Friday, May 11, 2007

Rogers Lets You Talk For Free

OK, not exactly, but the wireless carrier is running a promotion whereby you can choose five friends to put on a special calling list, then make unlimited, local calls and text messages to them for free. Well, not entirely for free: the plan, called MY5, will cost $25/mth, or can be added to select existing plans for another $10. Although MY5 is open to any Rogers Wireless subscriber, judging from the press release I received this morning, Rogers is targeting the promotion primarily to youths.

This is surely a great way to help parents save money, especially with Chatty Cathy kids that can’t go one hour without talking it up with their “BFF”. But this promotion poses a few questions. For one, do parents really want to encourage their kids to blab on the phone for hours on end? With per-minute plans, parents can easily argue that once the kid has reached his minutes for the month, he’s not allowed to use the phone until next month (unless he gets a j-o-b to pay for it!). With this particular plan, kids can pull the “but mom, it’s free!” card. The parent is, of course, the authority figure here either way, and has the final say. But if I were a kid, I’d be asking why you signed me up for this plan if you don’t let me use it?

Second: although the plan affords unlimited calling and texting to your five favourite friends, regardless of which carrier the friend is on, what happens if these five people aren’t on the same plan? Uh-oh. When it comes to kids, this means angry neighboring parents banging down your door insisting why your daughter told little Billy it was free to talk on the phone. If you are a parent signing your kid up for this promotion, make sure that the parents of the five friends chosen are aware of the details, so they can either sign their kid up for the same deal, or instruct them that their standard calling rules still apply. One good thing to note is that, according to the fine print, this promotion does include landline phone numbers as well, which might be the best route to take to save your friends money if they aren’t on the same MY5 plan.

Third: what happens if Suzy gets into a fight with Jenny and wants to remove her from the “five friends” list. Or maybe they got into a fight because Jenny wasn’t included in the first place! According to the FAQs on the promotion, numbers can be changed once a month. So feel free to threaten your buddies with removal from the fantastic five if they don’t wisen up!

Crafty customers should also note that you can’t choose your own number or special voice mail access number; nor any 1-800/1-900 numbers, within your five. Darn!

If you plan to sign up for MY5 (or any promotion for that matter), I advise you call the carrier, or visit in store, and go over every finite detail. It’s better to be safe than to receive an inflated phone bill!


mary p said...

I am sorry, I wouldn't care what the other parents say. If you are dumb or your kid is dumb, too bad, so sad. I am doing it for MY kids. HOWEVER, I think if you are LITTLE, you should have a phone for EMERGENCIES. When I first came to Canada, there was no cell phone. My parents gave us a quarter for emergencies :)

Marketnews - Christine Persaud said...

I hear you loud and clear, mary p. It is a great idea for parents to sign their kids up for a pay-per-use type plan with capped minutes ; just so they can be reached when away, or in case of emergency, like you say. But kids chatting it up for hours with their friends is just unnecessary.

Thanks for commenting.

Darlene said...

Great work.