More on cellphones and wireless data

December 10 2007 by Ellen Roseman

Jamie Chadwick has an idea for a new business. Since cellphone plans are so complex, people need help finding the the best plan at the best price. He helps them do just that, in exchange for a chunk of their savings, at Save Cell Communications.

I’ve reprinted his letter and response to my questions below. But I wonder why such a business is needed. Aren’t mobile phone companies good at communications? Isn’t that their core expertise? Apparently not.

Meanwhile, reader Mike is upset with wireless data plans. He thinks they’re too expensive in Canada and not keeping pace with what’s going on internationally. I’ll let him get into the details, but I have an interest. I carry a BlackBerry and pay those bills myself.

14 comments

  1. bylo

    Dec 11 2007

    @KJ

    Before you capitulate and allow Bell to insult you twice (first by “servicing” you and then by charging you a ridiculous $400 for it), contact the following group. Start with an e-mail of what you posted here and, if necessary, follow up with hardcopy by mail or fax.

    Don’t give up and don’t let the Bell Bastardsâ„¢ grind you down.

    Office of the Vice President
    Bell Canada – Customer Services
    P.O. Box 593, Station A
    Toronto, Ontario
    M5W 1E4
    Telephone: 1-866-317-3382
    Fax: 1-800-554-5148
    Email: customer.concerns@bell.ca

  2. Ellen Roseman

    Dec 11 2007

    Bylo, I’ve already sent this to Kevin Crull and Mark Langton at Bell Canada’s head office. Now I’m waiting to see how they resolve his problems and I’ll post results when I get them.

    KJ’s experience and his observations were too rich not to share with other readers. I can’t imagine how the company will let him pay $400 for 21 minutes with Bell.

  3. brad

    Dec 12 2007

    It’s easy for me to say this because I don’t travel a lot for work, but my answer to the high cost of wireless data plans is to refuse to participate until the price is reasonable. When I do travel, I bring my laptop and connect to the Internet either through a WiFi hotspot or the hotel/conference centre’s wired or WiFi service.

    As long as enough people buy wireless data packages from Bell, Telus or Rogers at current rates, the companies have little incentive to lower their prices. It’s worth pondering how “necessary” it is to be able to get your email anytime via a Blackberry or other PDA versus waiting until you can get a WiFi connection on your laptop.

    I do think the eventual introduction of the iPhone to Canada could force the carriers to offer more reasonable data packages. Apple bargains hard on behalf of its potential customers and I bet Rogers will have to offer a similar deal to what AT&T customers in the US have for the iPhone.

    Limits on data transfer are impractical, especially for business users — who’s going to ask their clients and colleagues to avoid sending them large files? I have actually had co-workers ask me to do that, and it’s very hard to remember to not cc so-and-so on specific emails when they’re an integral part of your team.

  4. bylo

    Dec 12 2007

    This would be hilarious if it wasn’t yet another demonstration of how screwed up the industry, and Bell especially, really are. But it’s not hilarious because in the end some poor guy is going to be out a lot of money simply because his technologically naivete was exploited by a greedy carrier.

    Cellphone user shocked by charges of $85K

  5. Bylo

    Dec 12 2007

    Cellphone user shocked by charges of $85K

    A Calgary man is disputing a cellphone bill over charges that accumulated to nearly $85,000, claiming the phone company failed to tell him using his phone to surf the internet would cost so much…

    “I thought it was the same as my mobile browser, because I pay $10 a month to have unlimited mobile browser through my phone. So I figured that was the same thing, but I guess not.”…

    So evidently Bell doesn’t throttle or cap Internet usage when they charge for it by the megabyte. [extreme sarcasm]

  6. KJ

    Dec 13 2007

    Hi Ellen:

    You helped a lot but here is another twist.

    Three people have contacted me from the Executive Care department from Bell Mobility. What they are saying is that if I send the phone back, they will not charge me the early termination fees, but there is a catch.

    Bell charged me $150 for the phone when I signed up and that $150 will not be refunded. They state that I have used it for 21 minutes, according to their billing system. What I did was I went to the call history of my phone and added all the seconds of all the calls and they added up to 847 seconds of usage, which is less than the 15 minutes usage as per Bell’s return policy.

    Now I have to fight this battle to get my $150 back. At least, I am not getting hit with the $400 early termination fees, thanks largely to you.

    Cheers

  7. William Kinshella

    Jan 19 2008

    I also have a problem getting straight answers from Bell. For example, why do I have a charge of $332.14 for “usage and long distance” on my unlimited data plan for my connection card???

    There is not supposed to be overage charges for this plan, and no per MB charge except in USA. Since I never leave western Canada, this puzzles me….

  8. Addison

    Jan 21 2008

    I signed up for the Telus deal $15 unlimited data deal when I got sick of the Rogers coverage here in Atlantic Canada. I got the BlackBerry Pearl and I am somewhat happy with it. I thought there would be more to it and I get an http error when trying to get to some sites. My main thing is email, so it works perfectly and it’s easy to set up. The main thing is I can actually make and receive calls during my one-hour commute to and from work (Rogers…this didn’t happen, sorry I waited 5 years to cancel).

    I am thinking that it may have been a trial offer for unlimited data to see if the market was there to bring in the iPhone. Some of you may not be aware that Verizon was originally to be the US carrier for the iPhone. There is a CDMA version if this was the case (I worked in iPhone support when it was introduced). I feel as plans go, Telus has the other 2 majors in Canada beat! I have the faves 45 and unlimited data with Telus. It’s still (to me) too good to be true (the reps say it is true LOL). I guess I will see with my first invoice. So far, Telus rocks!

  9. robert wilson

    Jan 18 2010

    Hi: I am doing short animations which show various aspects of dealing with Rogers in a negative light. I use the BRICK wall as metaphor for their service department. I seem to be getting a lot of hits. Most are less than 40 seconds.

    Keep up the good work. They all stink but Rogers really seems to get under one’s skin. I think everything is run by AT&T anyway.

    Regards
    Robert

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nH4CaPVOJEI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khSeoO2MgXo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfSItnTKJXI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXG5IjRh1RU