Rogers re-branding all Chatr Wireless kiosks in Montreal to Fido

Ian Hardy

May 7, 2012 11:50 am

A couple weeks back we let you know that Bell decided to stop taking new activations for their Solo Mobile brand. The internal doc stated that “As of May 17, 2012 Solo Mobile will no longer be activating new customers (both postpaid and prepaid). Existing Solo Mobile customers will not be impacted by this change; they will continue to enjoy great rates, amazing Canada-wide coverage and affordable devices.”

During the Rogers Annual Meeting of Shareholders last week I asked Nadir Mohamed, President and CEO of Rogers, if they plan of moving in the same direction as Bell by focussing their efforts on two brands rather than 3. Mohamed stated that Chatr is progressing very well in the prepaid sector and have with no plans to shift the brand around.

We’ve learned, and confirmed with Rogers, that the 7 Chatr-branded kiosk locations in Montreal will be shutting down and converting to Fido kiosks. The Chatr service in Montreal will still be fully operational, but Rogers stated in an email to us that the reasoning is because “the majority of our Chatr customers in Montreal make changes to their account online or over the phone.”

Chatr customers will be able to top up their accounts via the Fido locations, or online. In addition, if you’re looking for a Chatr phone you will be able to pick one up at a retail location such as Best Buy, Future Shop, Zellers, Telephone Booth, WirelessWave, Wireless etc.

No word yet if other Chatr locations in other provinces will be getting a similar treatment. Here’s the complete statement we received from Rogers about the slight shift:

“We’re making changes to our Montreal Kiosks that will allow us to better serve our Fido customers, as well as our Chatr customers. The majority of our Chatr customers in Montreal make changes to their account online or over the phone. The number of Chatr customers who prefer the ease and simplicity of online self-service has been increasing each month. Chatr customers will still be able to buy top-up vouchers at the 7 Fido-branded kiosks. Chatr customers will also be able to visit any of our 88 third party dealer retail locations to buy top-up vouchers, inquire about services and purchase devices. We’re committed to providing a great experience to all of our customers – Chatr, Fido and Rogers – in Montreal and throughout Canada.”

  • Alex Perrier

    Kind of what Bell did with Solo.

    • Thomas

      @AlexPerrier It says that in the article, if you had bothered to read it.

  • briggs

    so starts the death of chatr. About time.

    • ToniCipriani

      More like killing something that never should’ve existed in the first place.

    • Nick

      Doesn’t this prove that Rogers only rolled out Chatr to flood the low-end market so that other budget wireless companies couldn’t get any market share? This builds the CRTC case against them…

  • Jeeverz

    They should have done what Telus did with Koodo, build it from the bottom up. When koodo 1st started they were pretty bad, with the worst possible devices. But as they progressed and with the help Of the CDMA To HSPA transition they have become the top ‘low cost’ provider in Canada.

    Rogers and Bell should have just invested more effort into Fido and Virgin to appeal to the lower cost users and not starting up Chatr and scrapping Solo when they bought out Virgin

    But I am just an arm chair analyst, so vote me down.

    • Jim R

      FWIW, Virgin now offers plans that are at least comparable, and sometimes superior to what Koodo offers. In addition, Virgin’s phone selection is far superior to Koodo’s.

      So, IMO, Virgin more than competes with Koodo for the lower costs users. If Koodo still had per-second billing the argument could be made that it beats Virgin due to that feature; but with per-second billing gone, there’s no argument to made on that front. And so building from bottom up means little in the long run, during which time anything can happen.

      My arm-chair analysis – worth what the paper it’s written on costs.

  • John wu

    another sad story another brand shutting down, great job canadians, has anyone ever wonder why this is keep happeing, simply because this is a super cheap land

    • ToniCipriani

      Congratulations, you’ve successfully killed a few of my brain cells with your stupid comment.

