Have you been overpaying for your cell phone plan? Are you looking for a new cell phone plan that fits your student needs without breaking the bank?
Now is the perfect time to shop for a new student plan. In June 2023, Global News Canada reported that the cost of phone plans dropped by 14.7% compared to the previous year.
If your cell phone bill hasn’t dropped in the past couple of years (or has increased), you may be able to save by switching to a new mobile network.
Below, I’ll go over some of the best back-to-school phone plans for students so you can stop overpaying and free your budget up.
Taking Advantage Of Promotional Plans For Students
Tuition prices and the cost of everyday living expenses have been steadily rising across the country. As a result, college students feel more financial pressure than ever as they’re required to take on more student loan debt and work longer hours to afford their education.
International students are feeling even more pressure as they face “unlimited tuition increases,” according to Yahoo Finance.
As student life becomes increasingly more expensive, many cell phone providers have stepped up to fill the need for affordable, reliable student cell phone plans. In today’s interconnected world, most students are looking for a plan that offers:
- Unlimited nationwide talk
- Unlimited texting
- High-speed data
- Low data usage fees
During the back-to-school season (August through September), many wireless providers drop prices or offer promotional student plans and phone deals. If you’ve been debating switching providers and are not enrolled in a contract, this is one of the best times of the year to do so.
- Note – You’ll usually need to present a valid student ID card to get approved for promotional student plans.
Best Cell Phone Plans For Students
Whether you’re a college student looking for an unlimited talk and text plan or you’re a parent looking for the cheapest phone plan for your child, here are some of the best student phone plans and deals to look out for.
From major carriers like Bell, TELUS, and Rogers to smaller cell service providers like Freedom Mobile and Fido, these plans can help you lower your monthly bill and free up more money for your education.
1. Bell 5G Plan For Students With Unlimited Calling And Texts
- Learn More: Bell Cell Phone Plans For Students
- Key Benefits: 50 GB of 5G data, unlimited 4G data, excellent nationwide coverage, deals on new phones
Bell is one of Canada’s top cell phone service providers and provides excellent 5G data coverage in major cities and rural towns alike, with available roaming services.
Like its competitors, Rogers and TELUS, Bell has a reputation for being a bit on the expensive side. However, students can save money and take advantage of Bell’s leading coverage by signing up for the company’s promotional $55 Unlimited 5G Student plan, which includes:
- 50 GB of 5G data (plus hotspot ability)
- SD Video Calling And Streaming
- Unlimited data, calling, and texts
Even after you’ve used up the 50 GB of 5G data that comes with your plan, you’ll still have unlimited access to Bell’s 4G data network, which is still very fast.
This 50 GB 5G data plan can be particularly useful for students. Although you’ll generally have access to a reliable Wi-Fi network on campus, there will be times when you need a fast, reliable hotspot connection while working off-campus.
After connecting your laptop to your phone’s 5G network, you’ll have more than enough data speed to get your homework done or write that last-minute essay.
In addition to its student cell phone plans, Bell also has some great deals if you want to purchase a new phone, like the new Samsung Galaxy S23+ or the new iPhone 14.
If you have a trade-in that’s in good condition and a good credit score, you can save even more or get approved for low-interest financing toward a new device.
- Related Reading: How To Improve Your Credit Score By 100 Points Or More
2. Rogers 5G Cell Phone Plan For Students
- Learn More: Rogers Student Phone Plans
- Key Benefits: 50 GB high-speed data, deals on new phones and trade-ins, option for low-cost unlimited add-on to family plan
To compete with Bell’s $55 student cell phone plans, the Rogers network is also offering a promotional 5G plan with unlimited talk, text, and 50 GB of data at the same price.
To sign up for the plan, you’ll just need to bring a valid student ID to your local Rogers dealer.
Rogers offers an excellent network, and you can expect fast, reliable service across the country. Like Bell, Rogers is also offering great deals on the Samsung Galaxy S23+, iPhone 14, and Pixel 7, as well as $0 and 0% APR financing with approved credit.
Rogers also offers an alternative family plan deal for students. For an additional $65 per month, students can join a Rogers family phone plan and access up to 75 GB of high-speed data at 1-Gig speeds.
3. TELUS 5G Family Plan
- Learn More: TELUS family plans
- Key Benefits: Excellent hotspot speeds, fastest 5G speeds in the country, great deals for family plans
Along with Bell and Rogers, TELUS is one of Canada’s “big three” phone carriers and claims to have the fastest 5G network in the country. TELUS isn’t the cheapest cell phone plan; unlimited data plans start at $85 per month.
TELUS doesn’t offer any special student promotions like Bell and Rogers either.
So, why did I put it on the list?
Well, TELUS becomes a lot more affordable once you enroll in a family phone plan. This makes it a good choice for larger families with multiple students in the household.
For example, you can open a four-person plan with 80 GB of blazing-fast 5G (and unlimited 4G after) for $70 per line.
It’s still a bit more expensive than Rogers and Bell, but you’ll also be locked into that price for the long term. With Bell and Rogers, students will have to pay full price once they graduate and their student ID is invalid.
Lastly, TELUS has one of the fastest hotspot connections on the market. So, if you’re a college student who plans on working off-campus a lot or has an unreliable internet connection at home, this can be a game-changer.
4. Fido Back-To-School Phone Plan For Students
- Learn More: Fido student cell phone plans
- Key Benefits: Affordable unlimited plans for students, runs on Rogers network, deals on phones and trade-ins
Fido “piggybacks” off of the Rogers network, which means that customers can expect quality coverage in most areas of the country, from major cities to rural towns.
The carrier has an incredibly affordable cell phone plan for students that offers unlimited 4G LTE and unlimited calling + texts for just $45 per month for customers with a valid student ID.
