Archived—Cellphone Choices for Canadians: A Practical Guide to the Canadian Cellphone Marketplace

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Telephone Features

Once you have defined the amount and type of minutes that you require, you need to choose which features you would like to include in your service plan.

Features may include:

  • Call display/Caller identification
  • Voicemail
  • Call waiting
  • Text messaging
  • Internet access (for Web browsing, emails, music or movie downloads)
  • Security

…and many more!

Many service providers bundle features together as a package, charging one amount for a group of features. This may save you money if you need and use all of the features in the package however, if not, you may want to consider other options. You may save money by paying for only those telephone features that you will actually use. However, adding many features can add significantly to the monthly cost of service.

Some users may only require quite basic service or no features at all. In general, the most basic features are caller identification and voicemail.

  • Caller identification shows the name or number of the person calling your cellphone. Most cellphones can store the numbers if you do not answer the call.
  • Basic voicemail will allow callers to leave messages if you don’t answer.

Text Messaging is a service which allows you to compose, send and receive a note using the keypad on your phone. Providers have different methods of charging for text messages. Some charge for messages sent and received, while others only charge for messages sent. All text messages are usually charged according to the number of messages. Ask yourself whether you think you would use this option and how many messages you would send and receive in a month.

Web Browsing is an automatically activated capability which allows you to access and search the Internet from your cellphone. Web browsing is usually charged for according to your usage (i.e. the amount of information downloaded). Many providers offer packages with allotted amounts of minutes or data. It is important to monitor your usage and choose a package that meets your needs and budget. To use this feature, you need to have a cellphone with Web capability.


After a few cellphone bills arrive, review your usage and features, if the plan you have does not suit your needs, ask your provider to help you find one that does.

Note that most providers offer the ability to pay a flat monthly fee for a set amount of text messages or data. Depending on how often you use these features, you may save money by taking advantage of these plans.