updated 02:20 pm EST, Thu November 20, 2008
Bell Smartphone Plans
Bell today heated up competition among cell carriers with a trio of Smartphone Combo plans aimed conspicuously at outpacing Rogers. The Smartphone Combo 45 plan gives users 250 minutes of calling, unlimited evenings and weekends, and 500MB of data for its namesake $45. It also provides choices of extras such as unlimited calling between five phone numbers, unlimited incoming calls, or an earlier 5PM start time for evenings.
A Combo 70 plan at $70 doubles the amount of daytime calling to 500 minutes and supplies "unlimited" Internet access; the $100 flagship Combo 100 plan increases talk time to 1,250 minutes. It's unclear at press time whether the plans' bandwidth use is restricted to built-in software or whether the data allotment applies to third-party downloads as well.
The plans arrive shortly before the launch of Bell's adaptation of the BlackBerry Storm and appear specifically tailored to undercut the pricing of Rogers' iPhone 3G plans. The latter charges $60 per month for the same minutes and 1GB of data in a special bundle and asks $75 for 400 minutes with 2GB of data, trading minutes for bandwidth. Rogers however explicitly permits any legal software to run on its data plans rather than filtering it to officially sanctioned apps as has previously been the case for both itself and Bell.
Such competition has largely been unknown in the Canadian cellular market, where only three significant carriers presently run, and is expected to surge again in 2009 when both Bell and Telus move to HSPA and use the same 3G technology as Rogers.