Prepaid Piracy


Recently we had company in from England and given our regular busy schedules we thought it might be civil of us to arrange to get them a prepaid mobile to use here while with us. We had some experience in using prepaid in England and Europe.

There the process was downright simple and cheap;

  1. Go to a grocery store,
  2. buy either a prepaid kit (phone and SIM card) or just a SIM = $70 (unlimited text, 100 minutes of calls),
  3. Turn on the mobile,

talk or text until the money runs out (no expiry)—then top up over the air. No brainer…

Pity—only in Canada you say?

Here in OHANL its seems to be some sort of dark secret to get a prepaid SIM card (as we had spare GSM phones kicking around). We expected to get a card with about 100 minutes for about 50$ that would have to be used or expire in about a year. What we found was a huge surprise. We were able to get a SIM card alright but the routine is as follows:

  1. Select either from Rogers or Fido and get a SIM = $45,
  2. Buy a pay-as-you-go card (PAYG) = $50,
  3. Call Rogers to activate phone (wait in the Queue for 20 minutes);
    1. Read out mobile’s IMEI,
    2. Read out SIM #,
  4. Get telephone number assigned,
  5. Select plan type from about 5 options,
  6. Activate PAYG card - apply against plan,

Talk or text until the money runs out in thirty days!.

Causes low mobile penetration?

It’s little wonder that mobile usage in Canada is running behind the rest of the world. There is a whole population of folks who would like another alternative to signing up to long term confusing and expensive plans.

US problems also?

25 million adults, would save money using a prepaid plan rather than staying on a postpaid contract

New Millennium Research Council

Seems, though this problem is not unique to us, Kevin Fitchard, writes (his article mysteriously appears 9 days before the dateline) in TelephonyOnline about the myth of prepaid options in the US and the fact that it could save the money for thirty percent of the mobile using population.

You can read the press release from the New Millennium Research Council here and the actual report here.

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