When there's nothing to say, do a meme

Telecommunications questions

I'm guessing this is one of "those" topics you don't discuss in polite company--like sex, religion and politics, but since I talk a lot about those already, I'm going to ask your opinions on a good carrier for all things electronic--cell phone, cable, internet and home phone.

Right now we're with Bell for all of that (except TV since we don't have cable, we get it the old fashioned way through the air) and I did put in a move order with them (and to get Bell Expressvu) but last night I was going over our mobile phone bill and discovered that nights start at 9pm (ie after we really need those unlimited night time minutes we pay for) and they just put our system access fee up to $8.95 from $6.95, I'm reconsidering. 

What really clinched it was the email I received confirming the change.  Not only is there a $55 fee (higher than the gas bill or hydro or even getting my mail redirected) there was a signature from the head of Customer Experience.  What the fuck is customer experience supposed to mean?  What happened to Customer SERVICE?  You know that part of the fee I pay for all this stuff--that part where I call someone and they provide service to me, the customer? 

Experience is a neutral term.  My experience as a customer of Bell can be good, bad or in between.  George Orwell nailed that one, didn't he? (Or maybe not according to the link).  Basically Bell is telling me that the service is non-existence, I just get the experience of giving them money for my telecommunications stuff and possibly the experience of having someone at Bell help me out. 

That being said, I may just rant here and stay with them.  Everything except dealing directly with them goes pretty well.  My home phone always works.  My internet is very fast and works 99.9% of the time, the cell reception is good (I was one of the few in my group who could get a signal at Rhinebeck for example) and though the TV is untested, family has used it with no real complaints.

I figure the evil I know is probably easier than the evil I don't know and I get to keep my phone numbers and email addresses.  Though I do hate those stupid beavers.

However since I have this blog and everything could change if I wanted, I'll canvas you Ontario types.  Who do you have for this stuff?  What do you like?  What don't you like?  Any smaller companies you might recommend?  Let me know.  Keep the horror stories short though because I know there are lots of them out there.   


We have TV through the air as well, but cable internet (it is only $3 more than if you have cable) this allows us to have Vonage phone. We pay $23/mo for 500 outgoing minutes in NA - $40 gets you unlimited - but since extra minutes our $0.03/min and we rarely go over... With the phone you get call waiting, call forwarding, call answer all that other stuff that Bell charges extra for. I love it. I have ours set up that if the internet is done the calls are forwarded to my cellphone. Great if I am expecting a call but need to run errands - just unplug the cable modem. We have FIDO for cell phone - I am ambivalent it works, had reception at Rhinebeck but not in several other areas of NY state.

I'm with Bell for my Sympatico HighSpeed, ExpressVu and land line. I don't have a cell phone. In general, I'm happy. I get a $10.00 discount for bundling my services onto one bill (if you don't already do that, you should -- I think that the discount with cell service is $15, plus having everything on one bill is sooooo nice.) I love that I have complete control over my account online (from viewing my bill to adding new channels to moving to changing my long distance plan.) Their customer service can be bad, but it can also be good. I personally have never had a terrible experience. The one time when I was not so happy with their service I complained and got a really nice apology. My bill every month is around $130 (I user very little or no long distance.)

BTW, Bell has petitioned the CRTC to remove that $55 setup/moving fee (they are going to add 0.05 to everyone's monthly phone bill instead.) Also, your only other option for a single company that offers all of the services is Rogers. Their costs are identical to Bell's. Their internet service is much less reliable, as well.

There is minimal competition for most telecommunications in Ontario (the one excpetion being cell phone service.) As a result, prices between the different companies are pretty much the same. Customer service levels are pretty standard (and in fact the big companies outsource their customer service.) Personally, I don't think that switching is worth the hassel.

