Bell joins Rogers with ‘unlimited’ data plans, but not Telus

Move suggests at least a temporary shift in pricing strategy for Canada’s Big 3

A Bell store on Bloor Street West in Toronto. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Galit Rodan)

A Bell store on Bloor Street West in Toronto. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Galit Rodan)

Bell has joined Rogers in offering wireless data plans that don’t charge overage fees once the monthly cap has been exceeded — a new approach for Canada’s national wireless carriers.

Like its rival, Bell is offering a $75-per-month plan with up to 10 gigabytes of full-speed data usage per month, followed by unlimited data at reduced speeds.

Telus is taking a different approach, with a plan that effectively charges $75 per month for 15 gigabytes of full-speed data usage per month, followed by the standard overage fee.

The new plans signal at least a temporary shift in pricing strategy for Canada’s three national wireless networks, which have been slower to adopted “unlimited” data plans than U.S. carriers.

Rogers says the change in pricing is part of a multi-year plan ahead of the introduction of higher-speed, higher-capacity fifth-generation wireless networks.

The Bell offers will end June 30 while Telus says its $75 plan with 10 gigabytes of data plus five gigabytes of bonus data will be available until July 2.

READ MORE: Rogers adopts unlimited wireless data plans, expects new purchase options

There are other terms and conditions that set Canada’s three national carriers apart from each other and from Freedom Mobile, which has long offered unlimited data plans without overage fees in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

Analyst Aravinda Galappatthige of CanaccordGenuity says the introduction of unlimited plans with larger data buckets will counter one of Freedom’s main advantages.

“With that said, we note there is still a healthy gap between Freedom’s pricing and Rogers’ initial pricing,” he wrote.

A current Freedom promotion is offer 10 gigabytes of data per month for $60 plus four gigs of fast bonus data on its own regional network and one gigabyte of fast data nationally.

David Paddon, The Canadian Press

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