Archive for Bell

Rogers Admits To Throttling Internet Users….. Could This Be The Start Of Mass Defections To Bell?

Posted in Commentary with tags , on June 15, 2020 by itnerd

A thread on was brought to my attention this morning in regards to Rogers allegedly throttling the upstream connections of Internet users. The claimed smoking gun was in the form of a text chat that was captured by a user by the name of “squads”:

Now, you can pretty much predict what happened next. Users were outraged. After all you can see from their perspective why they’d be a wee bit ticked off. If everyone is working from home, on VPN connections, doing Zoom calls and the like, upstream bandwidth usage will skyrocket. So if an ISP cuts their upstream bandwidth, users are going to be mad.

The thing is, another user on this thread who goes by the name of “DocDrew” correctly points out that Rogers has policies that allows them to do this. And effectively, you agree to that by signing up to their service. While this is 100% accurate, it hasn’t stopped ticked off Rogers customers from dialing up Bell to switch over to their Internet offering. The original poster of this thread did. And I have to admit that since this pandemic has started, I have assisted a growing number of my corporate clients to switch from Rogers to Bell so that they can work more effectively from home. And their experience with Bell has been very positive thus far.

I think some of this goes back to my look at Bell’s rollout of the fibre to the home service and coming to the conclusion that Bell had Rogers in a position where Bell would become the dominant Internet provider in Canada. Now while that article was written in 2018, and Bell has tweaked it’s speeds slightly so that it is not symmetrical Internet access, Bell’s offerings are still substantially faster than anything Rogers offers at the moment. And via asking Bell Fibe customers who I have worked with and research in and in other places, Bell appears to currently has no protocol to throttle customers in a similar way that Rogers does (though I am willing to bet that they could if they wanted to and just like Rogers they have wording in their various agreements that say so). That combined with their recent infrastructure investments makes Bell look like they are far ahead of the curve.

I will be interested to see what Rogers Q2 numbers look like. To be specific, I want to see if Rogers is bleeding Internet customers. I would also like to see if Bell when they put out their Q2 numbers are on the receiving end of those customers. The reason being that it will confirm or deny if my anecdotal observations are accurate or not. My thinking is that this could be the start of mass defections to Bell. But hard numbers would confirm or deny this.

Bell Chooses Ericsson As 5G Equipment Supplier…. Telus Announces Ericsson and Nokia As 5G Equipment Suppliers….. And Huawei Is Out…. Maybe….

Posted in Commentary with tags , on June 3, 2020 by itnerd

Yesterday, Bell dropped a press release announcing that they were going with Ericsson for their 5G network. What’s significant about this is that Bell is, or I guess was a Huawei customer. I am guessing that Bell made the decision that dealing with Huawei isn’t good for business. Thus they made the switch to Ericsson.

So with this move by Bell, and the fact that Rogers has also tapped Ericsson for their 5G network, the last of the “big three” telcos to be working on a 5G rollout is TELUS. They also dropped a press release of their own yesterday announcing Ericsson and Nokia as partners to build their 5G network. Here’s where things get weird. Earlier this year TELUS announced that Huawei would supply gear for its 5G rollout. Something that did not go over well with customers. Which suggests that TELUS is not proceeding with Huawei. Or it suggests that this is in addition to the Huawei gear that they announced that they were going to use earlier this year. It isn’t clear, and I am already seeing backlash from TELUS customers who think that TELUS is still using Huawei gear. Which makes TELUS look bad. Thus if I could give TELUS some advice, they might want to clear that up and do so quickly.

Thus it appears that Huawei is maybe being dumped by “big three” telcos. They definitely are not being used by two of them for sure. This makes me wonder what future Huawei has in Canada. It also makes me wonder if a decision on Huawei is coming from the Canadian government as it is kind of coincidental that both of these telcos came out with announcements that appear to leave Huawei in the cold on the same day.

RCMP Arrests Two In Connection With The Bell Data Breach

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 9, 2019 by itnerd

You might remember that Bell got pwned in 2018 and 2017. The first time about 100K customers were affected with names and email addresses being accessed. The second one had over 20,000 Bell small business customers affected with data including credit card details put online.

