Bell 1X Redux: The Silver Cloud’s Black Lining

I got tipped off by Tim Querengesser over at the News that the rates for using 1X data services off-plan are pretty high.

Sure enough, I just chatted with a CSR at Bell Mobility and if you’re a standard cell phone handset user and you hop on the 1X network without a data plan, Bell will charge you $51 per MB.

The off-plan rate is dependent on the device you’re using. For example, my Treo off-plan would set me back a mere $15 per MB. (I’m currently on a plan with Bell that reduces that cost to 40¢).

But the kicker is the fact that nowhere does Bell advertise these rates. I searched their web site and couldn’t come up with any information regarding off-plan 1X data rates. Worse, it took the CSR I talked to a full 15 minutes to dig up the information himself!

He even commented on the relatively high volume of calls he gets from customers with unexpected $600 cell phones bills.

Bell needs to act more responsibly in regards to informing its customers about these sorts of surprise costs. In my opinion, a mobile device should be blocked from 1X data access until it is signed onto a plan. Not only to protect consumers from mind-numbing bills, but consider if a child got hold of a 1X device unbeknownst to his or her parents and hit the web, imagine what content and personalities they could access.

UPDATE: I should note that, despite Bell’s nefarious rate policy, the company’s telephone CSRs have always been gracious enough to backdate any data charges within a billing period for me. So if you’ve been playing with 1X for a while but you’re not on a plan, call *611 right away and talk to a CSR. They’ll sort you out with a plan make sure you don’t get dinged (too badly).

One thought on “Bell 1X Redux: The Silver Cloud’s Black Lining

  1. I completely agree with you, block access completely until a mobile browser option is chosen. Understandably, this is a quick money maker that telco’s love using. It should be important to note that ALL the national carriers, that being Telus Mobility, Bell Mobility, Rogers Wireless and Microcell Communications, have this “pay per use” feature enabled on all their units.

    While I don’t agree with it, it is clearly labeled and written in the contract that each and every customer signs before they get their new cell phone. Good to read those things over before signing them.

Comments are closed.