Monday, November 30, 2009

Rogers Wireless Pay As You Go Prepaid Review

I've been using a Rogers Wireless Prepaid (Pay As You Go) phone for a little over 1 year and I thought that I would write my experience is in regards to Rogers prepaid and some things to look out for.

Rogers Wireless is a Canadian GSM carrier. They offer both postpaid plans and prepaid plans. After doing some comparison shopping for prepaid phones, I went with Rogers Wireless based on 3 things that were important to me. Since I live in a major Canadian city, all the major carriers that offered prepaid services had relatively the same reception so this wasn't a major concern of mine. The things that I was interested in was a long expiry date for a relatively low airtime purchase, a low monthly fee, and if possible various plan options (SMS, data, etc.). If possible, I was looking for a GSM company since I had already had a few GSM phones so I didn't need or want to purchase a new phone. I was also looking at a low upfront cost.

At the time of my prepaid purchase, there was only 1 main Canadian GSM company (Rogers). Fido which used to be a different company was purchased by Rogers. The other companies that I looked at were MVNOs which used the Rogers network. The MVNOs that I looked at were Petro-Canada Mobility and 7-11 Wireless.

The first MVNO that I removed from my list of consideration was 7-11 Wireless because it was somewhat difficult to purchase a phone as well as airtime in the province of Quebec. I could purchase the phone in Ontario and use it in Quebec but I thought that the hassle of doing that as well as the hassle of purchasing airtime wasn't worth it.

Petro-Canada Mobility was the next company to be removed from my list. The reason for this is that even though the expiry date policy was good (or at least it used to be good about 2 years ago), the monthly charge was higher than Rogers & Fido. Petro-Canada Mobility also charged for incoming SMS which both Rogers & Fido did not do at that time. Petro-Canada also didn't offer data or text packages.

My choice was between Rogers and Fido. Since I already had a monthly plan with Fido, I wanted to go with them because Fido offered Fido dollars. However, after looking at the options as well as the expiry date policies between Rogers and Fido, I opted to go with Rogers because even though Fido offered a lower per minute rate, for longer calls in the day, Rogers rate decreased. Something else that Rogers offered and Fido didn't offer anything comparable was that incoming Rogers prepaid calls are free. The final thing that I liked about Rogers prepaid over Fido prepaid was that Rogers prepaid had a lower yearly fee for maintaining the airtime. With Fido, it would cost a minimum of $120 for 1 year. With Rogers, it would only cost $100 for 1 year. Using a workaround, with Rogers, it was also possible to maintain a prepaid account with only $26 per year.

Since I wasn't interested in paying a daily fee for days that I wouldn't use the phone, I didn't consider any of the Rogers prepaid plans that offered this. Based on my calling patterns, I picked the "All Day Plan." The "All Day Plan" offers a rate of $0.25 per minute for the first 5 minutes in the day and then the rate drops down to $0.15 per minute for the rest of the day.

Rogers charges a $0.50 per month as a 911 fee.

Even though they include voice mail for free, when people leave messages in your voice mail box, you are charged per minute rates for this. Also, when you listen to these messages regardless of whether you use your Rogers prepaid cellphone or a landline phone, you will be charged per minute rates for doing this. One last thing is that even if someone doesn't leave you a voice mail message but they get transferred to your voice mail box, you will be charged 1 minute of airtime for this. Because I didn't like this, I opted to deactivate my voice mail box (you can do this online or by speaking with a Rogers prepaid CSR).

One other thing that Rogers prepaid does is that they display your name on the caller ID information when you call someone and if the recipient's phone (landline or cellphone) supports name display. For me, I didn't like this and I managed to get a Rogers CSR to remove my name while continuing to display my phone number when I called someone.

Rogers offers something called "Auto Saver" for their prepaid plans. "Auto Saver" is basically a pre-authorized monthly airtime purchase plan. By signing up with a credit card for pre-authorized airtime purchases of $20 or more, customers benefit from 20% off the regular airtime rates.

Rogers currently charges for incoming SMS as long as you don't have a text package. If you do have a text package, all incoming SMS is free.

If you have any questions/comments regarding this blog entry, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section.

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