Saving on Phone in Canada


I recently decided to try MagicJack.  For those of you unfamiliar it’s a cord you plug into your computer into which you plug a regular phone.  You can use it as your main home phone line for only $19 a year and this gets you an American phone number.  For an extra $10 per year you can have a Canadian one from a local city.  We are currently using it solely for the unlimited long distance (which saves us $20 per month against our home phone provider).  For silly reasons we have opted for an Orlando, FL based number to save ourselves the extra $10 a year (and yes we are that cheap).  If we ever decided to switch completely to virtual phone service we would save ourselves an additional $35 a month.

Another option we considered is combining our cellphones (smartphones; an android and a blackberry) with Skype for our Long Distance while we are at home.  A quick explanation on how it works:  Using a Wifi Router and a Skype compatible device (the smartphone) we can do our calls over the web by using a Skype App on the cellphone (with bluetooth headsets we already have to be hands-free).

Now maybe I’m a little old fashioned or maybe it’s the fact that I have young children but I have a hard time coming to terms with parting ways with my land line.

The thing that holds me back the most is the 9-1-1 service.  I worry that in a emergency situation my children (who are 7 and 4) would be unable to dial my cell or execute the MagicJack properly should the need arise.  One would hope we would never have to find out but I wouldn’t want to tempt fate.

I know several people who use their cell phones strictly with no home phones at all. No problems have ever happened to them and this system works quite well in their daily lives.  They are saving themselves some major money monthly.  Certainly this sounds appealing to me as well as our cellphones cover our inbound communication needs with the current plans we are on (Family Sharing + Data).

It always comes back to the children, the paranoia and the unforeseen emergency that may never come.  So for now we are saving ourselves $20 a month long distance with a MagicJack and if it goes well we may be able to get over the hurdle of switching all together someday.

What do you to save on your communications?  Is anything holding you back on switching?

54 responses to “Saving on Phone in Canada”

  1. Beckie says:

    Held out for a long time but since cutting my landline over a year ago I have not missed it once! I have a great deal with Rogers which includes Canada Wide 10 numbers and my daughter (16) have unlimited Canada long distance after 6. All totalled we are paying $80-90 a month for phones/data/long distance which seems much better than the additional $40-60 with Bell Canada for a landline with long distance. I am all about the no landline!

    Neighbour has the Magic Jack and swears by it!

  2. chzplz says:

    Cell phone only. Free evenings and weekends after 6:00pm makes it a no-brainer for a single person household.

  3. anisa says:

    i’ve been using magicjack for a few months.

    you need good quality high speed internet for it. they used to not allow 1800 numbers to be dialed, but now do.

    i have no current complaints over it, and i certainly don’t miss my monthly phone bill!

    if there was ever any issue with service, hubby and i always have your cell phones.

  4. Ali_81 says:

    I gave up my landline about two years ago and really don’t miss it at all. I too have a young son (he’s 8 now) and I am a single-mom. I went through the same worries about him not being able to dial 911 in an emergency and there’s always the worry about the emergency responders not being able to track the call. But a few lessons when he was 6 years old and he knew our complete address, and the major streets around us. Plus, getting to be comfortable with our neighbours, I never really worried because he could go there and have access to their phones as well.

    The biggest issue came up when I planned to go out for the first time last year to a family stag-n-doe, (no family to babysit!!) and hired a teenaged-babysitter from down the street for a few hours. I wanted to bring my cell phone with me, but that would leave NO PHONE in my house. Luckily, my babysitter had a cell phone, so the problem was solved.

  5. Lily says:

    Many alarm systems have an emergency button on them which, when pressed, calls up emergency services immediately.

  6. Litesandsirens911 says:

    1) I have a cellphone which gives me free long distance and incoming and outgoing calls after 6pm and 24 hours on weekends for free…

    2) if you have a Gmail account, you can make any usa and canadian calls 24 hours a day FREE…outgoing only though…but they have offered this the last 2 years, no strings attached, it calls from your computer.

  7. madryn_m says:

    My partner and I only use our cell phones. For our $40/month each plans, we get unlimited incoming and outgoing calls anywhere in Canada and the USA, unlimited texting anywhere in Canada and the USA, and unlimited data. It saves an incredible amount of money. I think most cell phones have a “quick touch” option for dialing 911. For instance, with my old phone, if you pressed “1” and “send” it would go directly to 911. It’s possible you could have that option on your cell phone too.

