10 tips to help you save on telecom bills in COVID-times
As the world grinds to a halt, many of us are struggling with increased uncertainty about the health and welfare of our children, parents and loved ones. We are trying to do the best we can for our neighbours and our community all while we worry about our own jobs and finances.
Managing personal finances and finding savings where we can, has become an important concern during these COVID times. Earlier this month a TransUnion survey indicated that 57% of Canadians reported a negative impact of the COVID-19 crisis on household income. It’s not always easy to find savings on recurrent expenses, let alone save on telecom bills
Telecom bills are an important and substantial line item in many household budgets. The CRTC’s Communication Monitoring Report, 2020 reports that the average spending of Canadian Households on Mobile phone bills alone was $101 per month! A 10% increase from the previous year. Telecom bills counted together (i.e. Internet, TV, Mobile phones and landline) cost an average Canadian household roughly $230 per month! In this article, we outline some of the ways we, at Planhub, are working to provide tools and resources for you to try and save on telecom bills while you navigate these uncertain times.
1. Compare and save on telecom bills
Bell, Rogers and Telus might be the biggest phone companies out there but they are by no means the only ones. At Planhub we compare 12 different providers(with more being added everyday) and all their various options and promotions to always keep track of the best deals on cell phone plans currently in the market. A simple search could help you save as much as 10% on your existing bill. So why not search and save?
2. Reconsider your data usage
While a lot of us stay home and work from home, we might no longer need large amounts of data allowance on our mobile phone plans. A good wifi connection might suffice. Of course, individual needs and circumstances are different and you will need to think carefully about what you need but perhaps you could consider:
(i) Lowering your data allowance
If you have an unlimited plan, you might not need that much data any more. There are substantial savings to be had from simply moving to a 1 Gb or a 2GB plan and relying on wifi for the rest. Click here to learn more.
(ii) a data-only plan
With many people and workspaces moving to online applications such as skype and zoom etc for online meetings and calls, and since most of us are connecting with family the same way, consider if you even need any calling and texting minutes on your phone. Data-only plans start at just $20-$30 bucks, why not give these plans a try!
(iii) a zero data plan
Or maybe, you decide you do need calling and texting but don’t need data on your phone anymore. The wifi is sufficient. Consider changing your plan to include just talk and text but not data. Plans start at just $20.
3. Park your number for a few months
Actually, consider if you need your phone at all. Most providers allow customers the option of retaining their number but taking their calls, text as well as data allowances down to zero. You then get to keep your number when you wish to reinstate full services. You could even forward calls from your parked number to an online VoIP service. And number parking plans start from $8-$18. You can read our article here to find out all about number parking in Canada and evaluate its pros and cons to see if it is the right move for you.
4. Switch to a BYOD plan at the end of your contract
If none of the options above quite take your fancy and you’ve had your phone for a while, consider if you can pay off your device balance and switch to a BYOD plan. Most providers offer much cheaper rates on BYOD plans than on plans which combine devices. So, if your device is almost paid off, consider switching over to a BYOD plan. In fact, if you’ve paid off your device, you should already be paying BYOD rates, but not all providers are good about switching their customers seamlessly. So be sure to check and insist on moving over to a BYOD plan if there is no longer a reason for you to be paying a tab on your phone.
5. Need a new phone? Consider an older generation phone or a used device
If you have a broken, slow or otherwise old phone, you don’t need us to tell you that switching to the latest and greatest might not be the best idea right now. But that does not mean that you’re stuck with your old device. One excellent “flagship killer” is a previous generation flagship. New phones these days are just iterative changes over older models. One or even two generations ago – phones still had excellent cameras, good battery lives and now, have the additional advantage of being so much more affordable!
For example: Right now, you can buy a Samsung Galaxy S9 (renewed) from Amazon for just $399.
6. Estimate your Internet needs and save
Moving to Internet bills, our own data shows that one of the best ways to save on internet plans is to know your needs. Most people vastly over-estimate their needs (our data shows that people over-estimate by as much as 100%!) and therefore end up buying a plan that is far more expensive than the one they need. But be careful to not under-estimate your needs and be stuck with a plan that does not work for you or your family.
That is why at Planhub, we have come up with a simple but effective questionnaire about your Internet usage habits to help you estimate your needs accurately. We then check across tens of different ISPs to find ISPs in your area who provide the service you are looking for at the best price. So go ahead, use our search and see if you can save on telecom bills.
7. Always check ISP reviews
Price is one of the factors that sets an ISP apart from the others. But sometimes, it may be true that you get what you pay for! So beware… before you choose your ISP of choice, check carefully to see what technology you are getting (DSL vs Fiber) and check their reviews on Planhub as well as on Google. Often other users are your best source of information about whether what you are looking for is what you will get. Also, check Google’s public report on ISPs in your area to get a sense for whether you should expect slower speeds during peak hours.
8. See if you can get a better price for the same Internet speed
Changing your speed is not necessarily the only way to save. Even if you are happy with the technology and speed you are getting, there may still be saving opportunities to be had. Check out PlanHub’s Internet Speed vs Price Test to check the actual speeds you are getting and what the best deal in the market is for that particular speed. You might be surprised by how much you could potentially save while still retaining the same level of service!
9. Sign up for PlanHub alerts
Are you’re tracking offers for a particular plan combination but are not yet sure if you want to switch? Set an Alert on Planhub for your search. We will track your search parameters for you and let you know if there is a good deal that comes up that would suit your stated needs! So let us do the hard work of finding you savings while you work on other taking care of others. Alerts are a good way to track both Mobile as well as Internet plan prices.
10. Bundle and save on telecom bills
And lastly, this is an obvious one: Often if you bundle services, you can get a better deal for the combined service than if you bought each separately. Planhub does not yet support a bundle search (it’s coming soon) – but if you are subscribing to service from a couple of different providers, check to see if you can save with either one if you combined all your subscriptions with one provider.
We hope these tips helped you craft your strategy to hopefully save on telecom bills. Keep tuned to this space for more news, tips and guides which will help you save on mobile and Internet plans. Until then, stay safe, stay home! Ça va bien aller!