Image of a Smartphone (the Nexus 4)

Updated: Cheap Smartphone Plans in Canada

Cheap Smartphone Plans in Canada are basically non-existant. With that in mind, there are ways you can get cell coverage, texting and data for a “reasonable” price.

Back in January 2013, I wrote about cheap smartphone plans in Canada and laid out what some of the low-usage, low-price options were. Things have changed a little bit since then. Virgin Mobile now has some (slightly) lower cost postpaid (monthly) plans with more minutes and include the tiered data option. So, you can start as low as $20/mon for 50 voice minutes and unlimited texting as long as you don’t use data. Data adds $5/mon for 25MB and it goes up from there. One big plus is they (currently) offer a 10% discount if you are bringing your unlocked phone to their network. Not too bad but still not cheap either.

Oh, but I already said there were no cheap smartphone plans in Canada.

The biggest change right now is in what Koodo is offering for a pre-paid option. It’s no cheaper than any of the others but there’s a twist. With Koodo, you can get a base plan for $15/mon that includes unlimited texting, call display, call waiting and 3-way calling. That seems like a lot but remember, most of the other providers charge $15/mon for unlimited texting. The big catch here (which might work in your favour) is that this does not include voice minutes or data.

Huh? $15/mon and all I can do is text? Well, for some people that might be a really good option. But no, wait, there’s more! They offer bundles that allow you to add voice minutes and data to your plan. Basically, for $25 you get 500 voice minutes and for $35 you get 1GB of data. OK, those sound pretty reasonable and I’ll bet you’re wondering where this is going since that now sounds like an expensive per month cost.

The voice minutes and data rollover as long as you pay $15/mon.

Oh yeah baby, that’s right – the biggest complaint I have is addressed by Koodo. No more paying for data that has a time expiry. That’s right, you buy data in blocks and use it whenever you want without having to worry about exceeding your monthly limit or, even worse, not even using the data you paid for that month!

So, how does this break down? Your ongoing cost is $15/mon no matter what. The first month you drop $35 + $25 = $60 on your bundles. Now, you basically have 41 voice minutes and 83 MB of data per month for an average cost of $20/mon ($15 * 12 + $60 = $240 / 12 =  $20/mon). Hmm, that price sounds familiar but wait, don’t forget that you are also getting unlimited texting included.

So, if your usage is like mine (low voice & low data but periodic spikes in both), Koodo’s new prepaid option is looking pretty good. I’m curious to see if some of the other providers will follow suit.

Note: I’m still with Virgin Mobile prepaid paying $10/mon for 100MB of data on my Nexus 4. My total monthly cost is under $15 but I’m an ultra low voice and minor text user.

Title Image Credit: Janitors

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