  8. LoveADeal says:

    @madryn_m….i have to ask….what cell phone provider do you use that gives you : unlimited incoming and outgoing calls anywhere in Canada and the USA, unlimited texting anywhere in Canada and the USA, and unlimited data.
    It’s definelty not one of the Big 3…
    Please share your secret…i’m allllll about saving a buck or two or 40!

  9. Ed says:

    Like Lightsandsirens911, I use my cell phone(iPhone 4) for local calling and the free long distance from Gmail. I have an app for my iPhone called Talkatone, with it I can use the gmail long distance on my iPhone over WiFi. Can’t beat free 🙂

  10. Ssseth says:

    I’m in the process of signing up for (FPL), after the upfront cost it’s free forever and just 2 cents a minute for long distance. I don’t really call any long distance and the one or two numbers I do call I have in my free 5 numbers on my cell plan (or 10 unlimited numbers on my wifes).

    The best part is with the appropriate adapter you can continue to use your regular analog home phone (I have a base with 3 extension handsets). You don’t have to have a computer on all the time either.

    I’ve decided to make the switch after reading a lot of positive feedback over at the review section and forums. There is a bit of a technical setup to it though. If you use your internet a lot and aren’t sure how to get into and configure your home router (to setup Quality of Service aka QoS) VoIP might not be for you.

  11. mastersaver says:

    @loveadeal I’m going to say its wind or mobilicity they were both offering unloimited everything at the beginning of the year for 40.
    Great deal but I’m a Rogers warrior and scored a better deal from them. And I travel outside their coverage area regularly.

  12. ergo2 says:

    i looked at this months ago as my neibour has it. problem is my internet is on bell’s lines and if you want internet after you cancel your phone(also to use magic jack) you have to fork over $80 to bell for “dry loop” plus pay an extra fee each month for dry loop.

  13. ladie fannie says:

    Re: Magic Jack. My girlfriend has it and lives in a rural part of Central Ontario where there is only a handful of Internet Providers and the service is not that good…can you say major dead zone. Talking to her on her Magic Jack phone is like standing in a tin can trying to talk to another party in another tin can. It’s awful. She has to have her computer on all the time, the 1-800 thing was a big issue for her. Hydro rates are out the roof over there so keeping her computer on does make a difference on their bills! If you are in a large urban area maybe, but then you also have a lot more choices than those living in rural areas.

  14. Gek says:

    @Ssseth Thank you so much for the link. I always wonder if there is such a service. Awesome!

  15. Jenny Jones says:

    i lived with no phone for a while, I don’t recommend it – pay phones are a dying breed. I’ve tried VOIP but maybe I tried it too early, or my internet connection wasn’t good but the line always had static. I’ve been afraid of the magic jack because i’ve seen reviews online that worried me. I’ve come to terms of using my cogeco home phone ($10/mos I believe) and a ci ci long distance card (we go through approx. $20/ year) and a pay as you go cell phone which is the most expensive phone investment because it usually runs around $15/mos. (I’ll tell you I’ve used the home phone to call 911 – as an adult . I’m not sure I would want to have to remember how to use anything fancy in that time of crisis – if you have small children and you have even a remote worry about it I recommend following your gut)

  16. Trixyluxx says:

    I currently use majic jack, its good, but sometimes the line echos, or repeats itself

  17. Sebastian says:

    The last time I had a landline was 1998. My cell phone is my primary phone and when combined with Telus One Number Unlimited and All Day Talk Magic Number, I only pay $15 a month for unlimited calling any time of day and unlimited long distance to a list of Canadian cities. Far far cheaper than a land line.

  18. FallenPixels says:

    I use vonage as a home phone, for $30 I get unlimited calling to the US, Canada and a pile of other countries including the UK. On top of that I paid for a UK virtual number from them for under $9 a month. I used to spend about $20 per month calling home so its a good deal for us and has 911 service.

    I also have unlimited US/Canada calling/text on my cell with WIND, if the UK calling feature was available on my cell I would probably do away with vonage but they dont so…

  19. Charlene says:

    I’ve been without a landline since 2004 I think it was. I switched to Primus VOIP and have been with them ever since. It was a godsend with us being a military family and moving around so much as we could keep the same number regardless of where we ended up. Plus while we were moving, messages went to voicemail and then were emailed to me so we could stay in touch while on the road. I can’t sing the praises of Primus Talkbroadband enough. For less than 40 dollars I have a Canadian phone number, unlimited Canada, US, and worldwide calling (3.99 for my worldwide unlimited) and a US number so a close US friend can call me and it’s a local call for them. I especially like the online portal where I can check call logs, redirect calls, block them, and in the case of telemarketers who annoy me, redirect their calls to each other for fun.