Now it seems that as a result of the 2018 incident that the RCMP got involved and today a press release went up announcing the arrest of two persons connected to that incident.  The two individuals will appear in court in relation to fraud over $5,000 CAD, conspiracy to commit fraud, unauthorized use of a computer, identity theft, laundering proceeds of crime and identity fraud. In other words, the Mounties got their men. It isn’t clear which incident that these arrests are connected to.

It will be interesting to see what details come out in this trial. As it stands, all we know beyond the arrests is that the pair then fraudulently purchased goods online through the accounts. But I would love to know if they were behind both incidents or not and how they got in for starters.

Bell Jacks Their Throttling Limit To 512Kbps For Their Unlimited Plans….. And Does A Little Bit More

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 9, 2019 by itnerd

In this post from last week where TELUS made the change to make their unlimited plans part of their regular offerings, I was expecting Bell to do the same. Instead they did something different. According to Mobilesyrup, they did two things.

The first thing that they did was they increased the throttling speed from 256 Kbps to 512 Kbps which matches TELUS but also leaves Rogers who still offers 256 Kbps in the cold. Thus I fully expect a response from Rogers on that front.

The second thing that they did is as follows:

Further, Bell confirmed to MobileSyrup that it had extended the promotional Bell Unlimited plans, and there is currently no end date. When the plans initially launched, the website listed an end date of June 30th.

Clearly Bell doesn’t want to commit to making unlimited plans part of their normal offerings for reasons only they understand. From my perspective that’s kind of lame seeing as their two main competitors have committed to unlimited plans which means that Bell really has no choice but to do the same thing.

Watching the “big 3” actually try and compete with each other is kind of interesting. I wonder what’s going to happen next on this front?


Bell Fibe TV Does An #EpicFail During Historic Toronto Raptors Title Run…… TWICE

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 14, 2019 by itnerd

Imagine being one of the three largest telcos in Canada and having your customers not be able to watch the biggest games in the history of the country right when it mattered most. That’s what happened to Bell Canada when it’s Fibe TV product did a #Fail twice during the Toronto Raptors run to the NBA title. It failed once during game five with about a minute to go in the game (which the Raptors lost). Which of course resulted in outrage and forced Bell Canada to send out an email to their customers that said this:

Customers using the Fibe TV app, including Mobile TV, Satellite TV and Alt TV customers, lost service for approximately 10 minutes on Monday night due to a hardware malfunction. The outage impacted all channels on the app, including the last moments of the Toronto Raptors game.

 We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and will be automatically applying a $10 credit to your account.

But last night with about 5 minutes to go in game 6 (which the Raptors won), it happened again. And the outrage on Twitter was epic:

What’s really ironic about all of this is the Bell Canada is a part owner of the Raptors, and George Cope who is the CEO of Bell was actually on hand at Oracle Arena to watch the Raptors win and accept the trophy after the victory. Something that wasn’t lost on angry Bell customers:

My wife and I almost switched to Bell about 2 weeks ago as they have some really enticing offers to draw you in. But we instead renewed with Rogers for 2 years after they came to the table with some offers that kept our phone, Internet and TV costs within the bounds of reality. And that now seems to be a great decision as it is pretty clear that the Bell TV offering isn’t robust enough to handle an event like the Toronto Raptors run to the NBA title. Let’s face it Bell Canada failed miserably on the biggest stage possible and it’s going to affect their ability to entice people to switch to them. Not only that, I suspect that their retentions department is flooded with calls at the moment from customers who couldn’t see the only Canadian NBA team win their first title.

It sucks to be Bell Canada right now.

UPDATE: Several days after I posted this story, this happened:


Well, it’s great that they reached out. But I’m not a Bell customer. At least not anymore because of Bell customer service #Fails like this one. But it’s clear that Bell is trying to make this go away. Thus if you’re a Bell customer, please let me know how they are enticing you to make this go away by hitting me up using one of these methods.

