I have a loooooong history of cell phone use, having had a cellphone since I started out with what was technically my dads Nokia 3310 when I was 14. This baby right here.
Over time I’ve graduated from bricks to flip phones to my first smart phone, the Sony Xperia Arc, in March, 2011. Along with the smart phone by phone bill started creeping up fast. From early 2011 until the end of 2015 when I finally cut the cord I have many many months with extra fees racked up from over use, using my phone out of the country (necessity – running a small business while on vacation isn’t really a choice) and just being generally stupid messaging boys. (Because dating is fun). I’ve also tried to be prudent, but my internet addiction has generally resulted in phone bills that were too high.
In 2013 I finally started doing something about it and started negotiating with Rogers to get a better plan after about a year of frustrations with my voicemail being out constantly, not having reception for calls and bogus billing issues. I should have told them off sooner but I didn’t. My service was awful and despite contacting them again and again to fix this, as service on my line was poor no matter which device I was using, I had finally had enough. I found Rogers increasingly awful to deal with over the time I was with them. I kept a log of calls, items discussed and names. I found this chart in my email recently, the reason I thought to write this post today;
I especially like the section I titled “bogus fees”, anyway, after unsuccessful negotiations with Rogers to just get a better plan – I haven’t been locked into contracts for a long time because I buy my own phones for cheaper (Ill tell ya later) – I ended up switching to Koodo 6 months later. Koodo was infinitely infinitely extraordinarily better to deal with than Rogers. I never had any crazy bills, crazy calls to deal with, voicemail worked consistently well and I didnt have dropped calls etc like I had with Rogers. I liked that Koodo was simple, and seemed more modern, switching things was easy online and I had no complaints about them whatsoever.
I was with Koodo for close to two years, where I reduced my plan gradually by switching when their plans were on sale to end up at a monthly fee of $45 a month near the end of 2015 when I switched to Public Mobile prepaid (Public mobile is a sub of Telus so reception remained the same). I switched purely to decrease my monthly costs. I got a Public Mobile sim card for free during a promo and switched to paying $75 every 90 days for 3gb and using voip for calls and messaging. I had help from my boyfriend setting this all up. I set up a voip account, bought a number, added credit to make calls and send messages and installed two apps on my phone to do this. One for calls and one for messaging. It was a little tricky figuring out the right settings for Voip but there are tons of resources online to help figure this one out. If you’re still following along the math there is that by switching from Koodo to Public mobile I got my bill down to $25 + tax every month. (30 days) by picking the 90/day/3gb plan, also using referrals saves a few dollars. 🙂
Buuuuuut, that wasn’t good enough either. Because then Fido popped up with tablet sim cards and a great $3gb/month for $15 plan in the fall of 2016, again credit to boyfriend for finding this deal. I got a simcard for free and switched to an Alberta based simcard with a $15/3gb a month post-paid tablet plan, taking advantage of a waived activation fee as well. (credit to youknowho-again for being as persistent as a cat trying to get a mouse)
I dont actually live in Alberta but take advantage of a lower tax rate this way, yay Alberta! My monthly post-paid bill is now $15.75 including all taxes which I happily pay. I am still using the original $25 topup for voip – call credit needed to make actual calls – which I’ve had for over a year. I thus spend $15.75 a month on the Fido plan and $1.66 a month on voip credit for calls and messages. My total annual cost, allowing $20 orso for overages is $230CAD.
The 3gb in data is tons for my use and I have only gone over once while in Amsterdam and accidentally connecting to data… which only cost me ten bucks. My phone is clearly not a tablet so I make this work again by using voip for calls and messages, everything else works like normal. (I use voip messenger and csipsimple for this) I had originally ported my number but ended up buying a new number because I was tired of marketing spam.
Voip is definitely different than just going to a cellphone service provider, getting a number and pushing a sim card in a phone and everything just works. It’s a bit more hassle to set up because you have to do it on your own and I’ll be honest, some of the tech settings are confusing and I don’t know what terms mean. On the other hand there are many benefits, there are tons of people and information online to help figure this out. I can dump the apps I use on any device; is my phone dead? I can use the online portal to send a text, in a foreign country? No problem… find wifi at a coffee shop and sync my messages, make a call, I have no extra costs… all I need is data or wifi. And let’s not forget; I’m saving a pile of money – close to $400 a year – which is going directly back into an rsp so I can get ahead.
Making calls using voip over data gives me the exact same quality as using a regular cell line (which, I’ll be honest, because most of my time is spent in the boonies or a big concrete building is absolute shit anyway). My family and friends and co workers think I am insane. There was an adjustment period where any call not answered by me was blamed on “not having a normal cellphone”, which is simply not true, especially my mother said this weekly for a good two months.
Do I care? No, my finances are doing better than they ever have in my entire life because I am making better financial decisions. 🙂