The telephone and the Internet in Canada

When you go to a country for more than one or two months, also, the question of the telephone in Canada must be raised. For those who arrive in Canada on PVT, this is one of the first things to take care of, especially if you want to find work or housing.

Telephone in Canada

French or Canadian phone number

Do you have a French mobile phone? It will only be able to operate in Canada if it is tri-band (connection to French, European and American networks). If so, you may as well take it with you because it will prevent you from buying one on the spot. If it is not able to receive other SIM cards, remember to have it unlocked in France before leaving. If you do not want to take your French laptop (or if it is not tri-band), you can buy a phone in Canada. You can find them in all specialist stores and in some supermarkets. For a very basic phone, count from about $40 to $70.

Which formula to choose?

Once you have your mobile phone in hand, you have several possibilities to call:

For a short stay

You have two solutions: Keep your subscription with your French operator (and therefore your phone if it is tri-band) and take the "World" option for the duration of your stay. This solution may be suitable for short stays (1 to 2 months) but is generally quite expensive. However, some operators such as Free offer some more appropriate options. Ask your operator for more information. Whatever your phone is, you can buy a prepaid card, and supermarkets offer it. Their operation is explained in the operating instructions. Some operators such as Fido or Virgin, for example, also offer non-binding packages, so you can take and stop whenever you want. You can check and learn more about the best prepaid SIM card in Canada.

If you stay long enough

For stays longer than 3 months, prepaid cards will be too expensive for you, the best thing to do is to take out a telephone subscription in Canada. There are traditional subscriptions and cards with a certain number of hours of communication, which you can top up regularly.

Which mobile phone operator?

For the subscription, you have the choice! There are large operators that cover almost all areas such as Bell, Rogers, Telus Mobility and Fido. They will obviously be a little more expensive (the Fido rates are still very correct, however). Smaller operators may be cheaper, but their coverage is also less important:
  • Virgin or Wind mobile in Ontario
  • Koodo mobile, Mobil City, Solo Mobile or MTS Mobile for Manitoba
  • Spint Canada or Videotron for Quebec City
  • Aliant for the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, Newfoundland & Labrador
  • SaskTel for Saskatchewan and Mobilicity or Public Mobile for urban areas
Be careful, the phone in Canada works with slightly different packages because some free services in France may be charged here, such as incoming calls, voicemail, number display, etc. It's up to you to find the formula that suits you best!

Telephone in Canada: having a fixed line

Get a phone line in Canada

It is very easy to have a fixed telephone line in Canada. Just call a local company and answer their questions. They will deliver a device and directories to you. Commissioning (more or less expensive depending on the company) is generally done within 48 hours. The monthly subscription is very affordable. But be careful, your subscription usually only includes local calls. Long distance (and international) calls are often overcharged. Ask before you choose your operator.

Which telephone providers in Canada?

There are many operators: Rogers, Bell, Telus, and many small local providers.

Need for a fixed telephone

A priori, you will be able to settle for a mobile phone, especially since you are not obliged to open a line to have Internet. Mobile operators offer attractive packages. As in France, they include local, long-distance (or even international) calls + high-speed Internet + television + fixed line. It's the best option if you stay in the same place for a long time and need all this.

Useful numbers

  • 0: if you have a problem, you will come across an operator.
  • 411: to obtain telephone information.
  • 911: for emergencies (police, fire and ambulance).
  • Numbers starting with 800 are free of charge.
  • Calling from a public phone: 50 cents per call.

Call in Canada

In Canada, each telephone number is composed of 7 digits preceded by a 3-digit area code, for a total of 10 digits.

Call to Canada from abroad

001 + number of the correspondent with the code

Call from Canada to other countries

011 + country code (33 in France) + correspondent number (without the 0 for France).

To call from a mobile phone to a foreign country

Calling from a mobile phone abroad with a basic plan will be terribly expensive. We strongly advise against this. To call abroad, you have two economically interesting solutions: Buy a prepaid card; there are several types and amounts. You can find them in all grocery stores, convenience stores or supermarkets. Using Skype is the best way to do it, free of charge with sound and picture as a bonus. There are also smartphone applications that allow you to make free calls from your mobile (Whatsapp, Viber, etc.).

What about the Internet?

The Canadian Internet ranks poorly among other developed countries, both in terms of data transmission speed and high cost. Forget about your unlimited French boxing! Here the prices are more expensive and the services offered are often less advantageous. However, the situation is tending to improve with increasing competition from operators. Among the leaders are Bell, Telus and Vidéotron. However, you can easily find the same services as them but at a lower cost with smaller access providers such as Radioactif, AEI, Primus, Distributel, etc. It is important to take the time to compare the offers before you decide. Namely:
  • Although you do not have to give it to the telephone companies, the NAS number is systematically required to subscribe to a package, except for the Fido company.
  • Be careful, find out about the different operators if you go to the north of the country because the network can be more difficult to get!
  • To see if your phone is unlocked, simply put the chip of another operator than yours and wait to see if it works with it.
  • For internet on your smartphone, there are many free wifi spots in big cities but also in cafés, airports, libraries, etc.
  • Many packages include unlimited evening and weekend calls (incoming and outgoing).
How to make a phone call and receive calls from abroad cheaply?
How to have telephone and internet when travelling?

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