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Choosing the Right Cell Phone Plan: Some Things to Consider

 
Old 07-18-2009 at 04:59 PM   #1
saukalra
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Choosing the right cell phone plan- Some things to consider
Choosing the Right Cell Phone Plan: Some Things to Consider

BY SAURABH KALRA, MACINSIDERS

Soon it will be the time of the year when you start getting ready for back to school. Getting a new cell phone plan is one of the things many first years will be looking for. It is very important to make the right choice in selecting a cell phone plan as many postpaid cell phone plans come with a 2-3 year contract and there is a huge penalty fees if you wish to cancel your plan before the end of your contract. I got my first cell phone in the beginning of my first year and had to do some research and shop around to get the best plan that met my requirements.

In this article, Iím going to mention some of the tips for choosing a cell phone plan from my own shopping experiences. This can be used as a starting guide for getting the right plan, and I highly recommend doing some further research and understand your needs before selecting your cell phone plan.

Before I go on the tips, Iím going to describe the plan that I chose, as Iíll be referring back to this in the tips. After doing some research and talking to my parents and friends, I got a plan from Koodo Mobile and here are the details of the plan:
  • 100 local minutes, 50 text messages, 7pm Evenings & Weekends. Also including Call Waiting, Conference Calling, 911 and Per-Second Billing- $ 20.00/month
  • Additional add on of unlimited incoming calls- $ 10.00/month
There were no other system access fee or any additional fees that I have to pay and my monthly bill always comes out to be $33.90 (including taxes). Moreover, thereís no fixed term contract involved.

OK, so now Iím going to discuss some things that should be considered before selecting the perfect cell phone plan for you.

1. Pricing of the plan: You will have to decide what is your affordable pricing plan and the purpose of your phone calls. Will you make most of your calls during the week or on the weekend? Will you be calling long distances? All of these factors are important, because you can choose plans based on which situation best fits your needs. This can help you determine which plans are suitable for your needs and save on your phone bills.

Personally, I was commuting from Mississauga to Mac everyday in my first year. I have an Oakville number as a result of which I did not have to pay any roaming charges on incoming calls whether I am in Hamilton or Mississauga. Furthermore by having an Oakville number, if I am at Mac and someone calls from Mississauga, it is a local call for the caller and they donít have to pay any long distance charges (this is one of the benefits few people know about). Note that the opposite is not true- I have to pay long distance charges if I am calling to Mississauga from Hamilton (or from Mississauga to Hamilton) from my cell phone with an Oakville number (I know its weird but hopefully it makes sense). The same is true for Toronto as well if you have an Oakville number.

So if any of you are from Mississauga/Toronto , the best bet is to get an Oakville number with any cell phone plan you choose as youíll have to pay no incoming charges. Having an Oakville number will also be beneficial for the callers in Mississauga/Toronto to call you in Hamilton as they donít have to pay any long distance charges.

2. Calling and other features: You may wish to consider the various calling features that come with the plan. Do you prefer calling your friends/family or rather texting? Are you expecting a lot of incoming calls? If everyone in your family use a cell phone, then a family plan may be a good option. Also if there are some particular numbers you will be calling a lot, you can choose My5 or My10 plans from Rogers or similar plans from other cell phone providers. If you are only using the phone to contact your overseas friends, additional features such as voice mail or call forwarding are obviously redundant for you.

Thus, you should look for a plan that offers limited calling features as such plans may be cheaper than those with additional features. Also if you like calling friends in night time, having free evenings and weekends in your plan is a good option. Personally, I was expecting a lot of incoming calls from my family and friends, so I chose the unlimited incoming calls option in my plan. I do not use much of text messaging, but by having 50 free text messages in my plan, I could text my dad in Mississauga asking him to call me if I wanted to talk to my family (as then nobody would have to pay any long distance charges-explained in point 1).