Although I do use bell for my phone service, I am proud to say I use Unitz for our high speed internet (and eventually phone as well)It's a small Ontario based company, but you can't beat their one on one (real person) service. I have never had a problem with them, and they are less expensive than Bell. We do have bell express-vu as well, but are seeking other alternatives, since it seems like all Bell is interested in doing is raising our bills every three months, and decreaseing our services. Evil Bell, but if there's no one else what can you do? I live n Sudbury where Rogers doesn't exist. We have Persona Communications, and I refuse to deal with their 120/month digital cable bills.

Telus Mobility for the cell phone, no cable (we're an antenna family too - didn't think there were any left in Toronto besides us), and Sprint for internet. The last is because we're Costco members (well, at least they support the Democrats), and so we get a discount with Sprint.

We had an awful "experience" with Rogers when we moved back here -- we tried to get cable internet, but they never got it working, were rude and unhelpful on the phone, and even ended up charging us for the days we "had" their service, though it didn't function for a single second, and we ended up switching to Sympatico. So I can't recommend them; Bell isn't perfect either, but at least they haven't driven us to inarticulate rage -- yet.

I use Rogers and they do that bundling thing, too. I haven't had serious problems and find the internet service is fine. I did have about a week with no service in the summer, but it was clearly something happening with teh cable connections in my house. When the guy installed the phone recently he thought the wires in my basement looked like a problem waiting to happen and scheduled me a free service call for another guy to run a new cable from teh pole to the house.

I had some issues with the change from my old phone provider (WinTel) to Rogers but I think some of that might have been to do with the old provider. Certianly WinTel had some things I didn't like that only appeared near the end. Like when I switched long distance providers they added over $10 to the price of my local phone service even though it never indicated on teh bill that the price I was paying was because it was bundled with long-distance. Also, although rogers said it takes about 7 days for the old company to release the number to them when you change, WinTel said 28 days. That just doesn't sound right. It certainly wasn't that long when I switched TO WinTel.

and I know a friend had a few problems when she switched from Bell to Primus so I think sometimes shit happens at the switch. Since you are moving anyway, now is probably teh time to switch if you are going to.

One thing I have figured out, is that they put all their deals on to attract new customers. So if you switch long distance provider every year or so, you get better and better deals. For example, my longidstance wasn't with the same provider as my local phone, and Rogers chucked in a year of free NA long distance (any time of day) to get me to take long distance with them as well.

Which means if you want more details tell me when to phone you and we can talk about it :-)

I have Telus for the cell - love it. For home phone, I have Bell and hate it! Moved into a newly constructed home, paid for the installation, and they didn't show up for the appointment, and when they showed the next day, he didn't connect the main line from outside to my actual inside wiring (wasn't in the work order apparently). Good luck :o)

I use Bell for my cel... but really only because I always have. When I last checked (a couple of years ago), Bell had better coverage outside of the major centres in Ontario and east. My husband travels, so he needs good service in Europe, India and the US. Rogers worked out best for him for that. So I went the other route for better coverage here. In Muskoka, my phone works, his doesn't. But I think I heard that the cellular companies wer going to start sharing network resources? maybe? I don't know. But if they are, then my strategy is no good any more.

For home phone: Bell. I have my long distance charged through Sears, though. I get a better rate (a LOT better) and because it goes on my Sears Card, I'm accumulating points, which I cash in every Christmas for gift certificates and Yay! Free shopping!

Tv/Internet: Cogeco Cable. I'm not thrilled with the customer service (like when I call to say the internet isn't working and they tell me it is? Yeah. I use Bad Words then. I'm pretty sure my account is flagged "Crazy Lady".)

I think that overall, I generally stick to buying the service from whomever owns the cables/pipes/whatever. It just feels 'safer' somehow.

Home phone: bell (minimal service)
Cable: Rogers digital
Cell: Rogers (excellent phone coverage all over the US and Canada)

Rogers also gives you a discount if you have more than one service with them, I think. VIP program or something like that.

We're happy with all the services as set now. Wouldn't go to a VOIP phone because of the 911 issue.

sorry -- "minimal service" means we've stripped it down to just the phone. no answering machine, call waiting or anything else. just basic phone. works just fine.

