Bell matches Rogers and Telus with a $5 increase on most Voice & Data Plus Share plans, adds 4GB shared data option

As we learned last week, Bell has altered its price plans to match those already in place by Rogers and Telus. In particular, most price plans have increased by $5, but there are some more specific changes that we can take a look at.

Telus was the first carrier of the Big Three to increase the base price of a high-end smartphone to $60 from the $55 price it asked for at the onset of 2-year contracts last summer. The same is true of its mid-range line, which increased by $5 to $50; BYOD prices also increased by $5 to $40. Rogers followed with a similar base plan for each of its three smartphone tiers, which, like its counterparts, include unlimited Canada-wide calling, unlimited messaging, voicemail, call display and call waiting.

Bell has also altered its shared data prices to largely match Rogers and Telus. Specifically, the 3GB/$105 plan (which includes one line) has been eliminated in favour of a 4GB/$110 offering. They’ve also added a 2GB/$90 plan on top of the unchanged 500MB/$80 and 1GB/$85 plans.

In the higher end, a single smartphone line with a 6GB data plan now costs $125, another $5 increase. Predictably, the 10GB and 15GB plans have increased to $145 and $165 respectively. Customers who bring their own devices will continue to receive a $20/month discount on all price plans.

The new Voice & Data Plus Share plans are as follows:

  • 500MB  $80
  • 1GB        $85
  • 2GB        $90
  • 4GB        $110
  • 6GB        $125
  • 10GB      $145
  • 15GB       $165

The new prices for additional lines are as follows:

  • BYOD – $40
  • Voice & Data Lite – $50
  • Voice & Data Plus – $60

All V&D Plus plans on a 24-month contract will receive 10 hours of Mobile TV access per month, too.

The 4GB plan, which is only slightly cheaper than the 3GB one before it, seems to be the sweet spot on a shelf full of increasingly ripe fruit. Whereas AT&T and Verizon are lowering prices to compete with T-Mobile’s and Sprint’s increasingly powerful LTE networks, the Canadian incumbents appear to be satisfied raising rates that were already considerably higher than they were a year ago.

While the transition to 2-year contracts certainly warranted a modest increase in monthly fees, the average customer is paying a great deal more for data than they were in the 3-year era. The inclusion of unlimited calling and messaging is great, but those are increasingly commoditized in a world of WhatsApp, BBM and Skype. Customers need data, and the carriers are answering that higher demand with ascending costs.

The new prices will take effect on Saturday, March 15th.

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