An Update on My International Phone Quandary: Fido Surprises Me

Earlier in the month, I bored the crap out of you with a Byzantine explanation of our phones-in-Malta situation:

We have three phone numbers we’d like to retain, Capulet’s landline plus our two cell phone numbers (currently with Fido). Ideally we’d like to use these numbers in Malta, but that’s probably not viable from a price perspective.

I called Fido today to explain our situation, and to see what they could do for me. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but judging from the accents, all of Fido’s technical support seems to be in rural Quebec.

My contract with Fido is up in a couple of months, but Julie’s has at least a year left on it. Jacques (Ti-Paul? Marc?) explained that our only option was to ratchet the phones down to their minimum plan, and to use them for voice mail only (which is a satisfactory compromise, we can use a land line and calling cards in Malta).

Cost: $35 per phone per month, or about $420 for six months.

Our other option would be to buy our way out of Julie’s plan, and take the numbers (thank you, number portability) to a local VoIP provider. A colleague recommended PeopleLine. Frankly, I’ve been underwhelmed by my international calling experiences with VoIP, and I don’t like the idea that when our Internet access is down in rural Malta, so too is our phone service.

Cost: $200 to cancel Julie’s contract

I’m talking this over with Francois, and I must have said the magic words. I suspect they were “cancel”, “Vonage” and “number portability”. He shuttled me over to another department–a Super Secret Department Which Shall Not Be Named.

There, another French-Canadian gave me the offer I couldn’t refuse. Free number parking for six months, with pay-as-you-go pricing for usage. We’d have to pay a little something for voice mail:

Cost: $6 per phone per month, or about $72.

That’s what I’m talking about. Sign us up. Huzzah for free markets.

Now I need to investigate whether Fido has any voice mail notification services. Can I get an email or SMS (to another phone) when there’s a new voice mail message for a given number?


  1. Get a $20/month Vonage account, set the Fido phones to NOT have voicemail but forward to the Vonage number instead (which would be a local Vancouver number).

    Then, get your voicemail via email.

    Yeah, it’s $20/month for voicemail, BUT, you’ve also got 500 minutes of calling (or some such…I haven’t looked at the plan lately) and you can even give your tech challenged friends and relatives that local Vancouver number.

  2. Don’t know what you meant by “when my internet is down in rural Malta”. you should have no worries if you choose to install an ADSL or Cable connection. Internet is rarely ever (if not never) down in Malta.

  3. Jacques: I’ll believe that when I see it, because my Internet access goes down occasionally in urban Vancouver.

  4. Pingback: Malta at Kaizenlog
  5. Glad this worked out for you Darren and you found the best deal possible. I’m sure it was a dedious process.

  6. Hi Darren,

    Malta, sheesh, hope the falconing is great — maybe you can do a “Postcards from Malta” presentation for a future Vancouver STC/HTCE meeting!

    Fido is a limited option: Basically they are an economical metro service that is now owned by Rogers Wireless (who is no doubt waiting in the wings for upsell opportunities).

    For your core solution, I would add my vote to the “VoIPers” (specifically Skype), for low-cost international business calling. Given a reliable Internet connection, you could be based anywhere!

    Good news is that Canada now supports local number portabilitiy, meaning that you can transfer your number “presence” to any Canadian provider.

    BTW, if you find yourself needing a senior Vancouver/N.A. technical writing liaison in the future, please look me up.

    Currently, I’m teaching at BCIT (COMM 2206, COMP 1287) and contracting with Tekmark Global Solutions on a large VoIP cable telephony network management rollout.


    Ben Hechter

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