This fine winter morning I find myself paying my Big Three subsidiary (Koodo) $2.50 less per month than what I paid my Big Three subsidiary (Fido) in mid-2010. Finally, some progress for wireless rates in Canada…
You might recall from an earlier post the plan I had with Fido back in the day:
- $45 City Fido – 1,000 local minutes
- $15 Smartphone Value Pack – 1,000 SMS, voicemail, call display, etc.
- $30 iPhone 3G Data Promo – 6GB
That adds up to $90/month, if basic math isn’t your thing. 😉
My new plan with Koodo, though still expensive, is markedly better — $75/month now gets me this:
- Unlimited Canada-wide calling
- Unlimited SMS/MMS within Canada
- Voicemail, call Display, etc.
- 4GB of sweet, sweet LTE data / $10 per additional GB
“But wait!” you say, “That’s only 4GB… The equivalent 6GB that you got from Fido would cost you $95/month, so you’re actually paying more. Now who sucks at math?”
The missing piece of the puzzle here is Koodo’s 10% BYOD discount — adding that into the equation, the monthly rate is reduced in this particular case to $67.50, and a 2GB data overage brings the total up to $87.50 before taxes. Achievement unlocked.
It’s a small victory for me. The plan is nowhere near as good as what Mobile Syrup leaked last month, but it is at least an acceptable bucket of data. Plans from Fido seem to be better as well — ditto for Bell-owned Virgin Mobile Canada. Even plans from the Big Three themselves have somehow become slightly more reasonable since the last time I checked.
Let’s take a closer look…
NOTE: To keep things simple I’m going to assume that you already have a device and are wary of 2-year contracts. While I understand the appeal of hardware subsidies and the necessary evil of the contracts that come with them, I’m personally not a fan.
A Quick Survey
So first up, the Big Three’s other second-tier carriers…
Fido’s best value, at least in this part of the country, seems to be the $59/month standard plan. With that you get 1GB of data and overages at $10/GB, or 4GB for $89/month — further reduced to $81.90 with their 10% BYOD discount.
Virgin Mobile matches Koodo with a similar limited-time offer of $75 for 4GB. They’ve the same data overage, at $10/GB, and the same 10% BYOD discount. Total price: $67.50 for 4GB of data; $87.50 for 6GB.
And the Big Three proper? You may not be able to get 4G for $75, but thanks to their own double-your-data promotions you can currently get 6GB for $85 on Bell, Rogers and Telus — provided that you bring your own device. It breaks down like this: they’ve each doubled the 3G data bucket on their identical $105 plans to 6GB, and once you apply the $20 BYOD discount, available from each carrier, you get twice the data at a more reasonable $85 monthly fee.
There are some caveats, of course…Rogers has an overage rate of $15/GB; Bell and Telus each charge $0.05/MB, or a whopping $50/GB. Bell and Rogers will charge you an activation fee to connect a new line; Rogers also charges a deactivation fee, I guess because they can. ಠ_ಠ
I should also point out that Koodo has a silly APN proxy, enabled on their SIM cards by default. Fortunately, the service works great without it. The other factor in all of this is which network gives you the fastest data and strongest signal in the places where you need it.
Why I Switched
What prompted me to revisit my Koodo plan was a warning from Mobile Syrup about Telus raising their rates, and others possibly following suit.
My girlfriend and I had been on Koodo’s old pay-per-use data saver. The data rate over 1GB was $10/GB, but under 1GB it was considerably more. It broke down like this:
- Up to 25kb = $0
- 25kb – 25MB = $5
- 25MB – 100MB = $10
- 100MB – 300MB = $15
- 300MB – 1GB = $20
- 1GB – 3GB = $30
For at least the past four months we’ve each been getting dinged $20/bill for using less than a gigabyte of data. With a monthly data bucket we don’t have to rely so much on my MiFi, and can save a bit of money while we’re at it.
I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that you can get much cheaper plans with bigger data buckets if you’re lucky enough to reside in Thunder Bay or parts of the prairies. And if you’re up for it there are very clear instructions on these forums as to how to game the system and get those plans even if you don’t live there.
It should also be said, however, that what happened to TelecomZombie could happen to you. Different carrier, same risk.
For the Rest of Us
For everyone else consider this a quick update of what’s currently available from the Big Three and their flanker brands. I still think that data is too expensive in this country, and don’t understand the discrepancy between the going rates on smartphones and tablets, for example. But I can’t deny that these double-data promotions are a good thing. And across-the-board BYOD discounts? Even better.
UPDATE: The numbers presented here have been made more accurate thanks to feedback from other forum members. If there’s still something I got wrong, please let me know.