Bell Mobility: Flat Roaming Rates from May 1st

by Gaurav Kheterpal on March 26, 2010

Flat Roaming Rates from May 1st

Flat Roaming Rates from May 1st

Despite emerging as the carrier with the dreaded title of ‘Canada’s Worst Cellphone Bill’, Bell Mobility does not seem to be in any mood to cut down on its rates. In fact, it has just declared that roaming rates will be increased from the current $0.99 per minute (may vary depending on your plan) to a whopping $1.45 per minute. What’s worse, even roaming texts have not been spared and have been revised to $0.75 per minute from the current $0.60 per minute. The revised rates come into effect from May 1st, 2010. 

It is worth noting that Fido charges customers at a flat rate of $1.45 for roaming calls. Is it mere coincidence that Bell Mobility has decided to choose the same rate as Fido? Your guess is as good as mine. Perhaps, there are lessons to be learnt for Fido and Bell Mobility from WIND Mobile which charges a meager $0.25 per minute.

 

The Bell Mobility website states 

“Please check your services to determine which price changes impact your account. Effective dates were included in the communications you have received.  

Effective May 1, 2010:  

All incoming and outgoing calls from the United States will be charged at a rate of $1.45/min. Sent text messages while roaming will be charged at $0.75/message. Learn how to save while traveling in the United States or to other International destinations with your Bell Mobility device or smartphone.” 

I find the “Learn how to save while traveling’ part quiet ridiculous. As a carrier, if you want, your customers to save on roaming costs, why the heck do you need to increase the roaming charges? That too, when there’s another carrier in the market (WIND Mobile) that’s offering roaming at nearly one-sixth of the revised Bell Mobility roaming charges. A while back, I wrote about Bell’s ambitions to be the fastest and best network in Canada. There’s no doubt that Bell Mobility is the fastest when it comes to increasing rates. What’s worse, other carriers including Rogers and TELUS are certainly going to treat this announcement as a license to revise their roaming prices as well. I’m not sure if this will lure WIND Mobile to revise its rates in order to make profits on roaming, I just hope it doesn’t. 

Competition is meant to bring the rates down. If carriers continue to increase their rates at will, it does make a strong case for CRTC regulation for telecom companies. Your thoughts? 

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSSTwitter,Identi.ca, or Friendfeed

{ 10 comments }

Jordan Richardson March 26, 2010 at 4:00 am

“As a carrier, if you want, your customers to save on roaming costs, why the heck do you need to increase the roaming charges?”

Because no corporation of any kind wants customers to save money in the long haul. They may promote the illusion of savings through discounts and lower prices to hook customers in to long-term contracts, like Bell, Telus and Rogers do frequently with the abhorrent three-year contracts, but they don’t really want anybody to “save money.”

In theory competition is meant to bring rates down, sure, but how has that ever worked out in practice? Competition means that the market share once enjoyed by Bell, Telus and Rogers is going to be split up into smaller pieces. It stands to reason that those companies, thinking they have a hold on Canada’s customers, will jack their prices up slowly but surely over the long haul so as to increase their piece of the pie. They know they stand to lose a little, so what we’re seeing now is a series of decisions meant to recoup expected losses.

Andrew March 26, 2010 at 5:53 am

I have been fighting my own personal war with Rogers for a while now over UMA. Rogers branded UMA service is called TalkSpot, I subscribe to this service for two reasons: 1. The mobile coverage in my home office is terrible and 2. I travel a lot internationally and the idea of saving on roaming tariffs was worth the price.

Low and behold, after much checking and to my surprise, Rogers is the only carrier on the planet that blocks non domestic IP’s on UMA. That right, you heard me correctly – Rogers offers a UMA IP service that only works in Canada – and you have to pay for it.

UMA on all other carriers is included free of charge, your Blackberry or UMA enabled handset will roam on any wifi network worldwide and allow you to make and receive calls as if you are connected to your carriers national network (this makes sense as it costs the NOTHING). On Rogers, not only do you have to pay for it – they block it when you are outside of Canada.

I actually know people that have made calls while connected to inflight wifi – via their UMA service on Telefonica or Verizon. On Rogers this is not possible.

So having said that, it is in no way surprising that Bell is doing this – perhaps in time the competition factor of additional carriers in Canada will allow for this collusion on roaming to be stopped, but until then we have to sit and watch the CRTC do nothing yet again….

Gaurav Kheterpal March 30, 2010 at 1:22 am

@Andrew: At the moment, choosing a carrier in Canadian telecom space is like ‘Choosing the least posionsous snake to bite’. UMA is free on most carrier networks in a lot of countries. Rogers project itself as the perfect carrier for frequent business travellers. Charging on UMA within Canada and blocking it outside Canada does not seem to be a good recipe to help a frequent business traveller. Just another case in point for tighter CRTC regulations.

Gaurav Kheterpal March 30, 2010 at 1:28 am

@Jordan: Well said. With a bunch of new players set to enter the Canadian telecom market, I’m highly skeptical that such moves from Bell (or indeed TELUS/ Rogers) is going to help their revenues in long term. Its a classic case of “Have the Power, Will Charge”. But for how long? I sincerely hope that the era of “Big 3” ends sooner rather than later. Fringe players help bring in new pricing innovations in the market and once they start attracting sizable subscriber base, I’m sure the big 3 will be on their toes to do some long due reforms in their pricing strategy.

Jordan Richardson March 30, 2010 at 3:46 am

I think the most significant thing the new carriers can do to break the monopoly is to end three-year contracts. These contracts are outdated and abhorred by the Canadian consumer, yet the Big Three continue to push the issue by locking customers in for the long haul with ludicrously expensive cancellation fees. It’s no wonder that Canadian wireless users feel trapped by their providers.

If companies like WIND and Public Mobile truly want to offer change, they have to start with the contracts. And no lame promotional deals, either. They simply cannot promise pie-in-the-sky stuff out of the gate if they want to remain relevant and if they want to take on the dominant players. Rogers, Bell and Telus already have the territory (and they are acquiring more by the day) and the customer bases by default. Fringe players will need to learn to play by other rules to gain the public trust and they’ll need to prove that they can be significant options from the norm we’re all so used to here.

Shawn July 26, 2010 at 10:59 am

I DONNT THINK IT IS FAIR U get charge for roaming with the IPHONE WHEN U R CLOSE TO THE USA BOARDER THIS IS UNFAIR WHY WOULD BELL NOT LOOK INTO THIS BEFORE TAKING ON HAVING THE IPHONE

charlie andrews March 19, 2011 at 9:31 pm

why is it so hard to get an answer on how much it would cost per month to run a black berry

Joe Cassidy September 20, 2011 at 11:54 am

I was in Vancouver last month and went about 10 km into the US and was charged $10.15 for a 7 minute call to an 800 phone number. I phoned Bell and was told “tough luck”, I should have read the manual first. I have four phones and all will be moved to WInd or Chat-R in December. GOODBYE BELL! YOUR SERVICE IS TERRIBLE.

chad February 24, 2012 at 10:22 am

being in the customar service industry you would someone should be able to call and speak to an english speaking person.

Butski June 4, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Bell Mobility is the wrost ever.
I boought a USA bundle and then was charge $1550. for using my phone on a family vaction. Bell cost more than my family trip.
F__kers.
I will be changing internet, home, cell and my business away from this terrible company. Of course there is a cancelation fee.
I HATE BELL

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