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Discussion Starter #1
My family plan expired a few months ago and as my wife no longer uses her cell, I decided to switch to a single plan. Now I am not the most avid user either and really don't need 200 minutes a month so Roger's offered me a non-advertised, current-user-only special of $7 per month for 40 minutes. That has got to be the cheapest monthly cell plan in Canada, no?
 

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Just get a pay as you go phone.
 

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$7 a month is a pretty good deal for 40mins airtime (against currently available prepaid plans), but you probably also need to consider;

1. It's likely excluding System Access, E911 and perhaps the TTY fees.
2. It likely comes with a 2yr or 3yr commitment i.e. you're locked-in.

The monthly SAF and E911 will add about $6.95 and $1 to your bill respectively, taking your monthly outlay to around $15 - which @ 37.5cents/min, isn't so good for 40mins!!!

The other consideration is that you might not actually use 40mins every month, in which case a significant portion of your $15/month is a nice annuity for Ted.

The cheapest prepaid plans currently available run about 20 cents/min + $1 for E911 and no SAF. At that rate, it will cost about $9/month for 40mins, but only $5/month if you use only 20mins, so you only pay for what you actually use.

7-11 Speakout and PetroCanada both offer prepaid plans on the Rogers network @ 20cents/min plus E911 monthly fee. The downside is that you have to buy a new phone (cheapest is ~$60). The good thing is that small dollar top-up cards last for 1 year before expiring. The downsides are no US roaming and neither service offers internet based loading or customer service. You have to buy the top-up cards at retail outlets.

Another option, if you don't want to buy a new phone or want more flexibility is to get a Rogers SIM ($5 on eBay, $25 in store) and (re)activate your existing phone on their paygo network. Cost is a little higher @ 25cents/min, but you can roam in the US ($$$) and top-up your account and other stuff on the internet. In this case, only the $100 top-up comes with a 1 year expiry.

Note that for either of the prepaid options, you should be able to keep your existing phone number.
 

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My dad has this plan, it comes to just under $10 with the taxes, access fees 911 etc. As long as you don't go over the allotted time, it will be cheaper than pay as you go.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The problem with PAYG is that it usually won't allow you to roam to the US or has high costs if you do (not that Rogers is cheap). The other thing I don't like about is that the top-ups expire and some do it quite quickly (30 days). I was thinking of going with Virgin PAYG at $100/annum ($100 card last 1 year) but without US roaming, its a no go for me. The overcharge is 50cents/min which is close to PAYG at 30cents, not that I intend to do that.
 

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You need to think about the following before making a decision;

1. What's your average monthly use?

2. What's the variance on your monthly use? Does it spike up/down at certain times of the year - seasons, vacations, family events etc.

3. How much you really need/want the US roaming option.

You can glean most of the answers from you bills for the last year, and ask yourself if your needs are going to significantly change in this/next year.

Overages and expecially US roaming are expensive on Rogers, but if they're occasional-only and your average monthly use falls close to the 40min cap, then the $10/mo plan might suit you fine.

However, if there's a lot of variance - 10mins one month, 50mins the next, and not a lot of roaming, then Paygo will probably save you money.

Finally, there are alternatives to using Rogers roaming in the US if your usage is more than occasional. In addition to prepaid SIMs as low as $10cents/min (including LD), WalMart and other retailers sell prepaid phones/cards from TracFone, Net-10 and others. Some of the phones are less than $20 and include some airtime. As with the CDN plans, higher value top-up cards have 1 year expiry.
 

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Why do you need roaming? Get a pre-paid SIM card and activate it in the US. If you are traveling on business then your comapny should give you a phone. If you're traveling on vacation do you really want people to reach you? If you do, call the people once you've activated the pre-paid SIM card and let them know this is the number to reach you. The pre-paid SIM will save you a bundle in roaming charges.

I also find it very hard to believe the $10/month all in. If Rogers is not charging you a SAF they are being extremely generous. But even if the $10 is true (and if it is available -- a big if) then 20 cent/minute with 7-Eleven or PetroCan can still be cheaper.

40 minutes at 20 cents is $8. I beleive e911 is 75 cents, for a total of $8.75. I don't know if they charge GST/PST but if they do add 13% on top of the $8 and you get $9.79.

