I may have kicked off my blogging efforts for ITB with a lot of mobile stuff, but that’s not going to stop me from continuing to do so. Let’s face it, with the launch Bell and Telus’ new HSPA network and the entrance of Globalive into the fray, this has been a hot story. And what’s better than a hot story to heat up your Winter Solstice? Hot chocolate, OK, that’s true. But how about a rate plan comparison between Wind Mobile and those other carriers that it likes to portray as being on Santa’s naughty list?
For my unscientific analysis, I selected the only phone available on all four carriers: the BlackBerry Bold 9700. With the big three (Rogers, Bell, Telus) this phone is attainable at a price of $200 if you agree to a three-year contract, and don’t forget to add the $35 activation fee. Otherwise, it’s between $600 and $650. Wind Mobile offers one price with no contract at $450.
Now let’s assume you’re a pretty heavy user of your mobile phone. You use it as your main phone – maybe you don’t even have a land line – and you’re a big data user. You’ll need to spend $80 per month at Wind to get unlimited nation-wide calling and unlimited data, so long as you’re in the home zone.
Equivalent pricing at the other carriers doesn’t quite get you those unlimited perks. Telus’ Clear Choice $80 will get you 400 local minutes with unlimited nights and weekends at 6 pm and 2 GB of data. But it’s $15 per month extra for unlimited text messaging and caller ID. Bell offers a $100 per month plan for 650 local minutes, unlimited text, unlimited nights and weekends starting at 5 p.m. and 2 GB of data. Rogers has a $45 voice plan with 400 local minutes, with an option for unlimited texting, and unlimited calling to all Rogers/Fido customers. Add $30 for between 500 megs and 5 GB flex data plan (I don’t really understand this.)
Rogers is the only carrier to still charge a system access fee, although it calls it a “government regulatory recovery fee”. All the big three plans don’t include long distance in their plans the way Wind does, and always seem to leave out something that a consumer will pay for later – whether it’s texting, voice mail or caller ID. Wind includes all of that in its plans.
The downside to Wind is that you’ll pay a flat rate for phone calls (10 cents per minute) and data usage (10 cents per 25 KB) when you’re outside of home zone areas.