Help me: Cell Phone Providers and Plans - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums

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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 2005-02-22, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Help me: Cell Phone Providers and Plans

Wow, its been awhile since I bought a cellphone but I'm considering it and a new provider.

Anybody have some good links that compare and contrast all the providers, phones and explain some of the technology?

(yes I know about Howardforums but I'm hoping to not have to wade throught it!)



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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 2005-02-22, 05:28 PM
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If you're interested in Rogers alone, they have a pretty good summary page of the plans, also you can then compare your "bundle" package if you subscribe to other stuff...

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 2005-02-22, 06:12 PM
 
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I have been on FIDO for a long time. In general terms they have been very good.
What I like about them:
1) no contract
2) very competitive plans (i have 200 minute plan)
3) very good urban coverage

what I dont like:
1) very poor rural coverage (in KW -> no signal past new hamburg towards Stratford)
2) Rogers now owns them (who knows what FIDOs future is)

Fido and Rogers use the GSM network. The basics of it is that in north america we use two GSM bands (gsm850 and gsm1900 otherwise known as GSM PCS). The phones are distinguished by the fact that they use a SIM card. This is a little chip that you pop into the phone. This chip contains your phonebook and your phone #. So upgrading to a better phone is just a matter of putting your card into the new phone. This is also helpful if you are planning on travelling. Europe and ASIA use the GSM900 and 1800 mostly. Most phones now a days will support 3 out the 4 bands with a few supporting all 4 bands. If your carrier has arrangements with carriers overseas you will be able to roam onto their systems and continue using your phone # (assuming your handset supports the available band). Alternately you can simply buy a pay as you chip while overseas and use it in your phone.
The one drawback is that the carriers will lock your phone so it only supports its own SIM cards. My recomendation: get a NOKIA phone as it can be unlocked by simply punching in a code.

As far as Rogers goes, they have extensive GSM coverage. Much greater than FIDO's so it is more advantagous. It is also very likely that your company has a corporate plan with them that you can take advantage of and get a good deal that way.
***********************

Bell uses CDMA. Very robust system and probably has the best voice quality. Their coverage is also very decent. Their plans have been typically on the high side. As well, when you upgrade your phone it is more hassle than it is with GSM. As well, it is a standard that is not used much in europe or even asia. So depending on your travel needs it could be a problem.

***************************

Bottom line:
1) if you are mostly in an urban area any carrier will do... advantage bell and FIDO
2) If not, advantage Rogers, Bell
3) you could get amazing plan with Rogers if the company tou work for has a plan with them... (hint- even canada post employees get discount, so give t a try)
4) if you dont want a contract or want pay as you go, consider FIDO
5) if you plan to travel stick to GSM.. advantage Rogers and FIDO
6) if you dont plan to travel and dont plan upgrading often and want awesome coverage and possibly best voice quality then go BELL
7) I just realized, if you consider bell, you can also look at Telus (same technology)

hope this helps
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 2005-02-22, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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Sure does new-guy, sure does!



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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 2005-02-22, 08:20 PM
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 2005-02-22, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by new-guy
As far as Rogers goes, they have extensive GSM coverage. Much greater than FIDO's so it is more advantagous.
There's no point in comparing Rogers & Fido coverage, as Rogers now owns Microcell/Fido. If you have a Fido phone, you will be able to use the Rogers GSM network as though you had a Rogers phone, and vice versa. You won't incure out of network roaming charges. So in essence, Fido has as large a GSM network as does Rogers. If you see a Fido price plan you like, don't worry about the out of town coverage.

