Bell raises monthly share plan prices, eliminates BYOD benefits [Update: Virgin, too]


  • Tyler Hardeman


  • MoYeung

    First they blamed the high monthly price on phone subsidy; okay then, we bring our own device.

    Now, an increasing number of Canadians are choosing to purchase their own low-cost Android phones, or obtain second-hand iPhones from companies like Orchard, to save upwards of $20 per month on their monthly bills.( Many devices, such as the Moto G or OnePlus X, offer significant discounts over two years of service when purchased unlocked at retail than when purchased from a carrier on subsidy.)

    They choose to raise the price anyway … what’s the excuse now? They just want pure profit, for nothing?

    • HiKsFiles

      « According to sources familiar with Bell’s plans, the move attempts to stem decreasing voice ARPU (average revenue per user), which dropped 7.7 percent in Q3 2015, attributable to “greater adoption of all inclusive rate plans for both local and long distance calling »

      Apparently so… looks pretty clear to me!

    • MoYeung

      Reminds me … Canada remains a high-cost jurisdiction for many products. For example, Ontario has lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs over the past 15 years as plants shut down or move to lower-cost countries.

      Canada cost of living just plain sucks.

    • El Capitan Morgan

      Exactly and now with this lousy USD-CAD, everyone will have excuse to jack up their prices.. oh yea..due to exchange rate, we have to blah blah blah

    • Mayoo

      Oh, so their 54% margin dropped to 46.3% margin? That’s sad …

    • What I don’t get is that they’re saying the ARPU drop is coming from people doing BYOD and getting a discount on plans. So their revenue from you drops but you’re not costing them as much (since they aren’t giving you a subsidy).

    • NotARogersEmployee

      According to sources familiar with the matter, they’re greedy SOBS.

  • It’s Me

    Bend over Canada, they are starting to “compete” again.

  • Surveillance

    $5 doesn’t sound like much but it’s greater than 10% if you were only paying $45 off the hop.

  • Marc Palumbo

    If this has any traction with Bell and it comes out positive, I expect the other’s to follow suit. Then we’re all screwed. What crooks…

    • Even if it doesn’t result in positive reaction, ROGERS and TELUS will surely follow.

    • Marc Palumbo

      I’m slightly in denial. Luckily I’m on a fantastic plan of which I won’t give up

    • robinottawa

      If my income was growing with inflation, and the rich weren’t laughing all the way to the bank, that would be different. So I stick to my current plan year after year.

    • Vito R.

      Rogers already matched. Expect Telus to do the same shortly.

    • Marc Palumbo

      I’ll never give up my rogers plan. I’ll die with it not to give in to this cr@p

    • robinottawa

      Me too but at some point you have to renew and they are not obliged to let you keep it, are they?

  • Lulzon

    If telcos can subsidize a $600-800 device on a 2 year contract, how come I can’t bring my own device and save $25-33/month?

    • thorsten garbe

      Because they “loose money”
      They rather sell you a devicebefore you bring your own.
      So now they can try and say the difference between low and high plans is only bla bla. And youll get a ‘nice phone’

    • El Capitan Morgan

      Its fine they sell us a device instead of bring our own but the share everything plan is just ridiculously expensive!

      I was told that if you are still with the old plan, to maintained being grandfathered, you can’t purchase a device at a discounted price?

    • That’s true.

    • robinottawa

      Not completely discounted. But I still upgraded, sold the phone, and came out ahead by ~$150.

    • Robyn

      As a phone salesperson, it’s also about turnover related to paying out third-parties. If you purchase your BYOD plan through a third party the third party makes over $100 (really rough estimate, but it goes up or down based on the price of the plan). If you pay $50 a month then that means it’s 3+ months before they make a profit. But turnover with BYOD clients is a lot higher, so while they may not lose money, they definitely don’t make as much as they make with subsidy clients.

    • MassDeduction

      Turnover with BYOD clients is higher because there’s no contract. Give us a reason to sign a contract and turnover will drop. Meaning make BYOD month-to-month more expensive than signing a contract on BYOD. Don’t blame BYOD, blame the fee structure. Rather than eliminating BYOD, Bell should have made you sign a contract to get the BYOD discount. Eliminating it is a massive fail, especially as BYOD grows in popularity. If the competition keeps BYOD, then that’s going to hurt Bell.

  • It should be illegal to charge someone the same price for a plan when they bring their own device.

    • ToniCipriani

      I see what you are trying to say but it does not work in practice. BYOD by very definition is that you are on 30 day month-to-month agreements, so they are allowed. Prices does go up by economics and inflation but certainly not at these rates. As much as dislike the carriers too, banning increases is impractical and unfair market regulation.