    • HO

      …did u even bother to read a bit about CheaTer?, “Canadians” like urself are the reason why this country is so screwed by cmpanies like Rogers…

  • Tom

    Straight up and down, the majority of Chatr customers that i served were drug dealers. They come, lay down a wad of cash and come back within an hour for the 4-5 phones that they wanted. Makes no difference to me, but its pretty much a gimme. No name or credit check required, no address, can pay in cash, etc…

    Cant exactly be the most sustainable business model, given your customer base…and should we enter, shall we say, a time of prosperity the need for low-cost brands like Chatr will fall by the wayside.

  • You misread

    You’ve all misread that announcement. Most phones are purchased in third-party locations. The brand has been established. Those kiosks will use up the leases as Fido locations as Fido customers expect more convenience and also to shine Fido’s benefits to Chatr or other potential customers.

    Another arm-chair analyst.

  • abc123

    ha ha ha… looks like the big 3′s attempt to wipe out the new competition has failed.

    Maybe if the big 3 focused less on profits (ARPU) and more on value they would have succeeded somewhat.

    But the reality is, they don’t need these brands anymore. If you look at their quarterly profits, it is going up. Although ARPU is decreasing slightly, more of their customers are adopting rip-off data plans because they are switching from dumbphones to smartphones. I believe this is a short term gain and a long term loss as these customers will now be aware of the exorbitant costs of big 3 data and no doubt be looking for cheaper alternatives.

    • WirelessBoy

      It has been more than 2 years since Wind/Mobi/Public started offering services, I would think that by now the population would be aware of the difference in cost of the Data plans…I like the idea of not paying “Roaming” for Data/Text Messaging in Canada so to me the Big3 offer a much better Data package(not looking at cost but value).

    • RevenueIsNotProfit

      Just so you know, ARPU doesn’t necessarily equate to profit. Focussing on profit would be increasing margins. You could focus on cost-cutting to increase profits, for example.

      You actually go on to say that ARPU is decreasing but profit is increasing. Which is true, the margins are higher in data than voice. However, data equates to a more marginal (per use) cost than voice does, so as data usage goes up, margins could potentially decrease.

    • RevenueIsNotProfit

      Also, many of the higher ARPU customers are high value customers and will not simply walk away from what are perceived as the best networks (especially since Wind, Public, Mobilicity do not offer LTE and often are delayed on the best devices). While the competition may be cheaper, they do not offer as much perceived value as the higher priced Big 3.

    • abc123

      Like I said in my original post, part of the revenue generated by the big3 was (in part) due to the migration from dumbphones to smartphones… and hence, the adoption of data plans.

      @RevenueIsNotProfit

      I can’t comment on the high ARPU = high value customers. But I can say that everyone wants an iphone and guess what carriers offer them?

      How much money do you think the big 3 is making on $30/month for a regular flip phone vs. $60+/month for an iphone 4s? Let me rephrase it since nobody (except the big 3) knows the answer to that one. Would the big 3 prefer you to stay on your $30/month dumbphone plan or move you to a $60+/month smartphone plan? Go to any big 3 corp store and check out the ratio of smartphones vs. dumbphones they are selling and that is your answer.

  • 5Gs

    Wind Mobile = Power of people = Chat’r closing soon near you!

  • chatr

    Rogers is purchasimg 100% of chatr effective june 1 including ontario. before it was a joint.venture between match marketting and rogera wireless. rogers aquired full ownership a few weeks ago. i work for chatr

    • Milky

      That’s not right..chatr is and ALWAYS was a Rogers company. Pretty sure the Match company just operated (staffed) the chatr kiosks.

    • gab = math wiz

      @chatr You’re a tool. First of all, it’s not Match Marketing, it’s Mosaic Marketing. Second of all, it’s always been a wholly owned sub of Rogers.

  • TheFire

    I actually like the niche that Chatr has filled, yes there’s a lot of drug dealers but it also works really well for immigrants who can’t pass a credit check yet and for people travelling here. The add-on for unlimited international text was the best/most important move they could have made to cover that market. Sure, the minutes only work within the zone, but the text is good anywhere in Canada.

