It took what to many of its customers seemed like too long, but Bell now has a US-based roaming plan to offer its Share plan customers.
So how does it work? Roam Better is valid for all Bell personal and small business accounts with Unlimited share plans — any plan where you get unlimited local or national calls and texts and pay a scale for data — through an SMS-based opt-in process. Customers that meet the aforementioned criteria must text the word ‘Roam’ to 7626, which permanently adds the feature to their account.
After doing so and receiving an activation confirmation, the user can head to the United States and, well, Roam Better.
Like Roam Like Home and Easy Roam, a daily fee is charged only when the customer activates his or her phone on a US network; if the phone travels but stays in Airplane mode and connects only to WiFi, it won’t be charged. Each day, the customer gets unlimited calls to the US and Canada, unlimited texts to the US and Canada, plus 100MB of roaming data per day.
Should the customer go over that 100MB allotment, Bell can charge another $5 for an additional 100MB of data if the user opts in, until the clock reaches midnight eastern time, wherein the tally resets for the following day.
Bell says that the majority of roaming customers use under 100MB of data per day, and the advantage of Roam Better is that it leaves alone one’s very precious domestic data bucket — more to use upon return, is the theory.
Whether Roam Better is truly better than Roam Like Home and US Easy Roam largely depends on one’s domestic data bucket; customers with larger pools can likely absorb the extra usage while travelling, since roaming customers tend to use more data per day on activities like mapping and travel research. Bell is counting on customers appreciating the separation of domestic and international data buckets, and note that customers have the choice of using WiFi hotspots if they don’t want to pay the daily fee.
Bell also emphasizes that Roam Better won’t contribute to domestic roaming charges, as Rogers and Telus, by tapping into customers’ Canadian data allotments, charge upwards of $50 per gigabyte in overages. It’s likely no coincidence that $50 per gigabyte works out to be, yes, $5 per 100MB, the same that Bell is charging for its US daily roaming. Before launching Roam Like Home, Rogers offered a similar plan where customers would spend $7.50 for 50MB of roaming data, which could be renewed as needed throughout the day (a plan that is still valid for non-Share Everything customers).
Roam Better is available starting today for all Unlimited share plan customers. The company is offering three plans for those not on Unlimited share plans: a $50/1GB data plan valid for 30 days; a $20/200MB data plan, also valid for 30 days; and a $30/1000 minutes and unlimited text plan, also valid for 30 days.
Roam Better is available across the US, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.