Some Canadian carriers have started offering low-cost data-only plans in accordance with a commitment to the CRTC to make these plans available by the end of March 2019.
Telus flanker brands Koodo and Public Mobile, along with Bell-owned Virgin Mobile and Lucky Mobile now have data-only plans.
At the time of writing, Rogers flanker Fido did not have the data-only plans the carrier submitted to the CRTC, but the plans will launch soon.
Chatr did have the low-cost data-only plans it submitted to the CRTC. This includes a $15 per month plan with 100 Canada-wide minutes and international text, picture and video messaging. If users sign-up for Chatr’s ‘Auto-pay’ service, customers get a bonus 250MB of 3G data. There’s also a $25 per month plan with 500MB of 3G data with unlimited incoming Canada-wide minutes, international text, picture and video messaging. Again, if customers sign up for Auto-pay, they get a bonus 500MB of data, bringing the total up to 1GB of 3G data.
Those not interested in Auto-pay can sign-up for the base Chatr plans, but will lose out on the extra 250MB and 500MB of data.
Koodo kept its offering the same as that submitted to the CRTC last year. That means customers can sign up for a $30 per month 1GB plan with LTE data speed. The plan offers pay-per-use (PPU) access to voice and outgoing SMS messages (incoming messages are free). The plan is postpaid.
Those looking for prepaid options can sign-up with Public Mobile’s $30 1GB plan with LTE. The plan is similar to Koodo’s, but users can only add voice options through plan add-ons and not through PPU means.
Public also offers a $20 per month 250MB plan with 3G speed, which wasn’t part of the submission to the CRTC.
Virgin Mobile’s offering is $28 per month for 1GB of LTE data, available as either a postpaid or prepaid plan. It also offers access to PPU calling and texting.
Lucky Mobile offers a $15 per month prepaid plan with 500MB of 3G data. The website notes that calling and texting, automatic top-ups and data add-ons, among other things, are not available on this plan.
Despite the CRTC’s choice to go through with these plans, several public interest advocates have derided the offerings, calling them a “slap in the face.” Others have called for the removal of Ian Scott as chair of the CRTC over the disappointing low-cost plans.
Regardless, these low-cost data-only options are now available for customers. If these plans fit your needs, you can sign up online or in-store now.
Update 11/03/2019: Corrected an error regarding Chatr’s low-cost data-only plans, and added details about said plans.