Our 2022 guide: Canada's best home phone plans
How to get the best home phone plans?
Even if cell phones are the more popular choice today, home phone service is still indispensable for many.
With that in mind, we look at the best home phone options available in Canada. Home phone options have probably evolved since you last looked. Canadians are no longer constrained to old copper lines.
Home phone services: What you need to know.
- There are three main types of home phone options: landlines, VoIP and wireless home phone
- The different operators offer many options that can be added à la carte to your plan
- Only local calls are unlimited in basic home phone plans
- Watch out for hidden fees on certain residential telephone packages
What types of home phone services exist in Canada?
There are three main ways to get home telephone service. Here are the most common options in Canada in 2022:
- A landline: Landlines are the old copper telephone lines that have been widely used for decades. They are less common than in the old days when everyone had one. In 2022 around half of Canadians no longer have one. They are being replaced by cellular phones, VoIP and wireless home phone connections, but still have a staying power for those who appreciate their dependability and sound quality. Due to high prices and aging infrastructure, they’re far less interesting than they once were, but they still offer a couple of big advantages. They continue working even when the power goes out, and they don’t suffer from reception problems. Bell is the most prominent landline provider in Canada.
- Wireless home phone: Wireless home phones combine what people love about an old landline with the perks of wireless networks. A home phone base that connects to a wireless network via a SIM card (like your cell phone). Providers include companies like Virgin Plus and Fido. Just plug it in and you’re good to go. There’s no need for a visit from the phone company and no need for a cell phone booster for your home. These are nice if you live in a place that isn’t wired for a landline. You can move them around too if you want to bring yours to a vacation home for a couple of weeks. Not only that, but they’re cheaper land traditional landlines and offer unlimited calls throughout Canada.
- VoIP: VoIP, meaning voice over internet protocol, refers to home phones that connect over your internet connection. VoIP plans are inexpensive and give great call quality if you already have a reliable home internet connection. Telecoms something use this technology even if they don’t explicitly advertise it as such. For example, Rogers Ignite Home Phone services run on VoIP. But, you don’t have to buy VoIP from your internet provider. Ooma and Primus are popular VoIP providers in Canada, and many other companies offer the service.
Compare top home phone offers at the top of this page.
Good to know
Finally, the phone choice for many Canadians today is a cell phone phone. A cell phone-only household can make sense if you have reliable reception where you live. Want to know more? Read our cell phone plan guide and compare your options today.
What are the pros and cons of using a home phone in 2022?
According to Statistics Canada, as of 2019 more than half of Canadian households still used a landline. In some provinces, that number was even higher. New Brunswick led the way with 77% of households having a landline. Clearly, rumours of the home phone’s death have been greatly exaggerated!
Here are the reasons that so many people still choose to keep home phone service.
Home phone advantages:
- Variety of connection options: traditional landline, wireless and VoIP
- Better call quality than cell phones: Landlines and VoIP can offer crystal clear calls.
- Accurate 911 location services: When you have a landline, emergency operators automatically get your address.
- Continues working during power outages
- May offer unlimited long-distance minutes
- Service can be inexpensive (VoIP and wireless)
Despite these significant advantages, there are some disadvantages to keep in mind.
Home phone disadvantages:
- A second phone bill to pay: Most home phone subscribers also have a cell phone plan, so a home phone means another bill.
- Traditional landlines offer fewer features than cell phones.
- Landlines may be expensive.
- Infrastructure is aging.
- May require a contract.
What features are available with home phone plans?
Today's phones are a far cry from your grandparents’ rotary phones. Home phone plans today offer many nice features. Here are some of our favourites:
- Unlimited long-distance calls: VoIP often means unlimited calls to Canada and the United States and inexpensive calls abroad.
- Caller ID: Phone ringing? See the caller's phone number and name so you can pick who you want to answer and when.
- Conference call functionality: Enjoy a simultaneous call with all your friends.
- Call waiting: Put a caller on hold if you receive a second call while you’re already talking.
- Voicemail: You don’t need an answering machine like in the old days. People can leave you a message when you don’t pick up.
- Call Display blocking: You can choose to block your name and number from appearing on a recipient's phone on a per-call or automatic basis.
- Different phone numbers: Some VoIP providers let you have several home phone numbers. Program each number to have its own ringtone. This is great for families. It is like everyone has their own phone.
Good to know
Have friends or family abroad? Depending on your operator you may be able to get inexpensive international coverage on your home phone too. For example, Telus has the Unlimited India Plan for $10 per month, an Asia Long Distance Plan (unlimited to China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan) for $7 per month and the Unlimited US and Canada Long Distance plan for $15 per month.
What is the best home phone plan?
The best home phone provider for you depends on your usage, where you call, and the providers available where you live. Fortunately the offerings today are more diverse than they ever have been. Canadians willing to look at VoIP and wireless phone options have a lot of choices when shopping for home phone service.
Canada’s best home phone providers include
- Bell (BCE Inc)
- Koodo (Subsdiarey of Telus)
- Fido (a subsidiary of Rogers)
- Virgin Plus (a subsidiary of BCE)
- Comwave home phone
- Vonage home phone
Good to know
Compare home phone plans at the top of this page to find a great deal on a home phone line.
