I’ve been a Rogers cell phone customer for over 10 years. Up until last month, everything was great. I had a robust plan for a value price, mostly due to negotiating with their customer retentions department on an annual basis. I had 250 minutes, unlimited rogers to rogers, unlimited after 6pm, unlimited text/picture messages, 100 long distance minutes and caller ID/voice mail – all for $30/month everything in. As it was our primary cell phone with relatively heavy use, it was a plan that worked for us.
However, when I changed careers in 2009, the new company offered me a smart phone, which meant that our regular cell phone faced significantly reduced minutes. Even still, the 10 year old phone number was widely known among friends/family and the monthly fee wasn’t unbearable. Heck, the long distance minutes came in handy as we don’t have free long distance on our home line.
But everything changed once I received a Rogers bill that more than doubled my monthly rate. No longer was $60+/mo worth it for a regular cell phone without data! So what did I do? I called customer retentions to negotiate a new deal like I’ve done for many years prior. The first offer was a similar plan for a few dollars more, but I had to sign up for 3 years. That didn’t work for me as being in a long term contract really kills the ability to negotiate for a better deal. I told the rep that I’d think about it and call back with any questions.
By this point, I’m a bit discouraged as I normally close a deal with Rogers with a single call. But I decided to swallow my pride and call back again to see if they can offer me a better deal. Second time around, the offer was even worse with a higher monthly rate and again, a long term deal. As I hung up the phone, I decided that it was time to switch providers. Something with more flexibility for low usage, likely something like a prepaid wireless plan.
As mentioned, the phone is now for occasional use, which pushes the “pay by the minute” plans into contention. What sweetens the deal is that the prepaid wireless plans typically include caller ID and voicemail, two features that we consider essential. After going back into my article comparing the various prepaid wireless options, we decided that PC Mobile fits our situation the best.
Compared to other prepaid plans, PC Mobile offered the lowest minute rate in addition to the option of buying a $100 prepaid card for a full year usage. Most other plans require a top up every so often throughout the year, but having the ability to use a phone for the year for one price was a big plus. As luck would have it, Loblaws was having a promotion on their phones along with offering tax free on everything in store. We received a $20 coupon on any phone so the $100 phone went for $80 taxes included and a $100 tax free phone card to boot.
Our plan includes $0.20 per minute, $0.15 per outgoing text (incoming is free), free caller ID and voicemail and one year calling card for $100. Providing that we don’t go over 500 minutes in a year, the cost averages out to be $15/month in year one, and $8.33/month in year two and three for a total cost of $380 over three years. If I were to stick with Rogers, the cost would have been $1,080 over the next three years not including the fact that I needed a new phone. Essentially cutting our wireless bill by more than half. For the occasional cell phone user, prepaid plans are hard to beat!
So that’s my story. Which wireless provider are you with? How much do you pay per month?