  20. Charlene says:

    Oops, noticed I didn’t add per month, to the 40 dollars. 🙂

  21. Tammy says:

    I’ve still got a lan line with Bell (I know I know…could I pick a worse provider) but without any bells and whistles my bill is $45 per month for a line plus call answer. Like many people I’d been a Bell customer for years getting ripped off and ended up speaking to someone in the customer Loyalty department and ended up getting free long distance for LIFE…yes I had to ask them to say it twice too because I didn’t believe it but they agreed to give it to me for LIFE, no long distance plan fee and all calls within North America are free. (You have to ask to talk to someone in the loyalty department specifically though as the regular customer service people know nothing about these kinds of deals). So with my lan line and my Fido pay as you go cell phone at $10 per month that I only use for necessities/emergencies (trying to avoid the brain cancer) my total phone costs are $55 a month with all the long distance I care to use which makes me pretty happy!
    P.S. My mother in law uses Skype in the USA to talk to us for basically free but I have the say my experience with this is that that service sucks. I find the connection is almost always bad, with it cutting out every 4th word the other person says and having a second or two time delay which makes having a conversation extremely frustrating. Not sure if anyone else finds this with skype but I’d rather pay for the call than suffer through a conversation using it. Perhaps not everyone has trouble like that with it?

  22. Sarah says:

    Will your alarm system work without a landline?

  23. Max says:

    We’ve got a landline through FreePhoneLine and we have a Calgary number. Using it in combination with a Linksys PAP2 and a couple of VoIP phones, works great. I’ve only paid $50 to get the configuration file, but free phone line for life, really.

    Long distance wise, we use VoipStunt. They have very good prices for long distance, and in most cases better then Skype (Surprisingly).

  24. MooH says:

    one word 50$ for life …

  25. Sandra5 says:

    Our land line phone operates with our entry system to “buzz” people into the building. Does anyone know if we could do this with a non-land line phone?

  26. Sandra5 says:

    Hi mupiel, maybe this is a dumb question, but does it now cost your friends long distance to call your new Florida number?

  27. Natalka says:

    We save money by not having personal cell phones, just a landline and not calling long distance (rarely).

  28. ambs says:

    voip phones also work with the entry buzzer as well as with cell phones.

  29. Mag says:

    Sandra5 – we don’t have land line at all but our phone is plugged in just for the buzzer, and it works, so basically you just need to have your device/phone plugged in without any service and you are ok 🙂

  30. Roland says:

    COBRA PhoneLynx Cell Phone to Home Adapter with Bluetooth Wireless Technology

    Using a regular cellphone, one can connected the regular home phone to the gadget above. I have done this for my parents who like using their home phone than a cellphone. I picked up a WindMobile cell plan. More on the product in the link where I bought mine.

  31. Tammy says:

    My husband is a truck driver that travels to the US frequently. He got magic jack last yr and if the internet connection was good it would have saved us a fortune. But sadly is so many areas it just isn’t so he still has his cell phone. The idea is good and it does work

  32. Felicia says:

    Awesome feeback people! Keep up the good work! I’m getting a real education here.

  33. Kasya says:

    Just a little warning to MagicJack users. Read carefully The fine print. Unlimited long distance could be not so unlimited. The friend of mine had a big problem with them. I think she is still fighting with their customer service over her huge monthly bills.

  34. Cheryl888 says:

    I called shaw cable, and they gave me a free landline for a year, and somehow actually reduced my bill by $10/month. Told them I wanted to switch to telus, and they did everything they could to keep me 🙂

    It takes some time, and making sure you have the right info to back up your claims (price wise), but I have saved easily almost $100/month, which only took me an hour of my life.

    If you want a home phone, call your cable provider and give them hell! 🙂

  35. Martin says:

    I switched to Magicjack 3 years ago, have had some small problems, but for 20 dollars a year – who cares, it works 99% of the time.

    You need cable or some other non-telco internet to really get the best savings.

    I have since switched my brother and parents to Magicjack and they are very happy.

