Don't Sign a Mobile Contract This Month
Amidst all the chatter about iPhones imminent arrival in Canada, one thing seems clear to me. The mobile market in Canada is in for a bit shake-up in July and, despite the complaints there is insufficient competition here, i expect s few pleasant surprises.
Rogers is in an enviable position having Blackberries and the iPhone and a host of other hot phones, but Telus and Bell have deep pockets and the motivation to compete aggressively. Already, Bell has dropped the price of the Pearl 8130 to $0 on a 3-year contract with a $35 voice and data plan. The Bell flyer with to-days newspaper doesn't have details on the voice/data plans, but they are letting us know the hardware will be free. This sounds a lot like last December, when I got my Pearl 8130 free with a $45 voice/data plan ($30 voice + $15 unlimited data including GPS) while Rogers was flogging Pearl 8100s for $99 and very expensive data. Bell is advertising GPS as a $10 add-on today.
Elsewhere on the web, I am reading that Telus has dropped its unlimited data rate back to last year's $15 price from $30. I haven't seen this advertised yet, but I haven't been looking either.
More enticing chatter suggests North American calling plans are coming at reasonable prices, i.e. no long distance and no roaming while in Canada or the USA for $25 a month for all your subscribed minutes. Not a bad add-on. This may be an attempt to counter the iPhone or it may be that the providers have an idea what their competition is up to.
I am not sure when the wireless spectrum auction ends, but by July 11 it should be pretty much decided. I would not be at all surprised if Rogers/Bell/Telus allowed the new entrants to run-up huge bids (as they have done) driving up their long-term operating costs, and then lower the competitive boom; now or within a year or so as the new operators launch.
I have no insider information and no crystal ball, but the indications are clear that significant changes are coming. Anyone who doesn't have an urgent need for a new handset or a new mobile plan would be well advised to wait a month. And then back-to-school offers to stop a rush to campus with new iPhones in hand? This could be an exciting summer.