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We Help You Decide: Long Distance Woe

When the cell phone craze began in the United States, a new idea was spawned: Long distance calls cost the same as local calls. It cause many people to go out and get a cell phone just for long distance calls, since oftentimes the cell rate was cheaper than the landline long distance rate. However, this phenomenon hasn't hit yet in Canada, or at least not to the same degree.

Still, it's likely that you have to place long distance calls on your mobile. The problem is that many cell carriers charge hefty rates for long distance, on top of normal airtime. So we'll go through each provider's long distance rates and see which ones turn out the best deals.

Read the Full Virgin Mobile review
The tack-on charge for long distance is 25 cents per minute. That is either on top of 10 cents a minute (plus 40 cents per day), or 30 cents per minute with no per-day fee. Of course, it could be combined with their rate plans, too, where it's much more difficult to figure out the per-minute rate (because with rate plans, the per-minute rate depends on how many minutes you actually use per month).


Read the Full Telus Pay and Talk Review
Telus offers a 30 cents per minute spike per minute for long distance calls. If you get their "best rate" of 25 cents per minute, this works out to about the same as Virgin. However, their non-optimal rates are 33 and 40 cents per minute, which would put long distance charges through the roof. Even if you have unlimited nights and weekends, you're still paying 30 cents per minute for long distance.


Read the Full SaskTel review
It looks like our long distance rates are getting incrementally more expensive: SaskTel charges 35 cents per minute for long distance. The saving grace here is that they offer rates of 15 cents per minute -- but only after the first two minutes of the call. So you'd be paying 60 cents for each of the first two minutes of a long distance call, and 50 cents per minute thereafter. That is, unless you're a nights and weekends subscriber, when you'd get 40 cents per minute. Daytime calls, however, would be 73 cents per minute with that plan.


Read the Full NorthernTel Review
NorthernTel offers long distance calls at 40 cents above the normal rate. This seems to be among the high end of rates. This means that for the first two minutes of each long distance call, the fee is 40 cents plus the normal 30 cents. Thereafter, though, the normal rate drops to 5 cents per minute, so you'll enjoy one of the lower long distance rates offered.


Read the Full Rogers Wireless Review
Long distance calls from Rogers cost 30 cents per minute on top of the normal rate. Since there are four different pay-as-you-go offerings, that rate will vary along with them. You could be paying as much as 70 cents per minute, or as low as 30 cents (with unlimited nights and weekends). Still, 30 cents above the regular rates seems to be the norm.


Read the Full MTS Evolve Review
MTS actually offers varying Canadian long distance rates with their plans. Thankfully, they've taken measures to make it affordable. You can get Canadian long distance ranging from 25 cents per minute to 35 cents per minute, and that's the full charge -- it's not on top of normal airtime. This puts MTS solidly in the lead for Canadian long distance rates.


Read the Full Fido Review
Fido goes with the norm rate of 30 cents per minute on top of normal airtime, much like its parent company, Rogers. This means that you can get long distance from 30 cents per minute (during free nights and weekend periods) to 70 cents per minute, depending on your current per-minute rate.


Read the Full Bell Mobility Review
Uh oh. Bell charges 40 cents per minute on top of normal airtime, which we're seeing is quite up there. Thankfully, they have decent normal airtime rates: 30 cents for each of the first two minutes of a call, and five cents per minute thereafter. So you're paying 70 cents for each of the first two long distance minutes, but only 45 cents per minute thereafter, as with NorthernTel If you make infrequent, but lengthy long distance calls, this might actually work out best for you.


Read the Full Cityfone Review
Cityfone is rather accommodating to long distance customers. They offer a long distance plan, which gives you 250 anytime minutes that can be used on all calls, including long distance, for $39 per month. For another $20 per month, you get an additional 250 long distance minutes. If you're making long distance calls with any of their other plans, it costs 30 cents per minute plus normal airtime.