Last edited by dc; 2005-02-22 at 08:27 PM.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 2005-02-22, 08:29 PM
 
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Mobile Phones

Here's my summary:

Technology

GSM

GSM stands for Global System for Mobiles. It is the standard which is used in most of the world, and is the most standardised. All GSM phones use a removable SIM card which makes changing phones very easy. You also can use any unlocked GSM phone on a GSM network, providing it supports the correct frequencies, so you are not limited to the phones offered by the provider. Also, GSM provides world roaming opportunities in which you can travel virtually anywhere in the world and still have the same Canadian phone number. Also, since the GSM market is extremely large, the coolest phones and features, such as Bluetooth for example, are made for GSM first. I personally find the voice quality on GSM to be extremely close to landline. Also, features like GRPS/EDGE data, SMS text messages, Call Divert, Call Hold, Conference Call, Caller ID etc all heavily standardised on the network end, and will all likely work correctly when roaming in the US or abroad. In Canada, both Rogers and Fido use GSM on the 1900 and 850 MHz frequencies.

CDMA

CDMA stands for Code Division Multiple Access. This American standard was developed by Qualcomm, and there is less standardisation in terms of network services. Very few CDMA networks exist outside of North America. Also, the phones on CDMA are customised for the provider so you can only use the phones they provide on their network. Also, CDMA providers have a tendency to lock out certain user customisable options, such as the ability to download your own free ringtones, or upload your cam-phone pictures for free using a data-cable (they force you to pay from $0.25-0.75 per picture upload). The phones on CDMA often lack the latest features because of the small market share. After Bluetooth-capable phones were available on GSM networks like ROGERS and Fido for over a year, Telus finally introduced one (Motorola V710), but most of the bluetooth functionallity was locked out. I personally find the voice quality on CDMA to be quite sub-par to GSM. It sounds digitised and 'robotic/tin-can'. This also heavily depends on the phone. Changing phones is much more problamatic as the provider must change the serial number in their computer, for which there is a charge, and then must re-program the handset, for which there is another charge. Roaming with CDMA in the US will be OK where voice is concerned, but in terms of features such as Caller ID, Call Divert, SMS, and Data etc, they may or may not work properly. In Canada, Bell Mobility (and its partners Aliant, Sasktel, MTS etc) and TELUS Mobility use CDMA.

Providers

Rogers
  • GSM network (1900/850)
  • Latest phones with ability to use grey-market phones
  • Network covers 93% of the Canadian population
  • World roaming capabilties
  • To change phones, just move the SIM card
  • Plans listed on website are not all that's offered
  • Deals to be had if you subscribe to Rogers Cable
  • Network is reliable and voice quality is excellent
  • Customer service (IMO) is on par with what is received with Rogers Cable, and is pretty decent

Fido
  • Was acquried by Rogers a few months ago
  • GSM network (1900)
  • Network will be integrated with the Rogers Wireless network on 1 March 2005, and will provide enhanced in city coverage (1900/850) with access to the full Rogers network available for only $5 per month
  • Latest phones with ability to use grey-market phones
  • World roaming capabilities
  • To change phones, just move the SIM card
  • Per-second billing
  • Cheap North American long distance - $0.10/min
  • Cheap US roaming rates ($0.20/min USD which includes NA long distance)
  • Plans are very affordable
  • No pressure for a contract - only advantage is a subsidised phone price
  • Voice quality is excellent
  • Customer service is quite good in my experience
  • 15 day no hassle return policy, valid on both the phone and the contract (if one was signed).
  • I'm currently using Fido with an import phone and it works perfectly

Bell Mobility
  • CDMA network
  • Analogue network used as backup in which features such as SMS and Data will not work, and the battery life will be drained
  • Limited to the selection of phones offered by Bell
  • Voice quality sounds very digitised and robotic IMO
  • Huge billing system fiasco in 2004 in which people were over billed, or didn't receive bills for months on end and were billed for services they didn't subscribe to. Most of the issues have been fixed, but some people still experience problems with them
  • Very poor customer service, especially during billing fiasco - "Thank you for calling Bell Mobility. We are unable to take your call at this time....."
  • Changing phones involves an ESN swap fee which can range from $15-$50 depending on which store/dealer you go to
  • Features on phones are locked out - ie. Downloading your own free ringtones, games/applications and transferring pictures you took with the camera to your computer with a data cable
  • Deals to be had if you are a Bell ExpressVu customer

