This is one entry in a multi-part series on the state of mobilecatching in Canada. There are many services coming online that offer podcasts direct to handset, but do the providers in Canada offer plans that make it feasible for consumers to take advantage of these services? The series preamble is here.
Bell Mobility started life in the east of Canada, but moved out west here about 5 years ago. Bell is now firmly entrenched as a cellular phone provider amongst other things.
I was a Bell customer at one point, but was so dissatisfied with their billing system that I left. Surprisingly, they let me go - free and clear out of my contract. Despite my experiences with their billing machine, the fact that they let me wander away softens my feelings towards them.
As with the other Canadian providers, Bell has a music store and handsets that can download songs from it. Unlike the other providers, however, an unregistered user like myself can't even peruse the store contents. I therefore have no idea if podcasts are offered in the Bell music store, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that they're not.
As I've discovered with Rogers' and TELUS, there's very little hope of being able to install and third-party mobilcatcher onto a typical handset and download podcasts without being banned outright from the Bell network. The handsets that applications like Mobilcast support are tightly controlled through the providers here in Canada and they'll know a user did something outside of the TOS if they see hundreds of megabytes of podcasts go streaming into a handset. Therefore, we're left with data devices like the Palm Treo or a Windows Mobile device. Assuming we have one of those bad-boys from Bell, what are we looking at for a data package?
- $25/month: 4MB
- $40/month: 8MB
- $60/month: 30MB
- $100/month:: 250MB
Again, these plans are data only - no voice, voicemail, call display or anything else. I've already explained how I determined that my weekly podcast listening bandwidth requirment is about 80MB/week (meaning 320MB per month), so once again I am stuck with the $100 plan and paying overage to the tune of $3/MB. That's just not feasible for me. With 80MB in overages, I'll be paying another $240 a month on top of the plan.
Nope. Not feasible at all.