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Discussion Starter #1
Looking for a comparison between various cell providers available in Vancouver and suburbs. Which one is better based upon the following options:

1. Coverage area
2. Plan (# of min, monthly fee, other promotions)
3. Family plan
4. Contract term (Early termination charges)

I am looking to take plan for me and my wife. It will be for one year. How about prepaid connections? Can prepaid connections be used on unlocked phone from US?

Appreciate your help and detailed info :)

...Geek
 

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Sorry, but I'm going to need a lot more information on what you're looking for. Including flanker brands and MVNOs there are more than 15 providers operating in Vancouver at the moment, including Rogers, Bell, Telus, Fido, Virgin, Koodo, Chatr, Solo, Clearnet, Mike, Mobilicity, Wind, Speakout, Petro Canada Mobile, and President's Choice Mobile. Nobody is going to take the time to break down each one for you, so we need to know what you need.

1. Coverage area
All of them have national coverage but roaming features and charges will vary. What kind of coverage do you need?

There are 4 notable networks in Vancouver.

Bell/Telus: This is a shared HSPA network built by Bell and Telus together. It uses the same technology and frequencies as AT&T's 3G/4G network in the USA. It only supports 3G/4G phones, Bell and Telus don't have GSM networks. Carriers using this network include Bell, Telus, Virgin, Koodo, Solo, Clearnet, and President's Choice Mobile. Bell and Telus also have separate older CDMA networks, but they don't sell many phones any more that use that network. Telus also operates a PTT iDen network under the Mike brand.

Rogers: This is a hybrid GSM and HSPA network. It uses the same bands as AT&T for 3G/4G, but because Rogers has a GSM network they can also support T-Mobile or any other unlocked GSM phones for 2G. Carriers which use this network include Rogers, Fido, Chatr, Speakout, and Petro Canada Mobile.

Wind/Mobilicity: Wind and Mobilicity are new independent carriers who both launched Vancouver networks within the last year. Both carriers have HSPA networks operating on T-Mobile's 3G/4G bands, and phones that work on these networks require 3G/4G support. Both carriers have limited coverage and don't extend far beyond Vancouver. Both offer roaming on Rogers' 2G network. Their networks are new, so coverage is often less stable. The trade-off for worse coverage is radically different pricing and generally much lower prices.

2. Plan (# of min, monthly fee, other promotions)
What are you looking for? How many minutes per month? Do you need texting? Data? BIS?

3. Family plan
Some offer this, some don't.

4. Contract term (Early termination charges)
Carriers in Canada require a three year contract for a free phone. One and two year terms will offer almost no discounts in most cases. Some offer a tab system rather than contracts, while some just don't offer discounted phones at all. If you don't sign a contract, some carriers (especially Rogers) will refuse to offer you promotional rates. Virgin, Koodo, and Wind all offer a tab system or no-contract pricing, while Mobilicity, Chatr, Solo, and Clearnet are designed to offer no-contract rates.

All carriers in Canada support unlocked HSPA phones. Some require AT&T 3G frequencies to operate, some require T-Mobile 3G frequencies to operate, and some will work with any 2G GSM phones.
 
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