By Adrian Morrow
If you decide to quit your shitty cellphone plan and change carriers, you can now take your old number with you to your new provider, thanks to a law that came into effect last Wednesday.
And if you want to ditch your landline in favour of a cell, you can now do that too without changing numbers.
Cellphone plans are getting better as a direct result of the new law, said a market expert. “Wireless portability does significantly stoke the flames of competitiveness,” said Lawrence Surtees, vice-president communications research at IDC. “This leads to a whole bunch of subsidiary benefits for consumers.”
Bell and Rogers are now offering free calling between subscribers as part of new plans aimed at keeping customers.
“If there wasn’t portability, they wouldn’t be offering these plans,” Surtees said. Rogers, however, said there would be little effect on their operations. “This is a non-event,” said Liz Hamilton, a spokesperson at Rogers.
She also claimed Rogers wasn’t offering any special deals as a result. Smaller companies are looking to break into the market by attracting customers with flashy new deals.
Virgin Mobile offered free cellphones to new users. Amp’d, another small provider, is partnering with Much Music to offer music videos and other portable entertainment to subscribers.
Rates likely won’t fall as a result of the new competition, Surtees said. Bell wasn’t too concerned about the change, and believes the quality of its service and its plan for free calls between network users would convince customers to stay put.
Haitham Abu Zeid, a mechanical engineering student, said that better coverage was the only thing that could cause him to switch plans. He said he wasn’t tempted by the novelties available from companies like Amp’d.