    • I never said ban price increases. I agree that would be unfair market regulation.

      What I’m saying is that I have my own device and should not be paying the same price as the person who is given a device. In fact, I think all phone subsidies should end. People should buy their phones and the network providers should sell network access. We don’t expect internet providers to give us with computers, why do we expect cell network providers to give us phones??

    • NotARogersEmployee

      Eliminating all phone subsidies is a very narrow-minded “solution”. What exactly is your problem with a phone subsidy? Some customers actually want the subsidy on the smartphone as it could amount to hundreds in immediate savings. For some flagships, the immediate savings are greater than the increased monthly cost over 2 years.

      As per your comment of “What I’m saying is that I have my own device and should not be paying the same price as the person who is given a device.” If you bring your own device, you are month to month and are free to leave for a better deal at any time. The other person who received a subsidy on the other hand is locked into a contract. Same price, but unique benefits.

    • Anonymous501

      It’s only accounting but I’d rather see a split between monthly phone rates and phone purchases. IE make a simple easy tier phone rate system. If someone wants to buy a phone on credit, than treat it like credit, and create a completely seperate payment plan. I think that would make it more transparent, than hiding the credit plan inside of other plans.

    • Jesse

      Exactly what I was thinking. Do what T-Mobile is doing.

    • Comrade Yeti

      Or just like it is today at Koodo?

    • NotARogersEmployee

      Yah, that would be nice, a completely separate line item for the financing of your device. Give them a few years, they’ll do it with heavy marketing and then claim it as one of their newest innovations that no one has ever thought of.

    • ToniCipriani

      Because in reality the subscriber is paying for this so-called subsidy. And in this case with the removal of BYOD discounts, they are essentially forcing you to pay for these “benefits” whether you like it or not.

    • ToniCipriani

      OK I misread your comment saying that if you are on BYOD then they should make it illegal that they increase your monthly. Apologies.

    • Mikie

      obviously Toni is being spoonfed because he works for the carrier.. lol

    • ToniCipriani

      You’re free to look at my commenting history, then you’ll realize what you just said is full of sh1t.

  • Andrew English

    It’s still cheaper to have a US plan and use it the GTA.

    • KiwiBri

      for sure. I can’t remember when someone actually “called” me. Most is txt msgs!

    • All your Canadian friends and family members will need a US calling/texting plan to get in touch with you without incurring charges.

      Also the US carrier will cancel your account if you use the phone in Canada more than you do in the US.

    • Keith Zubot-Gephart

      Well, I know my own Canadian plan has US calling/texting for free, and only costs me a total of $35 a month. I can’t be the only one. But you can also use Facebook or Google Hangouts to place phone calls via data, which in turn can go for free to any US or Canadian number. And it’s getting pretty rare in many circles (my friends and family being among them) that people communicate outside of data-supplied means.

  • Shoey5

    Rogers and Telus will price match before the week is over. Gotta love Canadian mobility competition.

    • ToniCipriani

      Word from my friend working at a dealer is that Rogers is indeed following suit tomorrow.

    • Jesse

      The big 3 were probably in the same meeting room!

  • Arcsvibe

    I am sure somewhere in their press release they will mention how this will be a benefit to their customers.

    • blzd

      Added value 🙂

    • Arcsvibe

      Ahh yes thank you my friend!

  • andrew konken

    Just wait until Rogers and Telus do the same thing, I give them less than 2 weeks until we are reading an article about it. 1 company always has to be the first, and then shortly after we see the rest of the pack following suit.

    • thefoolishone

      Has anyone kept track on whether they take turns on being first, or is it random?

    • Mikie

      they pretty muh take turns .. I remember the past Rogers was always first .. but since their 2.0 stuff they’ve been reactive than proactive.. telus a few years back decreased the lowest data bucket to 300MB from 500.. and nobody followed suit and they brought back the 500MB..

    • skoupo

      2 weeks? more like few hours

    • blzd

      I think the only reason they haven’t already announced it is to keep up the charade.

  • RjPiston

    They are supposed to be LOWERING prices, not increasing them. Canada is already home to some of the most expensive plans in the world.

    • Mo Dabbas

      The average monthly plan is the highest in Canada for 2015. US had the honor before, but we beat them in 2015. So yes, we pay more than any other country.

    • Mikie

      Look at the US now.. they are doing away with subsidies all together. I think all carriers now have gone to a TAB format..

    • Keith Zubot-Gephart

      Not entirely, but they’re edging towards it.

    • MassDeduction

      More importantly, the U.S. has mostly done away with data overage. With most providers, if you go over your data bucket your data speeds drops to 2.5G speeds.

