Bell has announced today it will launch its own prepaid wireless service called Lucky Mobile next week, first available in Ontario, Alberta and B.C. on December 4th.
The company says Lucky Mobile will have monthly plans starting at $20 per month, which will include unlimited talk and text. The service is geared towards “budget-conscious Canadians”, and will debut a mobile app for talk and text over Wi-Fi in the new year.
Blaik Kirby, President of Bell Mobility, said in a press release “There is fast-growing demand from many Canadians for new lost-cost mobile options, and Lucky Mobile is here to lead the way.”
The service does not require a credit check since it’s prepaid, similar to Rogers’ Chatr and Telus’ Public Mobile.
According to the Financial Post, Bell CEO George Cope told investors last month it wanted to make a move into the prepaid wireless space, saying “There’s clearly some growth in the prepaid segment that is in the midst of going on. We are looking at that segment… to investors, stay tuned.”
Bell’s vice president of marketing Claire Gillies told the Post more about how Bell came up with the name Lucky Mobile, which was partly based on newcomers to Canada, saying “It’s a fun, likeable name. Luck is very important in ethnic communities.”
Lucky Mobile will have service in 17 zones, but if customers want larger coverage areas they will be available. Initial service will see cities such as Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and surrounding areas get availability. As for data, monthly add-ons are available at “3G-equivalent access speeds,” on the Bell network.
For those looking for data plans, a 1GB plan with start at $40 per month, with 3G speeds maxing out at 3 Mbps.
In comparison, Chatr currently has a $40 plan with 1GB data, but comes with an added 500MB of bonus data and unlimited Canada-wide calling. Public Mobile has a $35 plan with 1GB data and unlimited province-wide talk.
With Shaw’s Freedom Mobile recently launching the iPhone (iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus for $0 on contract), the company has also debuted aggressive plans targeting the Big 3.
The announcement today by Bell comes as the enhanced CRTC Wireless Code comes into effect, bringing free unlocking for cellphones in Canada, along with all phones mandated to be sold unlocked.
Update: Here’s what Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, said in a statement regarding the announcement of Lucky Mobile:
“In June, I delivered a clear message at the Canadian Telecom Summit: Our government wants to see more options and better price points offered to all Canadian families, particularly in the wireless sector.
“Bell is joining other large service providers in Canada in offering a low-cost option for consumers. We thank Bell Canada for listening and taking a step in the right direction by introducing Lucky Mobile, a low-cost wireless carrier. We encourage all of the telecom companies to continue working in the right direction and offering Canadians more flexible and affordable options.
“Our government remains focused on the three elements of telecoms service that matter most to middle-class families: quality, coverage and price.”