepaid plans.
Shaw–Digital Home Phone
1067 West Cordova
Tel: 1-888-472-2222 (Customer Care)
Services: Digital Home Phone (also digital TV and internet)
Rates: From $19.95/month Digital Phone Basic (bundled prices)
Comments: Reasonable rates; inquire about current or ongoing promotions.
TELUS–Home Phone + Wireless
Tel: 604-310-2255 (Residential Service)
Wireless Website: http://www.telusmobility.com/en/
Services: Home Phone and Wireless (also TV and Internet)
Home Phone Rates: From $25.00/month Home Phone + Long Distance
Wireless Smartphone Plans: From $50/month voice + data
Wireless Plans: From $20/month voice
Wireless Prepaid Rates: from 20 cents/minute
Comments: Good value for the cost; satellite TV available; inquire about current or ongoing promotions.
Rogers–Wireless + Home Phone
Services: Wireless (also home phone and mobile internet)
Wireless Smartphone Plans: From $40/month voice + data
Wireless Plans: From $30/month voice + messaging
Wireless Pay As You Go Rates: From 15 cents/minute, option to pay by the minute, day, or month, smartphone Pay As You Go plans available
Comments: Specific phones offered for free or a low price with 1-3 year contract; pay-as-you-go plans more expensive than monthly plans; wireless service rates significantly more expensive than in the U.S. (50% higher).
1100 Robson Street, Suite 101
Services: Wireless (also TV and mobile internet)
Wireless Smartphone Plans: From $50/month voice + data, $40/month Blackberry only
Wireless Rates: From $30/month
Wireless Prepaid Rates: From 30 cents/minute
Comments: Best way to set up or inquire about new services is to visit a Bell store, locations around the city; Robson Street store is centrally located in the downtown.
Wireless Smartphone Rates: From $30/month
Wireless Rates: From $20/month talk and text
Wireless Prepaid Rates: From 10 cents/minute, From $10/month, option to pay by the minute, day, or month
Comments: Good customer service; low or no system access fees.
Tel: 1-888-945-3436 (Weekdays 9 am to 9 pm, Weekends 9 am to 6 pm)
Services: Wireless (and mobile internet)
Wireless Plans: From $15/month
Wireless Smartphone Plans: Call for rates 1-888-481-FIDO
Wireless Prepaid Rates: From 30 cents/minute, From $10.75/month, option to pay by the minute, day, or month
Comments: No system access fees; no contract necessary.
Long Distance Calling
Shaw and TELUS both have competitive long distance calling, with rates to the U.S. as low as 4 cents per minute. But sometimes you might prefer to use a calling card, or you may opt to not have a landline. Calling cards are available everywhere and anywhere, including London Drugs, Shoppers Drug Mart, and any kiosk or convenience store. Try to get one without a connection/access fee.
Skype is a great way to save money on long distance because it’s completely free, as long as you have high speed internet access and, of course, a computer. Skype is also now available for smartphones, with different applications for Android, iPhone, and other phones such as Blackberry. Skype can be downloaded here: http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/get-skype/on-your-computer/windows/ (Skype is available for Mac and other systems).
It is possible to rent cellphones, which may come in handy in the early days of getting settled in. Canada Wide Communications is located in North Vancouver and rents out different types of cellphones, as well as two-way radios and satellite phones.
Location: 399 Mountain Hwy, North Vancouver, B.C., V7J 2K9