Bell targets Tbaytel customers, offers “the phone everyone is talking about for $0″

Ian Hardy

December 6, 2012 3:17pm


You think competition is heated in the central parts of Ontario, Quebec, or B.C.? How about the rolling city of Thunder Bay, Ontario? According to the Canada 2011 Census there’s only 108,359 residents and you bet everyone of them counts when adding up carrier subscriber numbers.

Bell has started a campaign to woo people away from regional carrier Tbaytel by offering them an incentive to switch “and get the phone everyone is talking about for $0.” With Apple’s strict advertising guidelines Bell, of course, could not directly say the phone that “everyone is talking about” is the iPhone 5… the separate ad on the other page does the talking. It could very well be another device, but if it’s the iPhone 5 then it’s a savings of $179 on a 3-year.

Bell recently went live with their LTE (Long Term Evolution) network in Thunder Bay.

(Thanks Denise!)

  • JUST SAYING

    BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

  • JUST SAYING

    IPHONE5 DOA

  • Dan

    There has been a mini price war going on for plans in Thunder Bay for a couple of months since Bell launched, and now it looks like it’s extending to phones too. Hooray!

  • holler back girl

    Good ol’ bell picking on the little window licker of the north…let them have their bottle you dbags

  • Brad F(anboy)

    That’s great and everything, but Bell only has coverage in-town. As soon as you leave the city you lose coverage until you hit Kenora going west, Geraldton going north-east, or Sault Ste Marie going south-east.

    • AWSGuy

      West to Kenora and East to SSM are 700 km and 1200 km or so. Thats a HUGE swathe of land! Additionally, bell doesnt cover manitoba properly, so when you go further west from kenora, you lose reception again till winnipeg. Then you lose it outside winnipeg.

  • AWSGuy

    Bell’s coverage area in TBay is small than Mobilicity in Edmonton! There is no way someone will leave TBaytel / Rogers and go to bell. Additionally, TBaytel runs off of 1900 Mhz network, so the coverage is crappier than AWS.

    • Dan

      Is that why the Tbaytel reception in the city is so terrible? Because of the spectrum they have? That would make sense. I had just assumed it was because there were too many users for the number of towers in the city.

      And to your first comment, I know a few people who have switched because of all of the dropped calls in the city. For people who don’t leave the city much, or when they do it’s to fly places (and they don’t spend much time in NWO), Bell actually offers the better service, with fewer dropped calls and delayed texts.

    • AWSGuy

      Sorry, I meant Bell. Bell’s coverage is better because no one is on their network yet. TBayTel has too many people on their network.

      However, TBaytel is crappy because it has no competition. If you drive to SSM, you will see it cuts in and out, in and out. So annoying, you cant sustain a call for more than 10 minutes. However if you compare Kenora to TBay, its Rogers, and their reception is at least very stable and solid, and doesnt drop every 2 minutes.

      Anyways I feel for you guys, you are just getting screwed by TBaytel. However, the drive from TBay to SSM is amazing, and you guys have got some A-M-A-Z-I-N-G beaches, hills and resorts there.

      I will drive the route again (3000 km!) and this time I will take a holiday in terrace bay or something!

    • Your Mom’s Husband

      Bell is running 1900 and tbaytel is using 850.

      Tbaytel has more than twice as many sites as Bell in the city of Thunder Bay and they are continuing to add towers and capacity on a weekly basis.

      Bell hasn’t built a site in a few months and is quickly becoming another Rogers – cheap plans and truncated coverage.

  • Kyle

    The phone that everyone is talking about….Talking about how terrible it is…lol

    • Brad F(anboy)

      And those MAPS! HAHAHAHA!

  • F2F

    IS THIS iOS10?????

    • Brad F(anboy)

      No, it’s BB10…

  • Mikkey

    Slick advertising Bell…very slick! ;)

  • mattprime86

    The nexus 4?! Im Sold!

  • Ted

    tbaytel network is garbage, very rarely get a 3G signal in town.

  • Donald

    So, how horrible is the plan they stick you with for 3 years? Is it somehow worse than bell’s normal plans?

    • Dan

      No, they’re actually better. bell.ca/thunderbay

    • Jordan

      I have nothing but good things to say about Bell. I was paying $ 50 a month for Tbaytel, I had dropped calls all the time. Right from when I signed my contract in Nov 2010- Nov 2012. I was fed up and left them. In my home , I was getting 2-3 out 5 tbaytel bars. Bell has a solid 4/4 or 3/4 in my basement. I pay $ 50 a month for 6 gb of data , unlimited nationwide talk/text, vmail and caller id. Like I said, tbaytel I was paying $ 50 a month and getting no service in return. Glad I left, rest of the phones are coming over to Bell when the contracts are up next year. Merry Christmas everyone.

