Friday 26 September 2014

Deferral Account Marketing Material

Have all the Deferral Account areas' potential users  received their direct mail marketing material from Bell yet? 

I am also interested if anyone living outside the areas shown on these maps received a direct mail brochure.

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Deferral Account Marketing Flyer

The Bell marketing flyer for the Deferral Account plan or the Bell Wireless Internet 5 (BWI5) in Bell-speak arrived in my mailbox today. It had my full mailing address on the front. This fact comes into play when identifying eligibility for the BWI5 package; see more below.

The marketing flyer had a website link as and a phone number as 1-866-809-7060.

The website is nearly identical to the marketing flyer. One difference is the marketing flyer has the following note printed on it:

“Available to the recipient of this letter with the identical address.”

As indicated in previous blog entries, if you received a marketing flyer in your mailbox, you are definitely eligible for BWI5.If you do not receive a marketing flyer within a week or so, you may have a challenge on your hands. 

I found it interesting the Bell is targeting Xplornet as the competition in this marketing campaign.

The marketing flyer does state that an "External antenna is required." However there is no reference as to whether or not there is a cost for the external antenna. 

I had my external antenna installed today and there was no charge for either the antenna hardware or the installation. 

Saturday 20 September 2014

Deferral Account Price Structure from Bell Mobility

I have now received additional clarification from Bell Mobility concerning he Deferral Account program  plan price structure. 

Ms. Rose Tacconelli,  a Bell Mobility Consumer Direct Sales Help Desk & Escalations Supervisor provided the information.

A major revision of a number of the Bell Mobility rate plans in the July and August this year lead to confusion amongst the staff which resulted in the wide range of responses received from the Customer Service Representatives (CSR), particularly the Overage Insurance coverage costs.[1]

Bell Mobility calls the Deferral Account price plan “Bell Wireless Internet 5.” It can be ordered by calling 1-866-466-2453 (auto answer options 1,1,1)

Details of the plan are listed below. None of this information is available on the website.:

It is available on a 2 year term or on a 30 day term.

·         -  2 year term the price plan will cost $41.95 per month or $37.95 per month with the Bell Bundle [2]

·         - 30 day term the price plan will cost $36.95 per month or $32.95 per month with the Bell Bundle

The plan includes:
·         20 GB in basic plan
·         $4/GB for data over the basic 20 GB
·         Optional add-on $10/20 GB (This option is the so-called insurance. If you take this option you will be billed each month regardless of the amount data used.)  
·         Speeds up to 5Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload
·         No activation fee for 2 year term
·         $29.95 activation fee on 30 day term
·         $79.95 for the Turbo Hub on a 2 year term
·         $199.95 for the Turbo Hub on a 30 day
-      Includes an external antenna installed by Bell contractor at no charge.

If you run into problems ordering the plan, call Ms. Tacconelli. She normally works Monday to Friday 09:00 am to 5:00 pm. Her direct phone number is 905-282-3587. (Unfortunately, she does not have a toll free direct number.) She will ensure you are connected with a CSR who has received additional training on the Deferral Account plan. If necessary leave a message. I found she is very good about getting calls returned.

[1] The situation was exacerbated by the fact Bell Internet, a separate division from Bell Mobility, has a different set of Overage Insurance offerings that does include the $5.00 for 25 GB option.   (The fact that Bell Mobility and Bell Internet have completely different sets of overage rates is a separate discussion.)

[2] Only one Bell Mobility item allowed per bundle. i.e. you cannot have both a Bell Mobility smartphone and a Bell Mobility data hub in the bundle.

Thursday 18 September 2014

Bell Fixed Wireless Coverage in SSM and Elsewhere

Bell has expanded its Fixed Wireless Internet (FWI) service to include the Sault Ste. Marie (SSM) area.


The Bell FWI service operates in the LTE 2.3/3.5 GHz range. It provides high-speed Internet access with up to 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload. It uses a 4G LTE Huawei B2268H Wireless Router that has an external unit and an interior unit.The basic monthly rate is $65.00 excluding taxes

The monthly data cap is 10 GB with overages set at $10 per GB There is also a one-time installation charge of $99.00. 
( As noticed 24 Jul 2015,  data caps and one-time installation charges are no longer identified on the  webpage.) 

This is the projected coverage area for SSM.

Other areas in the Algoma District getting this service to date are Elliot Lake and Iron Bridge/Blind River

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Antenna Installation for Deferral Account 17 Sep 2014

Just received a call this morning from the Crossover representative and made arrangements to install my DA antenna next week. 

First positive news in weeks. 

He said he had another 8 orders to date for installs in the area.

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Bell Letter to CRTC Confirms DA Completion

The plot thickens.

On 29 Aug 2014 Bell submitted a report to the CRTC indicating they completed the Deferral Account implementation program effective that date.

