Tag Archives: Bell Mobility

Chatr and the fake mobile competitors

Rogers yesterday launched a new wireless “brand” called Chatr, which is being rolled out in several Canadian cities and is supposed to come to Montreal soon.

The launch has caused some ruckus because its pricing plan is seen as targeting one of the new wireless competitors just starting up. Mobilicity, which says Rogers is using predatory pricing to drive it out of the marketplace, says it will take legal action.

I’m no mobile pricing expert, but $45 for unlimited talk and text doesn’t seem unfair to me. And bringing everyone’s prices down was the entire point of having new entrants into the wireless market, no? (Admittedly, the fact that Chatr is available only in the largest cities is kind of suspicious since it uses the Rogers network.)

What bothers me about this launch isn’t the fact that it’s competing with other wireless providers, it’s that Rogers is doing its best to fool people into thinking the service has nothing to do with Rogers.

Take a look at the press release. The word “Rogers” doesn’t appear anywhere. It makes a vague reference to “a trusted network”, but no mention of what network that is. The blurb “about chatr wireless” also makes no reference to Rogers, making it seem as if this is an independent company.

Same thing on the website (which is neither chatr.com nor chatr.ca, meaning Rogers has picked this stupid name without even getting the benefit of the stupid name domain name). Not on its frequently asked questions page, its coverage page, or its “about chatr” page. This isn’t just being forgetful or not wanting to draw attention to something. There’s a serious effort here to hide the fact that Rogers is behind this brand.

They’re all doing it

This is nothing new. When Koodo launched in 2008, Telus did everything it could to hide the fact that they were behind it. The word “Telus” doesn’t appear on Koodo’s “About Us” page or coverage page either. You have to go to the fine print of the privacy policy, and read its fine print to see them say that Koodo is actually a division of Telus.

Virgin Mobile Canada makes it seem as if they’re owned by Virgin Group, but in fact it’s owned by Bell Mobility, a name that appears nowhere on their website.

Of the virtual brands, only Solo Mobile (Bell) and Fido (Rogers) make it clear who they’re owned by.


Let’s count that, by the way. Eight mobile brands run by three companies. And I’m not counting the weird stuff involving third parties like Petro Canada Mobility or President’s Choice Telecom. While most companies think of centralization and imposing a national brand on its subsidiaries, Canada’s wireless companies do the opposite.

When your reputation as an industry is so shattered that you have to create fake competition to appeal to a large segment of the population that hates you, and then when that doesn’t work you create a second fake competitor … honestly, I don’t know what to say.

The worst part is that Canada’s Big Three wireless companies don’t think this explosion of “brands” is evidence of a larger problem.

Bell answers to no one

A standards body that Bell Canada doesn’t belong to has reached a decision in a case that Bell refused to participate in, where the only evidence was heard by Bell’s chief rival (Rogers), and has ruled against Bell, only to have Bell outright reject the ruling and do nothing about it.

Doesn’t that make you feel better?

Now Bell can continue to claim to be Canada’s fastest network, even though a ridiculously one-sided decision has said that’s not true.

Compagnie de marde

Via Patrick Lagacé comes this video from comedian Jean-François Mercier, reciting his saga of trying to get a $100 mail-in rebate cheque from Bell Mobility, only to have them refuse to help him because of his “unprofessional” tone.

It’s eight minutes of him reading letters back and forth, but it’s probably the most entertaining eight minutes of talking-head letter-reading I’ve seen in a while. (Be sure to check out some of his other videos).It’s also why I avoid sales based on mail-in rebates and don’t count their discounts as real.

UPDATE (Dec. 17): Lagacé has a follow-up, with comments from a Videotron CSR who says we shouldn’t be shooting the messenger.

UPDATE (Dec. 18): Another follow-up from Mercier himself, who posts a video apologizing for his rude behaviour but reiterating how customer service agents aren’t servicing the customer and mail-in rebates are a scam. Naturally, his problem was solved quickly once his story hit the media, and he got a call from a high-up VP at Bell. (Sound familiar? We’ve seen this kind of blatant special treatment before from Bell.)

I’m sure Bell bigwigs think that having a VP stepping in to personally fix a situation and offer a thousand apologies gives people the impression that the company cares about customer service. But I think it just reminds people that all Bell cares about is the appearance of good customer service, treating people in the media with the red carpet and telling everyone else to stop bothering them. If Bell really cared about customer service, Mercier’s problem would have been resolved on his first phone call. It wasn’t.