… Apparently not a prepaid plan at all.
This is an oddly-specific thing to shop for, I know. But in case someone reading this is in the market for something similar, I’ve already done the research for you. A buddy’s daughter is getting her first-ever smartphone for her 13th birthday, a hand-me-down from yours truly. So yesterday her dad and I took to the lower-level carrier kiosks of Toronto’s Eaton Centre in search of a suitable provider and plan.
The kid’s requirements are as follows: no data (WiFi only), and as much calling and texting as we can get, for as little per month as possible. If we were purchasing a phone and a plan this would be a no-brainer—we’d pick up an unlocked Moto G or Moto E at Staples and immediately proceed to WIND Mobile, to activate it on their $25 Talk and Text Plan. The vast majority of this new teenager’s communication with her friends will likely be via SMS, WhatsApp or whatever it is kids use these days; voice calls will mostly come from fretful parents wondering where she is.
But alas, there’s a complication: the phone that she’s getting is the made-for-Rogers first-gen LTE Moto G, which I took home from a Moto event this time last year. It’s unlocked (for some reason) but unfortunately doesn’t support AWS. Yes, it’s overkill for a teenager who isn’t going to use LTE but hey, it’s also a free phone.
Heading south from Best Buy (where the mobile agents were all busy) our first stop was the Koodo booth. Their equivalent to WIND’s $25 plan offers free evenings from 7pm and weekends, but no daytime minutes at all. Lame.
Next up was Virgin Mobile, differentiating themselves from an otherwise identical-to-Koodo offering with this:
Bonus Buddies: Earn UNLIMITED Local Talk to one phone number for every 6th payment you make.
Yeah, that’s not confusing at all… Further points should be deducted from Virgin for their hard sell; the rep we spoke to said she’d waive the $10 SIM charge, but only if we activated right then and there. No thanks.
The unlikely winner seemed to be Fido—who, for $27/month, offers unlimited Canada-wide texting and 300 minutes in their lowest-tier postpaid plan. Why can’t they offer it for $25? I guess because then they could be directly compared with WIND, which offers a lot more for the same price.
I have to say that I’m a bit surprised that you can’t get a better deal from the likes of SpeakOut Wireless or one of the other, smaller MVNOs. Petro-Canada Mobility includes free voicemail in their $25/month plan, but only 200 minutes.
And then I found out that for a dollar more than Fido ($28/month) Koodo will also include voicemail, and throw in unlimited evening and weekend calling on top of that. But the Koodo rep at the mall never told us about this option, maybe because it’s also a postpaid plan.
WIND is clearly the best value if you have a compatible device. As for the Big Three, there’s definitely room for improvement at the $25/month price point.