Thursday, 27 June 2013

Talk, Text and Data Plan Providers

As I need to get a new cell phone soon I thought I'd share my experience in this post by discussing the phones and which plans offered the best value along with the name of the service provider. What I hadn't counted on was that I first had to sort through all the negativity surrounding the entire mobile communication industry. From everything I've read, it looks like buying the phone will be the easy part - the most difficult part will be choosing a service provider that actually provides service. Because of the huge amount of information around each of those things, it became impossible to include it all in one post, so I decided to turn it into a three-part series, discussing (1) the Service Providers, (2) the various Plans available and (3) finally, the Phones.   

After reading a lot of articles about the phones, plans and the providers, I can't say I've been overly impressed. It looks very much like the service providers get together for lunch and decide what they're going to do, when they're going to do it and how much they're going to charge for it, thereby nicely eliminating any competition. Of course, this always affects price and quality of service and poor service isn't just frustrating, its expensive.

I`ve checked out loads of customer review sites and they generally agree with what`s listed here, but the Customer Service Scoreboard put it all together into a neat, easy-to-read package as follows: ( (The higher the ranking, the poorer the service.)
  • Virgin Mobile (Owned by Bell) – Ranked #373 out of 640 companies with an overall score of 32.36/200 based upon 1164 ratings with 81 positives and 1083 negatives.
  • Koodo (Owned by Telus) – Ranked #329 out of 640 companies with an overall score of 35.10/200 based upon 43 ratings with 4 positives and 39 negatives.
  • Fido (Owned by Rogers) – Ranked #426 out of 640 companies with an overall score of 30.27/200 based upon 165 ratings with 11 positives and 154 negatives.
  • Bell – Ranked #389 out of 640 companies with an overall score of 31.87/200 based upon 524 ratings with 36 positives and 488 negatives.
  • Telus – Ranked #87 out of 640 companies with an overall score of 61/99/200 based upon 41 ratings with 10 positive comments and 31 negative comments.
  • Rogers – Ranked #369 out of 640 companies with an overall score of 32.55/200 based upon 258 ratings with 20 positive comments and 238 negative comments.
One of the things to remember is that customers do tend to comment more often when displeased about a purchase then when pleased. But even so, there seems to be an awful lot of negatives. Nonetheless that's the information I have to work with and based on that, even though Telus won't win any customer service awards, they do emerge as the best of the bunch with Koodo, owned by Telus, a poor second choice, but again, the best of the rest. Rogers finishes in third place, just barely ahead of Virgin Mobile, with Bell in 5th place and Fido finishing last.

Having to deal with a large administrative office, with staff located who knows where, greatly increases the chance of getting poor service. The best chance of getting any kind of support will be from a local outlet. From everything I've read, the biggest customer service complaints center around the lack of action - nothing ever seems to be done. The main reasons for complaints are billing, poor coverage, phones that do not work and poor tech support. I think that signing on by phone or Internet lessens the chance of getting needed support and is something that I personally would avoid. 

Dealing with a local store should offer a better idea about the quality of service - friendliness and product knowledge - to expect. Who I eventually choose will, in large part, depend on that service and on how they answer my questions, including the all important after-the-sale-service question about Issue Resolution. 

The questions to be answered are: Once a plan has been agreed upon and the sale finalized, who handles any problems that may arise, including the most mentioned concerns - billing problems, a phone that doesn't measure up and poor tech support. 
If it does become necessary to deal with an out-of-town administrative office, will the local store manager provide support to the customer in these dealings and, if so, exactly what can be expected? 

These are reasonable questions to which the answers should be clearly stated in writing and signed, with contact name, phone number and email clearly readable. (Getting the name and contact information for the Provider's CEO is a plus and should be available.) That is no more than can be expected from any sales agreement and is standard for most products, so the same should apply to the mobile communications industry. The best guarantee that the customer will be protected is knowing he/she can count on the support of the local manager if things go wrong.

Next week's post will be about the different plans available and issues surrounding them.


  1. Personally, I would never have another Rogers product in my house. I had absolutely terrible service from them several years back and it was enough to convince me to leave them. It wasn't a cell phone problem, it was their cable TV, but was enough to turn me off Rogers forever.

    1. There is nothing more frustrating than getting the run around from a company - I can identify because we recently had a problem trying to get our landline repaired. The first service man did not want to fix it, fortunately the second fellow, who came to fix what the first one failed to do, was wonderful and went out of his way to leave us satisfied with the service.

  2. I am so happy that you are covering this issue!! I am looking to get a new phone in the fall, and it is a lot to consider. I am currently with Koodo, and I have really enjoyed the experience - not to mention the price - but I am limited by what phone I get, because the Tab only covers so much and my budget does not cover a high end phone. I would like a phone with more capabilities, but locking into a 3 year contract scares me! I look forward to reading more about this, and hopefully coming to a solid conclusion as to which phone I will get next.

    1. Glad these posts are helpful. The one next week, covering the plans, I hope will go a long way in providing the information you need to make a good decision.



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Thanks - Lenie