It’s a pretty exciting time around here. My oldest is heading off to University in a few days time. We’ve been working on planning and budgeting.
Over the weekend we did some digging into the cost of communications. We compared a Bell Canada land line, a Bell Student Cellular plan, and Rogers “Campus Calling” Student Cellular plan. Our current plan is for him to have Rogers Student Cellular plan, plus Hullo. Here’s how all three stack up:
|Bell Landline||Bell Mobility Student||Rogers Student|
|Service Fee||$ 18.45||$ 20.00||$ 40.00|
|Network Charge / S.A.F.||$ 4.95||$ 6.95||$ 6.95|
|Features Package||$ 15.95||$ –||$ –|
|Excess Usage||$ 15.00||$ –|
|150 Minutes LD||$ 15.00||$ 18.00||$ –|
|911 Fee||$ 0.19||$ 0.75||$ 0.50|
|Total||$ 54.54||$ 60.70||$ 47.45|
|Taxes||$ 7.64||$ 8.50||$ 6.64|
|Grand Total||$ 62.18||$ 69.20||$ 54.09|
|Connection fee||$ 35.00||$ 35.00|
|Phone||$ 30.00||$ 70.00||$ 70.00|
|Total over 8 months||$ 527.40||$ 658.58||$ 537.74|
|Total Until Graduation||$3,506.86||$3,974.55||$3,129.88|
The Bell Landline includes nothing more than unlimited local telephone service. No voice mail, no call waiting, caller ID, or any of the other things you might expect in a package. On top of that you pay a $4.95 per month Network Charge. To get the basic call waiting, voice mail, caller ID combination, you have to buy the “Flexibility 4” package for an additional $15.95 per month. Bell’s long distance package is $.10/minute, or, budgeting for 150 minutes per month, $15. The total package, with taxes, comes to $62.18 / month. Setup fees are waived if you buy the feature package (the “Flexibility 4”), giving a total cost over 8 months, after purchasing the phone, of $527.40.
The Bell Mobility Student Package has a service fee of $20, which includes 250 minutes of daytime airtime, and unlimited nights and weekends (9PM to 7AM). The features package is include. However, at 250 minutes per month usage, we’ve budgeted an extra 50 minutes (at $0.30 / minute) for overage, given that the average household uses 300 minutes per month of talk time. Your mileage may vary. In addition, the system access fee is $8.95 / month and the cost of long distance on Bell Mobility is a little higher, at $.12 / minute. It works out to $71.48 per month, with a onetime $35 connection fee, and a budget of $70 to buy a telephone on a 3 year contract. Total for 8 months of phone service: $676.82.
The Rogers Student Package is the best of the bunch. $40/month includes all the features, 250 minutes of daytime airtime, unlimited incoming local calls, unlimited calls between other Rogers “Campus Calling” student customers at his school, unlimited evening and weekends and 150 minutes of LD. I haven’t budgeted for an excess usage charges, reasoning that between the unlimited incoming local calls, and unlimited evenings and weekends, there shouldn’t be any excess. In any case, all in, the Rogers package costs $54.09 / month, or (with setup costs) about $537.74 over 8 months.
When on campus or out with friends, he’ll be using his cell phone to make calls. In his dorm room, he won’t have a landline. We’ve given him a headset and a very nice HP DV1000t laptop that he can use to make calls with Hullo to friends at other Universities, as well as to friends at school. Essentially, Hullo has replaced his dorm room landline. And we’ll make our calls to him with Hullo also, because it will reduce our costs and Hullo’s find / follow feature will allow us to always find him the most cost effective way.
With Hullo and a Rogers cell phone, he’ll pay less to talk more from wherever he is, and his friends and family can save money too.
What could be better?
P.S. If you would like to do your own calculations, here is a link to my Excel spreadsheet.