Alternate providers use the incumbent’s wire but bill you direct. Some of these other providers may offer competitive rates in your area so it is worth to shop around.
You can order the service by calling the main customer service of your carrier and the whole transaction will happen over the phone. Most carrier customer service numbers are available to call even if no phone service has been purchased. Some carriers have physical outlets in major cities where they can also help you get connected.
Installation is usually fairly quick (1-3 days). If your home is a brand new building it may take longer. Setting up a new account could cost between $20 and $120 depending on your area. By default the phone company will not provide you with a telephone handset. If you want to buy it through the carrier, they will deliver it to your door. At the same time, you could check electronic retailers such as BestBuy, Futureshop, and others where the selection of handsets may be greater than what your carrier may offer you.
Your monthly bill will include the basic service plus any additional features you may have ordered, such as:
- Caller ID: identify who is calling (about CAD$5-8)
- Call Waiting: place a call on hold while answering another one (About $5-8)
- Voice Mail: An answering service provided by your carrier ($5-8)
- Privacy: your number/name is not listed in the phone directory (About $3-5), etc.
Some of these services may be bundled into a competitively priced package if you chose one when you contracted the service.
Almost none of the phone companies require you to sign a long-term contract. If you move within the same city after being a customer of a phone company, you may be able to keep the same phone number, but you may have to pay a new installation fee or relocation charge.