Typically, I’m a no frills kinda guy.  Nothing too fancy, but I do like my technology.  When the iPhone was first released, I simply saw it as an expensive toy with an even more expensive monthly servicing fee.  However, the more I think about it, the more it would make sense to have one for my online business.  My rationale is that it would enable me to check emails/web properties while away from a computer, as well as keep my scheduling/calendar/music in one device.  Not to mention that some of the apps can be pretty useful.

I don’t mind paying for a useful tool, but monthly fees are a big turn off for me.  My current cell phone bill is approximately $30 /month (value packed plan negotiated with retentions department), but a basic iPhone plan would be closer to the $60/month.  The question is, is the incremental cost of the iPhone plan worth the benefits?  Is the ability to get online from anywhere at anytime worth the extra $30/month?

With that question in mind, I decided to scope out the iPhone plans from all the big carriers in Canada in search of the best deal.  From my meanderings, the offerings are from Rogers, Telus, Bell, and Virgin Mobile, all with very similar pricing.

iPhone Plan Comparison Table

Rogers Telus Bell Virgin Mobile
Cost of iPhone $199 (16 GB) 3 yr contract $199 (16 GB) 3 yr contract $199 (16 GB) 3 yr contract $199 (16 GB) 3 yr contract
Cost/month $50 $50 $50 $50
Anytime Min/Month 300 300 150 200 Minutes
Unlimted Evenings Start 9pm 9pm 9pm 7pm
Caller ID Included No No No No
Voicemail Included No Yes No No
Data 500MB 500MB 500MB 500MB
Extras Unlimited texting/picture/video or Double Minutes or Nationwide Fab 5 Unlimited texting or Double Minutes or Nationwide Fab 5 Local Fab 5 Caller ID&VM or Unlimited texting
System Access Fee government recovery fee varies by province (~$2.50-$3.50/month) $0 $0 $0
Activation Fee $35 $35 $35 $35
Notes Receiving texts are free regardless of text package If no text plan, charge for outgoing and incoming texts. >$50 plans get more competitive Receiving texts are free regardless of text package

Judging from the table above, it looks like most of the providers are very competitive.  It’s worthy to note though that Rogers is on their GSM network, while Bell, Telus and Virgin Mobile are on the new HSPA+ network.  The HSPA+ network has greater coverage in Atlantic Canada, which has an appeal for me.

Looking at the offerings, I like how Telus has higher minutes, the option of unlimited texting and includes voicemail.  The downside of course is that Caller ID would be extra.  Virgin Mobile has the option of including Caller ID and Voicemail, along with earlier unlimited evenings.  The downside is that a text package would be extra.  Bell just seems out to lunch with their $50 plan, but I must admit that it does get a bit more competitive once they reach the $80/month range.  Although I currently have a lot of services with Rogers, they are still a bit behind the curve with their latest “government recovery fee” gouge.

If I were to choose a plan today (late April 2010), then it would probably be Telus with their texting package.  Right now, they are offering early evenings at 6pm and waiving the activation fee. However, a 3 year contract is required.

For those of you with iPhone’s, who is your provider?  And why did you choose them?

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  1. Kathryn on April 26, 2010 at 9:11 am

    I have an iphone from Fido. I am paying around $50.00 a month which includes caller id & vm, 2500 text, free after 5:00 PM and on weekends, 1000 minutes of Canadian long distance, 150 mg. I use it on the wireless networks so the 150 mg has not been a problem. No system access fee. This deal came through the retention office.

  2. Tummon on April 26, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Not sure this line is accurate:
    “It’s worthy to note though that Rogers is on their GSM network, while Bell, Telus and Virgin Mobile are on the new HSPA+ network.”

    The IPhone doesn’t support HSPA+ and runs in 3g (HSPA) on all four networks. Rogers also does have HSPA+ deployed (not sure if you were insinuating that they don’t).

