As reported by the OTI in their latest survey and Canada’s Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications (CCTS),  Canadians still have the dubious record of being the most expensive cell phone market in the world and Canadians are filing more complaints about overly complex or confusing options, carrier errors and billing related issues.  

So what do we do?  One thing you can do as a Canadian cell phone subscriber is understand your cell phone plan to make sure you don’t end up facing bill shock woes.

Here are 3 quick tips that we find most clients misunderstand about their cell phone plans that you can’t afford not to know.

Given the service we provide in the industry at myCELLmyTERMS we have the pleasure of interacting with clients of all sizes.  What we have discovered, much like the CCTS report stated, is that a large reason for bill shock has to do with a lack of understanding or confusion clients face when it comes to the features of their cell phone plan.

1.    For instance, we often hear clients say that they have a total of 250 mins plus 100 mins for long distance.  If you have a plan with 250 mins with 100 long distance minutes, you do NOT have a total of 350 mins, but rather 250 mins TOTAL of which you can use 100 mins Long Distance. This minor point is understood by few and the source of much frustration in the cell phone industry and of course one of the reasons for cell phone bill shock.

Related –How to get the best wireless phone plan for your business

2.    With data becoming integral to our daily lives it is absolutely imperative that you understand what you can and can’t do with your data plan. We have said this time and time again, however, it still it’s worth repeating. The most important thing to avoid doing on your cell phone is watching video. Whether its live TV or YouTube videos this is a sure way to use up your data plan and start paying some heavy overages per MB, which can be as high as $5/MB. To determine how much data you need check out our blog – How much data do I need on my cell phone plan?

3.    Roaming, Roaming, Roaming – Whenever you step out of your local area or home area, as it is also referred to, you are essentially roaming.  You can roam on your carrier’s network or another cell phone carriers’ network if your cell phone company doesn’t provide service there and the network is compatible.  These rules are governed by roaming agreements but the bottom line as a consumer is that you will be charged a higher rate per minute, to talk on your phone while roaming, sending a text or checking your email.  If you travel and your phone remains on, even if you don’t answer your phone and it goes to voice mail you would have still technically answered your phone.  Along the same lines, if you have your phone on and you receive an email or a text message you will also be using services and therefore face some charges. So here’s some advice, be aware if you are roaming or not and monitor your usage, purchase a travel pack if you know you will be out of your home area, which provides you with a fixed number of minutes or data pool at a lower per minute rate.  All the carriers offer packages like this and with a little pre-planning you can ensure that you don’t come home to a nasty bill shock.

So what else can you do?

Get help. If you have any questions feel free to drop us a line at myCELLmyTERMS and if you need a hand finding the best cell phone deal give us a try.  One last thing, if you have a registered business and you don’t have your family members on your business cell phone plan, you are wasting a great opportunity to save on your cell phone bills as well as get a lot more value.  Either way we can help so give us a shot.

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  • See, I’m with Telus, and there are times where I’d love to check how many minutes I’ve used up in a month, but there’s just no way to find out that information. They purposely hide it so you don’t know. It’s one of the best ways they make money. Bloody thieves if you ask me…

  • Thanks for tips. I am getting desperate about my cell phone spending – I know it is always technically my fault and I should check in advance what is charged and how much will I pay, but in the moment you usually just need to get the information through and start worrying about the money later. And I absolutely agree with Randolph- seems to my as if they were lectured in conning you!

    • You’re right Julie. Sometimes we tend to stick with costly plans just out of habit. That’s what happened to me even when I heard that new mobile entrants were offering lower no-contract plans