Bell Offers Free iPhone 5 to MTS Customers If They Switch Over

Bell is stepping up its game to target existing MTS customers in Manitoba to switch over by offering a free iPhone 5, reports the Winnipeg Free Press.

Wade Oosterman, president of Bell Mobility, says this is the time for their company to try to win over customers in Manitoba:

“Over our history there was connections with local provincial telcos and Bell did not compete,” Oosterman said. “But that has changed and we realized we have not been in Manitoba in an aggressive, meaningful way. That’s changing now because we have the scale and cost structure that allow us to do it and we can deliver lower prices than what had been available.”

The free iPhone 5 would of course come with a three year term; this is probably one of the best subsidized deals on the newly released iPhone 5, which normally comes in at $179 on a three year term. For Apple’s latest device to go free on a three year term wouldn’t normally arrive for at least another two years. Currently, the iPhone 4 is free on three year terms from most carriers.

Other smartphones available for ‘free’ on a three year term from Bell include the following: Windows Phone 8X by HTC, Sony Xperia T or BlackBerry Bold 9900

Bell previously had a 20 percent stake in MTS, but parted ways in 2004; the former has never had their marketshare reach more than 5 percent in Manitoba since.

MTS Says Free iPhone 5 Isn’t Worth It on Bell’s Smaller Network

Kelvin Shepherd, president of MTS, which also offers the iPhone 5, says they aren’t out to match Bell’s offer anytime soon:

“It’s a very new offer, only in the market a couple of days,” he said. “Christmas is always a competitive time of the year, usually a strong buying season for customer. Many service providers offer some kind of special promotions.”

Shepherd goes on to say a free iPhone 5 on the Bell network in Manitoba isn’t “a really great offer” based on the latter’s network coverage:

“Our strength is we have 97 per cent coverage in Manitoba, Bell has less than 60 per cent. We have LTE (long term evolution, faster and more powerful than a 4G network), they don’t. We have more than 100 stores, they have a lot less than that.”

Curently Bell’s 4G network only is available in Winnipeg and the southern part of the province along the Trans Canada highway to Brandon. Phones will work outside of the network but that would incur roaming charges. MTS has its LTE network up in Winnipeg and Brandon, with further expansion slated for 2013.

In terms of Manitoba wireless marketshare, MTS has 55%, Rogers has 30%, Telus has just over 10% and Bell at about 5%. Also interesting to note, Bell is targeting Tbaytel customers in Thunder Bay with a similar free iPhone 5 offer if they switch over.

Anyone in Manitoba jumping on Bell’s aggressive offer of a ‘free’ iPhone 5 to switch over?

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