Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 1: Got a Mobile Phone

One of the first things on my agenda upon landing was getting a mobile phone number.

This was a simple 30 minute job.

I went to Future Shop because it was close to the hotel. At Future Shop, I explained that I had a GSM phone that was an open line, meaning that it was not locked to my previous Philippine mobile operator. I also confirmed that my unit could operate within the band spectrum in use in Canada.

After that, it was a choice of operator. I was offered Chatr, a new operator that offered unlimited Canada incoming and outgoing calls. I didn't choose that because most of my calls would be to the U.S. I also looked at Rogers as an option.

I ended up with Fido $35/mo, which offered 350 minutes, with unlimited evenings (7pm - 7am) and weekends. Evenutally, I added Caller ID for $7/mo and lower U.S. long distance rates for $5/mo.

There are things you have to think about in choosing a plan, as compared to what we are used to in the Philippines are the following:
* Airtime minutes are used up for incoming and outgoing calls outside your unlimited window. In the Philippines, we are used to free incoming calls. Here, you have to consider the time that people call you!
* You pay long distance for calls to the U.S. So, if you are calling a vonage number or a magicjack number, those are long distance, not international.
* You do not pay long distance charges when you have incoming long distance calls.
* Caller ID does not come with your plan automatically. You have to pay for this.
* Voice mail does not come with your plan automatically. This is also an extra service. In the Philippines, we are offered this for free and you only pay when you use it.

Pre-Paid / Pay-As-You-Go Plans are different, as well. In the Philippines, you just load up when you want and your load balance is reduced every time you use your phone. You can actually have a P1 balance on your phone. Here, in Canada, you commit to monthly usage; meaning, your credit card will be charged a monthly rate which is consumed. Then, you add to your load balance when you need more.

Using my international credit card, I was able to get a monthly plan, that even gave me a free touch screen LG quad-band phone (LG GR500FD)! Initially, I used the hotel address as my mailing address. Three days later, after I moved into my apartment (that's another post), I changed my address online.

I'll be editing this to add a comparison chart.

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