We reported to you last month that the Canadian Government was going to instill a few changes to make their mobile environment friendlier and cheaper – one of the ways was to allow free roaming among the carriers and Provinces. Unlike the U.S., where all four carriers – Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile – have a presence across the entire country, most of the Canadian carriers have a dominant presence in one or two areas, but after that, their traveling customers must pay expensive roaming charges in order to use their mobile device. What looks to be a preemptive move on Bell's part, they are allowing free roaming in an area where they have very little coverage – Manitoba.
The key word in mobile communication is – mobile – and as our society becomes more mobile, we need to be able to take our means of communicating with us…and not pay extra if our carrier has a weak area and we have to bum a signal off of another carrier. This is exactly why the Canadian Government is stepping in to make it cheaper for their mobile users. Bell has reached its own agreement with Rogers to allow its Manitoba customers to roam on Rogers' network, free of charge. This means that calls, texts and MMS can now be made or sent over the Rogers' network at no additional charge to the Bell customer…of course, the customer would have to have a bundle for it in their package deal. Part of this deal appears that Bell customers will only have access to Rogers' 2G capabilities – the document our source has says that their customers will "notice slower data speeds," and that they "can only use this occasionally."
It is unclear whether TELUS customers will also be extended this service or if Rogers' customers will benefit in areas that Bell's network dominates. While Bell and TELUS do cover two of the most populated cities in Canada – Manitoba is one of their worst covered areas. This deal was designed to help alleviate the problem of higher roaming charges, however, Bell is only willing to go so far in paying Rogers' roaming charges for its customers.
Do you feel that this first step of Bell is enough or do they need to allow more coverage and less roaming charges? Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know what you think…as always, we would love to hear from you.