Bell/Virgin Price Hikes Coming: ‘Connection Charge’ Jumps to $25, SIM Cards Now ‘Free’


Bell and Virgin Mobile customers are set to pay more for their wireless activations and upgrades, starting July 6, 2017.

According to sources speaking to MobileSyrup, Bell is set to hike their one-time ‘Connection Charge’ fees, up $10 to $25–a 67% increase. This change also brings a revision to SIM card fees, as they have been eliminated on the surface, but the increase in the connection charge appears to blend in the cost.

Previously Bell charged $10/$12 for LTE/LTE NFC SIM cards, while Virgin Mobile charged $4.99 for SIM cards.

Sim angled

Why the price increase? With the CRTC ruling all smartphones to be sold unlocked by this December, wireless carriers may be planning to make up the cost of losing out on lucrative unlocking fees, by quietly increasing other charges.

Will we see TELUS and Rogers follow Bell’s footsteps? Possibly, as the Big 3 seem to magically make plan and pricing moves in unison (take a look at Quebec for example).

For comparison, here are current ‘connection charge’ and SIM card fees from Bell’s rivals:

  • TELUS: no activation fees; $15/$20 for regular SIM/NFC SIM cards
  • Koodo Mobile: no activation fees; $10 SIM cards
  • Public Mobile: no activation fees; $5 SIM cards
  • Rogers: $20 connection fee; SIM cards are free
  • Fido: $15 connection fee; SIM cards are free
  • Freedom Mobile: no activation fees; $10 SIM cards

At one point, Bell offered customers free SIM cards, but in the summer of 2014, they started charging for them—$4.95 at the time.

Apple’s 2017 iPad Pro line up, along with last year’s 9.7-inch model, come with an embedded Apple SIM in cellular models. This allows customers to choose from participating carriers without the need to insert a physical SIM card. Unfortunately, no Canadian carriers are part of Apple SIM, yet.

Once Apple SIM hits the iPhone, you can say good-bye to SIM card fees altogether, right? At one point, savvy customers were able to get free SIM cards from Apple retail stores just by asking for one–no word if this practice still works.


  • bbousquet

    What a bunch of crooks. Mind you, I don’t think I’ve ever paid for a SIM card as they give them out for free at the Apple Store when you buy the device there. As for the “connection fees”, it’ll probably just be a matter of threatening to leave to get it waved, as usual.

  • Dominic

    Lol I always buy the device outright so won’t affect me 😀

  • jabohn

    I didn’t pay a connection fee when I signed up with Virgin. I bought the sim card and went home, called in to activate.

  • Telcos suck

    The Canadian telcos need to make up for money lost for having to unlock phones for free in the new year. The CRTC closes one door that milks customers and the telcos open another.

  • Tim

    Apple Sim could be a problem for iPhone tablet plan users like me I predict. if you’re switching plans on the phone I could see how your device might be more closely connected with the standard available options, which obviously wouldn’t include tablet plans. I hope I’m wrong as I quite enjoy paying 17.50 per month (taxes included) for 3gb of data.

  • MleB1

    The retail outlets for any of the carriers are worse than useless, as they end up not being able to ‘find’ the deals their phone CSR counterparts have access to, and then, to do the most basic of subscriber tasks, need to call in anyway. The ‘deals’ the phone CSRs can access often mean waiving the connection or SIM card charges rather than losing a sale / subscriber. Retail stores by the providers are huge scams meant to catch the uninformed.

  • Cornfed710

    Same here 🙂