Cell plan savings

Christine and Chas Moore and their daughters, Helena and Victoria, were first in line for cellphone plan deals at the Freedom Mobile store that opened Wednesday at Orchard Park mall in Kelowna.

The promise of free iPhones, free AirPods and a smoking deal on a cellular plan prompted the entire Moore family to roll out of bed early Wednesday to be first in line for the opening of the Freedom Mobile store in Kelowna.

“Granted, by the time we showed up here it was 8:30 a.m.,” said Chas Moore, who was joined by his wife, Christine, and their daughters, Helena and Victoria.

“But that’s still an hour-and-a-half early (for the 10 a.m. opening) and early enough to be first in line.”

By the time the ribbon was cut and deal seekers started pouring into the store at Orchard Park mall, 50 more people had joined the line.

That’s more than the 35 people who lined up for pot when Hobo Cannabis opened Kelowna’s first legal weed store last week.

Canadians pay some of the highest prices in the world for cellphone plans.

The reasons given are Canada is a massive country with sparse population, so telecom companies have to make huge investments in numerous cell towers to provide coverage and superior service.

Be that as it may, Canadians are hungry for a deal.

“We’re dumping our Rogers Family Share Plan to get in on Freedom’s Absolute Zero Big Gig Plan,” said Moore.

“For $60 a month for each of us, we will get a free iPhone XR and 18 gigs of data with no overage charges. And because we’re among the first 50 in line, we’re all getting free AirPods (Apple wireless ear buds valued at $219). Rogers couldn’t meet or beat that.”

All deals require the customer to sign a two-year contract.

Freedom Mobile is a division of the Shaw cable, internet and digital phone conglomerate.

“Definitely, we’re a disruptor,” said Dean Price, Freedom’s vice-president of Western Canada operations.

“Canadians deserve better, and we’re giving them that with sweeter plans, premium devices and big gig plans with no overage.”

No overage charges for exceeding your plan’s data allowance is a big deal, especially if you’ve been stung with extra fees for doing so by your cell provider.

But Freedom’s promise does come with a caveat. If you go over your monthly high-speed LTE data amount, you can still use data at reduced speeds fit for activities such as email and web browsing, without paying data overage fees.

“With Freedom you can get a monthly deal for as little as $15 to $20,” said Price.

“But the most value-packed is definitely that free iPhone XR, 18 gig plan for $75 a month, with a $15-a-month-off promotion, to take it to $60 a month.”

Helping Price cut the ribbon to officially open the store Wednesday were Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola MP Dan Albas, Kelowna Coun. Ryan Donn and Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick.

All three took turns praising Freedom for investing in the community and introducing stiff competition that may spur other providers to reduce high prices.

Shaw is building its own cell towers and network for Freedom.

Over the past three years, Shaw has invested $3.4 billion in wireless.

Freedom is in the midst of what it calls a “sweeping 2019 expansion.”

In addition to the opening of the store at Orchard Park mall on Wednesday, Freedom will also open a store soon in Mission Park Shopping Centre, and customers can sign up for Freedom at the cell kiosk at Walmart and The Mobile Shop at Real Canadian Superstore.

Freedom expanded into Victoria earlier this year and Nanaimo last week, and will open later this summer in Penticton, Vernon and Kamloops.