Bell addressed the report to Mr. John Traversy, Secretary General, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. The report was signed for Bell by Jonathan Daniels, Vice President - Regulatory Law.

The letterhead indicated Bell and not Bell Mobility. The corporate name Bell Canada is used throughout.

Bell provided an abridged version of the submission for the public record and the CRTC posted a copy on their website. The information Bell considered proprietary or competitive in nature is redacted in the abridged version. Only information from the abridged public record version is cited here.

The first paragraph of the report reads as follows: (Highlights added by me.)

“We are pleased to confirm that as of 29 August 2014, the rollout of broadband services under our deferral account-funded broadband program to the remaining 43 communities identified in our 15 July 2014 status report has been completed.  Bell Canada has thus completed its rollout of the Deferral Account-Funded Broadband Program as all 112 of the communities that were approved for inclusion in this program are now served.

In case there was any doubt about the report’s subject, a footnote on page 2 states:

“For the sake of clarity, we note that the broadband services we refer to are the services we committed to provide in the communities that are part of our deferral account-funded program.”

Bell uses the term broadband services throughout the letter and also refers to these services as the “deferral account-funded broadband program”.

One would think when an organization responsible for a program claims to “completed its rollout” of a service or product, it means it is available to the users. This does not seem to be the case with this product based on the wide range of information, often negative, provided by the various Bell CSRs.

Based on the information in this letter to the CRTC, it hardly seems reasonable that Bell can continue to deny knowledge of the Deferral Account program.

Sunday 14 September 2014

Summary of Deferral Account Activity 14 Sep 2014

It has now been as little over three weeks since I announced in this blog entry that Bell had started taking orders for the Deferral Account program. What have we learned so far?  

Basic Plan

The basic plan costs $36.95 bundled and $41.95 per month (or billing period) and includes 20 GB of data transfer. This is consistent amongst all Bell Customer Service Representatives (CSR).


One supervisor pointed out that a bundle price could only apply to one contract within the four principle product categories - Mobility, Internet, TV, and Home Phone.  Since the Deferral Account plan was a Bell Mobility offering, it could not be bundled if the user already had a cell phone bundled with another product category such as TV or Home Phone. She could not provide a website reference when I pressed the matter but said it was "policy."

If this is indeed the policy, I guess it would be possible to remove a cell phone from the bundle and substitute the Deferral Account plan although I am not sure there would be any advantage as both offer the same $5.00 saving.

Data Overages

It is the charges for overages that vary from CSR to CSR. It is all over the place.

In some cases, a CSR made the user aware of various options while in other cases only explained one offer.  The chart below identifies the various offers as garnered from the comments sections of the blog entry referenced above. It also shows how many times a CSR offered each variant to users so far. It is obvious that more consistently is required in this area.

As previously mentioned, one  supervisor indicated  Bell replaced the $5 for 25GB plan with a $10 for 20 GB plan around 27 Jul 2014 along with another fixed wireless plan similar to the Deferral Account plan. She claimed this was the source of the confusion. How much credibility you place in this Bell originated avowal is up to you. 

Overage Charge Offer
Number of Users
Offered This Plan
Flat Rate of $4.00 per GB
$2.50 per GB to maximum $80.00
Insurance $5.00 MRC for 25 GB
Insurance $10.00 MRC for 20 GB

Antenna Installation

So far, I am not aware that anyone from Bell Mobility or Crossover, the designated Bell antenna installer according to the Bell website, has contacted any Deferral Account user to arrange for an antenna install. Many users have let Bell know they are not happy with this situation.

On the positive side, many users are having success operating their Turbo Hubs using the built-in antennas or connecting antennas previously installed for other hardware.

My experience is the down/up speed without an external antenna is consistently above 5/1 Mbps. I am located about 3.5 km from the Goulais (Pine Shores) site.

Marketing Material

The marketing material Bell promised the CRTC it would circulate before the 31 Aug 2014 has yet to make its way to the postal boxes. I guess this is one way to keep the congestion challenge under control - do not let anyone know the service exists!

Purchase or Not

Readers who have followed the blog over the years will know I usually recommend a user purchases hardware outright rather than sign a contract and get a reduced up front cost. I compared the two-year cost of both the no contract and two year contract options. Here are the results.

Data Hub Cost
Monthly Recurring Charge (MRC)
Total of 24 Monthly Payments (MRC x 24) + Data Hub Cost
No Contract
2 Year Contract

No contract Data hub price = $199.99.  MRC = $36.95. Two year total = 199.99 + (36.95 x 24) = 1,086.79

2 Year contract Data hub price  $79.95 MRC = $41.95 Two year total = 79.95 + (41.95 x24) = 1,086.75

The 2 year contract basically saves you the rate of inflation or around $4.