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Thread: Up-to-date list of Canadian MVNOs? And best unlimited SMS offering.

  1. #1
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    Up-to-date list of Canadian MVNOs? And best unlimited SMS offering.

    I've been a wireless user since I got my first Fido in 1998, and became familiar with MVNOs when Microcell first opened up their network to them in the 2000s. I have a friend who was an early adopter of Cityfone and is with them to this day.

    It got me to thinking, is someone maintaining an up-to-date list of Canadian MVNOs? I found this list: http://www.prepaidmvno.com/mvno-comp...vno-companies/ but it isn't very up to date. In fact, it's so old that Microcell is still listed, suggesting it was last updated prior to Rogers buying Fido! Because my needs are so specialized, shopping around outside of the big 3's discount brands could yield surprising results.

    I need to get a text-only account for work, and so far the best deal I've found is $15 for unlimited SMS on President Choice Mobile prepaid. It doesn't come with even a single minute of airtime or a single KB of data, which is fine in this case as it'll be a customer service account for our customers to SMS us, and data's not relevant because it'll always be in WiFi. I'm hoping that call forwarding is included (or can be inexpensively added), and I'm hoping that I can go on some kind of automatic top-up on a credit card (as opposed to having to buy prepaid cards) but I'm still checking into those details.

    The next best deal I found was Sears Connect postpaid, which was $25/month for unlimited SMS plus some minutes and other services, but 50% off for up to the first quarter of the contract (AKA, with a 2 year contract, $12.50 to start, then $25 for the next 18 months) plus a no-charge Nokia Lumia 520 Windows Phone, which would be very useful (as Windows Phones come with Microsoft Office, would integrate into our corporate SkyDrive, etc.). That works out to a blended rate of $21.88/month for the contract, so not a lot more than the PC Mobile option, Sears Connect definitely comes with call forwarding, and has the benefits of postpaid convenience (if the alternative is that we would have to buy and activate prepaid cards).

    Perhaps there's an even better MVNO option out there if I do a little more legwork, however, and it's legwork I would enjoy doing. So, does anyone have a more current list than the one I found?

    $30/month seems to be the typical minimum offering from the discount arms of the major carriers (Fido, Koodo, etc.,) without doing some kind of song and dance with retention, so $15-22 a month from an MVNO is appealing in comparison, since our needs are so meagre.

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    Since the phone will be connected to WiFi all the time, why not Fongo's unlimited domestic texts for $2/mo? You can even port in your number and/or get the unlock key to route inbound calls thru your office PBX if it supports SIP.

    BTW, if that's "for work", as in you'll be losing money if the service is interrupted, I'd go with big 3. Or Google Voice if your customers are in US and/or are OK with sending texts to US number.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Hurdle View Post
    I've been a wireless user since I got my first Fido in 1998, and became familiar with MVNOs when Microcell first opened up their network to them in the 2000s. I have a friend who was an early adopter of Cityfone and is with them to this day.

    It got me to thinking, is someone maintaining an up-to-date list of Canadian MVNOs? I found this list: http://www.prepaidmvno.com/mvno-comp...vno-companies/ but it isn't very up to date. In fact, it's so old that Microcell is still listed, suggesting it was last updated prior to Rogers buying Fido! Because my needs are so specialized, shopping around outside of the big 3's discount brands could yield surprising results.

    I need to get a text-only account for work, and so far the best deal I've found is $15 for unlimited SMS on President Choice Mobile prepaid. It doesn't come with even a single minute of airtime or a single KB of data, which is fine in this case as it'll be a customer service account for our customers to SMS us, and data's not relevant because it'll always be in WiFi. I'm hoping that call forwarding is included (or can be inexpensively added), and I'm hoping that I can go on some kind of automatic top-up on a credit card (as opposed to having to buy prepaid cards) but I'm still checking into those details.

    The next best deal I found was Sears Connect postpaid, which was $25/month for unlimited SMS plus some minutes and other services, but 50% off for up to the first quarter of the contract (AKA, with a 2 year contract, $12.50 to start, then $25 for the next 18 months) plus a no-charge Nokia Lumia 520 Windows Phone, which would be very useful (as Windows Phones come with Microsoft Office, would integrate into our corporate SkyDrive, etc.). That works out to a blended rate of $21.88/month for the contract, so not a lot more than the PC Mobile option, Sears Connect definitely comes with call forwarding, and has the benefits of postpaid convenience (if the alternative is that we would have to buy and activate prepaid cards).

    Perhaps there's an even better MVNO option out there if I do a little more legwork, however, and it's legwork I would enjoy doing. So, does anyone have a more current list than the one I found?

    $30/month seems to be the typical minimum offering from the discount arms of the major carriers (Fido, Koodo, etc.,) without doing some kind of song and dance with retention, so $15-22 a month from an MVNO is appealing in comparison, since our needs are so meagre.
    For unlimited SMS, you can look to fido prepaid, it's a $10/month addon. Rogers may still offer an unlimited SMS prepaid addon of $85/year which includes 100 voice minutes (for the year).

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    Quote Originally Posted by stangri.bc View Post
    Since the phone will be connected to WiFi all the time, why not Fongo's unlimited domestic texts for $2/mo? You can even port in your number and/or get the unlock key to route inbound calls thru your office PBX if it supports SIP.

