COVID-19 Responses from Carriers
The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Canada has disrupted the course of regular life. Everything has changed—streets are empty, businesses are closed, and toilet paper is a hot commodity.
But how have cell phone carriers responded to the latest pandemic? What happens to Canadians who are required to work from home and don’t have a home office set up? What about the Canadians stranded abroad who need to stay connected to their families?
From store closures to discounts and donations to grace periods, find out what Canadian carriers are doing to make life a little easier in wake of COVID-19.
Rogers COVID-19 Carrier Response
Rogers was among the first Canadian carriers to issue a response to COVID-19. Since Rogers’ network covers both mobility and home internet, they’ve been working to accommodate customers on both fronts.
As of March 18, 2020, most Rogers storefronts and kiosks are closed, and of the 88 that remain open, business hours have changed to 12 pm to 6 pm. There is a limit on how many people can enter the store at a time, and store layouts will be changed to facilitate social distancing. Rogers will also be adhering to stricter sanitation procedures. This will be in effect until April 14, 2020, if not longer.
Rogers’ coronavirus response includes:
- Self-servicing platforms, Rogers Live Chat, and call centres will remain open.
- No long-distance fees for nationwide calls until April 30, even if your plan only includes local or province-wide minutes.
- Roaming charges will be waived for all customers on postpaid plans until April 30.
- Accounts will not be suspended or disconnected from March 16 until June 14 to assist Canadians in financial distress. Flexible payment methods will also be available.
- Rogers Business is offering a free six-month trial of Microsoft Teams so that businesses can stay connected from home and is reducing the price of Rogers Unison by 50%.
- Data usage caps have been removed from home internet, which means you won’t collect any data overage fees. This will last until May 31.
- Ignite TV and Digital TV subscribers will be given free previews of rotating channels from March 16 to April 30.
Fido and Chatr COVID-19 Pandemic Response
- Free nationwide long-distance calls until April 30.
- Flexible payment options for customers who cannot pay from March 16 to June 14.
- Stores and kiosks are closed until May 31.
- Internet overage fees are waived until May 31.
- Fido is waiving roaming fees for Fido Roam and pay-per-use services until April 30.
TELUS COVID-19 Carrier Response
TELUS has responded to COVID-19 by assisting more than just their mobile customers—the cell phone company has donated $10 million worth of medical equipment, including much-needed ventilators. The company is also supporting food security and mental health initiatives, providing outreach to isolated seniors, and airing virtual education programs on their TELUS Talks Health podcast.
In terms of home care, TELUS Health offers an app called Babylon, which helps users identify their symptoms and connect them with a licensed doctor if necessary. This app is currently available in Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta.
The majority of TELUS stores are closed until at least March 31. Critical serving locations will still remain open, but customers are encouraged to do their shopping online and prevent the spread of coronavirus.
TELUS’ coronavirus response includes the following until the end of April:
- Call centres are open but are experiencing higher traffic than usual. The live chat program, TELUS Assist, is still functioning. Rather than first going through the virtual assistant, however, you’ll be connected with a representative.
- Easy Roam, Travel Pass, and pay-per-use roaming charges will be waived for all TELUS customers on postpaid plans.
- Home internet overage fees will be waived for customers who aren’t on unlimited plans.
- Flexible payment solutions are available for individual customers and small businesses.
- Free channel previews on Optik to bring some entertainment to your quarantine.
Koodo Mobile and Public Mobile COVID-19 Pandemic Response
- Koodo Mobile and Public Mobile have suspended operations in all stores. This will last at least until March 31.
- Koodo Mobile’s customers can use prepaid and postpaid self-serve payment options.
- Roaming fees accrued through Koodo Mobile’s Easy Roam or pay-per-use services will be waived.
- Some of Koodo Mobile’s call centres will remain active.
- The full cost of Public Mobile’s U.S. Roaming add-ons will be credited back to those who purchased them between March 13 to April 30.
