ATTN Students in Canada – Save on your student phone plans. Find out The BEST student phone plan available in Vancouver, BC.
If you’re arriving in Vancouver for your studies this year or if you’re looking for a competitive student phone plan to switch towards, we hope this resource will help you!
TL;DR/101 => We have taken careful consideration to finding the best student phone plan in Vancouver, and Canada at large. You won’t go wrong with these choices for student phone plans in Canada.
(1) Rogers Student Phone Plan –
(2) Fido (Rogers) Student Phone Plan –
(3) Koodo (Telus) Student Phone Plan –
(4) Virgin Mobile (Bell) Student Phone Plan –
(5) Freedom Mobile (Shaw/Wind Mobile) Student Phone Plan –
Discussion Questions (10 Marks Total): There are generally few options available for cellular service providers in Vancouver or Canada for that matter relative to other countries like Britain. A few years ago, the government of Canada, tried to increase competition by encouraging budget carriers to enter the market with their reserved spectrum auction.
(Optional Further Readings – for your reading pleasure
1 – as of 2015, new wireless service providers in Canada control 25% of the wireless spectrum relative to 98% by the big 3 tel-com providers back in 2006. This was an intentional move by the conservative government to introduce competition with cellular service providers and hence reduce prices for consumers. It has worked; introducing new national and regional players and forcing Bell, Rogers, and Telus – known as the big 3 incumbents – to reduce their cellphone plan prices. The process have significantly reduced the prices for student cellphone plans in Vancouver and Canada. An interesting read if you want to learn more about the inception of wireless service in Canada, the determined push to increase competition and reduce prices for consumers by reserving/giving spectrum to new players, or learn more about projected growth of wireless services in Canada.
2 – Following turbulent times for new cellphone providers in early 2015, Wind Mobile, was sold to Shaw in 2016, making it the 4th largest wireless network provider in Canada. The acquisition of Wind Mobile by Shaw and re-branding as Freedom Mobile provides Canadians and students like yourself with a viable competitor. Freedom Mobile plans to be investing into their current network quality with new spectrum and increasing antennas.
3 – The Liberal government is planning to follow suite and reserve 40% of the new spectrum auction for smaller cellular providers such as Freedom Mobile and Videotron/Quebecor. This all makes to say that Freedom Mobile can be a very probable contender for student phone plans in Vancouver where competitive pricing is concerned.
4 – See how prices for phone plans in Canada compare to various developed countries globally.
5 – An interesting article on Globe And Mail visualizing how wireless phone plans have been getting cheaper for students like yourself! Largely thanks to the Conservative Government move to increase competition in the oligopoly which wasn’t so popular then.
“…Wall report as proof its policies on the wireless industry have led to lower prices since 2008, which was the first year the study was conducted as well as when Ottawa held an auction for cellular airwaves that reserved a certain amount for new players.”
“Finally, compared with prices paid in the U.S., Europe, Australia and Japan, the report found “Canada’s mobile wireless prices once again rank on the high side of the international group of countries included in the study.””)
1) Evaluate what increasing competition in the wireless industry means for you as the consumer? (5/10 Marks)
Understandably, the major cellphone service providers still provide better coverage and a full spectrum of services – overall value package with store accessibility, online platform/account management, and perks like free Spotify or content streaming. However, at least now you have lower cost cellphone plans for students and budget student cellphone plans options available to you! The increase in competition have also notably resulted in better customer service and customer policies for the three incumbent cellular service providers in Canada such as Rogers.
2) Evaluate if the increased competition with student phone plans have been effective? Explain your reasons. (5/10 Marks)
This worked reasonably well in improving customer service, network performance, and reducing costs for consumers however Canada is still noted as one of the most expensive cellular service plans. The bigger firms also begun to purchase these smaller organizations. The government then proceeded to legislate some laws that helped consumers in this space such as maxing contract terms from three years to two years. (so cellular companies can’t sign you on for three year plan with the incentive for a phone and then get you stuck on an excessive plan cost for three years.) These all have helped with the pricing of student cellphone plans in Canada and Vancouver however it still helps for you to know which cellphone companies excel in customer service, which cellphone companies provide the best value for their plans, and what are the perks or claw-backs of going with one network over another such as Freedom Mobile compared with Rogers?