And I read on another thread that PetroCan did a survey about online top-ups, so you know they are at least thinking about it. Even if they don't, the $100 card lasts 365 days, and the other ones are all 180 days. Surely you can go out of your way a bit to fill up (gas+minutes) once every six months.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So if I get a paygo SIM from ebay (current cost about $7) and a $100 top-up from PetroCan/7-11 then I am looking at $107 for the first year and $100 there after versus over $120 for the Roger's plan. Downside is I would have to get a prepaid SIM for my travels to the US which are all vacations really. I do like to keep in touch with our parents which are all elderly at the moment, yes even while on vacation. TBH, I really won't be using that much while on vacation so I guess the occasional $2.50/minute call wouldn't be a complete disaster. :p

I'm just incredibly cheap when it comes to cell phones as I see it as a big drain for little gain.

Thanks for the info everyone.
 

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So if I get a paygo SIM from ebay (current cost about $7) and a $100 top-up from PetroCan/7-11...
Not quite, since;

1) You can't activate the Rogers SIM on 7-11 or PetroCan service.
2) To get the 7-11 or PetroCan SIM you have to buy the phone+SIM combo.

Check the web, but I think the current cheapest (7-11, or PetroCan) phone is about $60, but once in a while they run promotions giving you the phone for free if you sign up for a $100 top-up card. Worst case is that 7-11 or PetroCan would cost you about $160 for the first year and $100 thereafter (assuming you don't need more airtime). Both plans use the Rogers network but do not allow US roaming.

On the other hand, assming you don't need/want a new phone, you could get a Rogers SIM from eBay and just activate w/ their Paygo service. In this case your first year is $107 (assuming $7 SIM) and $100 thereafter (assuming you don't need more airtime).

Advantage of the Rogers-direct option is US roaming, since you want occasional vacation use and online customer support & top-ups. However, there's a premium @ 25cents/min vs. 20cents on the 7-11 and PetroCan reseller (or MVNO) plans.

For more info on the 7-11 Speakout service, check this site; http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/

For more info on Petro Canada service, check this site;http://retail.petro-canada.ca/en/mobility/2303.aspx

For more info on the Rogers paygo service, check this site; http://www.rogers.com/web/content/wireless-products/paygo_overview
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for that info apn. Looks like 7-11 will be having a promo in mid-Feb (buy $100 airtime/get $75 off a phone). After that I could buy as little as $25/year of airtime (+tax+$1/month E911)! I'll call the old folks from a payphone in the US using my LD card for that kind of savings.

$25/year @ 20 cents/minute has to be the cheapest low usage rate around!
 

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Where did you hear about the 7-Eleven promo? Any possibility of a similar promo at PetroCan (more conveniently located, for me)?
 

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Where did you hear about the 7-Eleven promo?
It's posted at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/

21. How much does a phone cost?

The cheapest one is about $75 (Nokia 1600). Usually they have a few more expensive Nokias. Wait for a promotion and you can get the cheapest phone at a discount. The recurring deal (rumoured to be starting next on February 16, 2008) is $75 off any phone (if you get the Nokia 1600, it’s free) with the purchase of $100 in airtime (there should also be $5 preloaded). The airtime needs to be activated within 90 days and lasts for 365 days after activation. In November 2007, they introduced the Nokia 2760 with a camera phone and FM radio for $125.
Plus, according to the Rates and Plans section of the forum (http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak/), some BC retailers are already offering the deal.

Not a lot of info on Petro Canada, but you could try calling their combined customer service # and asking.
 

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Thanks, apn. Site seems to be down now (keep getting 500 Internal Server Error) but I'll keep checking it. The current "deal" at PetroCan is $60 for the Nokia 2610 (which would be $25 with the $75-off special in mid-February at 7-Eleven).
 

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The $100 top-up lasts a year; all of the other ones are 6 months. I am OK starting with $50 and seeing how long that lasts. Location-wise, I'd prefer to go twice to PetroCan than once to 7-Eleven.
 

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Got 7-eleven with the promotion $100 purchase gave $75 phone credit and 7-eleven phones appear to be unlocked so besides the 1 year you can get a t-mobile SIM and use the phone in the states very cheaply if you have a need. Old thread but I thought appropriate.
 
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