In an effort to recuperate lost revenue due to the Canadian government's move to ban carrier-locked smartphones, Bell and Virgin Mobile are both announcing an increase in connection fees. Both Bell and Virgin Mobile will increase its connection charge from CAD15 to CAD25, with the new charges taking effect on July 6. While these are substantial increases, connection charges are only a one-time fee so it may not be a major burden on the part of the users. Nonetheless, subscribers who are either getting new plans or upgrading their smartphones will have to pay higher fees.
While the charges might not be substantial, it might be enough to turn away some potential subscribers who may find the offerings of other carriers more palatable. Hence, the two companies also announced that they will no longer be charging subscribers for every SIM Card obtained from the carriers. Bell currently charges CAD10 for an LTE SIM card and CAD12 for NFC-enabled LTE SIM, while Virgin Mobile charges CAD4.99 for every SIM. Thus, subscribers may see slight changes to their one-time fees depending on their respective situations. For example, new Bell subscribers will have to pay CAD25 connection charge under the new set of charges while previously, they will have to pay CAD15 connection charge and up to CAD12 for the SIM card, which could total CAD27. Thus, new subscribers may actually pay a bit less under the new scheme. However, those who upgrade their hardware will still have to pay the entire CAD25 connection charge while in the old scheme, they only need to pay CAD15 since they will most likely retain their old SIM cards.
As the Canadian government no longer allows the carriers to lock the smartphones that they sell, these companies have lost potential income from unlocking fees. Last year, unlocking charges brought roughly CAD37 million in revenue to the carriers and now, these companies will have to find ways to earn the said amount. It is interesting if the other Canadian carriers will follow the precedent set by Bell and Virgin Mobile in either increasing connection charges or raising fees in other services.