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He cut his phone bill by $416 just by asking

Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Moneyville, Quality of Life | 0 comments

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By Sheryl Smolkin
May 09, 2012
Apple Inc infringed a Motorola Mobility patent in making its popular iPhones, iPads and other products, a judge for the International Trade Commission ruled on Tuesday.KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
After my recent blog about how I saved money on my Bell telephone and internet bills, my friend Chris Boodram sent me a note explaining how recent negotiations with his cell phone provider Fido will result in annual savings of $416.Boodram does not have a landline, so he needs maximum services for the best price. He purchased an iPhone 3G two and a half years ago from Fido and signed a three year contract. Since then he bought an unlocked iPhone 4 so he could eventually choose his own provider.

With six months to go on the Fido contract, the early cancellation penalty of $120 ($20 a month) was low enough that he began seriously comparing other plans offered by discount brands Koodo and Virgin Mobile. Here is what he found out.

Related: Bell Mobility faces $100M suit over pre-paid wireless contracts
Fido contract before

  • $35/month: 250 anytime minutes, 100 minutes Canadian long distance.
  • $30/month 1G data with tethering access.
  • $15: smartphone value pack offering enhanced voicemail, 2,500 text messages, 1,000 picture or video text messages within Canada call and name display.
  • $5 for extended network option for $5 to avoid being be charged for roaming on to Rogers’ larger network from the core Fido-branded network
  • $0.75 911 emergency access fee.
  • $6.95 system access fee of $6.95.

Total  original monthly Fido bill: $104.75 including HST.

Koodo quote:
A comparable package with Koodoo for 150 anytime Canada-wide minutes, unlimited evenings and weekends from 7 PM to 8 AM and 1 GB data.
TOTAL monthly Koodoo bill: $56.50 including HST.

Virgin Mobile quote: Virgin Mobile suggested a $25 talk and text plan with 100 Canada-wide minutes, unlimited Canada-wide weekends 7 PM to 7 AM, unlimited Canada, U.S. and international texting and a “pay as you go” data option. Based on his typical usage:
Total: monthly Virgin mobile bill: $56.50 including HST

New Fido deal:

  •  $25 for 150 anytime minutes, unlimited evenings and weekends beginning at 5 pm and unlimited texting (though not picture or video) in North America.
  • $30 6GB data value pack including tethering.
  • $5 value pack for call display and voicemail (not name display).
  • $10 unlimited long distance in Canada package.
  • $5 credit every month till my contract runs out in November to sweeten the deal.

Total new monthly Fido bill: $70.06 including HST.

Although the new Fido deal includes fewer daytime minutes, Boodram has a desktop telephone at work and with unlimited evenings starting at 5 PM, he is unlikely to ever need the additional 100 anytime minutes a month in his original Fido contract. He also likes the bump up from 1G to 6G of data as formerly he had to carefully monitor his data usage at the end of each billing cycle.

The new Fido arrangement is more expensive than the Koodoo and Virgin Mobile quotes, but Boodram is satisfied with savings of $34.69/month and is staying with Fido, at least for the time being. However, once his three-year contract expires in November and the $5 monthly credit lapses, he plans to call Fido again to determine what else they will do to keep him as a customer.

Related: How to get rid of monthly phone bills

The key to Boodram’s  negotiating power? He owns his iPhone outright. Nevertheless, it is also apparent that cell service providers are hungry for new business and eager to retain customers. Billing structures are also evolving. For example, inexpensive long distance add-ons are becoming the norm.

Have you negotiated with a service provider for a better deal lately? How much did you save just by asking? Share your story with other moneyville readers.

Related: I cut my Bell bill by $650 just by asking


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