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Mobile plans in Vancouver used to cost $40/month

This was before data plans of course

Cell service provider Fido turns 25 years old this month, and it has some of us thinking back on memories of the Vancouver Grizzlies and what it was like to live in this city in the late 90s.

The company is a subsidiary of Rogers Communications and first burst onto the scene in 1996 in Montreal. Fido expanded into Vancouver in the summer of 1997 with a massive marketing splash which included TV, bus shelter and newspaper ads, as well as a branded hot air balloon that circled the city for days on end.

Vancouver Sun column published amidst the cellular provider's west coast launch blitz in July 1997 raves about the service, quoting self-professed "gadgets guy" Gaetano Fasciana as saying that all of his friends were telling him "you've got to get a Fido."

The man mentions his other "latest toy," - an electronic daytimer. This was long before all of these gadgets were conglomerated into smartphones, and barely anybody was sending text messages, let alone eating up multiple gigabytes of data.

The buzz Fido drummed up was centred around their new digital PCS service, with handsets that ran from $175-$300. The service promised more clear reception and fewer dropped calls than the analogue phones that most of the existing players in the market were selling as their primary product.

The plan they sold during their launch was simple: $40 for 400 minutes of talk time. Again there was no data on offer, and you had to pay extra to send and receive text messages on your Nokia.

To pay your monthly bill you literally had to go to one of two Fido storefront locations and hand them a cheque, cash, or a credit card. Internet billing was not a thing.

These days you can find monthly plans for under $40 from low-cost providers like Fido and Virgin, but if you want a plan that takes full advantage of the capabilities of your "modern toy" (your smartphone) that sort of pricing is indeed a thing of the past.