Compare Prepaid Plans in Ontario
All of Ontario’s mobile carriers, from high-tier to mid-tier to entry-level, offer prepaid plans—plans that you pay for upfront prior to receiving service.
With the exception of Freedom Mobile, all mid-tier and entry-level carriers are owned by the top-tier carriers, which are known as the Big Three—Bell, Rogers, and TELUS. This means that the mid-tier and entry-level networks cover the same area as the networks of their parent companies. This is great news if you live in Ontario, since the Big Three’s networks offer solid coverage throughout the most populated areas of the province.
Over a dozen cell phone carriers offer prepaid plans with coverage in Ontario—and the prepaid selection is vast, with more than 100 plan options available. But is an Ontario prepaid plan right for you, or does a postpaid plan better suit your needs?
Ontario Prepaid Plans Compared
|Plan Tier||Talk and Text Price||Talk, Text, and Data Price||Data Speeds|
Compare Top-Tier Prepaid Plans in Ontario
Top-tier carriers are well-established brands that lead the industry and offer a wide selection of the newest phones, provide the most robust coverage, and have the most reliable networks.
Top-tier cell phone carriers in Canada are:
Prepaid plans sold by the Big Three tend to be more expensive than those offered by mid-tier and entry-tier carriers. While they may offer the least amount of data, it’s important to note that their phones can access the fastest network currently operating in the nation (LTE-A). The difference isn’t very significant, but is definitely worth considering if you want top data speeds for activities, such as binge-watching your favourite shows and posting on social media.
Popular Top-Tier Prepaid Plans
Compare Mid-Tier Prepaid Plans in Ontario
Mid-tier carriers usually offer more affordable rates than top-tier carriers. They operate on LTE networks, which are second in speed only to LTE-Advanced networks. Like top-tier carriers, they also sell the latest and greatest devices.
Mid-tier prepaid carriers include:
Mid-tier carriers have the most versatile selection of plans. Talk and text plans are often offered at cheaper rates than their top-tier counterparts, and their plans are backed by reliable LTE networks.
Popular Mid-Tier Prepaid Plans
Compare Entry-Level Prepaid Plans in Ontario
Entry-level carriers exclusively sell prepaid plans and provide customers with some of the lowest prices on the market. Coverage by these carriers may not be as extensive, and the majority of their plans use the older 3G network; those that do use 4G technology throttle data speeds to about 3.0 Mbps, which translates to 3G speeds anyway. For this reason, cost and speed are usually tradeoffs when opting into plans with budget-friendly carriers. While they may not have the newest devices, they do have previous-generation premium phones for sale.
Entry-level carriers include:
Plans offered by entry-level carriers are sold at the cheapest price ranges, with even the most expensive talk and text plans reaching a maximum price of around $25/month. Unlike the top-tier and mid-tier prepaid plans, entry-level plans either use 3G technology or throttle data to 3G speeds.
Popular Entry-Level Prepaid Plans
Is an Ontario Prepaid Plan Right for You?
There are two main differences between prepaid plans and postpaid plans—the timing of payments and the duration of the contract. Customers who choose prepaid plans purchase their phones upfront at full price and pay their bills at the beginning of each month. Purchasing a prepaid plan typically doesn’t require a credit check. While users are not bound by contracts, their service expires every thirty days and requires monthly renewal. Some carriers also offer daily prepaid plans, which require renewal every 24 hours.
Prepaid plans tend to cost less than postpaid plans because you pay for a select amount of talk, text, and data upfront, and once you reach your limit, you are cut off unless you pay to refill your account. Conversely, postpaid plans don’t cut you off; they charge you overage fees based on your phone use. If you want to keep your spending down, an Ontario prepaid plan may be a good option for you.
Pros and Cons of an Ontario Prepaid Plan
- You’re not locked into a contract, which means that you’re free to change providers at any time
- No credit check required
- Usually more affordable than postpaid plans
- Usually don’t include as much data
- Don’t have as many add-ons available as postpaid plans do
How Much Do Prepaid Plans Usually Cost?
The cost of your prepaid plan in Ontario will vary depending on the carrier and plan. Plans that include talk and text are typically cheaper than ones that include talk, text, and data. Generally, the more you can do with your phone, the higher the price of your plan.
Ontario Prepaid vs. Postpaid Plans
In Ontario, postpaid plans operate a bit differently than prepaid plans. Customers have the option of buying their phones upfront or via smaller, more manageable monthly installments. Top-tier and mid-tier carriers both offer postpaid plans, while entry-level carriers do not. Buying a postpaid plan will require a credit check.
Those who choose postpaid plans enter a contract with their cell phone provider. Some contracts might be month-to-month, while others may last up to two years. Although generally more expensive than prepaid plans, postpaid plans typically include more data and feature more add-ons than prepaid plans. There is also a wider selection of roaming plans or travel passes on postpaid plans than their prepaid counterparts.
Pros and Cons of Postpaid Plans
- Usually include more data than prepaid plans
- Include a wider selection of add-ons to choose from
- You won't have to renew contract every 30 days
- Usually more costly than prepaid plans
- A credit check is required
- You are locked into a contract
Ontario Prepaid vs. Pay-Per-Use Plans
Most prepaid plans include a certain amount of talk, text, and data to be used within 30 days. Conversely, pay-per-use plans, such as the Pay As You Go plans offered by Rogers, allow users to put credit onto their account. This credit can then be used toward pay-per-use minutes, text, and data, granting the customer flexibility to use their phone exactly how they want. Pay-per-use plans are ideal for people who use their phones sparingly, such as elderly people or young children.