  • legend618

    me please

  • Hub

    That kind of pocket pricing ought to be illegal. But hey, it is Canada…

  • Chew

    “With Apple’s strict advertising guidelines Bell, of course, could not directly say the phone that “everyone is talking about” is the iPhone 5…”

    Wowzers, CONTROL is all they do in Cupertino lately isn’t it? They certainly haven’t been innovating! Can’t even say something nice about it if you don’t use Apple-speak. Can I say that?

  • Your Mom’s Husband

    I love how people who work for Bell and those who don’t live in the region like to chime in about how bad things are in Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario.

    If Bell was winning business, then there would be no need for them to run the iPhone 5 at $0. This just smacks of desperation on Bell’s part.

    Bell’s arrogance lead them to believe they could throw up a few sites in Thunder Bay, Winnipeg and Saskatchewan and that customers would come and drink the Bell kool-aid.

    Reality is they are not fairing well in those three markets and giving away an in-demand product for free just proves they are struggling to gain a foothold in those markets.

    My job involves travelling throughout the North on a regular basis and I can tell you the service is pretty good considering the vast amount of area tbaytel covers.

    • Dan

      I live here, and don’t work for Bell.

      I agree completely about Tbaytel’s service throughout the north. It is very good over a wide area, which is why as an extensive traveller you would appreciate it. However, their service in the city of Thunder Bay has caused a lot of frustrations for many many people, with frequent dropped calls and delayed texts. Just read the comment on any article on TBnewswatch.com about Tbaytel to get a sense of the negativity in the city about them. Unfortunately for Tbaytel, the city is where most of their customers live, and also where Bell has launched.

      I can’t comment on what they are doing in SK or MB, but I know that in Thunder Bay Bell (along with Virgin) is drawing people away from Tbaytel. Tbaytel has had to respond with very competitive pricing of their own all of a sudden, and a big advertising push.

      Personally, I think that Bell’s expansion into the city is part of a larger plan to devalue Tbaytel and eventually buy it out. Come in to town, slash prices for a few years, drive down Tbaytel’s profitability, maybe to the point of a loss. Then people will start pushing the city to sell it. And if it does go up for sale, who is the most likely buyer? Bell of course.

      Conspiracy theory maybe, but not out of the realm of possibility.

  • Donald

    Woah. Their plans in TB are way better. Their plan is better than Koodo’s. Hell, it’s better than Wind’s and Mobilicity’s (you get a phone, $10 more per month = $360 which is way cheaper than a phone outright).

    That’s rediculous. Why is the CRTC so useless?

  • Henaway

    Does it say in there how much you’ll have to pay to get out of your TBT contract for that “$0″ phone? Probably not. I don’t think they even offer a term less than three years.

    TBay Tel just finished their acquisition of DMTS last month, and while the service has been fine so far, their prices aren’t anything to write home about. My phone bill just doubled with the switch. Yee freakin’ ha.

    Of course, if the rumours of Bell buying out TBayTel next year are true … could all be a moot point!!

    • Adam

      tbaytel’s buyout is $16/month for smartphones, $8/month for cell phones and smartphone lites (Desire C, Lumia 710, Optimus L7, etc)

      not actually too bad.

    • Dan

      It’s good that they offer a reasonable buyout because if you move out of Northwestern Ontario, you can’t take it with you.

      Furthermore, to get their best deals, like the current Christmas value saver, you have to sign up for a 3 year contract, even if you don’t want/need a subsidized phone. Bell offers 10% discount month-to-month if you bring your own phone, but Tbaytel gives you no discount and locks you into a 3 year contract anyway if you bring your own phone. This is a big commitment if you aren’t sure you will be in NWO for the next three years. I went with Bell for this reason even though I really wanted to support the local provider. With the buyout being so reasonable though maybe I’ll go with a Tbaytel contract for a subsidized BB10 when it comes out, assuming that they still are offering something similar to the current deals. Thanks for the info, Adam.

    • Adam

      tbaytel only locks you in a committment if you get a phone from them. There are no service contracts like with Rogers/Bell, if you don’t buy a phone from tbaytel, you don’t qualify for promos. it’s that simple. There’s no discount to bring your own phone, but there’s also no contract.

    • Dan

      Well that’s the issue then, isn’t it? I don’t want a new phone at the moment… I just want service, at the best prices offered. Telling me I can’t use the service (at the promo prices) because I won’t buy a phone is just stupid. You’re penalizing me because I don’t force you to spend money subsidizing a phone for me? C’mon Tbaytel, that’s just illogical.

  • Norm

    Im a former koodo customer who only switched to tbaytel because i needed a new phone and koodo doesn’t offer hspa in thunder bay. tbaytel isnt great compared to koodo but bell sucks in every way shape and form!!!!!

  • Joe

    Nexus 4?

