International & Exchange  Student CentreWestern International

Setting up Telephone, Internet and Television Services

Many companies in London provide telephone, Internet and TV services. We recommend that you compare plans, rates and discounts before you decide on a company.

Landline/Home Telephone

To have a telephone line installed in your home, contact one of the phone companies below or register online. After arranging service with the telephone company, you will be told when your phone will be activated and your personal phone number.

Once the line is activated in your name, you are legally responsible for all calls made on that line and to pay the telephone bill.

Customers are usually billed monthly a service fee, a rental fee (if you rent a phone) and charges for any long-distance or overseas calls made using their long-distance plan.

Note: On your first bill, expect a one-time installation or activation fee.

Major Canadian Phone Companies (listed alphabetically):

In addition to operating basic, local phone services, these companies also offer:

Internet Phone Service

In general, Internet phones offer free long distance calling within the U.S. and Canada and free world-wide calling to anyone with the same type of phone. Students can buy two Internet phones and send one to their family at home so that they can talk for less. Make sure the phone will work in your country before you make the purchase. If you prefer to order plans in person you can often find start-up kits at local electronic stores (Best Buy, Future Shop, Sears, Walmart, Tiger Direct, etc.).  

Note: If you have an Internet phone, the phone number will not be a local number. This means that people in London who call you will have to pay long-distance charges.

Internet phone service companies (listed alphabetically):

Cell Phones (Mobile Phones)

The cost for cell phone service is usually more expensive in Canada than in other countries. Ask about all fees for a phone plan or contract before you sign up, such as the cost of an activation fee, sending and receiving text messages, long-distance calls, Internet access, video calling, etc.

Getting A New Cell Phone

If you arrive in Canada without a cell phone, you can get one in two ways:

1. Sign a contract with a cell phone company. Contracts include the cost of the phone and a monthly bill for phone use. Most companies require you to sign a minimum one-year contract.

2. Buy a cell phone and join a ‘pay as you go’ plan. In a ‘pay as you go’ plan, you purchase in advance minutes to use on your phone and you buy more as you need them. No identification or credit card is required. If you use your cell phone frequently or use your cell phone for long-distance calls, this option can be much more expensive than a contract.

Note: Many cell phone companies will require you to have a credit card in order to activate your phone.

Major Canadian Cell Phone Companies (listed alphabetically):

Tip: There are cell phone stores in London who carry phones from several companies, where you can compare plans and prices in one place. Several cell phone stores are located in Masonville Place, a London shopping mall.

Bringing Your Cell Phone from Home

International students arriving in Canada may be able to use their cell phones from their home countries.  If your phone is unlocked and has similar technology to Canadian phones, you may be able to use it here. To find out if you can use your cell phone here in Canada, take it into a cell phone store in London where they can test it for you. Several cell phone stores are located in Masonville Place, a London shopping mall.

To sign a contract with a Canadian cell phone company and use your own phone, you will need to buy a new SIM card and pay an activation fee (approximately $30-$40). You will need to bring your credit card and passport to do this.  

Overseas and Long-Distance Calls

Long-Distance Carriers

You can only get basic phone installation and maintenance through a local telephone company, but many companies offer competitive rates on overseas and long-distance calls for telephones. If you find a company that offers better rates for overseas calls than your local provider, you can use that company as your long-distance carrier. One minor inconvenience is that you would receive two different phone bills each month.

Major Canadian Long-Distance Carriers (listed alphabetically):

Long-Distance Calling Cards

Long-distance calling cards may be the least expensive option depending on the country you are calling. They are usually sold in denominations of $5, $10 and $20 at convenience/variety stores or pharmacies.

Tip: Check the expiry date (3-6 months is average) and whether there is a connection or maintenance fee.

How to Dial a Long Distance Call

Dial 011 + country code + routing code + local number  OR  1 + country code + routing code + local number depending on which area of the world you are calling. Country and routing codes are listed in the telephone book.

To make a long-distance call through a public phone, dial ‘0’ and tell the operator that you are making a “collect call” to the specific country and give them the phone number. The person who receives the call will be asked to accept the charges. The charges for operator assisted calls are the most expensive and the minimum charge is for three minutes.

Note: You will NOT be charged for calls made to long distance numbers with the area codes 800, 866, 877 and 888. These numbers indicate a 'toll free' call.


Internet at Home

Here is a list of the most common and recommended companies for connecting your home computer to the Internet. We recommend that you compare what is offered in terms of internet data, speed, and cost at each company to find the package that best suits your needs and budget.

Internet On-Campus

You can access the Internet from various locations on campus.  In addition to the Libraries, there are many computer labs that you can use including in the Health Sciences Building, North Campus Building, Natural Sciences Centre, the Social Science Centre and Somerville House. You will need your Western email user name and password to use these computers. If you have any problems or questions, contact Western’s Information Technology Services (ITS) ( department.                                       

Television (TV)

It is possible to get a television signal for a few local channels with only a television in London.  The signal quality varies.

Cable, Digital or Satellite Television

If you would like the choice of a large number of channels (from 38 to several hundred, depending on the package you choose), you can sign up for Rogers ( cable’s cable television service or with Bell Canada’s ( satellite television service. These services will have several fees attached to them, including one-time set-up charges as well as monthly service fees; be sure to find out about all the fees for the service you choose.  Be sure to look at all the packages (and the cost for each) before choosing one.

Internet Television

Some Londoners choose to watch all of their television shows and movies by paying for a low cost Internet television service. Internet television programs can be viewed from a laptop or desktop computer or from a television that is connected to a computer, media player, or video game console. If you have high speed internet and a sufficient data package, you may want to look into signing up for Netflix or Shomi.