    One tip.. After you have cancelled your home phone, you can just plug the magicjack directly into any wall socket. There is still enough current in the lines to power any phone in your house and this will allow you to use the Magicjack everywhere. It makes the transition a lot easier. If you don’t want to connect it to your telephone line, you can also get a multi-handset cordless phone system – only the base station needs to be plugged into the Magicjack, the satellite units just feed of the base.

    If you want to pay a little extra and/or dont’ want your computer on 24 hours a day, try NetTalk. The device costs $79.99 from and includes one year of service with a Canadian phone number. $40/year thereafter. One end plugs into your internet router and the other end into your telephone. I haven’t tried NetTalk myself, but the reviews on Amazon are generally positive. Who knows, maybe this is actually the cheaper option when you include the cost of powering a computer for the year?

  36. AllenC says:

    I can’t wait to drop my landline. We live just outside of telus/Rogers/wind/bell/mobilicity unlimited zones. (don’t you hate the way the incumbents are allowed to selectively compete). We reduced our landline to the very basic level of service but still have to pay the stupid touchtone fee. This fee was implemented in the 70s to cover the cost of additional equipment which no longer exists (can you say rip-off?). It is because of these policies that I can’t wait for wind to offer service in our area! Then the landline and all the rip offs will be done

  37. Asm says:

    Does not work well- Voice keeps cutting off…We had to return ours within the trial period that costed $10.00 as they do not refund S&H. Not worth it. Also you have to keep your computer switched on all the time. We are now Vonage customers and I love it! Free long distance to so many countries and great voice quality.

  38. mupiel says:

    @Sandra5 I still have my local phone right now so they call me inbound there. I currently use the MagicJack for Long Distance only.

  39. tthomp47 says:

    Sarah-I work for an alarm company, and no your system will not report to the monitoring station without an active telephone line connected to it. Someone mentioned that there is an emergency button on the alarm system – this is true, but only works with a phone line connected to it.

    It is possible to use a VoIP line and still have the alarm system work through it – the technology is there; the only concern we have about this is the reliability of that line. Bell lines are powered by Bell at the street and seldom go out (notice that when your power goes out, you still have a phone line-as long as you have a non-cordless phone). VoIP lines or other means of communication need to have constant power and (if through the internet) need a good connection at all times. We definitely recommend to our customers that want to switch to VoIP to maintain a single Bell Canada data line at their home (for about $15.00 a month) for their alarm system.

    What if your internet/hydro/or VoIP were down at the time of an emergency? Your system would not report to the monitoring station as it is supposed to do and no one would know about the emergency situation.

    Another option for alarm users is a cellular backup, it’s a unit that is connected to your alarm and for an additional monthly fee, reports to the monitoring station without a telephone line. There is usually an installation fee for this unit (in some cases a hefty one), on top of the additional monthly fee. I believe you are better off to pay the $15ish through Bell and maintain a single data line at your home.

    Note: Cable phone lines through Rogers and the like do not pose a problem like the VoIP as these lines are still powered from the street.

    I hope this helped!

  40. Kate says:

    My bf and I only have our cell phones and I don’t regret it one bit. We aren’t home enough to use a land line. I called Rogers about my bill a little while ago, and they gave me a loyal customer deal with unlimited long distance to Canada and the US and unlimited minutes for 50$! An awesome deal since it’s my work phone and I usually rack up over 1500 minutes a month, mostly daytime. I add a data plan and a 12$ voicemail, and unlimited text and I think it’s a great deal!

  41. mamajules says:

    i currently use magicjack and have beenf or 2 1/2 years i have a 911 option and free long distance/voicemail/call waiting/call forwarding and call display its cheap and easy and the only “bill” you pay (if you can call it that) is the one to renew your service once a year! i think its great i love that i can call my mom in new brunswick or a friend in bc FOR FREE its amazing and i reccommend it highly!

  42. Heather says:

    I love the idea of saving $ and getting rid of my land line! But I have kids too, and my husband does a lot of his work over the phone from home, so I worry about the possible health risks. I’m not saying that I think we’ll all get cancer from using cell phones only, but the evidence is not conclusive, and long term studies are not available. I feel better playing it safe with this, although yes, I know, it seems everything causes cancer! We do use Skype to call our friends long distance, it’s a great connection sometimes and other times it cuts out or disconnects…

  43. prairie girl says:

    My husband has friends who call us with Magicjack. I don’t find that the connection is that great…As for my kids figuring out how to use my cellphone, my 5 year old has figured it out quickly. It’s just a matter of getting them to practice dialing 911 if that’s a concern. We do still have a landline and my husband makes lots of overseas calls using calling cards because that’s the best solution we’ve found that works for us.