Bell Joins Rogers And TELUS In Offering A $75 Plan…. And I Pick A Winner Of The $75 Plan Battle Royale

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 13, 2019 by itnerd

First Rogers came up with a $75 “unlimited” plan (as it throttles you after you burn through the 10GB of data that Rogers serves up) that will be part of their normal offerings, then TELUS appeared with a promotional (as it expires on July 2nd) $75 15GB plan with no throttling, and just a few minutes ago Bell joined the other members of the “big 3” with their own $75 plan. Here’s the details from their website:

Our unlimited data plans start at $75 for 10 GB of data at unbeatable speeds across Canada. This allows you to upload, download and stream a ton of content at maximum speed. Beyond 10 GB of maximum speed data, you can use unlimited data at reduced speeds of 256 Kbps for light web browsing, emails and texting, without ever having to worry about data overage fees. See below for more unlimited data plan options and details on how to get started.

Offer ends June 30, 2019.

So this sounds like a clone of the Rogers plan. Except that like TELUS, this offer is time limited as it expires on June 30th. It also doesn’t offer any sort of data top up like Rogers has (which is 3GB of full speed data for $15 after you hit your 10GB cap which makes you eligible for throttling). At least, there’s not one that I see.

So, now that all 3 of the “big 3” have put their cards on the table. Who wins? If you want my opinion, it’s Rogers. That may surprise some of you. But hear me out. Rogers $75 offering is now how they’re going to do business going forward. That gives them the advantage here as TELUS and Bell are only offering their $75 plans as time limited promotions. That’s going to draw a clear distinction between Rogers and the other two of the “big 3” in which Rogers comes out on top. If I were Bell and TELUS, I’d be rethinking their strategies as it looks like we are actually starting to perhaps see some actual competition in the Canadian wireless space, and those two don’t look too competitive at the moment.

Documents Show Bell Canada Trying To Get Canadian Regulators To Slant The Playing Field In Its Favor

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 29, 2019 by itnerd

University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist has scored via an access to information request a treasure trove of documents that show that Bell Canada is trying to shape the universe to suit its own needs by getting Canadian regulators to do its dirty work:

This post starts with the submission from Bell, which was released via ATIP and which I’ve posted for research and news reporting purposes. The running theme from Bell is a simple one: regulate others, but not us. For example, the Bell online video regulation proposal conveniently seeks to regulate Netflix, Amazon, and other large U.S. providers while largely avoiding regulation for Canadian-based services. It does so by limiting regulation to those Canadian services with $300 million or more in revenue from online video services (likely no one right now) vs. the same $300 million threshold or $1 billion in total global revenues for foreign operators (thereby capturing Netflix, Amazon, CBS, Disney, etc.). Bell acknowledges the difference, effectively arguing that Canadian policy should encourage Canadian market entry without regulation and that domestic market entrants have long been supporting the system.

As for the proposed regulation, Bell wants a mandated contribution of 20% of Canadian revenues to support Cancon. It argues that the same foreign companies that would be required to pay into the system would be ineligible to access the funding nor able to use their existing investments to off-set the mandated contributions. This is notable for several reasons. First, foreign sources are already outspending Canadian broadcasters such as Bell on priority programming such as English-language drama, yet Bell argues that spending is irrelevant. Moreover, while Canadian entities would be able to tap into the Canadian funding, companies such as Netflix would be required contribute hundreds of millions of dollars without being able to do the same.

And there’s more:

No Bell submission would be complete without a call for website blocking. Bell resurfaces its arguments for the FairPlay site blocking system (even including one of its CRTC submissions as an appendix). In addition to changes to support site blocking within the Telecommunications Act, Bell wants an expansive new criminal prohibition in the Broadcast Act that would make it a criminal offence to knowingly “operate, advertise, supply or sell or offer to sell access to a distribution undertaking that retransmits broadcasting without lawful authorization from a programming undertaking.” In other words, Bell is calling for widespread criminalization of anyone even tangentially associated with unauthorized online video streaming.

Bell also wants its privacy obligations under the Telecommunications Act eliminated. It argues that the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has applied a lower standard to companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon than it has to Canadian telecommunications companies. Bell’s claim rests on requirements that it obtain express consent for its consumer surveillance program (referred to as a relevant advertising program), whereas it argues that other companies do not face the same requirement. It describes this as an “Internet platform privacy gap” and it wants the same standard applied to all (how eliminating the CRTC’s role over privacy would achieve this is not explained).

