Queen’s campus and Residences have free internet you can access on campus. Many providers bundle their phone and internet plans, it’s important to explore your options!
Canada is known for having some of the most expensive cell phone plans in the world. This is due to the size of the country (second biggest landmass in the world) and the distribution of the population.
Bring your Unlocked Cell Phone from Home
It is important to confirm that your phone is compatible with the network before purchasing a SIM card. However, this doesn’t guarantee that your phone will be able to read a SIM card purchased in Canada. You will need to ensure that your phone is unlocked and can run on the GSM network, but be aware that even then there is no guarantee that your phone will work properly. You can check at the office of the cellular providers to see if it will work.
Plans with Contracts
By signing a contract, you often get a preferred rate. If you break the contract early, you will have to pay a penalty that can be expensive (make sure to read the fine print of the contract).
You do not have to sign a contract. You can choose a “pay as you go” plan. Companies offer discounted prices and plans with better options if you sign a contract, but contracts can be from 24–36 months and there is an early cancellation fee. While on a contract, you can change your plan, but not the provider.
Select a Lower Level of Data
Determine how you will use your phone; if you can use wifi more often than data, selecting a lower data plan may be an option that can help you reduce costs.
Look for Deals
Cell phone companies will often have deals available for students.
Selecting a Plan
Each student will have different needs and there isn’t one plan or one company that will work for everyone. Here are a few things to consider when selecting your phone plan:
- What is the coverage area – will your cell phone have reception outside of Kingston?
- What do you need? Do you need a lot of data? Will you be making international calls? What will you be using your phone for?
- Costs for plans in Canada may be more expensive than you are used to at home
Using Your Plan from Home
If you will be in Canada for a short time, you may be able to add international usage to your existing plan. Check with your provider regarding costs and restrictions. However, be aware that your friends in Canada will be charged international rates if they call or text you.
Using a Canadian Plan in the USA
You can add a travel option to your cell phone plan that will allow you to use it in the USA and not be charged high roaming rates. Be sure to check what the cost to use your phone in the USA will be before you travel. The USA is considered international travel by Canadian cell phone companies.
The Wireless Code of Canada establishes basic rights for wireless consumers and provides requirements to all wireless service providers. Know your rights as a consumer before buying a cell phone plan from a service provider.
Buying a Cell Phone
There are different ways to buy a cell phone – many carriers will offer to give you the phone and just add the "tab" to your monthly bill until it is paid off. A “tab” in this context refers to the purchase of a phone when you sign up for a plan. The cost of the phone is added to the cost of the phone plan and you’ll pay a higher rate until the phone is paid off. Learn more about getting a cell phone.
Queen’s campus and Residence has free internet for students on campus.
- Students living in Queen’s Residences can get the Resnet service in their rooms.
Students living off-campus may have internet provided by their landlord as part of their rental agreement. Others may need to arrange their own internet access at home. Kingston has a number of internet service providers who can install high-speed internet in your home, most plans come with a Wi-Fi activated modem. Local internet services providers include:
With larger companies like Bell and Cogeco, combining internet service with other services (home phone, mobile phone, television, etc.) can offer a small discount on each service.
You may need to purchase an adapter for your electronics before traveling to Canada. In Canada, the standard voltage is 110–120 V (with a standard frequency of 60 Hz) rather than the 220 V used in Europe. Some electronics will also require a voltage converter if they are not dual voltage. If you want to find out more, go to tripsavvy.