Cell Phone Screw Over

As if the Canadian iPhone Scandal isn't bad enough it doesn't affect all of the Rogers customers, just those in line for a fancy new gadget. Now Telus and Bell, the other two cell phone carriers, are getting ready to skin their customers for huge dollars.

According to an article in the Vancouver Sun, Bell (starting on August 8th) and Telus (starting August 24th), will start charging their customers 15 cents for each incoming text message. You read right: incoming message. Apparently text messaging usage has ballooned to a whopping 45.4 million messages a day and the carriers simply can't "afford" to continue offering the service for free. You can read the article below:

Personally, I just see this as another opportunity for cell phone providers to increase their revenue and shame on them. Actually, forget them for a moment. Shame on the Federal Government for not taking care of the consumer. Canada is ranked near the bottom of developed nations when it comes to cell phone packages and while other countries are moving towards empowering the consumer, allowing them to purchase "unlocked" phones, and lower or no contract signing, Canada is going the other way. Not only do you have to pay a bundle for the phone you want up front, you also have to pay a through-the-nose premium to get out of your contract but, in the case of Telus and Bell, you're also in a position where you're likely stuck with a useless phone at the end of it.

Rogers isn't any better. They, apparently, have no plans on jumping on the text messaging bandwagon, but their plans are a huge joke, and I'm not just talking about the iPhone either. I was keen on getting my hands on one of these fancy new phones but I've decided against it. I refuse to sign another contract. Your options aren't great if you decide to purchase a phone without a contract. Rogers doesn't exactly make it an easy sell if you decide to simply purchase the handset.

Nokia N95. Photo care of stevegarfield on Flickr.

Hubby and I are scoping out the Nokia N95 8GB. Rogers offers the phone on a 3 year contract for $399.99 (2 yrs - $549.99, 1 yrs - $619.99) or for no contract at $689.99. We've been scoping out other options and have found the same phone for less than $400. Even Tiger Direct, one of the largest computer retailers, carries the phone for less, their price is $639.99 and as a bonus, the phone is already unlocked.

Our options are not many and frankly, I'm starting to get a little angry about the entire thing. If I could go without a cell phone, I'd certainly try it but with no home phone, it's the way I keep connected and frankly, I've grown accustomed to the convenience but when I read trash like this, I can't help but get angry. What we need now is government intervention and since we're not going to get that, I'm pining for more competition, and I don't mean competition that will fold up or be sucked into one of the big carriers in a few years' time.

For the time being, I'll be picking up a new handset in the next few months, wading through the 2 years left on my current contract and then re-evaluating the situation. Who knows, if competition does make its way up here, it may be worth it for me to jump ship and pay the cancellation fee.


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