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.