3. Contracting Period: This is one important area that you would not wish to miss out. This is because majority of the mobile phone plans will require you to sign a contract for a certain time period. In other words, you will be contracted to the service provider for a specified length of time. You must also remember to read everything in the fine print and understand the terms of the contract. If you are unhappy with any of the conditions of the contract, such as the payment terms, it is advisable to find another service provider. Once you sign a contract, you are stuck with that cell phone provider for that specific time and the penalty fees are very high if you choose to cancel you contract in between. I was never a fan of these contracts, so I chose a cell phone provider with no contract.

Taking time to do some research before you visit the stores should prepare you properly. Bring along any questions that you might have about the plans. This will help you to find the best deal for a student phone plan and save the worries of incurring high phone bills.

You may also consider looking into prepaid cell phone plans if you do not call or text a lot.

Good Luck in searching for the right cell phone plan

Remember to try your best to make the right decision in choosing your new cell phone plan so there are no regrets later.

Last edited by lorend : 07-26-2009 at 12:37 PM. Reason: formatting

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Old 07-18-2009 at 05:17 PM   #2
~*Sara*~
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Oooh awesome and so fast, haha ! I was just reading through the thread about that.. .. Great article by the way
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Old 07-19-2009 at 11:27 AM   #3
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Do free evenings and weekends ever encompass long distance calls?
(And you've done a wonderful job on the article )
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Old 07-19-2009 at 11:32 AM   #4
saukalra
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goodnews.inc View Post
Do free evenings and weekends ever encompass long distance calls?
I haven't heard of any plan that includes long distance calls in free evenings and weekends. Unlimited long distance calling is usually a seperate feature that you have to add on your cell phone plan.
Old 07-19-2009 at 11:56 AM   #5
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Like saukalra said, you usually have to add it on. Sadly there's no plan that includes that feature in the free eevnings and weekends :(
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Old 07-22-2009 at 10:56 AM   #6
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One thing to consider for contract length is if you want to do an exchange. I got a new phone before going into first year, and it's on a 2 year contract, because i want to do an exchange in 3rd year, and not pay for a phone I can't use for a year.
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Old 07-22-2009 at 11:10 AM   #7
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Man.. Canada sucks so bad for any sort of communications equipment (internet / phone / cable). Bell and Rogers are raping the market like mad and are now attacking each other with those awful and annoying ads.

I swear, we pay twice as much as the US for cellphone service, and they're already paying waaaay more than the rest of the world.
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Old 07-22-2009 at 12:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ownaginatios View Post
Man.. Canada sucks so bad for any sort of communications equipment (internet / phone / cable). Bell and Rogers are raping the market like mad and are now attacking each other with those awful and annoying ads.
ITA.

Those stupid ads are so annoying. Rogers with their "our home phone is cheaper" and Bell with their "well our blackberries are faster and we have more HD channels so take that" and so on and so forth.

Both companies suck and the only way to get what you want is to be very patient and threaten to cancel if they don't give you what you want. Plus this works better if your contract is over/coming to an end.

Plus there are no real other options. For wireless for example people think oh I can get Koodo or Fido or Solo but really those are just subsidiaries of the big 3. Koodo is owned by Telus and Fido and Solo are owned by Rogers and Bell respectively. Either way one of these companies is getting your money. You just have to see which of them will give you the best ripoff.

When our family contract ended with Rogers earlier this year we told them they didn't have what we wanted for a decent price and we were planning on switching. This got them to finally listen, they sent our call to the retention department (trained to keep customers) and we got what we wanted. Unlimited text, 100 weekday minutes, unlimited evenings after 6 pm, unlimited between us calling (myself, mother, sister), 500 long distance between us minutes (this was useful when I was in residence) and unlimited weekends. Plus she gave us a student discount which we were never told about before by other reps. She said all we had to do was give us a valid student # and my sister and I would get our plans for cheaper. It is affordable for us now and we get what we want, before they gave us a really shitty family plan and it wasn't a good deal. It's sad that the only way to get really good service and get a good plan was to say we wanted to switch providers.
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Old 07-22-2009 at 08:29 PM   #9
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does anyone not have a cellphone? i don't have one and people are often pissed off at me for that.
Old 07-22-2009 at 08:55 PM   #10
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^ I don't have one either lol. yea, people do get pissed at me too haha.

