Saturday 6 February 2016

SIgned Up for the New BWI5 (Deferral Account) Plan

I finally got around to upgrading my Bell Wireless Internet 5 (BWI5) Deferral Account service this week. As an existing customer I had to phone billing at 1-800-667-0123. If you are a new customer you need to deal with direct sales. Of course you can always deal with your nearest Bell Store or agency.

The whole process took less than 10 minutes. I wasted a large part of that time working my way through the abomination of voice response interfaces that has become the most common method used by companies in the name of efficiency to annoy potential customers.  

Having survived the voice response torture, I got connected to a live agent immediately with no wait. He confirmed my identity, to his satisfaction anyway, and he provided his name and Bell employee number for my records. We were off to the races.

I stated I wanted to upgrade my current BWI5 plan to the new Wireless Internet 5 Flex plan. After about 20 seconds he said I qualified for the newer service, which is really a modification to my existing data caps, and since I owned my own NetGear MBR1516 data hub he would sign me up for the 30 day, no contract rate starting at $48.95 for the basic 50GB data cap. 

Under my existing plan I was getting 45 GB for $42.95 per month with overages charged at $2.50 per GB. To match the 100 GB data cap included in the new BWI5 Flex plan as calculated under my existing plan, it would cost me $42.95 for the included 45 GB plus $137.50 for extra 55 GB at $2.50 per GB for a grand total of $180.45.

My household of 2 adults has the following hardware authorized to access the BWI5 data hub, not necessarily all at the same time: -  3 laptops, 1 desktop, 2 Android tablets, 2 Android smartphones, and 1 video security camera.  

Admittedly, in the 18 months I had my existing plan, I never went over the 45 GB data cap according to Bell. However, to achieve this I carefully restricted my video and other streaming uses.  When I did use the services, I set the parameters at the lowest reasonable definition – usually 240 if it was available. I do subscribe to NetFlix but mainly use it when travelling.

He offered me the option of changing to the new service immediately with the cost difference between the two plans being pro-rated for the remainder of the billing period, or making the change at the end of the current billing period – in my case the 20th of the month. For personal reasons, I opted for the end of the billing period date.

We reviewed the total package. I accepted it. And that was it.

I would be interested in hearing from anyone using the ZTE MF275R data hub in the BWI5 (Deferral Account) configuration. I am particularly interested in hearing about the download and upload speeds the unit is providing and any settings such as the APN at the web user interface level.

Saturday 16 January 2016

BWI5 General Info and Maps Jan 2016

The purpose of this post is to provide general background information about the boundaries within which a user has to live to be eligible for the Bell Wireless Internet 5 (BWI5). It can also act a reference post to respond to various I receive, 

BWI5 is the marketing name being used by Bell Mobility to provide the service funded by Deferral Account money as authorized by CRTC. The CRTC gave the final authorization after nearly a decade of legal appeal which eventually reached the Supreme Court of Canada (SOC); regulatory appeals which included a direct appeal to the Governor-in-Council (i.e. the federal cabinet through Industry Canada) and public hearings chaired by the CRTC.  

Bell first provided information about BWI5 in late July 2014. Since then there has been at least three changes to the price structure and data caps with incremental increases in data cap and minor changes of the basic price in each iteration.  

Information about the latest price structure and data caps as of Jan 2016 can be found at this post.

One of the requirements to be eligible for the BWI5 service offering is the user must live within a designated Deferral Account area. The maps below indicate the Deferral Account areas in the Algoma District.  However, I am aware of users who do not meet this criterion who are receiving the BWI5 service.

Bell Mobility is the lead BCE subsidiary for BWI5. Unfortunately, I cannot find any information about the BWI5 on the any BCE website.  BWI5 can be ordered through Bell Mobility direct sales at 1-888-466-2453 or through the Bell store in SSM. 

 Goulais DA

 Wawa DA

 Echo Bay DA

SSM Airport DA

St Joseph Island DA

Friday 15 January 2016

New BWI5 (Deferral Account) Price Structure Jan 2016

The BWI5 (Deferral Account) is now offering a new price structure

Once again there have been major changes to the BWI5 (Deferral Account) service offering by Bell Mobility. Starting as low as 50 GB for $48.95, up 100 GB is now available for $63.95 plus taxes. It is a data flex type plan where the basic price is increase over two additional tiers only when your usage exceeds the limits in each tier.

As usual with announcements concerning the BWI5 (Deferral Account) program, there is no information available on the Bell websites. News of the amended service is being spread by word of mouth through users, stores and blogs like this.

The following details have been confirmed by contacts at Bell Mobility in Toronto:

Applicability:  Users must meet all the residency requirements of the BWI5 (Deferral Account) plans i.e. installation and use location within a Deferral Account area.  

Editorial Comments:

    1.      I am aware of users that use a billing address outside a Deferral Account area; a claim of seasonal residency seems to be the common approach.
    2.     I am also aware of users who do not live within a known Deferral Account area that are receiving BWI5 (Deferral Account) pricing by being able to convince Bell Mobility.
    3.      I am further aware of users that have transported and used their data hubs outside its normal registered Deferral Account area and have not been charged any extra charges contrary to the policy BCE expressed to the CRTC when seeking approval of the Deferral Account plan.
 Data Hub Requirements: the new prices are applicable with all three data hubs currently in use with the BWI5 (Deferral Account) plan, depending on when you signed a contract or purchased your data hub: the original the NetGear MBR 1516 (external port and antenna available), the interim the Huawei B882 (no external antenna port) and now the ZTE MF275R (no antenna port but has battery backup). If you are a new customer you will need to either acquire a data hub from Bell Mobility or Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)  

Price Structure:

Data hub provided by Bell: ZTE MF275R

Two year term basic rate: Up to 50GB - $53.95
Up to 75 GB - $58.95
Up to 100 GB - $63.95
More than 100GB - $4/GB

User owned data hub or BYOD
The 30 day term starts at $48.95 with 50GB of data
Up to 75 75GB - $53.95
Up to 100GB - $58.95
More than 100 GB - $4/GB

Speeds: The 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload limits still applies 

Apparently Bell Mobility is allowing existing contract customers to pay off the time reaming on their contract and switch to the new plan.  

While the new plan is not identified as a “promotion”, as the interim was, Bell Mobility would not indicate how long it would be available.