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$85K bill reveals Canada cellular data woes

updated 02:25 pm EST, Thu December 13, 2007

85K Canada Cell Data Bill

Bell Canada has charged one of its subscribers with a near-unprecedented $85,000 phone bill that underscores the high price of data in the country, according to a new report. Oil field worker Piotr Staniaszek of Calgary received the bill after tethering his Motorola KRZR cellphone to his computer, allowing him to use it as a modem for Internet access while away at his remote workplace. Although he understood the phone to include a $10 monthly unlimited data plan and used the service to download large content, Staniaszek was informed after receiving the bill that the contract included a clause exempting the unlimited plan from applying to modem use, leading to the bandwidth charges.

The bill has been reduced to $3,243, or the equivalent for a dedicated PC adapter card, as a measure of "goodwill," according to Bell. The 22-year-old Staniaszek is planning to continue fighting the charge, maintaining that the bill is still too expensive and that he was never made aware of the special data rates either before or after he began using his cellphone for the connection.

"The thing is, they've cut my phone off for being like $100 over," he says. "Here, I'm $85,000 over and nobody bothered to give me a call and tell me what was going on."

The company has responded by arguing that it cannot monitor every user, though it did not account for why the Calgary man received different treatment for conventional phone calls.

The tally highlights frequent complaints by Canadians that data rates in the country for cellphones are inordinately high compared to the US and many other nations with advanced wireless networks. Although data charges have dropped dramatically for the majority of cell carriers in the country and now include special plans such as that offered to Staniaszcek, many typically include low monthly transfer limits of as little as 5MB and bring additional fees for certain activities.

Bell's main competitor Rogers has often been accused of having some of the highest rates in Canada and has generally been slowest to reduce prices to levels comparable to its rivals or other countries. A comparison this summer noted that a $60 iPhone plan, which includes both phone service and unlimited data, would cost roughly a $295 per month while still providing a fixed data limit.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. BelugaShark

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2007

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    x

    this is retarded, Canadians should raise h***.

  1. rmzajac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2002

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    Monopoly & Greed

    We have a wireless monopoly in Canada. That's why we have to hack an iPhone to use it here.

    Why is it that they CAN write software that tells you of a low balance on a pay as you go account ...warning you pay more $$$ ....but they WON'T write software warning you of how much you've spent ...until they send you your monthly bill ????

    Piotr should tell Bell to F$&K OFF!



  1. rmzajac

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    Joined: Apr 2002

    0

    ....and Rogers Wireless

    .... won't let the iPhone into Canada because they don't want to give up gouging their customers on wireless data costs ..... which are 5-10 times the US rate.

    Surf the net at 5 cents/kB ....I don't think so!!!!

  1. iolaire

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2001

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    now for cnn

    So it it was an iPhone it would be on CNN, saying iPhone = $85k bill, but I bet since it is a Motorola KRZR there will be no such story..

  1. BelugaShark

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    Joined: Aug 2007

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    re: now for cnn

    you're absolutely right, had it been the iPhone it would've been a totally different headline.

  1. rmzajac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2002

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    Don't feel too sorry ....

    ....because the guy was using his cell phone as a modem connected to his laptop and was downloading video files (probably p***). All he had was a $10/mo data plan which he thought was unlimited. This was in lonely North Central Alberta (ie: oil rig country)

    Most def. a PC user...!!!

    I'd make both Bell and the user do community service for being so stupid !!!

  1. chadpengar

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2001

    0

    as a comparison

    I have the T-Mobile unlimited data plan here in the US as a $20 add-on and I tether to my PowerBook and they never have said a thing. I don't use it much except when the cable is down or I am on the road but there has never been made known to me any sort of limit for my unlimited plan or tethering restrictions.

  1. midtoad

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2007

    0

    credit

    There isn't a credit card company in the world that would let you run up $85k in purchases. That's because those purchases involve real goods and real money. But a cell-phone provider will gladly spent $85k because they're providing only virtual goods and the charges have no relationship to real value.

    I recently calculated that to download 5 GB on Rogers would cost you $28k. By this measure, the young cellphone user downloaded about 15 GB of data. That's quite a few movies, but certainly less than my cable bandwidth consumption.

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