It was last November when Rogers revealed a new plan to cut roaming costs while Canadians were visiting the US – ‘Roam Like Home‘ – for only $5 per day for unlimited roaming, minutes, text and data. It is a great plan that does not charge you the $5 fee if you do not use it that day and you are only charged for ten days per billing cycle, so in essence you get 21 days a month free roaming. Since then, this past April, Rogers added 35 European countries to the plan for $10 per day. What is equally amazing is that once Rogers threw the first punch, no counter-punch was thrown by either Bell or TELUS as they continued to advertise that their current plans are already competitive. However, starting July 16, TELUS is introducing their version of ‘Roam Like Home’ and calling it ‘US Easy Roam.’
With so many Canadians having a second home, family or business to conduct in the US, it is nice to see that customers can bring their smartphone with them, use them and not rack up a huge roaming bill. It will now be interesting to see is Bell follows Rogers’ and TELUS’ lead and brings out their own US plan to meet the competition. Roaming fees are a prime source of income for the Big Three and until the Wireless Code of Conduct enacted a limit of $100 per billing cycle, unless the customer explicitly consents to further charges, roaming charges were ridiculous. Rogers’ plans only charge the $5 per day for 10 days – it is not clear if TELUS will take their $7 per day fee up to the full 14 days or keep it lower.
There are a few differences thrown in that always make it harder to compare the true value of the plans. Although Easy Roam’s $7 versus $5 per day fee that Roam Like Home charges is higher, it appears that all it is not limited to share plans, like Rogers’ requires. It looks like any TELUS customer, even those with plans that do not include unlimited call or text, can participate. For instance, if a TELUS customer has a legacy plan that only provides a fixed amount of minutes, text and data, they too can tap into the plan by paying the $7 per day and use their allotted text, minutes and data while in the US. There are a few unanswered questions, but we will soon know those answers tomorrow when the plan officially launches. For instance, when TELUS customers connect to the US networks will it only be on HSPA+ or the faster LTE connections?
Easy Roam is only available to current HSPA+ or LTE customers and those already in a ‘North America Plan’ and prepaid customers are not eligible to participate.