Canada is a massive country – the second-largest in the world by land area. With a whopping 9,984,670 sq km (3,855,100 sq miles), it is a lot of area to cover by any single carrier. Thankfully, there are multiple cell phones carriers in Canada.
In this article, I explore all the cell phones carriers in Canada along with their histories, technologies, coverage, and and a few key information about their service plans. There is no way to cover their service plans extensively in one article, so you will have to reach out to each carrier for detailed information about their voice and data plans.
Table of Contents
The first cell phone carrier in Canada
The first cell phone carrier in Canada was Cantel, which later became Rogers Wireless. Cantel launched its cellular service on July 1, 1985. It was a significant milestone in the history of Canadian telecommunications, marking the introduction of commercial cellular mobile services in the country. The launch of Cantel’s cellular network marked the beginning of the era of mobile communication in Canada, paving the way for the development and expansion of the telecommunications industry in the years that followed.
The largest cell phone carrier in Canada
The largest cell phone carrier in Canada by number of subscribers is Rogers Wireless, with 11.3 million subscribers as at 2021. This information is based on a report by Statista, which provides data on the total number of mobile subscribers in Canada by provider.
It is worth noting that approximately 90% of Canadian mobile phone users subscribe to one of the four largest national telecommunication companies, which include Rogers Wireless, Bell Mobility, Freedom Mobile, and Telus Mobility. These companies account for the majority of mobile subscribers in Canada, with smaller regional carriers accounting for the remaining subscribers.
5G Cell Phones Carriers in Canada
5G service is available in Canada on Bell, Rogers, Telus, Videotron, SaskTel, and Eastlink.
Cell Phones Carriers in Canada: Mobile Network Operators (MNOs)
A mobile network operator (MNO) is a carrier that deploys its own equipment and runs its own network to provide wireless cellular service to its subscribers. Below are the MNOs in Canada.
Founded in 1960, Rogers is one of the oldest telecom companies in Canada. Rogers primarily deploys GSM, HSPA, LTE, and 5G technologies, and has extensive coverage across Canada, especially in urban areas. Rogers Service Plans include a variety of postpaid and prepaid plans, including unlimited data options and bundled services.
Bell Mobility is part of BCE Inc., founded in 1983. The carrier uses CDMA, HSPA, LTE, and 5G technologies, and offers broad coverage across Canada, with a strong presence in both urban and rural areas. Service plans include postpaid and prepaid plans, with options for data sharing and device financing.
Telus was founded in 1990 and is one of the major players in the Canadian telecom market, and operates CDMA, HSPA, LTE, and 5G technologies. It has extensive coverage, particularly in Western Canada, and has been expanding its presence. Telus offers postpaid and prepaid plans, with options for international features and shared data.
SaskTel, or Saskatchewan Telecommunications, is a crown corporation owned by the province of Saskatchewan in Canada. It was founded in 1908 as a government-owned telecommunications provider.
SaskTel initially started with landline telephone services but later expanded to provide various telecommunications services, including wireless communication over CDMA, HSPA, LTE, and 5G.
SaskTel is a regional carrier, with coverage that is focused on both the urban and rural areas of the province of Saskatchewan. Service plans cater to different usage needs, from basic talk and text plans to plans with unlimited data and international calling options.
Eastlink is a Canadian telecommunications company that was founded in 1971 by John Bragg. The company initially started as a cable TV provider in Nova Scotia. Over the years, Eastlink expanded its services to include internet, home phone, and wireless communication. It has grown to become one of the major players in the telecommunications industry in Canada. The carrier currently operates HSPA, LTE, and 5G technologies.
Eastlink primarily serves the provinces of Atlantic Canada, including Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador. The company has focused on providing communication services to both urban and rural communities in these regions.
The carrier’s wireless service plans include options for talk, text, and data, and they cover everything from basic usage to more extensive data needs.
Videotron is a regional telecom provider based in Quebec, established in 1964, and it uses LTE and 5G technologies for its mobile services. While initially focused on Quebec, Videotron has expanded its coverage to parts of Ontario and other areas. Service plans cover both postpaid and prepaid plans with unique features like music streaming without data usage. Former Freedom Mobile has been acquired by Videotron.
Freedom Mobile (formerly Wind Mobile) was established in 2009 as an alternative carrier. It primarily deploys AWS-1 spectrum for its services, including LTE, with coverage focused on major urban centers in Canada. Freedom Mobile offers competitive pricing with unlimited data plans and affordable options.
Cell Phones Carriers in Canada: Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
Among cell phones carriers in Canada, mobile Virtual network operators (MVNOs) are carriers that run on the equipment and network of any of the main carriers (MNOs) listed in the above section.
- Lucky Mobile (owned by Bell)
- Chatr (owned by Rogers)
- Public Mobile (owned by Telus)
- Fido (owned by Rogers)
- Koodo Mobile (owned by Telus)
- Virgin Mobile (owned by Bell)
- PC Mobile (operated by Bell)
- 7-Eleven SpeakOut Wireless
- Petro-Canada Mobility