The BEST Student Phone Plans in Vancouver:
So in the next few paragraph, we’ll be sharing our honest, non-sponsored, and genuine recommendation for the best student phone plan in Vancouver or Canada. We hope it helps you make a decision easier.
30% – Network Performance/Coverage: There’s little more frustration than not getting signal when you need it!
30% – Customer Service: We like to feel good. Good customer service can avoid spoiling your day and save you time. Time whether you’re a professional or student often seems too short. Last thing you want is wasting your time on call centers should you need them.
20% – Prices: Prices are important but your time is more important. Most prices for cellphone plans do not deviate that much between the legacy providers (Big Three – Rogers, Telus, Bell). There is a significant price reduction for their subsidiary brands (Fido, Koodo, Virgin Mobile, ChatR) and then a significant price difference for the budget or newer cellular provider (Freedom Mobile). Most of the other new cellphone providers were acquired by the larger brands earlier such as Mobilicity rebranded as ChatR and acquired by Rogers.
Each provider recommended is listed with two plans currently available. It’s hard to determine your data usage; on average, cellphone users consume 2.9 GB of data monthly. There are likely two groups of student cellphone users…one that is cost-conscious and want reliable service with data for apps (and Google searches), and two the tech-savvy student willing to splurge a little for more data toggled with WiFi usage to ensure seamless convenience and watching dog videos on Youtube/Facebook or in class Google searches. Hence, for comparison we shared the current plans and prices available for a low-usage plan and for a higher usage plan.
10% Phones Available on Contract – Some people love to get the latest technology and the thought of getting a free phone. Phone plans are limited to a two year contract (previously three). Many budget cellphone providers like Freedom Mobile do not have access to certain phones such as the iPhone. Some budget cellphone providers such as Fido, Koodo, or Virgin Mobile have higher up-front prices for their contract phones.
10% Perks & Convenience -Perks are nice. Convenience also includes their online account management because as with most millennials and even beyond millennials, we do most of our banking and errands or cellphone plan management online.
1) Rogers: Rogers is the leading cellphone service provider in Canada. They have over 10 million subscribers in Canada for their prepaid and post-paid cellphone plans with good reason. The rates are competitive to Canadian standards and not much farther from budget carriers when comparing the overall value of their services. Rogers have made their focus on (1) network and (2) customer service and it shows, which is why they score so highly on our evaluation.
If you’re looking for a reliable student cellphone plan at an affordable price then your first choice would be Rogers if budget permits. If you’re willing to take some risk and dropped calls then Freedom Mobile would be the cheapest option on an LTE network.
(I am personally using Rogers’ on their share-everything plan and have been satisfied thus far with the customer service and coverage of their wireless service.)
Low Data Usage – 500 MB Data & Unlimited Local Calling @ $50/Month (No Tab)
High Data Usage – 2 GB Data & 300 Local Weekday Minutes @ $70/Month (No Tab)
Coverage: With 10 million subscribers, you can be sure Rogers has one of the best cellphone coverage in Canada. They also have good roaming partnerships abroad with Roam like Home in United States (at $5/day)
No concerns about coverage or receptivity during my three years using Rogers in Canada. The only time I had issues with data were underground like at Bentall Towers in Vancouver.
Service: Great customer service. Rogers have been focusing a lot on their customer service and investments to improve their network and it shows. They have one of the highest client retention in the country for cellphone plans. Of course, customer service depends on who you’re talking to – I have had frustrating customer service from Rogers in my three years of using Rogers as well but mostly positive.