    I have the IPhone on Rogers currently, largely because they were the only with it at the time. I’m a big fan of Rogers network and I have all my other services with them (15% bundle discount). With that said, if I were purchasing today, I’d also seriously consider Fido as they seem more price competitive.

  3. Rachelle on April 26, 2010 at 9:55 am

    I also have the IPhone through Fido. Far back in the mists of time before being bought out by Rogers Fido offered the 45$ unlimited incoming and outgoing calls option.

    Due to the nature of my work which was renting apartments I received and made many more calls than most people.

    I immediately went and signed up for that phone plan which I still carry over to my Iphone. This phone plan alone saved me hundreds every month.

    When the Iphone became available I signed up for that too thinking it would make my business portable.

    My office phone is set up to email any messages to my IPhone. So if someone call the office I can call them back immediately.

    My Iphone replaces my appointment book, my Rolodex and a Map book. Plus I have an advantage of being able to just remember one device and take it with me.

    Then there’s the security of if I ever lose it being able to wipe it remotely.

    My plan runs me about $100 per month and has these features. Unlimited incoming and outgoing calls for 45$, 6GB dataplan for 35$per month, unlimited Canadian long distance for 20$ per month plus 100 US minutes for 5$ and system access fee for 6.95 per month.

    I have had very unpleasant phone bills through the years some as high as $800 per month.

    Some months Fido may make a few extra dollars off me because of all the unlimited but I am perfectly happy to pay for not having to worry about it. I know what my phone is going to cost me and no nasty surprises.

  4. Al400 on April 26, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Rogers offer 6GB plans every now and then. Which is a great plan. Did you check the new companies entering the market? They are supposed to offer great deals.

  5. Lennova on April 26, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Always a joy to read your articles, and always learn something new! thumbs up!

  6. heather on April 26, 2010 at 10:43 am

    with bell i get 250 daytime minutes, evenings (from 6pm) & weekends free, all incoming calls free, unlimited text, 500mb data, $.08/min long distance and no fees all for under $50/month.

    it was a special promo, but i sure am glad i snagged it. i don’t much like the 3 year contract, though.

  7. Gean on April 26, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Al400, I have Rogers, but now I don’t have any data plan. Even Rogers offering 6GB in data plan, I doubt most people will use less than 1Gb a month, unless they don’t have internet at home.

    I’ve got mine with a 3 yr contract. After almost 2 years, I need to cancel my contract. So, I have to pay $200. Interesting is that I can only use my iPhone with Rogers, which doesn’t make any sense, since if I want to go to Fido, for example, I have to jailbrake my phone. Spoke with the CSR and they couldn’t answer my question :)

  8. joncosmo on April 26, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Please note that there are rumors of a new iphone launching this summer (may want to wait to see what becomes available).

  9. dip on April 26, 2010 at 10:57 am

    do not buy a new iPhone today, wait until July when the new gen comes out. I’m sure it will be a better phone.

  10. Mich on April 26, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Take the habit of calling back and trying to talk your way out of the activation fee if you’re new (the salesman will always fail to give you what that fee represents anyways). If you’re renewing your contract, you have a margin of maneuver to squeeze out some freebies if they don’t want you to consider the competition.

  11. Subversive on April 26, 2010 at 11:19 am

    I’m not interested enough to compare them all, but when I go to the rogers site and select a 16GB iphone then go to the choose plans screen, the cheapest plan is $65. However it includes visual voicemail which your chart doesn’t show, so I’m not sure why your chart is different than the provider site?

  12. Dilbert789 on April 26, 2010 at 11:22 am

    I just want to know when ‘Evenings’ started at 9pm… I would place that into the ‘night’ category.

  13. Sampson on April 26, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Call me a cheapo, but the difference between getting a different ‘smart phone’ and the iPhone amounts to over $1000 in 3 years for me. I could buy a lot of different gadgets for that money… just me though. ;)

  14. David Hutchison on April 26, 2010 at 11:38 am

    I actually think this looks anti-competitive. As in there is almost no difference – did they all get together and set these prices?

    Also the biggest thing is missing – data!