TELUS
  • CDMA network, with analogue backup
  • Same situation as Bell in terms of foreign phones, locked out features and ESN swap fees, although TELUS seems to lock out more and charge more
  • Nickels and dimes for every little thing
  • I have no experience with their customer service
  • Voice quality similar to Bell
  • Return policy is valid on the PHONE ONLY, not the contract. Even if you change your mind in a couple of minutes after signing the contract, it's too late to void it without penalty
  • High contract termination fee ($20 x number of months remaining with no cap (up to $720 with a three-year term), or $100, which ever is higher)

Overall, it's about what works best for you. If you travel overseas or are a gadget freak, then GSM is a must. I currently use Fido, and have received exceptional service from them. They are also really good value. With their 15 day no hassle return policy, by purchasing a phone with GSM 1900 & 850, you will be able to see what the coverage is like on the Rogers/Fido network in the city after 1 March. I hope this is helpful.

Also, check out http://www.howardforums.com

Cheers,

-- Dan
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 2005-02-23, 12:33 PM
 
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Fido is now owned by Rogers, and you'll see it's going to be positioned as the cheaper alternative to compete with Virgin Mobility, which is a joint venture about to be launched with Bell Canada.

Telus is the Canadian leader by far in market share.

There may be a few new players launching in the next 12 - 18 months including Virgin and maybe Sprint.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 2005-02-25, 02:37 AM
 
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Maybe you should wait?

With number portability on its way, I would consider waiting.

Globe and Mail Article
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 2005-02-25, 09:26 AM
 
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i give it a year before number portability is available... i doubt it will happen fast at all.. figure on 3 months for CRTC to discuss it, then another couple months for a decision... then 6 months for the carriers to implement... about a year at best.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 2005-03-31, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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Lots of good information in this thread so I stuck it



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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 2005-04-09, 12:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike F
Fido is now owned by Rogers, and you'll see it's going to be positioned as the cheaper alternative to compete with Virgin Mobility, which is a joint venture about to be launched with Bell Canada.

Telus is the Canadian leader by far in market share.

There may be a few new players launching in the next 12 - 18 months including Virgin and maybe Sprint.
Actually, I do have to correct you on a point. Bell Mobility is and has been the Market Share leader in cellular phoens for the last 4 years. BM currently has about 28-30% Market share, with rogers very close behind, then followed by Telus. Telus fell into third when Rogers aquired FIDO.

Nem, who is making a correction

The preceding post and all opinions expressed are solely those of the poster and do not reflect the opinions of any other person or business
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 2005-11-20, 10:35 PM
 
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maybe I could help

if u could tell me how u use your phone. (i.g. your budget, how much time/mon, LD or not, travel or not, when/where use phone most). I think I could help u to pick up a plan with monthly exp comparasion.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 2005-11-20, 10:39 PM
 
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I had hard time with FIDO & BELL

FIDO's coverage makes me crazy and no service from time to time (I had to transfer my phone to someone else as I'm in contract). BELL's service so poor. overcharge me for overdue (actually I moved and notified them the 2nd day I settled down in my new house) and no appologies.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 2006-01-18, 04:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcomp11
Bell Mobility[list]
<snip>[*]Changing phones involves an ESN swap fee which can range from $15-$50 depending on which store/dealer you go to
One way to avoid this fee is to call bell directly and get the activations department. My phone died on me and I got one from my mother she was no longer using. The Bell World (franchise) was going to charge me $15 to activate it (free if you get a new phone).

I called Bell and said "surely you can do this for me for free" and they were more than happy to. Because it was an older phone, I was moved off to 2nd level support who looked up the instructions and within 10 minutes I had the phone up and working.
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