      (Yes, 2.5G. Actual 2G speeds were way slower than 128Kbps!)

    • mola2alex

      We do also have almost double the average speed of any other country in the world if you look at some recent speed test data. I know my phone has a faster connection than my house does now but not sure I really need it…

  • AppleBerrySandwich

    BYOD discounts is where it’s all going. Bell is Bell I guess, always 2 steps behind.

  • El Capitan Morgan

    Do you guys ever notice that no news is a good news especially when it comes to Big 3?

    Bell, Telus and Rogers are like the Big 4 banks in Canada..its all about eliminating services and increasing prices.

    • MoYeung

      Big 5 banks in Canada

    • El Capitan Morgan

      RBC, CIBC, TD-CT and BMO.

      Who else? National Bank? meh..

    • tamper

      Scotia Bank

    • El Capitan Morgan

      Exactly.. BNS
      Bank of Novia Scotia

  • jellmoo

    How on earth does the pricing work when you are bringing your own device? If part of the cost of a LITE plan is subsidizing a handset, where is that money going if you choose to bring a device in? Hell, you may as well sign a contract, sell the device you’re given, and then use that money to pay off the difference.

    • That is actually a smart Idea. Or even use the second device as a backup

    • Garrett Cooper

      At this point that would be the smart way to go about it. Glad I locked in in October.

      All those people crying years ago about 3 year contracts, I tried to warn them this wouldn’t be better. They kicked and screamed….. How well has that worked out for us?

    • blzd

      It is better, just not in pricing and let’s be honest no one actually thought Big 3 would allow themselves to be forced into making less money did they?.

      At least now we’re not forced to use 3 year old phones anymore, or sign another contract when it inevitably breaks within that 3 year time. Things are much better without 3 year contracts, just not prices which never would’ve gone down anyways.

    • Robbie

      Who would buy your phone if everyone is forced into buying one?

    • MassDeduction

      Heh, good point. You’d have to unlock it and sell it to Rogers and Telus customers (and their flanker brands).

      Or Bell customers who break their phones, I guess?

  • New customers are now punished these days for looking else where because there is little incentive to switch with these prices.

  • Me Ted

    These seems to be roughly translated to, “Please take your business to Wind for now. Yes we know their coverage is spotty at best, but we here at Bell don’t want your business. We’ve already contacted both Rogers and Telus and informed them of our decision. They’ve agreed to follow suit.”

    • MassDeduction

      Early signs are that Rogers is not following them by eliminating BYOD discounts. Last time both Bell and Rogers tried, and both pulled back from the decision. Hopefully Rogers will remember the reasons they pulled back, and not try again. Full disclosure: I’m on a BYOD Rogers plan (though I suppose I’d be grandparented anyway).

  • Alex

    so ummm.. the only thing i’m not getting from this, is, does this affect current customers, or new customers only.

    • Phil

      It will affect all customers wanting to upgrade or change their plan

  • Crossed

    Thank you, politicians! Just sit there slapping your junk while we take it in the rear. This country needs telecommunication reform so badly.

  • Wilhelm

    This company is a real piece of shjt and always has been. People talk about how bad Rogers is but let’s face it, Bell is just arrogant and has made several statements in the past that demonstrate that in other areas, not just in wireless service.
    I agree there is a need for reform of the entire industry in this country to make it easier for competitors and break the stranglehold these companies have on the market. It’s nearly communistic in its ideals and practices.

    • MoYeung

      No reform due to barriers to entry.

    • Wilhelm

      Yeah I know. You can blame the politicians in this country who are the hired hands and lackeys of company’s like Bell that set the tone and direction of policy as if THEY were elected to office to do so. It’s pathetic.

  • Owen Finn

    Of course Rogers and Telus will move to match – they are pretty much the same big company in Canada.

    If you are on a BYOD plan and it now costs the same as a plan with a device… be sure to get your device from Bell. Use it for a day, and return it. Get another, and do the same thing. At least make it cost them something in the long run!

  • jndvrk

    Someone will have to explain the Mobile TV pricing to me, because it’s sounding really crazy to me. I signup for it, but can only stream five hours over wifi, the rest I NEED to use mobile data? For the same price as Netflix, I can get basic cable, but only if I pay an additional $30+ for a bit data package?

    Sure, it doesn’t really surprise me, but I must be missing something right?

