Want BYO on the Big 3? Too Bad: Carrier Price Hikes


WhistleOut
21 January 2016

Rogers, TELUS, and Bell have all raised prices over the last week. As wholly-owned entities of each respectively, Fido, Koodo, and Virgin Mobile have also seen, or will soon see, a bump. Bell was first to act, followed almost immediately by Rogers, and then TELUS.

Let’s take a look at how they compare to each other now, and the impacts of their changes.

The Big 3: new pricing and comparison

According to the CRTC, the big 3 Canadian carriers controlled 89% of the mobile market between them in 2014. That means the vast majority of Canadians are going to be affected by these price changes when it’s time for a new contract.

For contract plans, the changes aren’t huge. For both premium and standard smartphone contracts, we see only a $5 increase across all Premium and Mid-range handset plans on all three charriers. Over the 24 months of a contract that comes to $120; not a tiny sum, but a manageable one when spread out.


1GB

Premium
Contract
1GB

Lite
Contract
1GB

BYO Plan
(Monthly)

Rogers

$90
$85
$80
$75
$80
$65

TELUS

$90
$85
$80
$75
$75
$65

Bell

$90
$85
$80
$75
$80
$65

View the plans View the plans View the plans

BYO is a different story: Bell and Rogers have upped their BYO plans by $15 per month, TELUS by $10. That comes to a cool $360 ($240 for TELUS) over the life of your plan, compared to the old prices. There is now little reason to sign up to a BYO plan with any of the major three carriers in favor of one of their subsidiaries.

Fido, Koodo, Virgin: refuge of BYO

Fido (owned by Rogers), Koodo (owned by TELUS), and Virgin Mobile (owned by Bell) have all also seen, or will soon see, a $5 bump in plan pricing across the board. Things could have been worse.

These three are BYO carriers. Where the major carriers all saw $10-$15 increases in their BYO plans, Fido, Koodo, and Virgin have all kept things respectable. Now, if you want to grab a BYO plan, there’s no comparison between one these three and their Goliath owners.


1GB

BYO
2GB/2.5GB

BYO
5GB

BYO

Fido*

$60
$70
2GB
$95

Rogers

$80
$90
2.5GB
$105

Koodo*

$60
$70
2GB
$95

TELUS

$75
$85
2.5GB
$95
4GB

Virgin

$60
$70
2GB
$95

Bell

$80
$90
2.5GB
$105

View the plans View the plans View the plans

*At the time of writing this, Fido and Koodo have not yet increased prices to match Virgin Mobile. However, the change is expected to be implemented soon. The prices above are the projected new prices; for current prices subtract $5.

Remember, the three smaller providers operate on the same networks as their parent carriers. There should be no perceptible difference in coverage between, for example, Fido and Rogers.

Choosing between Fido, Koodo and Virgin is a pretty simple matter. It comes down to which has the best coverage in your house, at your workplace, and anywhere else you frequent.

  1. Check a coverage map, remembering that each smaller provider operates over its parent network. Check maps for Fido/Rogers, Koodo/TELUS, and Virgin/Bell.
  2. Ask friends, family, and colleagues how they find reception. This is usually the most accurate way to figure out likely coverage. If your work colleagues get poor coverage at work, then you might want to avoid that carrier; if your friends get great coverage in your house, then that’s a good consideration, etc.

Summary

The big take-away here is that BYO is no longer a good option on the major carriers. If you already own your own phone and want to be on one of the three major networks, you absolutely should be considering Fido, Koodo, or Virgin.

As for how the big 3 compare to one-another, that hasn’t change. The same could be said for their subsidiaries.

If you want a plan on of of the three major networks, you're going to have to pay $5 per month more. That's something you're going to have to live with.


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