Yesterday I received a call from my girlfriend who wasn’t too pleased. She just got last months cellular modem bill which amounted to just under $2000.00. For a $100.00 bill that’s a bit of a stretch and both of us were understandably upset.
I’m frustrated to say that the bill was legit. I had gone over my 250 meg bandwidth limit by around 600 megabytes and at $3.00 per meg, it added up. What was I doing? Pirating movies? Streaming Video? Hosting a Game Server? No. I was checking blogs and chatting over Skype. No podcasts, no youtube, no downloading, no online gaming. I was living the online life of a monk but still I used nearly 800megs over the course of the month which amounts to less than 30 megabytes per day. For those heinous excesses I must pay, and PAY I shall, but I wasn’t prepared to go down without a fight.
This morning I phoned Bell Mobility, the carrier for my air card modem. I was calm and I was polite, the wait was not long and I got on with Paul, Customer Service #6023354, who immediately was sympathetic to my plight. I explained to him that I watched my usage, and that up til now I’d never received a bill such as this, but nonetheless I was not disputing the charges, I was merely asking for a way to trim them down. Paul spoke with his supervisor and managed to help me, and for that I’m eternally grateful. Here’s what we did.
I pay $100.00 per month for my 250 megs of internet. This is no different than my other option for the same service which is Telus Mobility. I know this, because I also pay $100.00 per month to Telus for exactly the same service, same 250 megs, same $3.00/meg over the limit, same service range. What Telus and Bell also offer is a 1000 megabyte package for $350 (Telus) or $375 (Bell). It’s not on the brochures but it exists. I find it insulting personally to pay 4 times the price for exactly 4 times the bandwidth, so I won’t pay it. I’d easily drop the money to have an unlimited use plan, but I won’t pay that sort of obscene fee per month when I still have to watch my usage. But… this $375.00 package would be my savior today because in a gesture of exceptional kindness, Paul and his supervisor put last month’s usage into that package saving me over $1300.00. I was and am extremely grateful.
So grateful in fact, that despite my intentions to drop Bell and switch to Telus for my Cellular modem needs, I will be keeping both active in order to keep my online gluttony from killing me. This will allow me the unprecedented 20 megs per-day of internet pleasure, and keep my hardware options a bit more open as far as signal strength goes as it seems that my Air card picks up a better signal than my PDA and as I anticipate my work circumstances changing and taking me further from civilization I’m thinking a little variety and redundancy to keep connected might be well served. It’s expensive though.
I’m constantly on the lookout for viable alternatives to these cellular modems. And I’m thinking if I learn to set up Satellite internet where I go that could be something. Even if the equipment is a couple thousand dollars, if the service plan is only $25 to $50 per month and there is no bandwidth limit it would pay for it’s self in a year, and the increased value of having more information at my fingertips would be immeasurable. I know there’s not a lot of people in my situation, but if you know people who have solutions to my expensive plight this will work in Canada I’d love to hear them.