So have you heard?
Telus decided to finally drop its $35 “activation fee” as well as its $25 “renewal fee,” for cellphone users in an effort to nurture brand policy and build customer loyalty.
As quoted in the Vancouver Sun Brent Johnson, vice president of marketing for Telus, said, “Our customers have told us they feel activation and renewal fees are unfair. We have been listening and that’s why we’re giving them exactly what they’ve asked for.”
How I read that is, “We’re not signing up as many people as we have been so we’re finally ceasing some of our more obvious money grabs in order to keep people from going to smaller carriers with less frivolous fees.”
You see, Telus has been charging activation and renewal fees for quite a few years now, but in recent years smaller carriers such as Wind Mobile, Fido (now owned by Rogers), and Mobilicity have been waiving said fees.
But you didn’t think Telus would simply let you sign up without having to overpay on something did you?
In order to partly make up the shortfall expected from not receiving the activation and renewal fees, Telus will now charge $10 for SIM cards. Oh, did I mention that SIM cards cost roughly 17 cents to produce?
But wait a minute, let’s not just hang Telus out to dry. Most other carriers charge around $10 fir SIM cards, so Telus is merely doing something because other people are already doing it. That makes it better, right?
Why phone companies thought signing you up to pay them a large chunk of money over several years constituted a service to be charged for in and of itself is beyond me, but the fact is they were able to get away with it before the smaller guys started making them look bad.
However, the probable reason why these stupid fees are finally getting the boot is because mobile carriers are raking in far more money from the average consumer than they were five years ago.
Five years ago loads of people were still sporting Motorola Razrs or those funny Sony Walkman phones. All people ever needed out of their phones at that point was airtime and text messages. Even voicemail and caller ID was a luxury back then. But perhaps the biggest difference between plans today and those just half a decade ago are data plans.
In an age where smartphones reign supreme, data is in demand more than ever, doubling what people’s phone bills would be without it. As such, carriers are locking people into plans that end up costing twice as much as they did when they would make up all sorts of excuses to charge you for something.
So kudos to Telus for deciding against charging $35 to press a button making you an indentured servant of theirs for the next three years, or charging their existing customers $25 to remain so. Since you’ll be paying them $35 more a month than you used to, this one’s on them.