BTW, this could be a very stupid question: to get an oakville number, do i need to go to a store in oakville? or can i ask for one in toronto?
Old 07-22-2009 at 09:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caliver View Post
^ I don't have one either lol. yea, people do get pissed at me too haha.

BTW, this could be a very stupid question: to get an oakville number, do i need to go to a store in oakville? or can i ask for one in toronto?
You can surely get an oakville number in a toronto store (I got mine in mississauga, so there shouldnt be any problem). Just tell them you want an oakville number.

Last edited by saukalra : 07-22-2009 at 09:08 PM.

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Old 07-22-2009 at 11:50 PM   #12
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I found a really good solution for a long distance plan and I use it to make phone calls home daily. Its called Worldline is company based in Canada. http://www.worldline.ca/

For $3.95 per month (+ a one-time activation fee) you can make unlimited long distance calls ANYWHERE in Canada and the US. Here are the features: http://www.worldline.ca/unlimited_call_canada .php

With this plan you can add one land line and one cell phone (the price doesn't change) - but both have to be in the same. You can also switch which phones have this "special long distance plan" should you change numbers, or live from home during the summer.

How it works is you dial the access number, and then listen to a small advertisement, then dial the number of the person you want to call.

This really beat spending $5 phone cards for only 200 minutes, which costs can pile up if you talk as much as I do.
Old 07-23-2009 at 02:14 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ownaginatios
Man.. Canada sucks so bad for any sort of communications equipment (internet / phone / cable). Bell and Rogers are raping the market like mad and are now attacking each other with those awful and annoying ads.
Couldn't agree more. I've looked at cell phone rates in the US and across the pond and Canadians are definitely being ripped off. The sad thing is there isn't much we can do about it if we need these services. Wish more companies would spring up just to make the big 3 really have to work to keep their customers.

Does anyone know whatever happened to amp'd Mobile? They had some really cool handsets, but their rates were definitely on the pricey side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sinthusized
does anyone not have a cellphone? i don't have one and people are often pissed off at me for that.
Hahaha...right now, I can think of about 2 or 3 people I know who don't have cell phones and/or laptops. Trust me when I say others tend to get frustrated at them for that.

===================== ===========

For anyone who's looking at Koodo, keep in mind that while there's no contract, their handsets aren't truly $0 even though their website/literature may say that.

Koodo puts the cost of your phone on a tab and when you get your bill each month, 10% of the charges are put towards paying off your tab. This means that although there isn't a fixed-term contract, if for example you choose their $15/mth plan and a handset that costs $150, it'll take you 8 years to pay off your tab in full.

If anyone's looking to go prepaid, I suggest either PC Mobile
(yes, President's Choice) or Virgin.

Rate-wise, PC Mobile trumps pretty much all prepaid companies because they're the only ones who still offer $0.20/min. rates while everyone else charges anywhere from $0.30-$0.40/min.

In terms of handset selection, Virgin has a wider assortment than PC Mobile, plus they also have pay-by-the-month prepaid plans if you need a certain number of anytime minutes. Both companies include free call display and voicemail with their wireless services and don't charge e-911 fees others might tack on.

Hope this helps with the decision-making!

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Old 07-23-2009 at 09:43 AM   #14
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If you want to get the little extras the big companies don't tell you about, go to T-Booth. They sell the phones of the big 3 at the same prices (you go under Rogers/Bells contract) but they make sure you get the best deal for you. For myself and family, we are on the Rogers family plan. So unlimited everything between us, free evenings and weekends (since I am a student we get early evenings for free), My5 (free call and text), 200 minutes/mth each plus 100 pooled minutes. So my part of the bill usually comes out to just the system access fees plus a little bit here and there.
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Old 07-23-2009 at 11:29 AM   #15
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do rogers or fido offer any kind of student discount? or student plans?

also, does mcmaster do anything related to student specials on cell phones? i've heard some universities do...
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