Following reports that Bell planned to increase its connection fee from $45 to $50, the carrier’s website has been updated to reflect the change. Further, Bell flanker brand Virgin Mobile has also upped its connection fee to $50.
Bell lists the new connection fee on its ‘Plans‘ page under the ‘See full offer details’ heading: “A one-time Connection Service Fee ($50) is applied on your first bill to activate your device on the Bell network.”
Similarly, Virgin Mobile’s website lists the new fee on its website’s plan page beneath the ‘More info’ heading. The new $50 connection fee also applies to Virgin’s CRTC-mandated ‘Low-cost plans’ — new customers who choose to activate either of these low-cost plans will pay more for the fee than they will for the first month of service. (You can click/tap the screenshots below to see them at full size).
Most Canadian carriers charge a connection fee on new activations, whether for bring-your-own-device (BYOD) plans or for customers who choose to get a phone. Additionally, most carriers waive the fee for online orders, while other customers have had some success asking carriers to waive the fee over the phone.
Bell and Virgin previously increased connection fees from $40 to $45 on October 1st, 2020. Before that, Bell increased its connection fee to $40 in June 2019 (Virgin followed suit roughly a month after).
As with most things, the Big Three carriers and their flanker brands tend to move in lockstep — connection fees are no different. After Bell increased its connection fee on October 1st, 2020, Rogers and Fido followed suit on the 13th (although Rogers calls its connection fee a “Setup Service Fee”). Telus and Koodo increased connection fees on November 6th.
Currently, Rogers, Fido, Telus and Koodo still charge $45 connection fees. Judging by previous price hikes, expect them to increase those fees to $50 soon.
Also, while digging around carrier websites researching this story, I stumbled across a Rogers promo from November 2009. It waives the connection fee (at the time, just $35!) for any wireless device activated between November 26th and 30th of that year. It’s not much help for dodging connection fees today, but it’s funny the promotion page is still live on Rogers’ website.