Prepaid Cell Phones Canada - Competition Has Grown!

This prepaid cell phones Canada section guessed it...dedicated to the Canadian prepaid wireless market.  Throughout this website, I've discussed just how far behind the rest of the world the U.S. is in terms of its maturity in the prepaid wireless space.  I've even mentioned that North America in general is behind countries like Europe, where prepaid is simply a way to pay, and doesn't have the negative connotation that exists in North America.

The prepaid cell phone plan content on this site has been largely dedicated to U.S. prepaid wireless plan comparison, however, the Canadian prepaid market has been heating up, and is worthy of a lot more attention!  Let's look at where the prepaid cell phones Canada wireless market has historically been, and what's been evolving that should prove to be exciting for those residing in Canada!

Prepaid Cell Phones Canada - The History!
While I could throw out a bunch of dates showing you how the Canadian carriers have evolved in their prepaid wireless plan offerings, I guarantee you that it would put you to sleep!  So let's simply sum it up by saying that prepaid has historically been an extremely small part of each of the major carrier's overall strategy.  Each carrier created (or acquired) a distinct prepaid brand.  Next to the logo is the carrier's general brand name.  Next to that is each company's no contract brand:

Bell Mobility Bell Mobility Solo
Telus Mobility Telus Mobility Telus Pay & Talk
Fido Rogers Wireless Changed from Rogers Prepaid to Fido following its acquisition of Microcell, and they started the chatr wireless brand that's currently in the market

None of these prepaid businesses really thrived despite undergoing occasional reinvention every few years.  Aside from chatr wireless, which is a more recent Rogers startup brand.  And that's not to say that the product and offerings weren't good; they were certainly respectable.  The issue has always been that there was a lack of investment and focus on developing prepaid as a viable business in favor of the more desirable postpaid business model.  Prior to Rogers purchasing it, Fido was the only notable standalone prepaid offering to speak of.  And it should be noted that there are arguments to be made that prepaid can actually be more profitable than postpaid, but that's a completely different topic.

Then Came Virgin Mobile Canada!
In 2007, Virgin Mobile expanded into Canada as the only true prepaid only offering, which gave them an advantage in terms of a dedicated focus on prepaid.  Virgin Mobile Canada has done reasonably well, and even launched postpaid plans in 2008.  Though that could be seen as a disadvantage by taking focus away from the prepaid wireless business.  In May 2009, Bell Mobility acquired the rest of Virgin Mobile Canada for CAN$142 million (they previously owned 50%).  Bell continues to operate its legacy Solo brand, despite also having prepaid plans until the Bell brand.  In my opinion it really is a mess.  Only time will tell whether or not they will continue to maintain both brands, and how they will be positioned.

Prepaid Cell Phones Canada - Competition is Brewing!
Likely driven by the success of the prepaid wireless market in the U.S., which drove significant results in 2009, the Canadian market has been aiming its sights on prepaid!  I think this largely has to do with the U.S. shifting from the negative stigma of prepaid wireless, to a focus on the No Contract Cell Phones positioning that people find so appealing.

So while the incumbent (i.e. existing) Canadian carriers scramble to get organized around a refreshed prepaid wireless strategy, there are several completely new companies/brands that have launched in Canada in recent years.  These companies purchased wireless spectrum in Canada, and have been trying to shake up the market with some extremely competitive prepaid offerings!  Here are these newer prepaid wireless providers:

Dave Wireless Dave Wireless

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