Wireless Carrier Buying Guide
Wireless Carriers 101
Canadian Wireless Carriers
- Be sure you plan fits your coverage needs
- Analyze your previous bills to determine your average monthly usage and adjust your plan accordingly
- Don't buy extras that you don't need
- Families can save money by choosing family plans
- Use Wi-Fi whenever possible to save on data usage. Going over your rate will cost extra
- Be aware that roaming fees can apply outside your service plan's coverage area
Wireless Carrier Features
GSM stands for Global System for Mobile Communications. It’s an older wireless standard that accounts for more than 80% of the wireless market around the world. In Canada, Rogers Wireless operates a network based on the GSM standard.
CDMA stands for Code Division Multiple Access. Like GSM, it is an older wireless standard. Although GSM has more market share internationally, CDMA is the dominant standard in the United States. In Canada, Bell Mobility and Telus Mobility both operate CDMA networks.
HSPA stands for Evolved High-Speed Packet Access. It allows for the faster data speeds required for wireless Internet transmission. HSPA also provides improved battery life and faster wake-from-idle time. Rogers Wireless, Bell Mobility and Telus Mobility all operate HSPA networks.
LTE, which stands for Long Term Evolution, is an even faster standard for wireless communications. Rogers and Bell introduced LTE networks in 2011, while Telus rolled out its LTE network in 2012 through a partnership with Bell.
A postpaid wireless phone plan is a plan that must be paid up in full at the end of each month. The user is billed a flat rate up to a specified limit of phone minutes, text message and data usage. If the user exceeds the limit, additional charges apply. Most postpaid wireless plans require the user to enter a long-term contract (two to three years in duration) with the wireless provider, but some plans offer monthly contracts.
A prepaid wireless phone plan is a plan paid for in advance. The billing period can vary, but often it is a month in duration. The user can talk, text and surf the Web until the prepaid credit is used up. Afterwards, the service will stop working until additional credit is purchased.
Talk, Text and Data +
With a talk, text and data plan, you can do it all. Talk to your friends, stay in touch by text or surf the Web.
Talk and Text +
If you're only going to talk on the phone and send text messages, there's no use paying extra for data. That's where basic talk-and-text plans come in. Choose one that suits your needs.
Video Chat +
Video chat is an application for your smartphone that allows you to see the other person you're talking to. Video chat doesn't use up your phone minutes because it works over the Internet. There are several video chat apps available, including FaceTime (for the iPhone exclusively), Skype and Google Hangouts.