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Canada - Telephone

There are a number of companies which provide telephone services in Canada, so you will normally have a choice no matter which area you are in. Service providers may be limited in some remote areas. The telephone services were run by the state until the 1980s but when the services were de-regularised private companies were able to offer competitive services and now there is plenty of competition, particularly in the most populated areas of the country.

The largest company is Bell Canada and this used to be the company which was owned by the government. Bell offers standard telephone services, internet services and satellite TV systems. Other companies include Rogers, which offers phone, internet and cable TV services and Telus which offers similar services throughout Western Canada. There are a number of companies which offer services in just one province, such as Telebec Quebec, SaskTel and NorthWesTel.

Telephone numbers in Canada consist of 10 digits. This includes 3 digits for the area code and a further 7 which is your own personal numbers. You will also need a local area code for your mobile telephone and if you make a call to a mobile phone in your area it is billed on your landline phone bill as a local call. Telephone bills can itemise all calls that have been made which are to be charged for.

If you are in Canada and you need to make a call to another country then you should first dial 011 then add the country code of the country you are dialling followed by the person’s telephone number. If you are outside Canada and you need to dial in then you dial 001 plus the person’s telephone number, which is the same as if you were dialling the US. If you are unsure of the number you need then there is a directory enquiries system which serves both domestic and international systems which can be reached by dialling 411.

The telephone lines are owned by the main companies but are rented out to smaller companies, so if you wish to switch from one to another then you do not have to have a new line installed, which makes connection relatively easy. In order to start a new account you simply contact the company you want to be with and give your details. You may need to provide some paperwork such as ID and proof of address and you may be asked to pay installation costs or a deposit. A new telecoms account will usually involve a credit check though if you have no credit history in Canada then you may simply be asked for a deposit. This will vary with each company. You must be aged at least 18 in order to have a telephone line installed.

Telephone bills are usually paid on a monthly basis and you can do this by direct debit, although there are still some customers who prefer to send a cheque. If you want to have extra services such as voice mail you may be charged extra each month for that. Bills will include details of everything that is to be charged for such as calls, standing charges and line rental. If you have more than one service with the same provider then you should receive one bill which covers everything.

There are a large number of public telephones in all major towns and cities and calls cost a minimum of 50 cents. Call boxes can also work with payment cards which are widely available at many outlets. Public telephones are being used less and less as more and more people opt for a mobile phone.

There are large numbers of mobile phone operators in Canada, including Bell Aliant which covers the eastern part of the country, Bell Mobility which covers the whole country, Sprint Canada which covers Ontario and Quebec, SaskTel for Saskatchewan and Telus Mobility which also covers the whole country. Each one will offer a wide range of packages that will suit all customers, from long-term contracts which offer free minutes and texts to pay as you go packages for light users. Users in remote areas should be aware that coverage may be limited and connections can be patchy.

Useful Resources

Bell Canada
Tel: 310-BELL (2355)

Read more about this country

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