Ask and ye shall receive… Yesterday faithful reader Elias wondered why I hadn’t yet covered the new $7/month unlimited data plan from Bell Canada. Today I present your answer!
For anyone who hasn’t heard, Bell Canada made a surprising move in offering an unlimited data plan for a shockingly-reasonable seven bones per month with their newly-released HTC Touch. The Howard Chui Forums are all abuzz over this, but as any good web surfer should know, forum does not necessarily equal fact. So I set out in today’s blinding snow flurry for an arduous ten-minute walk over to the Eaton Centre Bell World on a fact-finding mission.
I can’t say I was too impressed with the answer I got there. A sales associate told me that this plan wasn’t available for any other Bell handset, only the Touch — the reason being that the Touch is the only handset in Bell’s lineup that offers a full HTML browser.
Oh-kay… I found that a bit hard to believe as Bell currently has at least two other high-functioning HTC devices on their roster. So I trudged back home through the trace of wet snow and logged onto the Bell Canada website, where I found this handy live chat feature:
As you can imagine, the wait was a little more than 3 minutes… When I was eventually connected to someone, here’s what went down:
Chat Information: Welcome to bell.ca! You are chatting with Khalil H.
Khalil H: Hello, thank you for visiting bell.ca. How may I help you today?
you: Hi, I’ve a question about the HTC Touch, one of your wireless PDA phones…
Khalil H: Sure, I can definitely help you with that.
you: It’s specifically about the $7/month unlimited data plan that comes with the phone.
Khalil H: This is the mobile browser .
you: Does this data plan also apply to any other handsets in your lineup?
Khalil H: Yes, any phone you want.
you: Are there any restrictions? Acceptable use, tethering to a laptop, that kind of thing?
Khalil H: Well you need to get a data plan in this case.
you: So the plan wouldn’t apply to an email client on the HTC Touch, for example…
Khalil H: That’s right.
you: Ok. One more quick question if I could trouble you: Is this mobile browser plan available across Canada or just in Ontario?
Khalil H: All the plans offered by Bell Mobility are available across Canada.
you: Ok, great. Thanks for the info…
So there it is… The $7 unlimited plan is for web browsing only, but you can use it with any handset. Here’s Bell’s official page for the plan.
First, the bad news:
- BlackBerry users are out of luck, and still at the mercy of whatever Bell wants to charge them for their precious push email.
- Even though these fancy HTC handsets come with USB connectors, you can’t tether them to your laptop and use your Bell connection to surf on a bigger screen — well you can, but you’re gonna get charged much more than $7/month for it!
And some good news:
- According to Bell’s website, you can also have unlimited use of Windows Live Messenger and Hotmail on your handset for an extra $3-5/month.
And some things to watch out for:
- Apparently this deal is wooing lots of customers away from the other Canadian carriers, so hopefully for GSM-types like yours truly Rogers (and eventually Fido) will soon counter with something equally appealing or better.
- The competition for wireless data in this country won’t really get started until sometime next January, when Rogers is rumoured to finally offering the JesusPhone to the salivating masses here.
More on this as it develops…