Tag Archives: Bell

Rising Cable Bills – Shrinking Customer Base

The cost of cable and internet keep rising while the number of customers keeps shrinking. For the first time, less than half of Canadians have cable TV from Shaw, Bell or Telus. That’s a massive drop from just six years ago when three-quarters of us had cable TV!


However, I couldn’t bring myself to cut the cord this month when my Shaw contract was up. But I also decided that there was no chance I’d be paying the $165 (pre-GST) I had on my previous two-year contract. (Most channels, no specialty channels, so-called 600 internet, time-shift and Crave).

Shaw no longer has a retention department that I dealt with two years ago. Supposedly every customer service person is now responsible for keeping customers – if not happy, at least staying with the company. The only real way to get a deal is to give your current provider their 30-day notice. You will always, always get a better deal as a new customer somewhere else. That applies to cell carriers just as much as subscriptions, internet and cable providers, and many other industries.

I went on the Shaw website “chat” to give my cancellation notice, because you need to always remember: If it’s not in writing it didn’t happen! This way I could do a screen print as confirmation. The agent certainly asked why, but only came up with some changes around the margin to possibly get my bill to $145. No thanks. I had three Telus mail offers to “occupant” in my hands and all of them were significantly less.

The Telus website had the offer information but no details. I had no idea what I was getting for channels, whether it included a news package, what time-shift would cost, etc. (Dear Telus: If you hadn’t decided to hide all the details, I’d now be customer!) But before I had to worry about it (since I had a month) Shaw actually called me! Within 10 days of my cancellation notice, someone was phoning me, and even left some contract options on the voice message.

When I returned the call the following week, all of a sudden I was down to $102 (giving up my $5 time-shift, Crave and reducing my internet speed from their 600 to 300, and after a one-time $300 bill credit which works out to a $12.50 reduction each of the 24 months on the contract.) That 38% rate drop, even if I had to part with a couple of downgrades) was reasonable, and close enough to the Telus offer to stay with Shaw for another two years.

Even if you hate the thought of haggling, or changing providers, give your current company their 30-days notice and wait a couple of weeks. Then you can re-decide if you want to stay put or switch providers. Since our numbers keep plummeting, it’s likely someone will reach out to you and show you some love…or at least the common sense of treating existing customers close to the same as the smokin’ deals new customers get!

Some Cell Phone Insights & Tips

Strange, but true, one of the most common email questions I get is about saving money on cell bills. Part of that is probably because I keep harping on insane $100 or more plans.

The big three carriers in Canada are Rogers (almost 11 million clients), Telus, and Bell, both at around 9 million total, which includes all their subsidiaries. To me, those three are for businesses and rich people. Rogers second tier carrier is Fido, while Telus has Koodo, and Bell has Lucky and Virgin.

My current plan is with Fido at $39 a month for tons of calling minutes, unlimited text, and some data – enough for what I need. But that plan is now $45 a month and that’s not competitive in a market where rates are dropping, Fido is increasing theirs. If your plan goes up, call them – as I did. Do you want to keep me? If so, lower it back to what it was. or I’m gone. That can only be done if you are not handcuffed by a horrible contract – something I’d never sign.

Telus now has a third-tier carrier for the super price-sensitive people. It’s called Public Mobile and everything is online. There’s no 800 number and everything is on their web site – period. It drastically cuts their expenses and some of that is getting passed on to customers in lower rates.


Public Mobile has unlimited talk text, and 500mb of data for $30 a month. But there’s a trick in the fine print: The unlimited talk is only province-wide! So if you ever call outside the province you’ll need to also add an $8 Canada long distance plan. The lesson? The headline cheap price isn’t always it. You need to read the details on their website.

Freedom Mobile, owned by Shaw now, isn’t ready for prime time yet – we’ll skip that for a few more years.

Koodo has massively increased their rates from a year ago. I have their rate list from both years. Now it’s $50 for the cheapest plan with unlimited calls, texts and any kind of data (it’s 1 GB). That’s up from a comparable $30 last year!

Lucky Mobile is the pre-paid plans, lower-end carrier for Bell who also has Virgin Mobile. Lucky is available in 17 areas, and only rolled out in December, so be careful that you’ll have coverage. They’ll give you throttled 3 G coverage on their 4G network. You can find them online and through Walmart. You can get a $40 plan with unlimited calls and text plus 1 GB data. Hello, Koodo? That’s 25% less than your new rates! And it’s only $45 with 2 GB data. I couldn’t find any mention of whether they’re compatible with iPhones.

There are two lessons: NEVER sign a contract – always stay being a free agent, and shop around at least once a year, just like you would or should on your insurance.