  • John

    But wind has coverage there, how can any go with robbellus. I pay $40 for an unlimited plan, but I can roam in Thunder bay, It’s cheaper.

    • Dan

      No, Thunder Bay is definitely not a Wind zone.

  • John

    Wind gets coverage everywhere I go, I don’t pay roaming charges and I get unlimited talk and text anywhere in Canada. I am a wind person and I pay nothing for my phone oh yea take that Robbers.

    • AWSGuy

      No you CANNOT. ROgers has no coverage in TBay and Roams off of Tbaytel. Wind phones dont work from kenora to SSM.

    • Your Mom’s Husband

      AWSGuy, you are wrong. Wind roams on Rogers Edge service in Thunder Bay and Kenora.

      Rogers also pulled out of the 807-area code in Nov 2010 when they sold their customer base to tbaytel.

      Rogers still has a handful of GSM towers in Thunder Bay and Kenora, but they no longer are activated new customers and will soon be turning off the Edge service.

      Tbaytel has over 160 cellsites in Northern Ontario.

    • Dan

      YMH, I heard that Rogers is turning off its Edge service in NWO on December 31. Can you confirm, since you seem quite knowledgeable about Rogers/Tbaytel in the region?

    • AWSGuy

      No, YOU are wrong. There is no EDGE service from Kenora onward on Rogers.

    • Dan

      AWS, there is definitely Rogers EDGE service in Thunder Bay, at least for the rest of December.

  • Annoyed Bell Customer

    I just switched to Bell from Rogers and paid full price for an iPhone 5 16GB on a 3 yr contract. I called to ask if I could get it for free similar to the Tbaytel customer offer and I was told it was a promo only in Thunder Bay????? Seriously what a joke… I spoke to a friend who lives in Thunder Bay and they said that Bell’s footprint is very small and they experienced dropped calls all over the city and have since switched back to Tbaytel as they have fixed a lot of their network issues. I am very annoyed with Bell and can’t wait to get out of my contract.

  • Adam

    As well, this promo is for any superphone, doesn’t have to be the iphone 5.

    Could be any high-end Android or WP8 device.

    • Dan

      Can it be any? I thought it was just the four listed.

      “Switch from Tbaytel to Bell and get the iPhone 5, the Windows Phone 8X by HTC, the Sony Xperia™ T or the BlackBerry® Bold™ 9900 for $0.”

      Would it work for an SIII or Note 2?

  • Jon

    I saw signage in Winnipeg malls advertising the same deal for switching from MTS. Bell signal (piggybacked off Telus towers) is brutal outside Winnipeg city limits.

    • Your Mom’s Husband

      They are running the same promo in Winnipeg with $0 phones, but the plan costs $5.00 more and comes with 1GB less data.

      Unlimited Calling including Canadian Long Distance, Unlimited Canadian Texting and 2GB of data for $55.00. Adding Voicemail and Caller ID adds $7.00 and paper billing is $2.00 – making the plan $64.00 a month plus tax.

  • Guy In The Know

    Truth be known, customers are going back to tbaytel once they see how weak the Bell coverage is in parts of the city, some less than 24 hours after they ported out.

    Two friends of mine ported and when they went to return their Bell phones for lack of coverage, Bell told them they would still be billed for 30 days of service even if they didn’t have an active number. Apparently, Bell requires 30 days notice to cancel an account. What kind of garbage policy is that?

    Bell is also trying to baffle customers with BS, giving them false information about tbaytel and then making coverage claims about their own network they can’t back up. My favorite is misleading customers into believe all their Thunder Bay towers are LTE, when in reality they only have a few LTE sites.

    Tbaytel isn’t perfect, but I’ll take their service any day over Bell’s.

    • Dan

      Thanks for the insight regarding your friends’ experiences.

      What kind of things is Bell saying about Tbaytel?

  • Guy In The Know

    I’ve personally heard two reps, one at the Bell store and one at the Virgin kiosk claiming outrageous stuff like tbaytel only has 2 towers.

    They are also telling people tbaytel won’t release numbers when customers port over to Bell.

    Basically anything to try and make themselves look better.

    Speaking negatively about your competitors only serves to drive potential customers away. I want someone to educate me on the positives of their products or services and not on the negatives of their competitors.

    • Dan

      Agree completely. Thanks for the info.

  • Mattpop

    They are doing this for customers porting an MTS number too

  • Morty Fan

    They’re doing the same thing in Manitoba, targeting MTS customers. The ads are pretty much identical.

  • Justin

    Yes the coverage outside of the thunder bay area sucks, but go to bell.ca/coverage and look. they were here since october, 2 months. they have towers from thunder bay to kenora, and are putting more up nonstop. give it a year. the 50$ unlimited is unbeatable, especially on the LTE network…having speeds 10 times faster than tbaytel on a good day.