Tag Archives: cell phone charges

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.

Some pre-Christmas Good News Stories

It only seems appropriate at this time of the year to focus on some good news in the world of finances and credit. So, in no particular order, here are eleven positives that are worth sharing or repeating:

Credit & debit cards: This was the year that our volume on debit cards exceeded that of credit cards. And according to a study just released, our raw charge volume on credit cards is also down 12% to the end of September. It’s always great news when we spend money we have, instead of borrowing it!

Mortgage rates: If you refinanced, you already know that you got some of the lowest rates in a generation – even more if you negotiated properly. And it looks like those low rates may stay for another three or six months. We’ll talk about that in January with some critical things you need to know and get ready for.

Just released is a Harris poll: In the current slowdown, or tail-end of the recession, two-thirds of us still intend to decrease our already reduced restaurant and entertainment spending. Put that together with this morning’s Bank of Canada release that our savings rate is 4.7%, and I’m very happy that we’re saving more and spending less.

In that same vein, using the slogan of one of the big no-service banks, you’re richer than you think, our net worth increased by $141 billion in the second quarter of the year. It is also expected to be the same or more for the third quarter, as our retirement savings and investments bounced back big-time, and home values started to creep up again. Don’t make that out to be permission to spend stupid again, but it’s great news when our savings, homes, and investments grow.

Let’s face it, gas prices are a big dent in our wallets each month. Last week, the government owned Mexican oil monopoly paid $1 billion to hedge prices for 2010 at a $57 a barrel level. They didn’t buy oil, they bough insurance contracts that they’d get at least $57 a barrel. Since it’s in the $70 range right now, it looks like some very smart producers think there’s about a 20% drop coming next year.

Some potential good news is that the federal government is looking into the huge fees that merchants, and ultimately you and me, pay on credit and debit card transactions. IF they have the guts to act, it’ll help us all, as merchants will more than likely pass on the fee savings in a prteey competitive climate.

If you remember, in October we talked about almost two-thirds of us living paycheque to paycheque, and that being broke is a choice. At that time I offered to work with anyone who is sick and tired of being broke. So right now, there are three families in Kelowna who are on the way to becoming debt free and a special shout-out to them.

The recession appears to be over, at least on paper, in the U.S. and here in Canada. The great news is that we dodged a big bullet and didn’t have nearly the collapse the U.S. had, and continues to have. Even better news is if, and that’s a big if, we learned the painful lessons of millions of Americans, and a ton of business that went under: Debt doesn’t pay, you cannot borrow your way to wealth, and too many payments will collapse your finances sooner or later.

One financial obligation most of us have is our cell phone. The great news is that three new second-tier cell phone companies are starting up in the New Year. Guaranteed, that’ll result in a big drop in our cell contracts. If your contract is up, or about to expire, do NOT sign another three year contract and get trapped. Leave it month by month until these three are in the market. In Canada, we are way overcharged on our cell bills. In the U.S. right now, it’s $40 a month for unlimited long distance, unlimited calling minutes, and texting! Compare that to your bill. Now, if you have an I-phone, I can’t help you – you can afford a phone that’s ten times more than my monthly bill, and you’re not going to get a break.

Can it be good news that some people are going to jail? You bet. There were a number of late-night infomercial people that finally got charged. They’re off the air and no longer conning people. I’ll share some of the details with you in January.

Cash-back from your banking: Last week, millions of us received our profit sharing from the credit unions we deal with. Great news all around: Great service, you’re a member/owner, better rates, AND profit sharing. Mine was just under $400 out of $42 million from Servus Credit Union. In the Okanagan, Interior Credit union shared $4 million with 30,000 members.

I wish you a very merry Christmas, focused on the real spirit and meaning of Christmas!

George Boelcke, CCP