Cellphone Users Now Have Power to Get Rogers, TELUS and Bell to Compete: PIAC

Thanks to the CRTC Wireless Code, anyone with an existing three year contract can walk away once their two year anniversary hits and not pay a cent as of June 3, 2015. Throw in expiring two year contracts, and the wireless industry is preparing for the ‘double cohort’ of wireless users, free agents that will be ready to move to any company of their choosing.

Journalist Peter Nowak, writing for CBC News, explains how cellphone customers will now have some bargaining power thanks to the CRTC rule, which spokesperson Patricia Valladao says “reduces barriers to switching.”

John Lawford, executive director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, suggests these ‘free agent’ wireless customers should consider going month-to-month and avoid contracts, or try WIND Mobile if available in your area. He says wireless users need to be aware they can leverage their contract-free status to find the best deal:

“People still haven’t got used to the fact that they have the power now, so they’re not exercising their right to walk,” Lawford added. “People don’t know it’s easier now. They still think if they switch, something bad will happen.”

If people don’t switch carriers, notes Lawford, wireless carriers will not have any incentive to offer promos or better rates. To make carriers compete for your business, it’s best to consider rival carriers and seeing what’s out there instead of staying complacent, as he adds “It’s usually better to be proactive about it than to wait for them to come to you,”

As for the ‘Big 3’, they each provided a statement to Nowak and CBC News on how they will be preparing for the ‘double cohort’, estimated at 2.2 to 4 million Canadians, according to a Scotia Capital report released in January.

Rogers spokesperson Michelle Kelly said “We have planned for this and have been actively working with customers, offering various promotions and packages.”

Bell spokeswoman Jacqueline Michelis noted “It’s a clear competitive opportunity for all carriers and Bell’s ready for it with the major investments we’ve made in networks, mobile services and distribution,” while also adding it’s an opportunity to upgrade existing customers not on 4G LTE to the faster network, which is already being accessed by half of their wireless userbase.

TELUS spokesperson Luiza Staniec added “Telus tends to do well when a lot of Canadians are looking for a new carrier, like the back-to-school period and Christmas. We expect we will do well at this time as well.”

Right now we’re seeing BYOD promos being offered for limited time from Fido, Virgin Mobile and Koodo that are offering $10 discounts on unlimited Canada-wide calling plans with 1GB, 2GB and 3GB offerings (ranging from $45, $55 and $65 per month). Fido doesn’t offer voicemail with its plans, but some users have been able to get it added to the $45 option, along with International texting.

Are you part of the ‘double cohort’? What are your plans once June 3, 2015 rolls around in one week today?

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • This is a great thing to make public. Rogers actually pushed me away by increasing my bill by $20 without warning, when I called to says “what the hell is going on” I was informed my 6gb data plan I’ve had for about 4 years has expired and now I’m being charged the higher rate, pushing my bill to about $85 before taxs, on which I nicely told them to _____ off.

    Jumped to Wind mobile as I’m right in the middle of coverage and I’m happily paying $35 for unlimited everything. Only downside is it only has 3G data speeds, but everything works fine including music streaming, providing you don’t mind waiting an extra couple seconds for a page to load.

  • SV650

    There would have to be some stellar offers to convince me to move away from my current contract expiring in December. I have seen none of the plans available since the two year contract requirement became law which match the value of the older 3 year plans. Thus unless they start to cancel the three year contracts, which is their right to do, I’ll continue with my current plan, even though the device subsidy payment will continue, though I have to purchase my new phones outright.

  • DC

    I haven’t heard from Fido yet but I think it’s because I have a pretty good mid tier plan. I have an iPhone 5 on an old retention plan plus the 6 gig data add on for a monthly bill of $60.00. I have the option of switching to my employer’s corporate plan under Telus (4.5 gig data) and get a new subsidized phone and a two year contract for $55.00 a month. Not too sure if it’s worth all the hassle at this point in time

  • SV650

    That’s pretty sweet, even for a corporate plan these days.

  • DC

    Provincial government plan

  • Adam

    I’ve still got my 6GB for $30 data plan with Fido. I’d have no problem with them raising the price on that data plan, because I just got a new subsidized iPhone 6 only eight months ago, and any attempt to change my plan would wipe out the cancellation fee, letting me get a phone upgrade a full year early.

    I don’t think they’ll change the price.

  • gtasscarlo

    So if I upgrade in June 2014, I can leave my Rogers plan free. Sweet, now I can get an epp Telus plan.

  • jabohn

    Your plan is now over in 2 years instead of 3, so it’s over June 2016.

  • jabohn

    Do these rules cover corporate/business/government plans? I thought I read awhile back that they only apply to consumer plans.

  • f1ght3r

    I have a fido plan which gives me unlimited Canada wide calling, free texts, 5GB data, voicemail, and caller ID for $55. Since I own my own device, I get a 10% discount which brings it down to $49.50 per month plus tax. So my bill is around $52.00 per month. I usually never go over 5 GB, so it works out perfectly. Only downside is I have to outright buy my device, but I don’t mind that.

  • I was in mid term as well, they still made the change on me. Not sure why they decided to do it, they just did. I paid the rest of the tab off and walked away. That decision was made because I’d end up making my money back over time by paying less than half per month.

    I’m sure you’ll have better luck than I did though. Or ateast I hope so.