  • Brad Fortin

    “We’re raising our prices by $5/month.” “But why? You already have margins approaching 50%!” “Excellent question. Moving on…”

  • CoryB

    Welcome to the Manitoba base cost pricing system where bringing your own device or taking the low end device from the carrier is the same price!
    We have had that issue for years where if you take an iPhone from the carrier you receive a $20/month discount but if you buy the device outright you get a $10/month discount.
    The Bell price changes have yet to show up in their Manitoba plans as they are still the same as their last increase and match what Rogers is currently offering.
    All that said, the erosion of the discount for BYOD is an attempt to slip that price increase in now before Canadian carriers follow the global trend of dropping device subsidies completely. Before people freak out over that, what it means is you will sign a two-year financing contract for your phone and it will be billed separately from monthly service. Not a big change really but we will all still pay more for that privilege.

    • MassDeduction

      Given how much less SK and MB customers pay vs. BC/AB/ON, device pricing in MB is not at crisis levels. SK/MB plans are already the cheapest in the country, so the only way they could realistically rationalize that would be to maintain the base price for BYOD but raise the price with a handset subsidy, so be careful what you wish for! 🙂

  • HelloCDN

    “It’s unclear if Rogers and Telus plans to match Bell’s most recent changes.”
    I’ll fix it for ya. “It is unclear WHEN Rogers and Telus plan to match Bell’s most recent changes.”

  • Matt

    What I wonder is why anyone would sign up with Bell, Telus or Rogers on BYOD? Virgin, Koodo and Fido offer the same connection and service at a much more reasonable BYOD rate, the big 3 shouldn’t offer BYOD simply because of this fact.

    • MassDeduction

      For Telus and Bell, I couldn’t say. For Rogers, I can. Rogers has some impressive features and price-plans that are restricted to people on the mothership, including:

      – Rogers One Number (a key reason that I switched from Fido to Rogers)

      – Roam Like Home (a big selling point over Rogers’ other brands for those who travel)

      – corporate plans (some of Rogers’ corporate plans easily best its discount brands, though they tend to be as ‘no frills’ as the discount brands oddly)

      – small business plans (most of the bells and whistles of Rogers’ consumer plans, and at pricing about halfway between consumer and corporate plans)

      Rogers actually has the most sensible breakdown between their brands. Rogers is the most expensive, but the most fully featured. Fido is pretty fully featured, but a little cheaper. Cityfone is a little simpler still, and a little cheaper, though the options are more limited. Chatr is super basic in features, but offers some decent plans for light users. Mobilicity has unlimited data and great prices, but slow data speeds and you’re restricted to urban zones. So they’re clearly delineated.

      What possible incentive is there to choose Bell over Virgin? None comes to mind. Not much incentive to choose Telus over Koodo either (even the U.S. roaming options, though structured differently, aren’t starkly different between Koodo and Telus like they are between Fido and Rogers).

    • will

      If you share your data with your family actually Bell, telus, Rogers have better prices than their flank brands

  • tedstriker3

    $65 FAB 10 6gb plan FTW…i’m never giving it up.

  • John

    And 20% increase to satellite basic TV in February. Maybe Bell is financially troubled? Yes, I doubt that very much. More likely they are just screwing Canadians.

  • Owen Finn

    This had better make it onto the podcast.

    • will

      Daniel will protect the big 3 like he always does.

    • blzd

      Makes sense, they wouldn’t want to bite the hand that feeds. I noticed Bell gives MobileSyrup the most amount of free devices for their contests compared to the other providers.

  • KoalaMeatPie

    I feel very sorry for all the sales Reps.

  • Jo

    At what point does pricing increases like this become robbery? I would like to know, because Canadians have been dealing with the worst prices in the developed world for a long time, and it just keeps getting worse.

  • JD

    Just pull a verizon already. Just don’t allow ‘Unauthorized’ devices on the network (yes I realize it’s illegal) and hide it under some BS reason and say we’re testing the device and take 2 years before allowing the device on.

    The CRTC should tag all three with Predatory Pricing charges already. It’s BS that SK/MB can have cheaper prices than say Ontario. Which one is it? Are they losing money selling to SK/MB or are they Price gouging other markets? The Big 3 always Say they’re barely breaking even in markets like Ontario.

    • MassDeduction

      Both can be true (losing money in SK/MB, and price gouging in BC/AB/ON), they’re not at all mutually exclusive.

      In fact, if they’re losing money in SK/MB then they’d have to make it up elsewhere.

    • JD

      Except if they’re really losing money selling in SK/MB then its illegal. They’re conducting predatory pricing practices to try to undermine the competition (Saskatel)

    • gwydionjhr

      Actually Verizon has no say in “unauthorized” devices. They are required to allow outside devices once they have passed testing by a impartial 3rd party company. Granted, the testing isn’t cheap, but it is possible for an OEM to get a device certified for use on Verizon without Verizon having a say in it.

