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With Telus revamping their hardware upgrade program quite some time ago, and Rogers recently following suit, it doesn't come as much of a surprise that Bell is doing the same. Telus and Rogers have stepped up to offer early upgrade options for those who can't wait the full 2+ years to get another device at a discounted cost, and Bell's new program is looking similar.

According to recently leaked information, Bell will be making the changes tomorrow, May 22nd. The leaked document shows that "Select clients will have the opportunity to upgrade early by paying a fee on their Bell Mobility monthly invoice." They go on to say that the early upgrade fee will be calculated based on their eligible hardware upgrade date and can be paid either monthly or in one lump sum. Unfortunately the monthly option won't be available at launch, but should be active shortly afterwards. The monthly payment option is unique in Canada for device upgrades, and will hopefully be the center of Bell's focus when marketing this new program.

In addition to early upgrade eligibility being introduced, the document also makes mention of an "Eligible for Special Hardware" option. Basically, select clients will be able to upgrade to a device from a pre-determined list of special hardware. No word yet on what makes a customer eligible for this special early upgrade, but it's bound to have something to do with revenue generated and the type of device you own.


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Virgin Mobile has officially launched the Novatel Ovation MC547 mobile internet stick. The MC547 is capable of maximum download speeds of up to 42 Mbps, though users will typically average slower speeds. Regardless, this new internet stick from Novatel will give you fast data speeds on the go. It is compatible with Windows XP through 7, and Mac OS X 10.6 and higher.

The Novatel Ovation is available now from Virgin Mobile for $59.99 on a 3 year term or using their SuperTab. Those looking to purchase the internet stick contract-free will pay $199.99.


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Rogers has recently added a new handset to their Pay As You Go line-up, launching the Samsung T249. This vertical slider is a GSM/EDGE handset, and features a 2.1" display, 1.3MP camera, and low resolution video recording. The Samsung T249 is available now for just $79.99 from Rogers. According to their website, a bluetooth headset is included in the box, sweetening the deal a little bit. If you, or someone you know needs a simple prepaid handset, the affordable phone may be worth considering.


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Rogers is getting set to launch their Early Hardware Upgrade Program in just under a week, on Thursday, May 5th. The program, which will allow customers to upgrade to a new device early for an additional fee, is very similar to Telus' early upgrade process. Here's how it works:

Customers who wish to upgrade early will pay $10-$20 for each month remaining until they would officially be eligible, in addition to the standard upgrade cost of the device. Exactly how much you pay for each remaining month depends on what type of device you currently have, and Rogers breaks them down into three categories; 1) voice or quick messaging devices, 2) feature devices, tablets, and smartphones, and 3) premium devices (including iPhone and BlackBerry Torch). Those with voice/QMD handsets will be charged $10 for each remaining month, while smartphone/tablet users will pay $15, and premium device users will pay $20 for each remaining month. If the contract-free price for the device comes in lower than the early upgrade costs, you will pay the lesser of the two.

For example, if you have a BlackBerry Bold 9700 and have had it for 18 months, you would pay $15 (early upgrade charge) x 6 (months remaining until standard 24-month eligibility), in addition to the normal 3-year price of the device you're upgrading to. So, you would pay $90 + the upgrade cost of the device.

One more detail was revealed in recently leaked screenshots, stating "we are also changing the standard HUP wait period, which will now vary from 18-30 months depending on the customer's current device." While the early upgrade program comes as great news, this extra little bit is vague and could be a bad thing for some people. Rogers currently has a 2 year waiting period for upgrade eligibility, so this means some people will have to wait an extra 6 months, or at least pay 6 months more of early upgrade costs. Others may benefit from it however, reaching eligibility 6 months earlier than they currently would. We'll be sure to let you know once more details become available.


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Mobilicity has recently added two new devices to their line-up, and while they aren't as impressive as the Samsung Nexus S, they are definitely great additions. The Nokia E73 is now available from Mobilicity for $149.99 outright, while the Samsung G-Touch comes in at just $139.99.

The Nokia E73 features a 2.4" (320x240) display, full QWERTY keyboard, and 5MP camera with LED flash. It runs on Symbian OS 9.3 (Series 60), and has Wi-Fi, bluetooth, and GPS connectivity.