  44. Jen says:

    We have magic jack and cell phones. I recently got a deal through Wind Mobile for unlimited US/Can calling but before that I was using Magic Jack. The sound isn’t perfect, but for $20 a year, you can’t really complain about free long distance.

  45. screamy says:

    From a financial POV, I’ve wanted to get rid of my bare-bones landline for a long time.

    But I know from my training and work in emergency management that when “it hits the fan”, cell towers can very quickly get overloaded because everyone’s making calls (and depending on the nature of the emergency, some are physically damaged beyond immediate repair, and it’s not just a volume issue).

    It’s always a good idea to have a backup plan. The landlines could be damaged or overwhelmed too, but I have seen so many case studies where communication failures played major roles in emergency response that – even I don’t even have a phone physically plugged in at home unless there is an actual emergency, for about $350/year (as much as it pains me to think about it when everything is okay), I’m keeping it.

  46. Sandra5 says:

    Hey Mag, it’s great to hear that you just plugged your jack in and the buzzer works without the landline, but I’m concerned that this method might not work in all buildings. I think I will contact the building management to check with them.
    Hi, mupiel, so if you choose an area code in another city with someone you regularly talk with, that means no long distance fee for either of you.

  47. Cheryl says:

    We dumped our home phone this year. I have a Mobilicity cell package (unlimited talk/text/data for $40/month) and my husband has Chatr (unlimited talk/text) for $35 a month. We decided to go with two different providers in case we ran into problems with one. So far, so good. I transferred our home number to my cell, so we don’t miss any calls and didn’t have to notify everyone and their dog about the change. Good riddance Bell and Rogers.

  48. mupiel says:

    @Sandra5, If I chose a local number to someone I know they would have local calls to me as well at no charge. I chose Orlando because I dont have any friends\family in the US but I did consider that possibility.

  49. Bytown says:

    Take a look at netTALK DUO for Canada. It’s a Magicjack type of VOIP dongle but unlike Magicjack , doesnt need a computer and runs directly from a modem or router. Plus it’s fax compatible. Available at and

    Also, they have an incredible free app, netTALK, allowing users to make free phone calls anywhere within (or to) Canada and the U.S. from a cellphone.
    See article here:–make-free-calls-in-u-s-canada-with-new-app?bn=1

  50. Andie says:

    I got rid of my landline in 1999. Never looked back.

  51. Brenda says:

    My husband works as a 911 operator – and believe me, I’ve heard too many stories from him regarding emergency calls not being answered properly with VOIP and cell phone calls. We still keep our land line for our two daughters so that in case of emergency, they have the phone for sure. When calling 911 with a cell phone, your call goes to a tower – not necessarily in your area. Should another area get your call – they may not know where you are located and have to transfer your call elsewhere thereby wasting valuable time. If you can’t tell your emergency operator where you are – and hang up – you won’t get service. They CAN’T TRACK YOUR CALL IN ALL PARTS OF CANADA. It might be to the nearest cell tower – but that could be miles away! Without electricity, VOIP doesn’t work – so we want to make sure that we have the phone connected in case. It is like insurance – you may not need it, but when you do – you’ll be glad you do!

  52. KaDE! says:

    Hey guys! Check this out:

    [Switching to ” FREE and NOT A SCAM “]

    I switched from Rogers Home Phone. They were charging me $32/month for a home phone without even Caller ID. Get it is absolutely free. It cost me $157 (one time fee) to get set up, which is equivalent to 5 months with Rogers. Check my link above- I provide details of my switch, or go to directly to read up.



  53. Jean says:

    Keep your land line for now. My cell phone works great everywhere except in my house or yard, we do not have proper service in my area, regardless though I think for your children and for me, half the time I cannot find my cell phone, at least the land line is pretty visual if something were to happen. Yo will know when the right time to rid self of it but by that time, there may not be a need for it!!

  54. telexfree says:

    Hey there, You’ve done a great job. I will certainly digg it and for my part recommend to my friends. I’m sure they will be benefited from this site.


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