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Comparing Rogers, Bell, & Telus: LTE iPad Data Plans [Updated]

by on March 15th, 2012

Now that the new iPad has finally been unveiled, its true potential can only be reached with an always-on 4G network. The ‘Big Three’ –Bell, Rogers and Telus – all offer plans that will be ready for your brand-spanking new LTE-enabled iPad.

To get people on the 4G bandwagon, the ‘Big Three’ all offer two options: monthly plans and flex-rate plans. And the great thing is that you don’t have to sign your life away for three years – no contracts are required.

On the surface, most of the plans offered are almost identical, but it’s the details that you will have to pay close attention to.

Monthly Plans

Surprisingly, monthly plans are consistent across the board. The ‘Big Three’ all offer the same amount of data for exactly the same price: $15 for 250 MB and $35 for 5 GB. (Bell does offer 10 MB for $5 and Telus has a 500 MB for $20 plan)

Bell takes it a step further and offers streaming TV shows and sporting events for $45 (+ 5GB). And the streaming does not count as a ‘hit’ towards your data use.

If you know your data use is going to remain pretty consistent on a monthly basis, these plans will be for you.

But most iPad users are probably not going to be able to magically predict how much data they are going to use every month, and instead of paying per-megabyte for going over their download limits, are probably better of signing up for flex plans.

Flex Plans

Flex plans allow you to not worry about how much data you use. The more you end up using, the more you will pay, and if you use less, you will pay less. The pricing does get a bit more confusing – especially when you compare what each carrier offers.

Rogers

Taking a look at Rogers’ flex-rate plans and you are probably wondering, why the WalMart-like pricing and their plan is about two dollars higher than Telus and Bell.

Update: Rogers has introduced a new flex data plan that has unlimited data for the first two months, then double data for the next four.

Bell

Bell’s offerings are very straight forward, but it is clear Bell wants users to subscribe to their 5 GB plan. Average users (if you aren’t planning to stream hours of video) will probably want to skip over Bell’s flex-plan.

Update: $35 activation fee for the flex plan; the 30-day data pass is only for iPad and iPad 2

Telus

The flex-rate data plan offered by Telus is comparable to what is offered by Bell–they do share the same 4G network. Telus takes it a step further by having options between 250 MB and their 5 GB plans, which is great for casual users.

Today Telus has introduced a new flex plan promo, which caps overages at $5/month for the first two months. So that means you can go over up to 5GB of data–for only $5 extra.

Personal Hotspots / Tethering

We recently confirmed Rogers’ tethering plans and Bell already said all iPad plans will support the new personal hotspot feature. Expect Telus to release more tethering details once the new iPad is released.

Update 1: Telus data plans will support Personal Hotspot (thx Christian!)

Share Plans

Smartphone users already on a data-plan, that want to share their data with the New iPad – and don’t want to switch carriers – have different options depending on their carrier.

Rogers

Rogers has the most extensive plans offered for data sharing which you can view here. Rogers has not indicated on their website how customers can sign up for the share plans without customers changing their current cell phone plans.

But, if you’re a Rogers subscriber on a current 3G plan or an existing iPhone 6GB plan and want to get the 4G-enabled New iPad, you will have to contact Rogers directly.

Bell

If you are planning to get a phone through Bell, or already have service through them, as long as you have a minimum 1 GB of data included in the plan, Bell is offering data sharing for only $10 more (until March 31, 2012).

WiFi Hotspots

Hands down, Bell has the largest wifi network in the country, conveniently located at every Starbucks, McDonald’s and Indigo Books across the country. Rogers has partnered with Second Cup.

But don’t get caught up in making this a deal-breaking feature – you can access these hotspots using any wi-fi enabled device.

Round-Up

If you already have an iPhone (or smartphone) through Bell (bigger bonus if you scored their 6 GB promotion), your new iPad would only cost $10 more to add to your existing plan.

Telus has not released many details on their plans. Their current plans are great for casual users. But if you think your data use is going to consist of plenty of iCloud and video streaming action, Bell will probably be a better option for you.

Bell’s ease of use and wide-array of exclusive streaming TV has made them worth considering to harness the potential of your spanking-new, new iPad.

We will continue to update this post so stay tuned. 

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Posted under: Bell, Recommendations, Rogers, Telus, Tutorials

  • Mark

    Your statement about Bell’s Flex Plan makes no sense… “Bell’s offerings are very straight forward, but it is clear Bell wants users to subscribe to their 5 GB plan. Average users (if you aren’t planning to stream hours of video) will probably want to skip over Bell’s flex-plan.”
    The way I read it on Bell’s site, a flex plan is the best way to go, regardless. Why would an average user want to skip over it. It seems ideal to me. You pay for what you need. Whereas their fixed plan is the max price, and fixed. Why would anybody want that?

