Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Preparing for the move Away from Rogers

As mentioned in other posts, I am attempting to move away from Rogers and their high priced services and see just how much money I can save on my $230 / month Rogers communication bill (Digital cable, Internet, and cell phones.)

My plan as it stands now is to look into going with the following:

Cell Phones - Replace the two Rogers "family plan" phones and one Fido pay-as-you go phone with three 7-11 Speakout $100 specials ($100 get you $100 air time and a free phone.)

I can swap out the 7-11 sim-card into my existing rogers phones as they are on the same network anyway and should not even need to be unlocked.

My current cell charges are about $120 per month, or $1440 per year, of which I use about 200 minutes per month, or 2400 minutes per year. Of those 2400 minutes, about 1/3 of them were family to family calls, and the other 2/3 were to "non-plan" numbers. Since the 7-11 phones don't have a "free family to family" concept, the 1/3 (800 minutes) need to be doubled as they will cost double. So the total minutes needed will be in the 3200 range. At $0.20 per minute, that means I'm looking at at worst case about $640 worth of minutes.

But instead of just counting on the cell phones I figure I will also set up a cheap VoIP account and use that for normal ""home phone" usage. I can also set up a a simple skype, or VoIP to VoIP type service to keep in touch with the wife while I'm at work.

At the moment I'm looking at Voice Network Inc, mostly because they have the easiest method if signing up, and they seem to be the least expensive ... just what I need to get my feet wet and see if this will work or not.

So the cell phone usage should be minimal, with the bulk of the communications done over the Internet as direct VoIP to VoIP, or through a minimal $0.01 per minuite VoIP DID/Gateway service.

So if I use the same amount of minutes I've used for the last couple of years, and use it in the same pattern, then it should be something like 200 minutes per month total, 66 of those being family minutes (most of which will now be "free",) and the remaining 134 minutes mostly of the $0.01 cent varity.

Total estimated cost:

Cell 7-11 x 3 = $300 + tax = $342 (icluding 300 minutes)
VoIP = $4.50 per month for DID service x 12 = $54 + $1.34 per month usage x 12 = $16.08

Total = $412.08

Additional charge of $200 to get out of the rogers contract early would make it $612.08 ... still a good savings, even if I have to buy another $100 or two of cell phone minutes.

Internet. This one was easy, Rogers charges over $50 per month, and traffic shapes the hell out of anything useful. After reading the reviews over on Canadian ISP, and looking at the number of ratings, and the overall score, teksavvy was the obvious choice.

The cost to open an account with them cost a total of $62.59, which includes the months service plus installation charge, and taxes.

Regular costs will be $29.95 for the DSL service, and because it is a "dry loop DSL" (no telephone service on the line) service there is a "band charge" ... in my case it is a "band B" charge of $9.10 per month, making the total $41.40 including GST. Cheaper, and there is no traffic shaping, not usage cap, and the support is magnitudes better than Rogers.

So the first thing I needed to do was to see if I'm under any contracts, as in order to get out of a contract there is usually some sort of penalty.

So I checked my cell phone contract first, and found out that I was under contract until November 2008, and the penalty for getting out early is $20 for each month left on the contract, up to a maximum of $200 ... I'm hoping that contract applies to the whole "family plan, and not to each individual cell phone, but I certainly doubt it, but even if it is, $400 to break the contract will still leave a sizable savings ... even more so the next year.

I called Rogers to see what kind of contract I was under for Internet and Cable, and it turns out that I am under their "bundle" contract, which if I want to break it would cost me all the saving (15%) that I received from the start of the contract. Fortunately the bundle contract is over the first week of November 2007, which gives me just enough time to test out the Teksavvy internet and VoIP stuff before I go and cancel Rogers ass.

Anyway, we shall see how everything goes ... more to follow.

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