  15. Seb on April 26, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    I am not an iphone user. Though I have been a Fido & Rogers user, the past 8 years and I have been happy with my service. Plus if you are already a Rogers customer for other products, you have the option of bundling your services even if you a Fido cell as mentioned by one user above.

    Now to give you another view on this, if you are mainly wanting to check emails and browse here and there. You can actually get away with a standard phone as well, and now most standard phones are 3G(HSPA) as well that provide faster connectivity.

    The difference in browsing on SMARTPHONE VS WAP (standard phone), is that on Smartphone the internet browsing/email is more rich user experience as in when viewing a web page it displays like you would on your computer. While on most standard phone the web pages are displayed in text based (aka WAP Browsing) which still gets the job done.

    Emails is another difference. Smartphones you can practically access most types of email, as well as private email accounts such as a work specific or your web hosting email etc… While on WAP devices the email you can access are mainly (yahoo, gmail, hotmail, rogers.com), and that is it but doesn’t mean you can’t forward it to one or the other.

    Now yes the plan will be cheaper for WAP based devices, versus the smartphone. But at the end of the day on a smartphone yes its perks of bells and whistles for APPS, ability to view selected attachments. Rich user experience.

    While WAP based phones have its perks, just minus fancy options above. Though newer phones are slowly creeping up to features.

    Hope that helps.

  16. xTelus on April 26, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    As some previous posters have pointed out Fido has some competitive rates. The thing I like about this plan is they bill by the second. Others round up to the next minute. This plan also includes visual voice mail which is a very handy feature to have.
    Here are other terms:
    * Unlimited Evenings and Weekends (Weeknights, from 7 p.m. to7 a.m. and from Friday 7 p.m. to Monday7 a.m.)
    * Unlimited Text messages (sent from Canada to a Canadian wireless number)
    * Unlimited Picture and Video messages (sent from Canada to a Canadian wireless number or an e-mail address)
    * Unlimited Fido and Rogers Hotspots Wi-Fi
    * Visual Voicemail
    * Call Waiting and Conference Call
    * Additional local airtime minutes at 35¢ (billed by the second)

    * Additional Terms and Conditions for iPhone plans

    Now if you are really cheap like me you could settle for an iTouch and use Skype to make phone calls. The downside is that you have to find a WiFi hotspot in order to make a connection. That may be hard to find in some communities. The upside is you don’t have a contract or monthly fees.

  17. Cheap as Cheddar on April 26, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    The skinflint’s solution is to buy an iPod Touch and keep your cell phone. iPod Touch has everything an iPhone has EXCEPT is has no phone and it has no monthly fees. I’ve been using this combo for six months or so and almost always manage to find free wi-fi somewhere to check emails when out and about.
    People I know with an iPhone spend around $80 a month. A decent cell phone plan is $30 a month. Ask yourself if not being permanently online (and worrying about how much data you’ve used each month) is worth $50 a month in your pocket. It is for me.

  18. Dividend Lover on April 26, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    get the “Visual Voice Mail” feature. I have it from Fido.

    The phone has the voice mails downloaded already and you can listen to which ever one you want in any order whenever, without having to call and enter a pin.

  19. Steve Zussino on April 26, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Has anyone tried to get an unlimited data plan and bought a phone from New Zealand where they cannot legally sell you a locked phone (all phones there are unlocked).

  20. MIke on April 26, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Went with Rogers to get the 15% bundle discount off my whole bill. Got the $50 iphone plan (200 min, free e/w, evenings start at 6, unlimited text/pic, 500mb of data) They also waved the $35 activation fee and gave me a $50 coupon to use in the Rogers store.

    So far I love it. 500mb is just enough too. With all the wireless hotspots out there you never come close to using it all. Also use Skype when on wireless so my min. are not used up.

  21. FrugalTrader on April 26, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    I’ve thrown around the idea of getting an ipod touch + keeping my existing cell phone, but I don’t like having the extra device to carry around.