  • Brian

    Does anyone know if credit checks are done to have the flex plans? Anyone know about sim card charges or activation fees? I wasn’t charged anything to get onto rogers last year – I bought on opening day at the Apple store . I’m going to switch to Telus or Bell because Rogers does not offer LTE service in Edmonton.

  • Francois

    Just to be clear, here is how the Telus flex plan works. If you use 110 mb you will pay $5 + $10 + $20 =$35

    When I first purchased their flex plan I assumed that it would cost me $20 to use 110 mb but after an hour on the phone with Telus after receiving my recent bill I learned otherwise.

  • Mike

    Also important to check is the size of the coverage area. Here in Ottawa, all 3 offer LTE, but the Bell/Telus network doesn’t cover much more than the downtown core. Rogers network covers a much larger part of the city and suburbs.

  • Terence

    I disagree and you really have to assess yourself how much you would use. If you consistently use between 250MB and 500MB it makes no sense to use the flex rate since you will automatically be billed the $35 compared to only $20 on the fixed plan.

  • Nicole

    The Telus website uses the example tht 1GB of data would cost $35 on their flex plan. Suggesting that they do not stack the prices. Maybe they used to but if they did stack them now noone would use them.

  • dav1dz

    From Rogers it’s $11.93 per month to share existing data with iPad. Confirmed with Rogers. 

  • Francois

    So regarding my previous comment about the Telus flex plan….I spoke to the staff at future shop this morning and they told me that it should not work the way that I was billed. I will call Telus again and have it out with them and will report back with what they say. I’ve already talked to two folks at Telus who both gave me different answers so there is a lot of confusion.

  • Drew

    I tweeted Telus, and they said they would look into the personal hotspot option (it’s not showing up on my LTE iPad3). I got an email this morning saying that their plans would not support the personal hotspot option. Good thing there is no contract with these iPad plans as it makes it easy to switch carriers!

  • Pingback: New iPad Users on Rogers LTE Experiencing ‘No Service’ with Bundled microSIM Cards | iPad in Canada Blog - Canada's #1 iPad Resource

  • doc

    Stumbled up on an interesting promo in a Rogers Store today.  Sign a 1 year contract on their flex data plan ($21.93 for 500MB) and they’ll give you a $200 credit. (sign said $100, but it was crossed out in pen and changed to $200)  If you do the math, it works out to $7.89/month after fee, tax & credit applied.

  • http://twitter.com/codywoodward Cody Woodward

    Can anyone confirm if Rogers 6GB 4G LTE plan for $30 is still offered?

  • Peter

    That is pretty sweet man. It wild be nice to see this poster to show to a Rogers store in my area, do you have a pic or is it online somewhere? Thanks,

  • http://twitter.com/alexcornellier alexis cornellier

    I called twice and ask for it and they never let me do it.
    Even retention.

  • Pingback: Are LTE iPad Data Plans Enough for the Average User? | iPad in Canada Blog - Canada's #1 iPad Resource

  • Frosty

    Telus now offers a shared data plan that lets you pool your data with your iPad, but they resolutely refuse to allow that as an add-on to my existing plan negotiated just a few months ago with retention. I just wasted — err, spent — 90 minutes on the phone with them to be told that it’s a good idea, but they don’t offer it now and don’t know if they will.

    The only option they are offering me is to pay much more for my main plan to receive much less (1 GB of data/month versus 5 GB/month) just to allow me to pay $15/month to pool the data with my iPad (versus $12/month with Rogers and $10/month with Bell).

    Sadly, I think every interaction that I’ve had with Telus since I became a customer almost ten years ago has been a frustrating experience.

  • Francois

    There is support for tethering on bell and flex Telus plans but the tethering usage charges are extra. I was charged $160 last month on my bell flex data plan because I tethered my laptop.

  • Matt

    You cannot tether with Bell’s ipad flex plan. We got our bill and extra charges for tethering. Bell’s customer service is the worst, we have been fighting the charges for hours on the phone. So beware, it is not true that tethering is free, Bell does charge for tethering with the ipad.

  • denrad

    tethering is charged above and beyond Bell’s flex plan. i’ve been fighting with them for days on overcharged bills to only find this out now. 5 cents for MB

  • Kelly Goldsmith

    Exactly! that’s why there are different options, http://www.bell.ca/Mobility/Products/Apple-iPad-mini including the 30 days, you can use this one to assess your usage. I don’t think they present a particular option as the best, it depends on each person.