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Mobile plans in Canada vs. in France: What’s the difference?

Rédactrice Web



There are lots of details to iron out when planning to travel, stay, or immigrate to Canada. Eventually, the issue of mobile phones will come up. Do you need to subscribe to a Canadian plan? Should you keep your French plan? How are Canada’s mobile plans different? We answer these questions and more to help you choose the best solution for you. 


Differences between phone plans in Canada and in France 

Given the country’s size and its unique competitive dynamics, Canada’s mobile market differs from France’s in several ways. Here are some important points to bear in mind: 


  • Types of plans: Mobile plans can either be paid in advance (prepaid plans, renewable or not each month) or paid after use (conventional, postpaid plans). As in France, conventional plans do not necessarily require a commitment. 
  • Network coverage: This varies based on the operator. All urban areas are adequately covered. However, some remote rural areas may be served by only a small number of operators—sometimes even just one—and some northern areas are not covered at all. This is a factor to consider depending on where you will be staying in Canada. 
  • Technology: 3G, 4G (LTE), and 5G. Currently, 5G is limited to densely populated areas, and is gradually being deployed elsewhere. Not all plans offer 5G access. 
  • Calls and SMS messages: Even when calls and SMS messages are said to be unlimited, they may be restricted to a certain area (Québec only, for example). 
  • Price: Monthly plans, with no options or promotions, range from $15 to $75 per month. There’s really something for everyone! On average, plans with a reasonable amount of data will be between $30 and $45 a month. Don’t forget to add the sales tax—15% in Québec. 
  • Discount: Some operators offer a discount if you combine a mobile plan with an Internet or TV plan. It’s a good idea to negotiate all your telecommunications services at the same time! If other family members need a mobile plan, they may also receive a discount. 
  • Reduced-speed data: Some providers reduce the speed at which mobile data can be transmitted when you exceed the limit set out in your plan. For example, excess data can be capped at 128 Kbps. 
  • Mobile options: Certain options, such as Visual Voicemail, may not be included in the plan. 


The price gap is narrowing 

The price difference between Canadian and French phone plans is not what it used to be. Prices have come down significantly in Canada in recent years. Given the exchange rate, Canadian plans are increasingly attractive compared to French plans that allow for use abroad. 


I just arrived in Québec. Do I need to subscribe to a local plan? 

It depends on your status. Are you here as a tourist? You don't need to subscribe to a Canadian phone plan. Check the terms of your French plan or your operator’s offers for international use, as you may have access to a certain number of minutes or data that can be used in Canada. 


Are you in Canada on a Working Holiday Visa or to study, or do you have plans to become a permanent resident? In these cases, subscribing to a Canadian mobile plan is highly recommended.  


French plan: limited international use 

The unlimited Free or RED plans are perfect for short trips. However, your operator could charge more or permanently suspend your line in the case of excessive usage. The legal notices for these plans refer to “reasonable usage.” In short, if your usage in Canada exceeds your usage in France, or if you spend more days in Canada than in France for a given period of time, you may be charged additional fees. 


Subscribing to a Canadian mobile plan is a good way to avoid unpleasant surprises. And there are other advantages too: 

  • It allows you to have a Canadian number, which is required to register for certain services. 
  • A Canadian number gives you credibility if you’re looking for a job. 
  • Subscribing to a mobile plan helps you establish your credit score. Major Canadian operators report payments to credit bureaus. Paying your monthly mobile invoice regularly will have a positive impact on your credit score. 


Best mobile plans in Canada: our recommendations 

Videotron All-inclusive Canada Mobile plan – 25 GB 

Featured for newcomers, this plan is available at a good price when you combine it with an Internet plan and bring your own device. The advantages include unlimited calling and texting across Canada, and 5G at no extra cost. The plan requires no commitment. What's more, Videotron’s plans are available to immigrants who do not yet have a credit history in Canada. 


Good to know: In-store or Customer Service advisors may have an even better offer, depending on the promotions available at the time. Ask them! 


Videotron All-Inclusive Canada–France Mobile plan – 45 GB 

This plan is tailor-made for new Canadians who regularly return to France or want to stay in touch with loved ones overseas. Enjoy 45 GB of unlimited calling and texting in Canada and in France, commitment-free. 


Fizz prepaid plans 

If you prefer a prepaid plan, Fizz Mobile plans are a good option. You can get them online, without going through a credit check. In addition, Fizz transfers your unused data to the following month. 


Freedom Canada–US 50 GB plan 

Staying in the GTA, Ottawa, or elsewhere in Ontario? Freedom has attractive offers for newcomers. You must be living in the registration area to take advantage (see coverage map). 


I plan to travel to the US. What are my options? 

If you’re visiting the US for a short time, there are several solutions to choose from: 

  • Activate an option that allows you to use your mobile services in the US at a flat rate, with no roaming charges, such as Videotron’s Daily Traveller Pass. 
  • Don't take any options and use a free Wi-Fi network whenever possible to make calls (such as Wi-Fi Calling) and go online. 
  • Pay the roaming rate when making calls on the cellular network and when using data. Check your operator’s roaming rates in the US beforehand. 
  • If you have kept your French line, check to see if your operator has options for use in the United States. Check the prices as well. 


For longer stays on US soil, for example during an internship or a road trip, it's a good idea to subscribe to a plan that includes use in the US, such as the Videotron All-Inclusive Canada–US Mobile plan – 45 GB. 


Note: The 3G network is out of service in the US. To use your device in that country, it has to be VoLTE capable (for calling and texting) and LTE capable (for mobile data). 


Welcome to Canada 

You now know all there is to know about Canadian mobile plans! Simply choose a mobile solution based on the length of your stay, where you will be staying, your data usage, and your travel plans inside or outside the country. Once you arrive, please feel free to visit our in-store advisors if you have any further questions. We'll be happy to help! 


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