Perks: Not many perks available with Rogers however you do get reliable student cellphone plans in Vancouver for a reasonable price. Great phone coverage and a broad selection of phones on contract. Certain Share Everything plan also provide free Spotify subscription and Texture (magazine) subscription for 6 months. If you’re a hockey fan you’ll enjoy the Rogers NHL Live and Game Plus. I think the excellent customer service (saving you time) and great connectivity/reception for fast WiFi is enough perks in itself.
Report Card/Transcript – 8.7/10
Network Performance (30%) = 10/10
- As good as it comes in Canada. There isn’t much difference in coverage between Rogers, Telus, and Bell networks in Canada respectively. You only need to be concerned if you’re using a budget carrier – but they often have shared agreements with the legacy carriers.
Customer Service (30%) = 10/10
- Reliable and effective customer service. Customer service options in store, by phone, or online live chat.
- Online customer service and account management is a HUGE time saver.
Prices (20%) = 5/10
- Not the best price for a low-entry plan. You would do better on Freedom Mobile if you’re budget conscious. However, reasonably competitive prices for the higher data cellphone plans.
- There are no specific student plans or student discount however the prices are a competitive standard in Canada.
Phones (10%) = 9/10
- iPhone and Android phones available on 2 year contract plans. Prices are competitive.
Perks & Convenience (10%) = 7/10
- Get 6 months free Spotify subscription. Roam like Home, and NHL Live on selected Share-Everything plans. Not much other perks.
- Exceptionally useful online account management tool. Monitor your data usage in real time and change your phone plan online.
2) Fido (Rogers): Our summary of Fido will be brief as its owned by Rogers as well. Meaning the network coverage is effectively the same as Rogers. Customer service is also responsive. The prices are slightly cheaper depending on your usage. Personally, I always prefer the legacy brand when the price difference isn’t significant; you can generally expect better customer support from the parent brand.
Low Data Usage – 500 GB Data & 500 Minutes Calling & Unlimited Text @ $45/Month (No Tab)
High Data Usage – 1 GB Data & Unlimited Calling & Unlimited Text & 5 Hours Free Data @ $65/Month (No Tab)
++ 4 GB Data for the plan above is only $85/Month ($20 more for an extra 3 GB data)
Coverage: Same as Rogers.
Service: Reliable customer service with equally useful online account management as Rogers.
Perks: Dogs as mascot? Who doesn’t like dogs? Irrational people. Fido has some awesome perks however. The Fido Pulse plans (which is basically the Smart Phone plans with more data – Rogers also interestingly has two distinct levels of Share-everything Plan. Their higher data plan includes perks like free Spotify for 6 months which starts at their 10 GB data plan and their smaller Share-everything plan doesn’t. Fido is pretty much similar EXCEPT their Fido Pulse starts at the 1 GB Plan! So you get the perks like free Spotify for 6 Months with the 1 GB $65 Plan or the 4 GB $85 Plan or the 10 GB $115 Plan instead of the 10 GB $135 Plan at Rogers. Pretty sweet deal. The Fido brand is catered especially towards students it seems.) includes 5 hours of free data! Great when you’re on a long distant trip like taking the Grey Hound to Seattle on a long weekend break from school and looking to finish your latest TV series? There is also Fido Roam (same as Rogers’ Roam Like Home) that allows you to use your plan in US just as you would in Canada for just $5/day! Which means you can go exploring the Pike’s Place Market, Google Map your way to the original Starbucks and Google your way to the best food around Seattle. You can even scroll through your Facebook feed endlessly like you would at home in Canada! If you happen to be an Instagram Influencer, upload your pictures wherever you go so your followers know how cool you are and #humblebrag! Lastly, another perk with Fido Student phone plans in Vancouver is 6 months of free Spotify subscription. Save $9.99/month…actually $4.99/month with student discount and play the latest jam you love. (I prefer my jam on bread.) You gotta love that corporate America (and Canada) seem to love students with all these awesome deals and discounts for yourself! As we mentioned, great perks. Fido often also has some extra promotions running so check out the promos they have going which may mean extra data or an extra discount for you special students!