    BTW, if that's "for work", as in you'll be losing money if the service is interrupted, I'd go with big 3. Or Google Voice if your customers are in US and/or are OK with sending texts to US number.
    Thanks to your point about it being for work, and how a service interruption or a change of phone number would be really problematic, I've decided against the free services. It also made me consider the big 3 more strongly. I looked into Frongo (since there's actually a cost to it and there's half a hope of it being available down the road), but you can't send SMSs from the PC or Mac client, it seems, and they don't have a Windows Phone client. That said, thank you for putting it on my radar!

    Yes, my work uses Macs for our desktops and laptops, Windows Phone for mobile, and Windows 8 for tablets. We apparently buck the trends on all fronts.

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    Fido's $10/unlimited add-on appears to be for postpaid only (which, when added even to a retention plan, is more money than what we'd budgeted for this), but thank you so much for cluing me into Rogers' $85/year option! And also thank you for pointing out that the 100 included minutes of airtime is for the year, rather than for each month, that's something I could easily have misunderstood if I tripped across the option independently.

    I had actually tried to register with Presidents Choice Mobile a few days ago, and it was a comedy of errors (called the customer service number on the SIM card but it was for post-paid only, was transferred to prepaid customer service, was further transferred and put on hold for over 40 minutes, the phone was finally answered by the fraud prevention department who were confused why I had been transferred to them, they transferred me back to customer service again which had closed 19 minutes earlier... aargh! I emailed them, and they emailed back asking for my phone number and IMEI, even though I had been clear that my problem was trying to sign up in the first place). Then I tried again yesterday, but I was caught up in that big network outage (I'm on Fido). Looks like those trials and tribulations actually saved me as that $85/year prepaid option is absolutely what we're looking for, @stangri.bc's point about going with the big 3* is well taken, and being on Rogers has the benefit of easily moving phones back and forth between the two work accounts (the other being on Fido). Oh, the irony that I'm talking about the reliability of the big carriers, the day after an outage with one of the big carriers stopped me from signing up with an MVNO! But in fairness, an outage with the big carrier will generally take down their MVNOs too.

    A final added benefit: since our work lines are on Fido, but we use Windows Phones, we have to buy them outright (plus a $50 non-customer surcharge) from Rogers as, while Fido doesn't offer Windows Phones, Fido SIMs work in Rogers smartphones (and Rogers has a good select of Windows Phones). Now we'll be a Rogers subscriber and, hopefully, can avoid that $50 surcharge in the future.

    I'm off to sign up for Rogers' $85/year option right now.

    * I'd actually argue it's the big 4 as Fido has about as many subscribers as Rogers, or Telus, or Bell, and (unlike Koodo and Virgin Mobile) Fido has their own corporate headquarters in Montreal, has their own customer service, and is truly full service (include corporate offerings). Rogers Wireless doesn't own Fido: Rogers Communications owns both Rogers Wireless and Fido, and operates them as separate, and equal, subsidiaries.

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    Necro-bump for this thread, but I found a really up-to-date list of Canadian MVNOs: http://www.mvnodynamics.com/mvno-com...vno-companies/

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    Looking for something similar, the least cost solution to an unlimited text plan. Two kids who never talk on the phone, but send 1000-1500 sms/month.

    First glance is that Rogers/PC mobile/Speakout (probably others?) all offer $15/month unlimited SMS/no minute plans. Not sure about various system access fees that will be tacked onto that.

    Speakout, for instance, says you can not renew your monthly plan unless you have a minimum of a $17 balance in your account, does that mean the $2 is charged for something else? Can't easily tell...I also couldn't find the $85/year option mentioned earlier, may be gone now.

    Has anyone else done this exercise? I'd like to hear the results.

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    Quote Originally Posted by guiness View Post
    Looking for something similar, the least cost solution to an unlimited text plan. Two kids who never talk on the phone, but send 1000-1500 sms/month.

    First glance is that Rogers/PC mobile/Speakout (probably others?) all offer $15/month unlimited SMS/no minute plans. Not sure about various system access fees that will be tacked onto that.

    Speakout, for instance, says you can not renew your monthly plan unless you have a minimum of a $17 balance in your account, does that mean the $2 is charged for something else? Can't easily tell...I also couldn't find the $85/year option mentioned earlier, may be gone now.

    Has anyone else done this exercise? I'd like to hear the results.

    The Rogers $85 yearly plan has now increased to 100 per year:
    http://www.rogers.com/web/content/wi...onthlydiscount

    additional fees are for 911 service, you get 100 minutes of calling time for the year, not really a good option except for emergencies.

    The next closest thing would be Telus prepaid, taking the $10/month 2500 sent SMS option
    http://www.telus.com/en/qc/mobility/prepaid/add-ons/

    as with Rogers, 911 fees extra, no additional air time with this option, but any additional airtime you purchase is 15 cents per minute.

    In both cases, SMS is within Canada ONLY. Texting to US or international numbers is extra, but no extra cost to receive texts from Canada or abroad.

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    Necro-bump for this thread, but the old list of Canadian MVNOs doesn't appear to be being updated anymore. Does anyone have a new one they can point me to?
    Lumia 950 XL dual-SIM -- SIM slot 1: Rogers (small business flex data) -- SIM slot 2: Public Mobile ($120/12GB/90 day plan)

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