    What about the idea of getting an iPhone, but not getting the data package? Basically only using the web surfing/email capabilities when within wifi range. Does the iPhone still do automatic firmware updates?

    As well, for those of you with iphone plans, is 500mb enough for light websurfing but heavy email usage?

  22. Tringo on April 26, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Definitely wait for the new iPhone in July. Not only will it a much better device for the same price, but the current unit your are considering will drop in price by 50%.

    I am with Telus and switched over from Rogers. Since Telus and Bell spent Billions of $$$ to upgrade to HSPA they clearly have a network advantage.

    Also, I would say that the data is 100% necessary. I had an iPhone on a voice-only plan for a few months and it was brutal. Everytime I wanted to use those flashy apps they show in the TV-commercials I was out of a Wi-Fi zone.

  23. Seb on April 26, 2010 at 4:19 pm


    The idea of of getting the iPhone w/o a data package is a possibility, though you pay a premium price for the device upon activation or an upgrade.

    Though it has some benefits this way. Say your are spending approx $50 for a plan x 12 = $600/ year for a plan. Now if you don’t intend to get data, you can just get the iPhone at full price (ie. 8GB/3G for $600+tax).

    -You can be on no term
    -Save your self that extra money compared to the rest of the service term you might not use data

    -Would need to find wifi every other time.
    -And might be limited to some APPS that might use internet access for updates.

    As far 500MB is concerned, it is more then enough for an average light user.
    – 2,000 emails
    – 800 webpages
    – 20-30 min of youtube.

    As you can see it is more than enough on a monthly basis, but for a heavy user well they might need more than 500MB.

    Just a small FYI. I know this info b/c I work for a mobile company.

  24. Arthur on April 26, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Just last week I locked into a Rogers voice+data plan with new phone. Got the SE Xperia X10 (just released by Rogers a couple weeks ago) for $100 with a 3 yr plan: 200 minutes, 500MB data, free caller ID (negotiated), unlimited messaging, free evenings/weekends. Monthly fee: $40+recovery fee and taxes because I negotiated $10 off as well. They also waived the $35 activation fee. I blogged about it (http://badasshat.blogspot.com/) in case you want to read more. The key is that you need to negotiate with Rogers, assuming you have some leverage to negotiate with (ie: long history with Rogers, multiple services, not already on contract, etc.).

  25. Len Currie on April 26, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Great article as I’m currently in the exact same position as you FT.

    I’m actually saving up my money however (currently have a blackberry) so that I can own the device and not have to go back on contract.

    I’m also in Atlantic Canada, and know firsthand that the Bell/Telus coverage here is second to none… and extremely fast!

    We’ve actually started an “iPhone fund” (myself and my gf) and we’re up over $200 so far.. heh heh.. too bad we need more than $1200 likely for a pair of them!!

  26. mode3sour on April 26, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    I did the opposite of what Seb suggests

    The iPhone is a handheld computer and I can’t imagine why you’d want voice rather than data

    All voice really is… is data. Why people are still happy to pay for caller ID and “visual voice mail” is beyond me. Let alone paying to send a text message! Glad they don’t charge me $1 to post this comment too!

    I have a data-only plan with Rogers that costs me $25+tax+government fee = ~$30/month and no contract. I find it hard to go over 500mb with all the free wifi around, however I wouldn’t go with out the 500mb! It would cost an extra $5/month for additional data or $5/month for roaming (very important if you travel). Since I don’t have a contract, I can adjust it as I see fit. And I also didn’t pay that activation fee

    With this plan I can send txt perfectly fine for free, receive “visual voice mail” by email for free and anything else an app can do with data. For voice I use V Phone w voip.ms (SIP provider) and Skype. Really what the iPhone is great for is the plethora if apps that integrates the internet and handheld sensors (gps, camera, compass etc)

    I did pay $500 for the iPhone but it saved me just as much on gadgets if not more.

