Bell Plans to Cut US Roaming Rates by 50% Starting Sept. 17


Bell announced this morning it will be reducing the rates on its US roaming plans by 50%, as what the company says is its continued focus on “lowering costs for customers” who use their phones outside of Canada.

“During the summer, Canadians told the federal government that they support wireless competition and strongly believe the wireless rules should be the same for all carriers, Canadian or international. But Canadians also told us that they want to use their smartphones a lot when they travel, and they want the price to come down. We heard you and today Bell is cutting in half the cost of mobile roaming where Canadians travel the most: the USA,” said Wade Oosterman, President of Bell Mobility. “We’re starting with the most popular destination, and Bell is committed to working with our global telecom partners to further reduce international roaming costs for our customers.”

Bell customers can sign up for a US travel plan prior to departing or also be automatically alerted via text message when they enter the US.

As for the plans which have been cut by 50%, they are listed below:

$25 US 30-day Travel Bundle
Formerly $50, the all-in-one $25 US Travel Bundle includes 50 Megabytes (MB) of Internet and other data, 50 anytime minutes for calls within the US or back to Canada, and unlimited incoming and 200 sent text messages. Additional data is 50 cents per MB, additional calling 25 cents per minute, and additional sent texts 15 cents per message.

$20 US 30-day Travel Add-ons
US Travel Add-ons give customers the option of taking just 1 or 2 mobile services and in large quantities. Formerly $40 each, the 3 US Travel Add-ons offer big buckets of data, voice or texting for just $20 each: 100 MB of data, or 100 minutes of voice calling, or unlimited incoming and sent texts. Extra usage is 20 cents per MB on the data plan and 20 cents per minute for voice calls.

Every year 18 million Canadians enter the US and annually spend an estimated $800 million in roaming fees, charged by carriers who have network agreements in place with local US carriers.

Back in May, Rogers began to offer a $7.99/50MB daily US roaming rate. Many Canadians have started to look for alternatives to US roaming instead of via their carrier, by jumping on cheaper rates via Vancouver-based Roam Mobility.

What do you think of these new rate plans?


  • Al

    So basically lower prices on what people use less often while travelling, in addition to skimpy data. So, I’m guessing that they are still going to gouge consumers on the fact that they will need far more data than what is offered in those plans.

  • iamcdn604

    Roam Mobility offers double the data (100MB) plus unlimited calling and texting for $3.95 per day. Much better deal in my opinion.

  • Carlito

    Unlock your phone and go buy a prepaid kit at T-Mobile. 3$/day for unlimited dat, text and calls. Nevermind 50% less, it’s still too expensive for what you get.

  • Kellidotca

    There’s an initial $55 dollar investment though.. the $35 to unlock your phone, assuming you go through your carrier, and the $20 sim card from Roam.

  • Steve

    I use a T-Mobile SIM card in my unlocked iPhone. I loose my Canadian number but for $3US a day I get unlimited US texting, US calling, and data. The first 200MB(?) is at 4G speeds, but then drops to 2G speeds.

    This is what Bell, Rogers, and the others have to realize is their competition, not each other.

  • Hidden

    You people will never be satisfied, they cut their cost in half and you still complain. How do you expect them to offer the same rates as the local carriers do? You realize that they don’t control how cheap they can offer it right? Even though they try to lower the cost us carriers still make a cut and aren’t in any hurry to drop it. You should be happy that the vast majority now gets cheaper rates while maintaining their phone number, not complain! One more thing roaming usually occurs while traveling it’s mainly a way of advising your loved ones that you are safe learn to disconnect people! If you need to roam for work I suggest you look into North American plans.

  • hub2

    Going to the US soon, waiting for Telus to match… when I was there for a week in the summer 100 MB was sufficient (data only) but $40 was too much.

  • Al

    First – You’re wrong. As reported by a Canadian news service a few years back, all wireless companies have virtually full control over data rates. The cost to the carriers is almost nothing. They have agreements with international carriers in place to charge each other almost nothing, that way they get to set whatever price for data that they wish.

    Second – When European wireless customers can roam for free throughout Europe, we expect something similar to be put in place here in North America.

    Third – They are cutting less used services in half. Big whoop! Data is the big money maker for them now so they are not being very generous with how much you get. If I travel to a place I don’t know, I use iPhone maps to navigate easily. That tends to eat up my data. I’m always switching data roaming off except when I need it, and my phone still eats up a chunk from those few times I turn it on.

    Fourth – When you look at what other wireless companies offer in other countries, how can you possibly suggest “we should be happy”?!

  • Hayman

    I agree that Tmobile is the best choice when traveling to the United States. I use the same 3 dollar per day plan too

  • Still Too Much

    I know you are going to think I am wrong, but actually Canadian carriers have the ability to offer US roaming for less then we currently pay for service within Canada and still make a profit. Roaming is pure profit, that’s why they love to push it every chance they get.

  • warpdrive

    I sent roam an old AT&T SIM card and they sent me a nano sim for free, not sure if the promo is still on though…. Had the AT&T card from my original 1st gen iPhone…..

  • einsteinbqat

    Still cheaper to get a SIM in whichever country you visit.

  • mcfilmmakers

    You do realize that THEY DO control how cheap they can offer roaming rates right? Roaming costs the telcos NOTHING. They have agreements that roaming costs them NOTHING just the same as long distance on landlines cost them NOTHING. Snap out of it and see the world as it is – out to get your last penny!

  • Kellidotca

    If i have a sim card to send and if my phone is unlocked.. well sure by that same measure, if i had a plane I could just fly anywhere i wanted to go.

    My point was, the initial cost of service is higher because you need to unlock the phone and you need a second sim.. if i were to sign up with Roam, it would cost an additional $55, plus what i already pay every month for my plan plus what Roam charges. That’s an expensive month. I’m not knocking Roam, I’m just point out some additional thoughts to consider.

  • Pissed off bell customer

    Bell is cheap. I bought 600MB of data for my short US trip and have been extensive internet in Canada and rarely exceeded 2GB per month. While in US I got a message that I have used 80% of data in practically 2 days and within 2 hours I got a message that I have used 100% and now will be charged $6/ MB. I stopped my data usage right away and got dinged for another 100MB of data. On asking them, they said that their messages are delayed that is the reason that happened. The best part is that the message did not say anything like that. Now they wont reverse the charges and I end up paying around $150 extra. Awesome service Bell, just love you for setting up a con shop.