Are you sick of dealing with constant billing errors and service failures? Or maybe you’ve just had it with the obscene price you are paying for phone and cable, and the aggressive caps on internet. Bell & Rogers have enjoyed a history of passive customers, who think there are no alternatives or are overwhelmed with the thought of changing service providers.
I have spent the last 2 weeks in the U.S. and I am amazed at the pricing and packages available for phone, internet and cable from a variety of providers. Perhaps this is a function of a large number of players fighting for customers.
Telephone & Internet
In Canada, Bell & Rogers have become the faces of poor customer service. A number of smaller players have entered the phone and internet market over the last few years, most notably Acanac and TekSavvy.
I ditched Bell after a long battle over constant billing errors. Even though I had an email with proof of the agreed upon contract, it took escalation to the Executive Office and a threat to pull my business. Due to the lengthy correction process I was unhappy with the service. After the errors were finally corrected, there was nothing offered for my hassle. I stuck to my guns and switched providers.
There are terms to which you must adhere when ending your service with Bell and Rogers. Despite the numerous warnings on forums, I found the process to be rather straightforward. I simply had to notify Sympatico (>30 days before end of contract) of the termination of service. It’s worth noting that if you plan to keep the same phone number, do not cancel your phone service with Bell. The new provider will take care of it.
I have been a satisfied customer of TekSavvy for almost two years. Their customer service is great and the transition was seamless. They handled the porting of my phone number and service. The whole process was just a matter of filling out an online form and TekSavvy handled the rest. Any inquiries I have emailed to their support have been quickly and accurately answered.
When in comes to Television, cable has become less and less relevant, especially for the younger generation. I have been Rogers free for almost 10 years when I realized how expensive cable was getting and what a stranglehold they had on their customers.
I use an over-the-air (OTA) antenna for my television needs. OTA covers most events and prime-time TV. My costs were $100 for a decent outdoor antenna, $10 for cabling and about 2-3 hours to set it up the way I wanted. I am in the Toronto area and receive roughly 25 stations.
The best part about this is that they are all HD/Digital channels. You don’t need any special equipment to receive HD channels. All newer TVs have HD tuners built-in.
Now most people using this setup say they don’t watch much television, so OTA is more than adequate. I watch a significant amount of television and OTA covers most of my needs.
The internet is also an amazing source of television. I stream any shows that I can’t access from OTA directly from the television network’s web site. For example, Discovery Canada as well as CTV and CBC provide their shows online. TSN will also stream certain events like the NHL draft if you are into that.
There is a large library available on U.S. networks like A&E and Spike that are available to Canadians. If there is a show provided by a Canadian network, then head to their site to view. If the show is not provided on a Canadian network, then head to the US web site.
I have been lucky enough to have a mobile phone provided and paid for by my employer for the last several years. Wind mobile won a key decision that will allow them to play a significant role in wireless that will likely allow more entrants into Canadian mobile.
The bottom line is that I pay less than $65 a month for phone (long distance is $0.03/min), internet and TV access. There are no surprise fees or sudden increases, and there are no contracts!
Imagine a world where you don’t need to make a monthly call to Rogers or Bell. This is the world I’m living in now and I spend most days not thinking about it.
Readers: Can you share your Rogers or Bell experience? Has anyone else made the switch to another telecom provider? Has anyone dropped cable for OTA or internet streaming?