My Rogers Mobile Phone Bill

Now that both Catherine and I have Rogers Wireless Pay as you Go prepaid SIMs, it seemed like a good time to look at how much we’re spending each month, and whether it makes sense to move from pre-paid (flexible, maximum control, but hassle of topping up) to a monthly bill (less flexible, no top-up hassle, and may actually be cheaper). To this end, I logged on to the Rogers website and look at my last month of usage (which is all they make available). While they don’t have an export option on their report page, I was able to simply cut-and-paste the tabular text into Numbers on my Mac for further analysis; here’s what I learned:

  • I spent $26.50 over the month:
    • $14.55 on 29 voice calls: 19 outgoing calls and 10 incoming calls; that’s roughly 35 minutes of “talk time” at my 40 cents/minute rate.
    • $11.95 on data (wifi-less situations where I needed to check email, generally — quickly mounts up at 5 cents/KB).
    • $1.65 on 11 outgoing SMS text messages.
  • My most frequent voice calls were to Catherine on her mobile (twice) and at home (9 times). I also called 1-800-GOOG411 three times.
  • I received 11 incoming SMS text messages, but Rogers doesn’t bill for those, so they didn’t cost me anything.
  • The average cost of an outgoing call was 48 cents.

Over the same period, Catherine’s bill was $39.50. She doesn’t use data on her mobile, and she doesn’t send text messages: in other words she uses the phone as, well, a phone. And she talks more: the average cost of her outgoing calls was $1.12.

So, in the end, our combined monthly cost for mobile service was $66. Rogers has a “family plan” where 2 lines share 300 minutes a month for $35 total, which seems like a good alternative. Stay tuned.

Update: through the magic of wireless plan pricing voodoo, the so-called $35 family plan actually comes out to $49.90 per month before taxes, as they add on a $6.95 “system access fee” per phone, plus a 50 cent per phone 911 fee. But it’s still less than $66, and we would get to talk back and forth between the two phones an unlimited amount with no per-minute fee.


Jevon's picture
Jevon on January 16, 2009 - 19:28 Permalink

Why not add on the $7 Pay as You Go unlimited data option? Heck, you can even use a proxy to make it work as an iPhone data plan.

Jevon's picture
Jevon on January 16, 2009 - 19:30 Permalink

Also, consider putting Catherine on SpeakoutWireless or the Petro Canada prepaid wireless to cut her rate in half (and get 365 day expiry)…

Rob L.'s picture
Rob L. on January 16, 2009 - 20:35 Permalink

Why must this be so difficult?

Stephen Pate's picture
Stephen Pate on January 16, 2009 - 20:41 Permalink

It’s a game called rob-your-piggy-bank or technically price disguising,

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on January 16, 2009 - 20:58 Permalink

@jevon There is no such thing as a “Pay As Your Go unlimited data” plan, at least in the conventional use of the concepts “Internet” and “unlimited.” What Rogers’ plan allows is something they term “Unlimited On-Device Mobile Browsing”, which provides limited access to a canned list of sites using only the Rogers-branded browser.

It’s like Tim Hortons having an “unlimited donuts” plan but only making dutchies and Boston Cream eligible, and only if you’re wearing a Tim Hortons T-shirt when you order.

Jevon's picture
Jevon on January 16, 2009 - 21:50 Permalink

ok. Well. On the phone I am using right now, I have access to any HTTP website. Anything over port 80 at all works. Including all my iphone apps (except for mail).

Check out HowardForums for more info.

Peter Lux's picture
Peter Lux on January 17, 2009 - 03:55 Permalink looks of interest….however, reading this from their site

Where can I purchase SpeakOut Wireless Airtime?

Participating 7-Eleven Stores in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. On-line or telephone airtime purchases are not available.”

would seem to rule out PEI.

Jevon's picture
Jevon on January 17, 2009 - 04:26 Permalink

You have to get one from a 7-11 store, but they will happily give you a PEI number and service.

Michael Zinck's picture
Michael Zinck on January 19, 2009 - 15:36 Permalink

Hi have 2 phones for my daughters on the Rogers family plan, and my cell phone on Pay as You Go with Rogers.

The 2 phones have rarely been under $100.00 a month and I can’t wait to finish this contract, never again. I had to add, text coverage, then long distance, and on it went. My daughter even managed to blow past her 2500 text message limit one month.

I put my PAYG phone on a monthly and cancelled it 4 months later, again the bills are very high and you have to check every bill each month for errors. For example I added long distance, so they added it to the bill, but didn’t remove the individual long distance calls. You end having to call most months to get things corrected.

The $35.00 family plan, good luck in ever seeing a bill near $50.00 a month, in truth it will be $85.00 to $100.00. PAYG is the way to go, maybe you spend more but seeing that infernal bill arrive and wondering what this month’s surprise will be has kept me from upgrading my 4 year old PAYG phone.

Michael Zinck

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on January 20, 2009 - 01:05 Permalink

@Michael Thank you for your insights. The Family Plan was explained to me by a Rogers sales rep as best-suited to situations where the two (or more) users of the plan mostly call each other. He recommended other plans if they tended to call *others* more often.

As sith you, my main barrier to moving from Pay as You Go to a monthly plan is aversion to what amounts to an unlimited meter running. At least with PaYG there’s a built-in deadman’s switch: when you run out your top-up, your phone simple stops working.

John Kain's picture
John Kain on November 5, 2009 - 18:17 Permalink

Actually there is Peter. You said you used WiFi from your phone? I have a Blackberry 8320 (Curve with WiFi). If you set your browser to HotSpot, and then access your local wireless network, you will be able to browse and such at not cost. I have my phone set to Wifi Preferred over data. Since we have Wifi at the office and at home, I haven’t paid a cent for any web surfing. And if I am at a clients, normally I have access for my laptop, so I just add that access point into the WiFi set up.

Just food for thought.