Without question, cell phones have become a necessity worldwide. Canada is no exception.
81% of households in Ontario own a cell phone, and 20% have abandoned their house phones. Why? Because they’re totally amazing! Ordering taxis, checking bus schedules, reviewing your list of assignments online, ordering pizza (yes!), translation apps, booking hotel rooms…today’s phones do it all. When you come to study in Canada, a phone is even more important, because you’ll need to stay connected with your friends and family at home. Here is some information to keep in mind when you’re looking get connected:
- There are seven major cell phone providers in Ontario: Bell, Rogers, Telus, Fido, Koodo, Wind, Mobilicity. Here is a site that compares the different cell companies in Ontario. Click on ‘Find a Plan’ to compare prices.
- Each company offers similar phone packages. Some like offer great student packages. Take the time to read each over closely or ask for help. Here are some options that I think look good!
- Try to find a cell plan with unlimited texting. It is the most affordable (and widely used) way to communicate within Canada. Also, Data plans are very useful, especially for students, and are becoming cheaper.
- If you a buy a phone from one of the above companies, then you own it completely and can stop using their services at any time.
- If you prefer, you can receive the phone for free (or at a reduced price), but you will have to sign a longer-term contract that you ‘locked into’. Usually that contract is three years. If you break the contract before your term is up, there is a penalty to pay.
- In order to switch companies, you will need to have the SIM card removed. (A SIM card is a subscriber identity module to identify the cell phone). Most cell phones will do this for you at a small cost.
- Long-distance phone cards are available at every major mall in Ontario. There are also apps that give reduced costs to calls overseas.
Once you have your phone, make sure CultureWorks has your most recent number on file. Give your number to friends and classmates as well, because you will want to have a support network who are easy to reach at all times. Take the time to input important numbers, such as taxis, your landlord, student services, and even the police. Remember your cell phone is a powerful tool for safety. When you sign up for a plan, make sure you can place 9-1-1 calls for extreme emergencies.
Lastly, make sure you get a phone that’s practical, ok? Welcome to Canada! Now get connected and have a blast!