Change changing places

The changes…they don’t stop.

My mobile phone is currently activated with Rogers’ pay-as-you-go service. I bought a $100 voucher in September and I still have some $38 left. Not bad, really. That works out to just over $10 a month. But there are issues. The particular plan I have gives me 1¢/minute evenings and weekends, with 8 p.m. marking the start of evenings. Earlier, and calls cost 39¢/minute. So I do not use the phone before 8 p.m. unless it’s for text messages. Those cost 15¢ each to send as well.

Given the ridiculous daytime rates, and the late start to the evening, I really didn’t use it much. It was by no means a replacement for my home phone. Together, the mobile and home phones cost me about $45 a month.

Every few years I’ve scoured the Canadian mobile service provider sites to see what a mobile phone costs. The idea of having only one phone…a phone I can carry everywhere…is appealing. Despite the appeal, a home phone has always been significantly cheaper than a mobile phone with a plan that would allow me to use it as my only phone.

Until now, that is. So last night, I signed up with Fido. They’re sending me a SIM card to enable their service on my existing phone. They also offer a 15 day money-back guarantee so I’ll give it a spin, and if it works out, I’ll cancel my home phone.

Fido has six plans, ranging in price from $15 to $70 per month. My choice was the second-cheapest at just $20 per month. The plan offers:

  • 50 minutes.
  • 50 text messages.
  • Free evenings (7 p.m. to 8 a.m.) and weekends.
  • Call waiting.
  • Conference call.
  • Minute tracker. This feature sends a text message to notify me when I’ve used 75% and 100% of my minutes.

For my needs, this is not a home-phone replacement. Only 50 minutes per month with evenings starting at 7 p.m.? Nope. So I added the $15 value pack. It includes:

  • Call display with name display. This is important so I know if a daytime call is important enough to answer.
  • Enhanced voice messaging. I don’t know what’s enhanced about it, but given that I’ll always have the phone with me, there will be times when I won’t want to be interrupted. That goes double for calls during the day. Leave a message and help me save my minutes.
  • WhoCalled. If my phone is off or I have no signal, I’ll be informed of who called…presumably when I turn on the phone or regain a signal. With voice messaging this isn’t such a big draw.
  • Unlimited on-device mobile browsing. Meh. No big.
  • 5 p.m. early evenings. This is the big one. This feature alone makes the $20 plan a viable home phone replacement to me. With option, the 50 monthly minutes are only used from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays… when I’m at my desk (with a phone) working.

I wanted name display, voice messaging, and the 5 p.m. evenings. Individually, these add up to $17 so the $15 package was an obvious choice.

It adds up to a monthly fee of $35. Since Fido doesn’t charge a 911 fee or a system access fee, my monthly bill should be $35 plus tax. My only hesitation is the 50 text messages. I can imagine I will send more than 50 some months. I could add 50 more free messages for $5. This isn’t wise because jumping to the $25 plan would give me 50 more text messages and 50 more minutes. I don’t think it’s worth it, though. I send more than 50 text messages, the excess cost 15¢ each. I’d have to send more than 82 text messages regularly for the extra $5 per month to be a good value. I don’t see this happening.

I won’t really be saving anything, despite my current home and mobile phones costing me about $45 per month. I get my DSL Internet service though the NCF. DSL providers typically do charge an additional fee if they deliver the Internet through a phone line that does not also have an active home phone. I don’t know if it actually costs them any more, but they charge for it. NCF charges an extra $10 so this change is cost neutral.

My SIM card should be delivered today or tomorrow. It’ll take a day or two for my home phone number to be transferred to my mobile phone. I’ll then be able to see how it goes. I’m hopeful. Despite there not being any savings, I’ll enjoy far more flexibility in how I use my phone.

Oh, and perhaps the best part? No contract, baby!

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One Comment

  1. Dee
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 07:10 | Permalink

    Hope you’ll post updates about how this is working out for you, Rick. I’ll be especially curious about reception and quality issues. I don’t particularly like cell phone but, like you, I was wondering if it’s worth duplicating and having both home and cell. Though, since it doesn’t add up to a cost saving, let’s just say, you haven’t sold me (even if you report that quality and reception are ultimately great).

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