The only disadvantage of Fido’s phone plan is that you won’t have any access to Rogers’ 5G network, as Fido customers can only access Rogers’ 4G LTE network.
While 4G speeds are still fast enough to stream standard video content or use social media, more advanced streaming features may be slower.
Another downside of the 4G is that your phone’s hotspot speeds will be very slow, and you’ll likely find it difficult to do anything more than check your email or write a Google Docs paper with Fido’s hotspot.
However, if you’re just looking for a simple, no-frills, reliable phone plan and don’t need the extra-fast 5G speeds, you can’t go wrong with Fido’s back-to-school phone service deal.
5. Freedom Mobile Back-To-School Phone Plans
- Learn More: Freedom Mobile student plans and deals
- Key Benefits: Variable payment plans, Canada-US dual-country plan, affordable unlimited plans
Freedom Mobile has developed a great reputation for offering affordable phone plans in densely-populated regions within Alberta, B.C., and Ontario.
While service is usually great in larger towns and cities, it may become a bit unreliable in rural regions. So just be aware of this before you get excited about the low prices and sign up.
Currently, Freedom Mobile is offering a $35/month plan that includes 20 GB of 4G LTE data and unlimited,d calls and texts. The carrier also offers pay-as-you-go plans and annual payment options as well.
If you’re an international student commuting between Canada and the US, you may also be interested in Freedom Mobile’s Canada-US plan, which offers unlimited international texting and calling with 40 GB of 4G data for $45/month and works in Canada and the US.
If you’re bringing a decent trade-in, Freedom Mobile also has some good deals on phones. You can get base-level Androids for as low as $5/month if you sign a two-year contract, and the brand-new iPhone 14 for as low as $19/month.
6. Virgin Mobile Plus Plan For Students
- Learn More: Virgin Mobile student plans
- Key Benefits: Unlimited 4G and 5G plans available, runs on the Bell network, fixed data plans available
Virgin Mobile runs on the Bell network, which means that you can expect reliable service in most areas of the country.
Unlike Freedom Mobile and Fido, which only offer 4G plans, Virgin Mobile offers customers the option to choose between 4G plans (which start at $45/month) and 5G plans (which start at $55/month).
If you don’t plan on using your data often, Virgin Mobile also offers fixed data plans that offer unlimited calling and texts with limited data caps. While these plans can drastically cut your phone bill, you’ll be left with very limited access to data.
These plans can be a good starter option for parents who want to give their younger kids a phone without unrestricted access to the internet.
7. Public Mobile Subscription Plans
- Learn More: Public mobile plans and student deals
- Key Benefits: Plenty of plans available, Canada-US plans, subscription payment plans allow you to cancel whenever you want.
Public Mobile claims to offer “Canada’s first 5G subscription phone plan.” Unlike most carriers offering three or four main plans, Public Mobile offers eight different phone plans with 3G, 4G, and 5G network speeds, depending on your preference.
Plans start at $40/month for 30 GB of 5G data and unlimited data at lower speeds.
8. Koodoo Bring-Your-Own-Phone Plan
- Learn More: Koodoo plans for students
- Key Benefits: 4G and 5G plans are available, runs on the TELUS network, get a deal if you bring your own device
Koodoo runs on the TELUS network, making it one of the quickest and most reliable budget carriers on the market. When you bring your own phone, you may be eligible for Koodoo’s bring-your-own-device plan, which offers 20 GB of 4G LTE data for just $39/month.
Koodoo also offers 5G plans that start at $65/month, which isn’t a bad deal considering that the carrier runs on the TELUS network, which has the fastest 5G in Canada.
9. Simply Connect Unlimited Calls And Texts Plan
- Learn More: Simply Connect Plans
- Key Benefits: Low-cost call-and-text plans, runs on the Rogers network
Simply Connect runs on the Rogers network and is quite reliable in most towns and cities. While Simply Connect offers affordable prices for unlimited calling and text plans, the fees charged by the carrier for data access are a bit costly.
For example, you can get an unlimited calling and text plan for as low as $30/month, but the plan only comes with 1 GB of 4G data, which most customers would use up in a few days.
The maximum data offered by Simply Connect is an unlimited calling and text plan with 7 GB of 4G data, which costs $50/month.
At that rate, you’d be better off going with Koodoo, which offers almost three times the data for $11 less per month. Still, Simply Connect may be a good choice for parents looking for a low-cost call-and-text plan for their younger children.
Budget Cell Phone Providers vs Major Carriers
At the top of my list, I started out by listing the plans offered by the top three major carriers, which include:
After that, I got into some of the more affordable plans offered by second-tier phone providers.
One of the top questions customers have is whether or not going with a major carrier offers a significant advantage over using a budget carrier.
Based on my personal experience, I have to say that the cheapest plan isn’t always the best plan. While budget carriers like Fido or Freedom Mobile usually work well in larger cities, they can be unreliable once you get outside the city.
This can be a real problem if you go on long road trips or visit family in a more rural area.
If you’re a college student who needs consistent access to quality service, I would say that going with a major carrier is the best bet.
On the other hand, if you’re a parent who’s just looking for a cheap phone plan for their child, going with a budget carrier may be the better option, as your child likely won’t need access to high-speed data, hotspots, and won’t be travelling as much as a university student.
Conclusion – What’s The Best Phone Plan For Students?
Out of all the plans on this list, I think the best student phone plan is Bell’s 5G unlimited data plan since the carrier offers a special discount for students with valid IDs. Bell has a reliable, fast network that works almost everywhere in Canada.
If you’re looking for something even more affordable, I’m also a fan of Koodoo and Virgin Mobile’s 4G plans, which offer cheap unlimited data plans (although not at 5G speeds).
Looking for even more ways to save? Check out my list of the best student discounts in Canada next!