How much does a home phone cost?
The price of the different home phone packages in Canada varies widely from one operator to another.
A basic package generally costs at least $10 to $15 per month. VoIP is generally the least expensive way to get home phone service. Wireless phones start at around $20 per month. With additional paid features, the monthly rate can go way up, so consider which features you actually need.
Traditional landlines can cost twice what VoIP and wireless home phone plans do. The most expensive operators tend to be those offered by established home phone providers like Bell. An unlimited plan from Bell that offers calls throughout Canada and the United States is around $50 per month.
The price of a home phone also varies depending on the types of calls you need to make. In some cases, long-distance and local calls are charged differently. If you live in Edmonton, but make lots of calls to your brother in Toronto, you’ll want to verify that those calls are included.
Finally, there are a few more fees to keep in mind. These may include:
- Activation fees: Some providers charge when they open your line. For example, Bell charges $49.95.
- Equipment fees: You may have to pay to buy or rent your equipment. For example, Fido wireless home phone service means spending $125 for their hardware (sold separately or on a payment program)
- Termination fees: Expect to pay to cancel if you have a contract that you want to break early.
Good to know
Want the cheapest home phone service? You’ll want to choose a VoIP provider that offers unlimited long-distance calls. Check if your internet service provider offers home phone service in a bundle.
What is VoIP?
Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is an increasingly popular way to make cheap phone calls. Essentially your call travels through your internet connection rather than through traditional copper lines. This is a well-established, mature technology.
This has some advantages:
- VoIP is inexpensive
- Usually self-install
- Easier to move and keep the same number
The disadvantages include:
- If power or internet goes out so does your phone
- Less-accurate location information when you call 911
- Sound quality and latency can suffer with network congestion
If you want to take advantage of IP telephony you'll need:
- A VoIP subscription: these plans are usually less expensive than comparable traditional offers.
- An Internet connection: You’ll need a reliable home internet connection.
- A VoIP phone or VoIP phone adapter: That old cordless phone you have in the closet probably won’t be able to plug directly into your router. New VoIP phones that can are available inexpensively in Canada. If you have an old phone that you’d still like to use, you may be able to do so with an adaptor.
How do you block a number on a home phone?
Many landline phone providers offer a spam blocking service. Check with your provider to see what is available. Here are what a few popular providers offer:
|Bell:||The Call Privacy feature requires private and unknown phone numbers to identify themselves before allowing the call through. You may activate this feature only for certain peace & quiet hours if you wish. You may block up to 12 numbers from even leaving voice mails.|
|Rogers:||The Home & Away Online Manager lets you send all private callers and numbers on your unwanted callers list directly to voicemail.|
|Telus:||Home phone customers can, for example, activate Call Control. The service screens out robo-callers by prompting first-time callers to enter a number on the keypad. If they don’t, as robo-callers won’t, the call doesn’t go through.|
|Shaw:||Anonymous call blocking lets you block unidentified callers, while a selective call blocking feature lets you block up to 31 specific numbers|
|SaskTel||A paid Block the Blocker feature that screens out unknown numbers|
Good to know
Canadians can reduce the number of unwanted phone calls that they receive to their landlines, wireless and VoIP phone numbers by registering the number with the National Do Not Call List. The system isn’t perfect, and some unsolicited calls are still allowed notably from registered charities and political parties, but registering can help you to prevent some unwanted calls.
4 tips for picking the best home phone provider
Not sure where to get started and how to find the best home phone provider? Here are some tips to get you started:
- Choose a plan that fits you: Ask yourself, how often will you use the line and where are the people you’ll call? A basic unlimited local call plan is enough for many occasional users and is very affordable. People who spend many hours on the phone though or have relatives on the other side of the country might prefer an unlimited plan with long-distance. To save money, buy enough for your needs, but not more.
- Inform yourself what kinds of calls are included: Basic landline plans often include only unlimited local calls. Long-distance calls may be charged by the minute.
- Watch out for hidden fees: You could be charged more than just a monthly subscription. Read the fine print to be sure that you understand any fees (activation fees, cancellation fees and equipment fees) before you sign up.
- Be aware of the contract's length. Some cheap phone plans require you to sign a 2-year contract. They may only offer a promotional rate for a limited time before the monthly price doubles or triples
Our home phone comparison tool at the top of this page will help you find a great phone service deal.
What is the best bundle for internet, tv and phone?
Canada’s major telecoms bundle tv, internet and phone service so that you can save by going through one provider. This is available from providers like Rogers, Bell and Telus. Bundling all three services easily costs more than $100 per month, but if you’re a heavy user it may still work out cheaper than buying the services individually.
Among Canada's major telecoms, Rogers lets you add unlimited local calling to your bundle for $10 per month with an existing Ignite Internet package, while Telus offers it for $20 per month with a PureFibre internet package. Finally, Bell is the most expensive with a plan starting at an additional $41.56 per month.
Locally, some smaller providers offer competitive internet, tv and phone bundles like the Quebec-based oxio.