Bell Mobility COVID-19 Carrier Response
Bell Mobility, one of the largest mobile networks in Canada, has also issued a quick response to COVID-19. Here’s what Bell’s doing to make things a little easier:
- Storefronts are temporarily closed until at least March 31.
- Consumers and small businesses will be given an extra 10GB/month and $10/month in credit so that they can work from home.
- Roam Better and pay-per-use roaming charges will be waived until April 30.
- Return policy devices has been extended from 15 to 30 days.
Virgin Mobile and Lucky Mobile Coronavirus Response
Virgin Mobile and Lucky Mobile are both owned by Bell Mobility. Many of the same protocols will be in place with these companies, including:
- Roaming charges with Virgin Mobile’s Roam Sweet Roam or incurred on a pay-per-use basis will be waived until April 30.
- The majority of Virgin Mobile store locations and all Lucky Mobile kiosks will be closed until at least March 31.
- Virgin Mobile’s call centres will remain open, while Lucky Mobile’s call centres have been temporarily closed. In the meantime, Lucky Mobile customers are encouraged to manage their services via self-serve tools.
- Return policies on devices for both carriers have extended from 15 to 30 days.
Freedom Mobile COVID-19 Carrier Response
- Most Freedom Mobile stores and kiosks will be closed until at least March 27. Regular hours of operation are subject to change.
- Flexible payment options are available for those in financial distress.
Videotron COVID-19 Carrier Response
- Daily Traveler Passes and other roaming fees have been discontinued until April 20.
- Some stores will remain open to provide essential services, but the majority of retail locations will close.
- Fizz Mobile, which is owned by Videotron, will continue to support customers online. Chat services will continue to remain active during regular times.
Eastlink COVID-19 Carrier Response
- EasyTravel and other Eastlink roaming fees will be waived, and TravelPack purchases for cancelled trips will be refunded.
- Long-distance rates will not be applied to nationwide calls, even if you are not on a Canada-wide calling plan.
- Personal and business accounts will not be suspended or cancelled if payments are made late.
- Flexible payment options will be available for those who need them.
- Data limits are lifted on internet plans.
- Complimentary TV channels are available.
SaskTel COVID-19 Carrier Response
- All SaskTel wireless data overage fees will be waived from March 17 until March 31.
- Most store locations are closed, and those that remain open will adjust their operating hours.
- Customers will have unlimited internet until March 31.
- Free TV channels are being made available
Tbaytel COVID-19 Carrier Response
- Fees will be waived for long-distance calls and texts made from outside of the country until May 15.
- Tbaytel stores will be closed until at least April 6.
- Tbaytel TV subscribers will be able to access 30 popular channels to keep them entertained.
- Flexible payment options will be made available until May 15.
XploreMobile COVID-19 Carrier Response
- Store hours have been reduced, but stores remain open.
- Data overages will be waived from March 17 to April 30.
- Calling centres will remain open.
Cityfone and SimplyConnect COVID-19 Carrier Response
- Long-distance fees for calls made within Canada will be waived until April 30.
- Customers will not be charged for using Travel Packs or pay-per-use roaming services from March 16 to April 30.
- Accounts will not be suspended and subscriptions will not be cancelled for 90 days, regardless of your ability to pay.
- Flexible payment solutions will be made available.
- Rogers COVID-19 Carrier Response
- Fido and Chatr COVID-19 Pandemic Response
- TELUS COVID-19 Carrier Response
- Koodo Mobile and Public Mobile COVID-19 Pandemic Response
- Bell Mobility COVID-19 Carrier Response
- Virgin Mobile and Lucky Mobile Coronavirus Response
- Freedom Mobile COVID-19 Carrier Response
- Videotron COVID-19 Carrier Response
- Eastlink COVID-19 Carrier Response
- SaskTel COVID-19 Carrier Response
- Tbaytel COVID-19 Carrier Response
- XploreMobile COVID-19 Carrier Response
- Cityfone and SimplyConnect COVID-19 Carrier Response