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Phone Wars


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Sep 3, 2008
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Yonge & Bloor


I am always amazed how busy the Wind mobile phone store in the Holt Renfrew Centre is since it opened. Today though was amazing, with line-ups out the door. Compare that with the Bell store a few doors away. An article from the Financial Post below shows that Rogers is running scared, and rightly so. I wonder if new offerings from Bell & Telus are far behind. Whatever happens, it looks like for once, we're the winners.

Rogers Communications Inc. announced Wednesday plans to launch of a new discount cellphone service it hopes will sap demand for rival offerings from a host of upstart wireless providers.

The service is called “Chatr” and will offer unlimited voice and texting with no contracts, a "category" the country's largest wireless provider says is growing.

"Chatr will offer voice and text only, and unlimited pricing options without term contracts within defined chatr zones," the company said in a release Wednesday afternoon. Details on the geographic footprint of the discount brand's home zone, as well as handsets and pricing will be made available at a launch slated for "later this summer."

Rogers said the brand is part of a strategy "targeting distinct market segments." That is perhaps code for Rogers moving to more aggressively pursue low-income, working class and immigrant communities within large cities and suburban areas.

The demographic groups are the most prized customers of a cast of independent new wireless players that have launched across several markets this year. Since their respective launches, Wind Mobile, Mobilicity and Public Mobile have been having the greatest success in winning over such customers with cheap, simple plans and handsets.

Public Mobile for example offer unlimited talk and text for a flat $40 a month. It sells no smartphones or data plans.

All three newcomers paid hefty sums to acquire spectrum licences in 2008 in a federal auction designed to introduce new competition to Canada's $16-million wireless market, derided in recent years by critics who say prices are high while services lag.

Chatr will complement Fido, Rogers original discount brand which will remain, the company said.

How competitors respond to the new brand is uncertain, but another round of price cuts may be on its way.

Analysts have expected that such a move will provoke re-pricing within other discount brands owned by fellow incumbents Bell Canada and Telus Corp. Bell owns the Virgin and Solo brands while Telus operates Koodo. All three so-called "flanker" brands are found in malls and plazas across the country.

When reached, Bell Canada declined comment. A respond from Telus was not immediately available.

Wind launched in December with unlimited voice and data plans that undercut incumbents rates. Mobilicity and Public followed in may with similarly cheaper deals for consumers. Wind is currently available in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Ottawa.

Mobilicity is available across the Greater Toronto Area while Public Mobile has opened stores in Toronto and Montreal. All plan to expand their coverage zones.

Sources close to another incumbent said Wednesday they were skeptical that another brand could be supported, especially in places like Toronto and Montreal where there are no less than eight already competing.

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Im getting sick of Rogers. Why not just lower prices or repackage plans on your existing networks (Rogers + Fido) in an attempt to KEEP your customers, instead of creating a new brand? They keep trying to reinvent the wheel when they have a loyal customer base that they should try keeping.
I hate em too, which is why I never lock into contracts...I don't care if I'm not getting the best deal. Rogers is awful in every faccet.

Bring in a legit company...whether they're from the States or UK who's not affiliated with Rogers, Bell and Telus and lets drum up some competition. CRTC's been protecting Rogers and Bell for far too long. They offer the same packages and the pricing is virtually the same. WTF?
^Wow, that's a pretty gutsy move, jn. Like many people, I don't have a land line but I do have a cell phone - although I treat my phone like a phone (as in for calling), with barely any texting, no data plan and I don't think I've used any extra feature other than the alarm clock.

Seriously, though, Canada's cell phone plans are highway robbery, thanks to our protected duopoly. When I moved to the US, I paid less to have a plan with unlimited long-distance calling to Canada after 9pm/weekends and 500 anytime minutes (including long-distance to Canada) than I did to have a phone in Canada where I barely used 300 minutes a month and almost never called anyone outside Toronto. Just to show you how much we pay: the US is a bargain compared to Canada and, apparently, the US is a rip off compared to Europe.
ya honestly, I've never really needed one and I like the idea of people not being able to get a hold of me anywhere I am. if I'm out, I'm out and I'll be home eventually. There hasn't been a single moment in my life where I've absolutely wished I had one either. My girlfriend has a cell that I'll use if I'm headed to one of my baseball games and the weather is iffy just so that way I know if it's rained out or not, but that's the only time I've ever even used one. I'm definitely an anomaly though since I'm 25 and have never had one. Mind you, I figure one day I might need one for work, and if that's the case I'm not paying for it.
I think almost every available cell phone plan is more reasonably priced than Bell's crazy landline prices. I can't understand why anyone would sign up for that.