We really like the Fido Perks however still place Rogers at #1 because they are the parent brand to Fido. The prices are similar and it’s better to go with the legacy brand when the prices are similar as it typically means better and more well rounded support.
Report Card/Transcript – 8.4/10
Network Performance (30%) = 10/10
- Same as Rogers. Same network, cheaper price.
Customer Service & Convenience (30%) = 7/10
- Fewer retail locations.
Price (20%) = 7/10
- Great value pricing for lower data usage.
Phones (10%) = 9/10
- 27 phones available to choose from including iPhone SE, 6, 7, & 8 (Just two less than Rogers. Phones are much cheaper at Roger’s though due to a prevailing promotion. However phone selection is almost equal so we’ll keep it the same rating.)
- If you’re going to go with a contract phone and can splurge some extra on utility then your best choice for a student phone plan would be to go with Rogers on their Share-everything plan above 10 GB (explanation bellow. Basically cheaper phones on contract at Rogers.) If you’re on a tighter budget but want service and network coverage and use your own phone then Fido is the better bang for your buck!
Perks (10%) = 10/10
- Great perks listed above for the Fido Plus plan. 6 Months free Spotify, 5 Hours free data
- Tag it with a promotion that Fido frequently runs (especially around September or December) and you got a great deal!
3) Koodo (Telus): Koodo is a brand that specifically targets students and budget pre-paid users but is owned by Telus and hence on the Telus network (which apparently is one of the fastest network in Canada – or so they say.) In terms of overall value, Fido and Rogers yield better value for their plans and their phones. Coverage is comparable to what you can expect from any of the legacy cellular brands like Rogers or Bell (which uses Telus network in Western Canada). Since these wireless networks have invested heavily into improving their network performance with additional towers and spectrum, they are equally comparable in terms of coverage and speed. Rogers appears to have better coverage which is why we’ve listed it higher on the rankings for student phone plans – Rogers generally has better reception inside buildings base on online opinion. In places where Rogers does not have coverage, they piggyback on Telus’ network under “Extended Coverage” which is no additional cost to you as the user. Telus does have faster performance on their networks. On the flip side, people have reported incidents where friend using Rogers have full reception with little or no reception for those using Telus. If you’re using one of the Big 3 cellular service providers in Vancouver, you should have little to no concerns about reception and consistency by-large however. Really the key comparison is on customer service, convenience, perks, and plan value.
(In regards to speed, Telus may have faster downloads on data but I have never had any issues with data speed on Rogers’ LTE network. What’s important to me is reception in remote areas all throughout Vancouver’s lower mainland.)
Low Data Usage – 500 MB Data & 500 Minutes Calling & Unlimited Text @ $45/Month (No Tab)
High Data Usage – 1 GB Data & Unlimited Calling & Unlimited Text @ $65/Month (No Tab)
++ 3 GB Data for the plan above is $85/Month ($20 more for an extra 2 GB data)
++ Koodo occasionally runs promotions, one currently ending Oct 11 which doubles your data.
Coverage: Koodo runs on the Telus network. Hence, it does have the fastest data speed in Canada and very good coverage across the lower main land. Practically speaking, it does pail in comparison to coverage provided on Rogers’ Network when on UBC by reported customer experience. As well because Rogers’ has extended coverage that runs on the Telus network where their towers are not present but Telus.
Service: Koodo does have a Telus Community Forum just as Rogers however they do not provide Live Chat option for customer support. (You still must call in and wait on the phone line or visit a store. Live Chat is convenient especially so because you can browse on your laptop or phone while waiting for a customer service representative. Further, everything is recorded and sent to your email upon request so you always have a reference of the discussion.)
Network Performance (30%): 9/10
- Base on community chatter, it appears that while Telus does have faster network performance in most areas, Rogers by-large has better coverage across Canada 1 and 2. Rogers network also appears to penetrate buildings better than Telus networks. This is why we rated Telus slightly lower in network performance than Rogers. It isn’t so much the appearance on paper (with sponsored studies) but the practicality and value to the customer.
