This is a post in a series regarding getting free long distance calling in Canada
- Setting up Google Voice in Canada
- Free long distance on your cell phone using mobile minutes
- Free long distance on your Android phone using data
- Free long distance on your iPhone using data
- Get a landline with no monthly costs
- Get a cell phone plan for $10 / month with unlimited calling, texting and 50mb of data
- Using the Google Voice app
Using the tricks that I have discussed earlier in this series, I will show you how you can get a cell phone with unlimited minutes, unlimited texting and 50MB / month of data for only $10/ month.
This phone will be great for people who:
- Are considering a new plan
- Use less than 50MB of mobile data each month
- Travel often across Canada (Ontario and west)
- Want a phone for some usage in the US (~20 minutes / month)
- Want a prepaid phone plan
In setting up Google Voice, we realized there were a few things we could do:
- We can initiate calls online (which appear as incoming calls to our cell phone)
- We can text unlimited by using the Google Voice app
- We can make calls to Canada and the US local calls
The original approach was to minimize our long distance charges on current cell phone plans. I never looked at the problem of finding a cell phone plan that would be able to take advantage of some of these qualities. What I was looking for was:
- Low monthly charge
- Free incoming calls (or significantly discounted)
- Access to some data for a non-exorbitant price
I was able to find all of these in the WIND Mobile Pay Your Way Plan.
Wind Mobile Pay Your Way Plan
The way the Wind Mobile Pay Your Way Plan works is as follows:
- Minimum $10 needs to be added to your balance each month
- Any usage is deducted from your balance, balance carries forward as long as you have the minimum top up
- Unlimited incoming calls
- 50MB of data will reduce your balance by $5 / month
- No roaming or long distance charges within Canada provided you are using the WIND Mobile network
- Outgoing calls to anywhere in Canada or US will cost $0.20 / min
- Outgoing texts to Canada or US will cost $0.15 / text
This is a great solution. All of your calls will appear to be incoming calls from Wind Mobile. All of your texting should be done through the Google Voice app as mentioned here. Each month, you will have to add $10 to your account, but you will only reduce your balance by $5 due to the 50MB of data that you will buy. Wind Mobile even allows you to take your phone anywhere in the country where there is a Wind Mobile network (most populated areas in Ontario and west) so even when you initiate calls outside of your home city, you will not pay any roaming or long distance charges.
You will have 2 numbers that are associated with your phone. Both your Google Voice number and your Canadian cell number will be forwarded to your cell phone. This can be an advantage in that you can simply give out your Canadian cell number and people can call you there locally.
Even if you are spending some time outside of Wind Mobile’s network, you do have $5 worth of calling each month to play with. You can use this when you travel to the United States as well if you only need 15 or 20 minutes of roaming each month.
What you need
To get your cell phone that will only cost you $10 / month, all you have to do is
- Get a WIND Mobile SIM card activated on the Pay Your Way Plan ($25)
- Get an Android phone that works on WIND’s network
- Any android phone from WIND, or any unlocked phone from Mobilicity or T-Mobile (US) will work
- WIND Mobile’s Huawei U8350 is $99 (no contract) and comes with a SIM card
- Note that iPhones do not work with WIND Mobile
- Set up your Google Voice account as mentioned here
- Download the Voice+ app, following the instructions here
- Set your default call type to “Always use Google Voice”
There are some limitations to this phone which you should be aware of.
First of all, when you place calls, your recipient will see your Google Voice number, and not your Canadian cell phone number. This may cause some stress to people who you call who try to call you back and have to pay long distance. Google Voice does not have any settings that can turn this off, but some users claim that if your cell phone’s number has a blocked caller ID, then calls made through the Voice+ app will also show as a blocked number. Personally, I dont have experience with this as a potential fix.
The second is that you will need to access some data to make every call. The amount of data used for each call is very miniscule, however, you will need to have data access whenever you are interested in making a call. If you have your phone settings to not “Connect to data services when roaming”, you may lose your ability to place calls if you happen to leave a Wind Mobile zone.
The third is that additional data can get pricey. If you use a significant amount of data (over 100mb) on the mobile network then this may not be the right solution for you. Additional data will cost you $0.20/MB which can add up pretty quickly for heavy users. If you have no interest in watching youtube videos or other data heavy applications, then this could be a good solution for you. 50MB of data should be plenty of data if you are just using your phone’s data plan for checking your email and reading my articles at www.thepointster.ca.
WIND Mobile’s Pay Your Way plan costs a minimum of $10 top up to your balance each month and comes with unlimited incoming calls. We can allocate $5 toward 50MB of data each month, and still accrue $5 each month for future usage (such as roaming while in the US).
By placing calls through Google Voice we are able to have all of our incoming and outgoing calls appear to be incoming calls. By using the Google Voice app, we are able to get unlimited texting while using a miniscule amount of data.
The combination of the 2 allows us a cell phone plan that has the following features:
- $10 top up each month
- Unlimited calls to Canada and the US from anywhere on Wind Mobile’s network (populated areas in Ontario and west)
- Unlimited text messages
- 50MB of data
- Some allocation for overages such as US roaming
If you are looking at getting a new cell phone plan, strongly consider this solution as it may save you significant money.