Rogers Home Phone. Too little, too late?

by alec on June 15, 2009

Late Friday afternoon, “Mookie” from Rogers called to talk about our phone service.  Rogers is pushing to convert as many of their customers from the incumbent Bell Canada over to Rogers Home Phone.  Rogers has a plan for $30.95 per month which gives you 5 calling features, and 1,000 minutes of long distance in North America.  But it’s actually not $30.95, after you add in the system access fee of $5.95 and other miscellaneous fees, the bill is closer to $40. 

We’re probably paying more on Bell, but I don’t really know how much more.  With Bell we’re paying $25 per month to get unlimited long distance (yeah – over 40,000 minutes), and we’re paying for some additional features.  Mookie argued that hardly anybody ever uses more than 1,000 minutes per month.  1,000 minutes is nearly 17 hours of calling.  He’s probably right that we would never use more than 1,000 minutes, especially considering that I already spend $5/month with my mobile plan to get 1,000 minutes long distance on that phone.  Woe betide you if you use more than the 1,000 minutes however – Uncle Ted’s rate on overage is a steep $.12/minute.

I didn’t take him up on his offer. 

“Mookie”, I said “my home phone bill just isn’t painful enough for me to switch.  Now, if you could do something about my outrageous monthly mobile bill, or the ridiculous price I pay for substandard broadband, then we’d be in business.”  Mookie demurred, saying that he only represented the home phone service. 

The hassles associated with porting our number, the equipment installation, and the things I’ve heard about Rogers Home Phone incompatibilities with security systems were enough to dissuade me.  If Google Voice ever comes to Canada with number portability, we might reconsider.  For now, however, we’ll pay a couple bucks extra per month and stick with the Bell system.

I suspect that there are a lot of people like us out there.  When Vonage came to Canada people flocked to sign up, us included.  Bell responded some months later with the current $25 all you can eat plan, which stemmed that tide.  Rogers is going to have to do something equally dramatic in order to win market share.  How about home phone on cable with unlimited long distance across North America for $10/month, no system access fee, and features that Bell not only doesn’t have but probably can’t easily provide? $40/month, however, is just too little, too late.

What do you think?  Would you switch?  Or does Rogers have to do more to win your business?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Schmitt June 15, 2009 at 8:35 am

I switched but only after it made sense. I already had 3 services with Rogers and adding a 4th meant a 15% discount across the board. I have to say, the switch was painless.

But your right, we really don’t have residential local competition yet as far as I’m concerned. “Competition” simply consists of the two main incumbents pushing you to take all of their services in a bundle in order to get some kind of relief from rising telecom/cable costs. As you mentioned Vonage was simply crushed like a flea by Bell with the $5/month LD offer a few years ago.

I’m still waiting for some decent alternatives.

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John June 16, 2009 at 5:37 am

My threshold for switching is probably a bit different than yours. I already have the other rogers services, so I’m saving something like $40-$45 a month with the switch across the total bundle. Then I think to myself over the year I could save almost $500 with a switch, is that worth my while ? (Yes)

Bell has also really irritated me with the mobile service, so there was a bit of ‘I’ve had it with Bell’ going on. When I disconnected with them there was also a disconnection charge on my final bill related to my long distance plan. They must have put it there in case I ever entertained the thought of returning …

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Alec June 16, 2009 at 7:48 am

If I could save $500 per year, perhaps I might, John. It certainly didn’t sound that way to me however. Mookie said I might save $10/month from the bundle.

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John June 16, 2009 at 8:58 pm

I could be wrong on the math, as I haven’t got the first bill yet, but I went from about $75-80 a month with Bell. Take that down to 40, then take an extra 10% off the top for the bundle, and then take 5% off my cable / internet bill (I already had 5%) and you wind up at about 40 – 45 a month better than if you didn’t.

At least that’s how I rationalized the 500. In the end though I admit there is a lot of Bell spite going on now, that would let me switch for half that amount. :)

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Jon June 21, 2009 at 1:17 am

Have you considered Primus? I was apprehensive about the dependence on VoIP, but it has been pain free for me so far, can recommend them.

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James Courtney August 31, 2009 at 5:59 am

I switched our “home” phone line over a year ago to Rogers and, once getting through a couple of glitches due to some unique wiring in my home because I continue to use two Bell Canada lines for business, it has worked without interruption since then.

At the time I took a $75 monthly Bell bill down to $50 including the service fee as well as the 1,000 minutes/month of North American long distance. And I maintained all the other services I previously had from Bell. Recently, as a result of a snail mail piece, I was able to reduced my monthly charge to $35 per month including the system access fee.

Bell’s failure in this case was not to call me to say they could reduce my charges. About two months later I called Bell re my two business lines and had the resulting monthly bill reduced from $140 per month to $79 per month for the two lines and associated services. And they still charge my $2.00 per line for “touch tone” service – how archaic.

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Pete November 26, 2009 at 10:16 am

When I first compared the two, Rogers home phone was slightly cheaper for what I needed but I did not want to go through the hassle. We all know it takes time, which is more valuable than a few dollars saved a month. A week after deciding to stay with Bell, I got a bill from them. They charged me $3/month for a long distance service I was getting from them for free for years. When I signed up several years ego, their rep told me that this service was free. I don’t use long distance. Their customer service would not refund the $3, even after I threatened to switch carriers. I felt ripped off, so I got motivated to make the switch. When I told Bell why I switched ($3 issue) they offered me a $50 credit if I switched back. One operator at Bell is not willing to budge on $3, on the other side they offer me $50.

Now, I had a similar issue with Rogers when I got enrolled into a plan by default, they refunded me AND apologized. Still a pain.

Lesson here is Rogers is new to the game and pays attention to customers to win them and retain them. Bell is reacting only and doing damage control. I think they have a lot of retired customers (from their monopoly) who never check their bills, just pay them. That market share is shrinking.

Math: It has been 2 year since I switched and I save about $5 per month compared to Bell. Looking back, I’m glad I got ripped off by $3 when I did because I am now over $100 richer for it.

Rogers made $37x24month=$888 from me since
Bell lost $42x24month=$1008 because I switched

An angry customer is a motivated customer. I would have switched for zero savings.

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Alec November 26, 2009 at 10:42 am

I couldn’t agree more with you Pete about both motivation and about Rogers customer service. Recently I’ve been comparing Bell to Rogers for mobile phones, and the Rogers mobile reps win hands down compared to Bell.

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