- You won’t have much issues going with any of the Big 3 phone carriers in Canada however.
Customer Service & Convenience (30%):
- Customer service base on some review/complain sites have not been positive thus far.
- Koodo and Telus does not have Live Chat option as Rogers and Fido does. (Time is the most valuable commodity, you don’t want to waste your time on the phone waiting to talk to someone in South America about your phone plan in Canada.)
- Koodo does not have as robust an online account management system as Rogers.
- It appears that as with a budget subsidiary of Telus, customer service at Koodo is also budget. (I’m thankful I don’t have to deal with their customer service after reading some of these articles online. The amount of time I’ve saved with Rogers has placed some huge customer loyalty. I remember reading a report a while back while travelling in Victoria, BC – good reception there too – that their strategy have been to focus on customer service to increase customer retention which seems to be coming out effectively.)
Price (20%): The price at Koodo isn’t as competitive as Fido’s prices when you factor in the value of perks like five hours of free data.
Phones (10%): Koodo has a lesser selection of phones available. They do have the iPhone 8 as well however.
Perks (10%): The main perk provided with Koodo is worry-free data meaning you won’t be charge overage fees from your plan.
When you factor in the perks with Fido’s Plus Plans compared to Koodo such as the free five hours of data, Koodo certainly pails in comparison. Furthermore, the biggest pain is reports of bad customer service experience on Koodo’s service compared to Roger’s excellent service I’ve found thus far.
4) Virgin Mobile (Bell):
5) Freedom Mobile (Shaw & formally Wind Mobile): The prices are the cheapest you’ll find as far as a reasonable network coverage is a factor. There is still a lot more work for them to catch up in terms of coverage and receptivity. Especially in UBC, many have indicated Wind Mobile had horrendous coverage. If you’re a student, you don’t want spotty connections where you will be most often….studying in the libraries on a rainy day in Vancouver. Prices are good however and they will likely improve service quality over time.
The Rest of Student Phone Plans in Canada: There aren’t many options for student phone plans in Vancouver or Canada relative to other places like Europe. While we have listed our top 5 recommendations for the best student plan plans in Canada, here are the other options available to you as a student. It may be worth while knowing all the available options regardless allowing you to make an informed decision yourself!
Thanks once again for reading our Vancouver guide to student phone plans in Canada.
More Tips: Here are more tips for saving money with your student phone plan.
– If you intend on getting a large data plan with Rogers, you may as well sign a 2 year contract for a free phone. The prices with or without a Tab are equal for 10 GB, 20 GB, 40 GB, and 80 GB share everything plan with Rogers.
– Fido is often the same price as Rogers (occasionally cheaper but if you use Data frequently, you’ll get more bang for your buck with Rogers) but you get more perks with Rogers. (The platform and customer service is also better with Rogers than Fido understandably as the main brand.)
– The general rule…the more data you get the better your plan value. It would be worth while to sign up for a Share-Everything plan with a friend and split the bill if you want data and want to save money. A 10 GB share everything plan with Rogers works out to about $135/month + $35 (another line) making it $170 split over two people is $85 per person for 5GB of data and unlimited local calling. Doing that with the 40 GB plan and 8 people works out to just $70/person (albeit a little unrealistic for such micro savings to have 8 people on your plan unless they are close friends or family.)
– Most cellphone service providers such as Rogers, Telus, and Bell often run promotions during September period; great deals on student phone plans (and phone plans in general). The promotions also often run in December especially deals on phones.
– Telus seems to have higher prices for phones on contract so if you need a new phone, your best bet is probably Fido or Rogers.
– Freedom Mobile by far has the best prices on phone plans (LTE Network) however reception and coverage is still sub-par compared to the Rogers or Telus.
– Authorized resellers may provide different promotions than the brands directly on both phone plans and phones.
Thanks for reading this lengthy article on the best student phone plans in Vancouver! We hope it helps. – VancityAsks