Chatr Wireless, Rogers’ low-cost voice and text subsidiary, has finally become smartphone-friendly. The carrier, which launched in 2010 as a way to undercut WIND and Mobilicity (and paid dearly for false advertising as a result), has begun offering a series of data add-ons to its $35 Canada-wide Talk and Text plan.
The data add-ons themselves aren’t all that competitive — $10 for 200MB; $15 for 500MB; $25 for 1GB — but they do come at an opportune time for the company.
Chatr also recently began offering low-cost smartphones in the Nokia Lumia 520 and 635, both curiously priced at $150 outright.
The single Android offering is the LG L1, an $80 device released way back in April 2013 featuring a 3-inch 240×320 pixel display and a 1Ghz single-core chip with 512MB of RAM and a 2MP camera.
Also curious is that Chatr still divides its network into zones, the same regions in which WIND, Mobilicity and Videotron operate. GTA, Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton are specified “Chatr Zones,” while the remaining swath of the Rogers HSPA+ network cost 25c per minute of talk or sent text. Such anachronisms are meant to keep with Chatr’s low-cost marketing, and avoid interfering with Fido and Rogers proper, but the high cost of operating in areas outside of arbitrarily-established “zones” is a dated way of carving out service.