  • So we can expect ROGERS and TELUS to raise prices tomorrow?

  • We should all get together and build our own co-operative national network.

  • skoupo

    Colluding ? Yes.

    Imagine if Wireless carriers actually competed and didn’t copy each other and every stupid move .

  • Omar

    I wonder, is this one of the consequences of Shaw purchasing Wind late last year?

    • Keith Zubot-Gephart

      Naw, they have to raise prices periodically anyways, since ARPU has to be constantly rising, in turn because unless corporations are constantly increasing their profits (it isn’t even enough to merely make obscene profits) it’s considered sinful and investors get angry.

  • Robbie

    If everyone is forced into buying new phone every time (logical decision), as there is no BYOD discounts, used cellphone market will be dead.

    • MassDeduction

      The last time they tried this, even with Rogers following suit, both Bell and Rogers had to back off. I guess the fact that Telus didn’t follow suit put them in a difficult situation in the market? Rogers has announced price changes without getting rid of BYOD, so here’s hoping Bell is forced back into it again.

    • Stuntman06

      They are no longer giving a BYOD discount.

    • MassDeduction

      Yeah. Disappointingly lame. 🙁

  • Shane Sparky

    Thank the CRTC for screwing people over. It all went downhill since the 2 year contracts came in.

    • kevy

      So if my phone is subsidized over the 2 years, why does the cost of my plan not decrease after the 2 years are up and I’ve allegedly covered the cost of the phone? There is no way to win. We get screwed at every turn.

    • blzd

      Things weren’t good to begin with though, and they weren’t going to get any better no matter what happened. But now you have a scapegoat to blame I guess.

      Or perhaps the big 3 were just about to drop all their prices, give us 5 gigs of data again, and send us all free phones maybe too? Yeup, I’m sure they were going to but then those darn 2 year contracts ruined everything! 😀 /s

    • Shane Sparky

      I’m paying $70 tax in for 6GB of data, altho my voice minutes are only 200, I also got Fab10 Nationwide, Caller ID, VM and unlim txt/pic msg…. back in 2009 this was a “subsidized” rate on a 3GS… I buy my phones outright now (yes $1200 or so), but why should I pay $60 more a month to retain my data allotment? (and that plan is for 5GB!!!!!)

      I don’t save anything anymore by signing a contract, what’s the point? Isn’t that the point of one? Yes the CRTC is an easy target, but things really didn’t get better with 2 yr contracts.

    • blzd

      I think the exact same thing would’ve happened with 3 year contracts. Just we would be forced to keep our phones for 3 years which is honestly ridiculous in this age of cheap phones that tend to die in 1 or 2 years.

      Big 3 will always find a way to increase their prices. They just took the 2 year contracts ruling and twisted it for their own good, as they always have managed to do and why we’re in this situation to begin with.

  • G.P.

    on black Friday I got a 2 gig plan with Fido BYOD for $49. I’ll stick to this unlimited calling 2 gig plan until my phone dies. I bought the cheap Asus Zenfone 2 laser at Canada computers for $269, I would be one of those “BYOD” users who was on Bell and jumped ship since I had no discounts as BYOD but FIDO welcomed me with opened arms.

  • Elton Bello

    FU Bell

  • robinottawa

    LOL. Do they think they’re entitled to their profits and can just raise prices when they don’t take in as much? Somethings missing from this picture.

  • Bill Patrick

    It hasn’t affected Quebec yet probably because of the competition we have here. I guess PKP & Videotron are actually good for something!

  • blzd

    It should be illegal to charge some provinces twice as much as others. If Wind doesn’t step up in the next year or so with their LTE plans I’m just going to buy a Saskatchewan number and use it in ON as a “Canada wide” plan. I refuse to pay $100+ a month for a decent data allotment.

  • Dave Ings

    My wife and I both have nationwide BYOD plans, so this might force us to Telus (Rogers is not an option for us due to the lacklustre rural coverage).

    Does anyone know if (since Bell and Telus share a network) there is any practical difference in speed or coverage in rural Ontario between being on Bell vs Telus?

    • G.P.

      in Northern Ontario rural (Sudbury, north bay to French river area) only Rogers has a signal (and fido), I was happy when I switched from bell to Fido for that reason so that I can remain within coverage when I visit my family

  • Rohn

    This is a very greedy company that provides little in the way of service. Thank goodness I dumped Bell completely. CRTC should be disbanded over its incompetence in regulating the phone system in Canada.

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  • Striker67

    Price fixing at its finest. If one does they all do it. Just form one big monopoly and get it over with. At least it would be honest about the state of the canadian marketplace. There is NO competition here for the most part.