    • HO

      …u for real? ಠ_ಠ

  • @IC

    @chatr I didn’t know it was a joint venture. I thought the company was solely owned by Rogers. Thanks for the info…

  • chatr

    No you ignorant fools. i worked for the company you losers. why do you think they have such garbage plans? Cuz its split 60% to match 40% to rogers of income. if chatr had more flexibility they wpuld steal all rogera customers. if it was already wholly owned by rogers why are the prepaid plans so shitty? Think about it. i workes here and went through training. now that rpgers is fully taking over ALL income goes directly to Rogers so expect better llans and phones by september… dont beliwve me watch. you tech losers

    • Hub

      They such bad plans because they don’t want to undermine their monopolistic service. Chatr only opened in cities with WIND, Mobilicity or Videotron. In some country this would have been prohibited by anti-trust laws.

  • chatr

    All you i****s giving me thumbs down when you know nothing. only knowledable person here is @ic. rest of you can get outta here you ignorant know nothing fools

    • RevenueIsNotProfit

      Might want to relax, even if you have a point it’s being drowned out by your aggressiveness and poor grammar.

    • gab = math wiz

      Ease up buddy…you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • hahaha

    lol lol I knew this was gonna happen. Rogers only opened Chatr to undermine Wind and mobilicity And now its proven they can’t, so their now retreating away from enemy lines,,, lol lol Rogers your a coward. Now what happens to all the Chatr customers with their cellphone numbers? they all vanish.

    • Remik

      I think Rogers will quietly convert Chatr users to Fido “pay-go” and either entice them with discounted handsets or just flip some switches in the background so that their Chatr SIM will register on the Fido network. Like I mentioned in a seperate post, it wouldnt be so far fetched to see Fido pay-go plans match Chatr’s zone plans.

  • Remik

    you guys forgot the point in Chatr’s rant, the jist of it is “i works here and went through training”. sounds like a reputable source to me. :) anyhoo, in a couple of months Chatr will be no more as Rogers is really pushing the “unlimited talk and text” with Fido now so there is no point to Chatr sticking around. Then Rogers will pull the same thing that Bell did with Solo, dont activate any more new accts and entice current users with discounted handsets to come over to Fido. I wouldnt be surprised if Fido restructured their “pay-as-you-go” to be identical to Chatr’s unlimited “zone” plans.

  • Yeria

    This is a good sign. This is yet another reason that the new entrants are putting more dents against the Robellus.

    Essentially they were competing against themselves by selling Solo, ChatR and other brands but that was fine for them because they were gouging on consumers and limiting our choices anyway. Thanks to the new entrants, the Robellus are forced to make structural changes to make their companies to run more efficiently. Something that’s at least 10+ years late.

  • tbr

    Or it may just mean that FIDO will go unlimited just like cahtr was. Time will tell.

    • Remik

      I dont think Fido would go entirely “unlimited”, I think it makes sense for their “post-paid” plans to continue competing with koodo and virgin, while they can restructure their “pay-as-you-go” to match Chatr’s current offerings, possibly even going to “zones” for unlimited “pay-as-you-go” to compete with wind and mobilicity.

  • otter

    How much will 100mb get you?

    Well… if you chose chatr over mobilicity… it will cost you unlimited data minus 100mb.

  • Nade

    lol.. it amazes me how some Canadians still think that WINDicity are still viable options over the more reliable and Canada-wide coverage of other economy brans (koodo/Chatr).

    Your unlimited minutes and data are worthless compared to a sturdy and reliable network.

  • pissed off chatr employee

    well people its finaly coming everybody at my kiosk will be unemployed in just a few weeks fido is not taking any off us because of our personal credit scores. i didnt know that if your credit wasnt good enough that you couldnt work? i am fed up with rogers and fidos bullshit im a student with bills to pay and we are being treated like cattle machtmarketing has put our lives in the hands of rogers and rogers couldnt care less about what they are doing to us. i was told by a rogers representative from HR that my credit history was not the only thing that was going to effect the hiring process. could someone please tell me when your credit history became important to work in this country. are my civil rights being violated?