At least as far as data plans go, the Canadian carriers have actually gotten more competitive over the last year. That's largely because the American carriers have gotten much much worse but, still, it's a kind of parity!
I am moving to Toronto from Denver very soon and was wondering which carriers has the best service, reception, and price and carries iPhone.

I currently have a iPhone 3Gs with AT&T, so I will be paying big bucks backing out of my contract which I could accept.
I would like to either keep my iPhone, or possibly upgrade to the iPhone 4 if it doesn't cost too much.
I'm very excited about the new cell phone companies. I've only had one Canadian cell phone with Fido and I absolutely detested it. Don't let Rogers fool you! They can keep rebranding all they want but the same shit customer service follows you everywhere!

I am currently cell phone-less as I have been for much of my life but I looked into Moblicity. If they extend their network to include more of the GTA, as they say they will by the end of the summer, I may get one of their phones.

The US has a way better system - every plan has nationwide = local calling. I was travelling all around the states and no matter where I was and who I was calling, it was always a local call. Amazing. If/when I move to the states, I wouldn't think twice about getting a cell phone. But in Canada, I'm always skeptical.

Another thing that annoys me is the price of phones. I was able to get a prepaid phone with AT&T for $30 - a nice, simple Samsung flip phone. With Fido, I paid $60 for the biggest piece of shit Nokia phone ever. And a lot of companies are dropping cheap phones entirely, so you have to spend at least $90-$100 for some overly pimped out phone. I don't need a camera and mp3 player - I already have those! I just want a phone that makes phone calls!

I joined WIND in April. Best decision ever. My worst decision was buying the Blackberry Bold from them, because it's a pretty crappy phone for $450. I just wish that Apple would make an iPhone that would work on the bands that WIND supports. If they ever do, and WIND gets it, Rogers, Bell and Telus better worry. A lot. As in more than they already are.

Also, WIND needs to do something about the lineups in the stores. As a customer, I find it really annoying to wait that long for something simple I need help with.
For the record, I prefer Rogers/Fido over all the other carriers. I have been with every major carrier in Canada, in addition to Virgin Mobile. Rogers/Fido have by far the best customer service and phone selection. My first cell ever was a Fido, and when I decided to switch back to Fido I was given a $10 monthly credit that lasts forever. They also offered me a free Blackberry to replace the shitty LG Neon I had bought from them when I went back. They are also the only company that have sent a letter apologizing for billing errors that I didn't even notice myself! (Along with extra credit to say sorry)

The only thing I wish they would have done was drop the $6.95 monthly service fee. Because I signed up for Fido before it was re-branded, my plan has become grandfathered. It was too good of a plan to give up for the new Fido plans (it includes unlimited incoming calls) so I never did the switch. The $10 monthly credit more than covers the service fee anyway.
Rogers? Best customer service? In the same sentence? Wow. They are very well known for their horrible customer service.

As for getting a letter apologizing for billing errors, when I was with Bell, they did that as well.

You can't really say you've been with every major carrier in Canada, without having been with the new companies as well. Things have started to change in Canada for cellphone users. About time!
Rogers? Best customer service? In the same sentence? Wow. They are very well known for their horrible customer service.

As for getting a letter apologizing for billing errors, when I was with Bell, they did that as well.

You can't really say you've been with every major carrier in Canada, without having been with the new companies as well. Things have started to change in Canada for cellphone users. About time!

Bell, Telus and Rogers are the major carriers. They are the only ones who are National carriers. Wind has just joined the batch, but I considered it and then decided not to even give them a shot. My friends all complain about dropped calls and piss poor reception. One even went back to Fido. I've heard horror stories about Rogers, but have yet to have one negative experience.