The Samsung G-Touch has a 2.8" (240x320) touchscreen display, a horizontally sliding QWERTY keyboard, and a 2MP camera. The G-Touch has bluetooth support in addition to A-GPS, making it suitable entry-level cell phone for those who don't want to pay a whole lot for hardware.

The Nokia E73 and Samsung G-Touch are both available now from Mobilicity. If one of these devices sound appealing to you and you live in one of Mobilicity's coverage areas, head to one of their stores to pick yours up today!


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Rogers has recently made an addition to their Pay As You Go handset line-up, introducing the LG Shine Touch. The Shine Touch features a 3" (240x400) touchscreen display, 3MP camera with video capture capabilities, and supports 3G connectivity for voice and data transmission. This bar-style handset can be expanded up to 16GB via microSD card, and also supports Wi-Fi and bluetooth, though it lacks GPS services. The LG Shine Touch is available now from Rogers on Pay As You Go for just $129.99.


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While BlackBerry App World may lack in numbers compared to Apple's App Store and Android Market, most who choose BlackBerry still make use of it regularly. Fortunately for Telus customers, they can now bill their App World purchases to their monthly Telus bill, making it convenient to get, and pay for apps, games, themes, and more. No word yet on when the other carriers will begin supporting this feature, but hopefully it will come soon.


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Most Canadian banks have mobile applications available for multiple platforms, including Android, Apple's iOS, and BlackBerry, so its strange that RBC hadn't launched their own. Luckily, iPhone and BlackBerry users can now download and install the RBC application, that allows users to view account balances, transfer funds, pay bills, use Interac Money Transfers, and even locate RBC branches and ATMs. The application was first launched for iPhone users, and has now been made available to BlackBerry users as well. The BlackBerry version is available for the Bold 9700 and 9000, Curve 8900, 8530, and 8520, along with the Tour 9630. To get the application for iPhone, visit App Store, or to get it for BlackBerry, simply head to mobile.rbcroyalbank.com.


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Oddly enough, RBC is one of the only major Canadian banks not to have a mobile application, but that's about to change sometime in the near-future. RBC has updated a portion of their website, stating that an iPhone and BlackBerry app are close to release. Within the application, users will be able to pay bills, transfer funds, check account balances, and use Interac Email money Transfers, in addition to locating branches and ATMs. No word on exactly when the app will launch, but iPhone and BlackBerry users - keep an eye out!


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Telus has introduced a couple new policies recently that could result in customers getting upgrades sooner, and seeing lower, more proportionate early cancellation fees. The new hardware upgrade program introduces an Early Device Upgrade fee, which is calculated based on the type of the device you last received, in addition to the number of months remaining on your contract.

Here's how the upgrade fee is calculated:

Voice or Feature Phone - $5 x number of months remaining in contract. Includes standard flip phones, sliders, non-data devices
Smartphone or Feature phone (with minimum data commitment) - $10 x number of months remaining in contract. Includes BlackBerry, Android, and Windows Phone 7 devices
Premium Device - $15 x number of months remaining in contract. Includes iPhones

Here's the example provided on the Telus website:

Pat has an LG Keybo and wants to upgrade to an HTC Desire. He has 15 months left on his contract. What does Pat pay to upgrade?

Pat pays $75 (15 months x $5) in addition to the new device cost ($79.99)

There are a couple of rules that come along with this new upgrade program, like that you must complete at least 6 months of your current contract before being eligible for upgrade at all, and customers on the Credit Limit Program are no eligible for any early upgrade offer.

The cancellation policy is also based on which device you last received, but is more specific. Essentially, your early cancellation fee is calculated using the exact discount you received on your last device, and the time remaining on your contract. There is also a $50 admin fee for non-Quebec customers. It's important to note that this new cancellation fee policy applies only to customers who activated or renewed on or after November 21st, 2010. Other customer who wish to cancel would still have to pay $20 x the number of months remaining on their contract.

Here are some examples of how the policy works:

At activation, the customer receives a $400 discount on a 36 month service term. After 20 months, their cancellation fee will be:
Monthly pro-rated discount = $400 / 36 months = $11.11/month
Remaining discount = $400 - ($11.11 x 20 months) = $177.76
Non-Quebec: Total Cancellation fee = $177.76 + $50 Admin fee = $227.76
Quebec: Total Cancellation fee = $177.76

So there you have it, two new policies coming out of Telus. What do you think about the new early upgrade program? What about the new cancellation policy?


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