Bell Canada clearly is living in an alternate universe where they clearly think that any or all of the above is acceptable. Perhaps Bell should seriously rethink the above because now that all of this is public and consumers start to find out about this, Bell can expect a fair amount of blowback that they will have difficulty dealing with. Though I will admit that if they are bold enough to come up with a strategy like this, they likely don’t care what Canadian consumers think. Which means that Canadian consumers should likely take their telco dollars and spend them with companies other than Bell Canada.

#FAIL: Bell Canada Wants To Track Everything Its Customers Do

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 9, 2019 by itnerd

Bell Canada is asking customers for permission to track everything they do according to the CBC. They would be tracking activities on their home and mobile phones, internet, television, apps or any other services they get through Bell or its affiliates.

Tailored marketing means Bell will be able to customize advertising based on participant account information and service usage patterns, similar to the ways that companies like Google and others have been doing for some time,” the company says in recent notices to customers. If given permission, Bell will collect information about its customers’ age, gender, billing addresses, and the specific tablet, television or other devices used to access Bell services. It will also collect the “number of messages sent and received, voice minutes, user data consumption and type of connectivity when downloading or streaming.” “Bell’s marketing partners will not receive the personal information of program participants; we just deliver the offers relevant to the program participants on their behalf,” the company assures customers.

The only good news is that this is an opt in program. But the bad news is that if you opt in, you get little to no compensation for increased risks to you privacy and security. That doesn’t exactly sound like a reason to sign up for this. And I suspect that once word gets around, many won’t. Which means that Bell may get more aggressive and make this an opt out program. After all, they’ve done that before though they had to back away from it when the heat got cranked up. But it would not shock me if they went to that well again.

This is truly a shake my head moment as I can’t believe that Bell would go down this road given the times we live in.

Bell Rolls Out 1.5 Gbps Fibe For $84.95/Month…. For Six Months

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 20, 2018 by itnerd

I’ve been saying for a while now that Bell has been putting the boots to Rogers when it comes to Internet access through their Fibe offering which is technically superior to anything that Rogers currently offers. Well, much as Bell promised, the telco is rolling out 1.5 Gbps downstream and 940 Mbps upstream service for $84.95 a month. This price lasts six months and then jumps to $109.95 a month. If you’re in Ontario, you can get this now. Those in Quebec, Manitoba and the Atlantic provinces are in the coming soon category.

Now, other than the pricing strategy which to be frank drives me bonkers when teclos do that, Bell now has an Internet offering that is substantially faster than anything that Rogers offers. You have to wonder what the folks in red are going to do to counter what the folks in Blue have served up to the masses.

Bell To Bring 1.5 Gigabit Speeds To Ontario This Month…. Sucks To Be Rogers

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 7, 2018 by itnerd

As I have previously mentioned, Bell has a distinct advantage over Rogers when it comes to their Internet offering. Now they are really starting to make life miserable for the guys in red. If you scan Bell’s quarterly earnings report, you’ll see this:

Bell today announced that Bell Fibe Internet speeds of 1.5 Gigabit per second (Gbps), the fastest available to the home in Canada, will launch this month in Ontario, followed by Québec, Atlantic Canada and Manitoba. Bell has already taken the top spot in PCMag’s The Fastest ISPs of 2018: Canada, delivering the highest overall Internet speed index ever recorded in Canada by the magazine and scoring more than 30% higher than our nearest competitor. Atlantic Canada’s Bell Aliant took second place while Manitoba’s Bell MTS moved into the top 10 for the first time. Bell’s fibre to the premises (FTTP) network is now available to more than 4.2 million homes and businesses in 7 provinces and continues to expand with the announcement of new all-fibre deployments in the communities of OshawaClaringtonOrilliaChatham-Kent and Winkler.

Well, that’s going to freak VPs and C level execs over at Rogers as they have absolutely nothing that can compete against that, and from where I sit they have no real path forward to catch up. And keep in mind that Bell promises 5 Gbps speeds by next year, and 40 Gbps speeds in the future. Which means that if you’re Rogers, you should prepare your retentions department for an influx of calls as people ditch them for Bell and their faster speeds.

It sucks to be Rogers right now.