I think you mean Newspeak...see

jen sounds like she works for bell customer experience...

You're pretty much screwed no matter what you do. The best you can do is fight to have stuff set up correctly (and I find it supremely depressing how much work the customer needs to do for it to work) and then keep your fingers crossed that nothing ever goes wrong. This is our current service plan ;)

We have Bell for everything - satellite, PVR (like Tivo), phone, highspeed internet, long distance and cell. If you bundle together and make noise about staying with them ie: being loyal, you can get great rates on long distance - we pay $5 a month for 1000 minutes.

A close friend of mine who works from home tried to switch to Rogers phone to save cash - all her other stuff was with Rogers. They said all was okay and her two lines (regular/fax) would work. Nothing worked after multiple visits and they managed to set a small fire in her wiring that her partner found and put out. They admitted later that they have bugs with dedicated fax lines but refused to refund any $$. My friend had to go back to Bell and pay all new setup fees there but at least kept her old #.
Stay where you are and demand a loyalty discount!!

I use Bell for phone and Internet (high speed Sympatico) and I use Star Choice for my TV... they're a lot more stable than Bell Expressvu, and they don't jumble up their channels every 30 days just to keep things "fresh". Plus, they DO have Customer SERVICE. :-) I'm happy with all of these choices.

Land-line phone: Bell. Never seems worth the hassle changing, always works (although their repairmen are sometimes clueless), happy with my long-distance plan. Friends and relatives who've tried alternatives have found them more or less unstable - sometimes they folded.
Internet: Bell sympatico. Husband has it bundled with his phone (we each have a phone line). Works well enough, but endless frustration at the beginning trying to get the bundle and the billing sorted out, I gather. And my sister out west had a real horror story because some element in her bundle had info unavailable to the service folks she got on the phone.
Cell phone: Rogers because we got an employee discount. I use it often but very briefly - "on my way home now", etc., or on election nights. Happy enough with it.
TV: husband has some satellite arrangement - he's the one who mostly watches.
I tend to go with the stability of the big companies even if they're a pain and service is the pits, just because I'm risk- and hassle-averse. Not my practise around my other consumption (food, clothing, coffee), but there it is. All the best with this decision.

Bell for landline (with no bells or whistles. All those were free with FranceTelecom, I hate the prices Bell charges for them).

Fido for cellphone -- hate dealing with Rogers, but they weren't Rogers when we signed up with them, and they've got the best deal for those of us who only use the cell for emergencies.

ExpressVu for tv, only because they had better foreign language access than Rogers (and I don't want to deal with Rogers).

No high speed internet. After hassling their "experience" department for more than a year, we finally found out that our phone number is linked to old equipment that doesn't support it. So next door has it, we don't.

We loathe dealing with Bell, but there aren't many viable alternatives that suit us.

Bell for landline, cell phone (pay as you go) and internet - all billed separately. Which ran us into problems when Mom called to change the credit card the cell and internet are charged to. They put the landline on that card, and left the internet and cell on the old card. Which meant we got a text message telling us the card was due to expire, and confusing charges on both credit cards. Not a pleasant "customer experience."

Cable is Rogers, because it's been with Rogers/predecessors since we moved to this house in 1978. Not thrilled with it (we used to pay the same amount as city dwellers for fewer channels, although I think they've equalized that), but changing to satellite would probably be a nightmare of epic proportions.

I have everything with Bell - long distance deal for way more minutes that I need for 5 bucks, my internet - very rare outages and only once been out for any length of time (remember the power failure!- that one doesn't count), cell with 400 ANYTIME minutes (maybe that is what you need) for 35.00 per month (2 year contract and free phone), expressvu (goes down when it rains heavily but otherwise great). Service has been great (touch wood) and they give me 5.00 off ech service for bundling. Might not be the cheapest way to go but it is pretty hassle free. Good luck with what ever you choose!

The comments to this entry are closed.