    So as far as I’m concerned, I have a handheld computer for the same monthly fee as a cell phone that only does voice. I don’t see the problem with using primarily email/text on the go and using voice primarily on wifi instead

  27. Ms Save Money on April 26, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Nice comparison! My 2 year phone contract is about to run out so I’m considering another phone as well. I am thinking about the Iphone or maybe a blackberry. It’s the data plans that cost so much money!

  28. cannon_fodder on April 26, 2010 at 6:04 pm


    If you opt for an iPod touch while keeping your existing cell phone, you would also have to consider the extra space in your wallet you will need – for all of that cash you save by avoiding the expense of an iPhone.

    There may be a combination S/W and/or H/W solution that would allow you to “tether” an iPod touch to a cell phone that has a data plan. I looked into it (I have an iPod touch and a Blackberry 8830) but for my combination it wouldn’t work.

    That could prove to be the best solution of all. You would use your iPod when in a WiFi spot; you would use the phone for most calls (Skype on your iPod touch again when in WiFi locations); and, you could potentially connect your cell phone to your iPod touch and use the cell phone as a “modem” to send/retrieve the data that the iPod needs when not in a WiFi spot.

    I used to do that with my PC and my Blackberry. As I said, you would need to do some research based on your existing cell phone to see if that is a viable solution.

  29. M. Taylor on April 26, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Why do you write “the providers are very competitive”?

    They all have the same price and compared to other countries, the price is very high. This is the opposite of “competitive”.

  30. FrugalTrader on April 26, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    Thanks for the tips guys!

    Is $50/month expensive relative to the US for a voice and data plan (including txting)?

  31. Alex Burger on April 26, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    I’m glad I took the time to read what you had to say! Excellent post, thank you….Alex B.

  32. canabiz on April 26, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    FT, instead of the iPhone, why not consider other SmartPhones like BlackBerry or even the new Android one (Xperia with Sony Ericsson)?

    They maybe able to do the same type of jobs and may cost less due to the iPhone hype. From what I gather, the iPhone is more of a personal toy whereas the BlackBerry is geared towards business. I also personally prefer the real keyboard over the touchscreen.

  33. J on April 26, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    In response to #14 … it is somewhat anti-competitive, but it’s not the telephone provider’s fault … Apple is well known for their strict control over all things iPhone – control which probably extends to marketing and advertising options as well.

    If you’re considering an iPhone, I’d certainly recommend including a couple other smartphones in the mix. I’d echo the previous comments that the iPhone is a nice toy, while Blackberry is more functional from a business point of view. HTC (the company that built the Google phone) has a few nice Android-based smartphones as well.

  34. Simon on April 26, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Do yourself a favor and pick up a retention plan off a forum and buy the iphone slightly used. It’s better than having to pay the ridiculous rates for the next 3 years for a subsidized phone.

    theoretically the best value deal for ROGERS is $17.50 EPP + GRRF + $30 for 6gb data +tax = $57~58

    Evenings at 6pm
    100 min canadian LD
    6gb data

  35. mode3sour on April 26, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    I agree with Simon

    I got my iPhone off craigslist used but still in original packaging without a scratch. There are so many available it was easy. If you wait until the next iPhone comes out, you can get the 3gs for even cheaper used and upgrade to the new OS anyways

    I researched the Nexus One and Sony Experia a lot, and even as a Google/Sony fan and a Mac hater (as far as other devices) You just can’t beat the Mac touch screen and apps

    I also have a Black Berry…. it’s nice for emails.

  36. Paul on April 26, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    If you are really looking for a cheap way out you could try doing what I did. Although it’s highly dependent on how much you use the phone.

    I got a used 2G version of the iPhone for ~$225 from Kijiji. Normally you can pick them up in decent shape with only a few scratches, etc for roughly that price.

    Then go with Speakout Wireless through 7-11. There is an option which allows you to have “unlimited browsing” for $10.

    You can then setup the phone using instructions here:

    It would then depend on your usage from there. It’s $0.25/minute after that and $0.10/text. So if you don’t use your phone a lot you could probably keep it to around $30 – $40/month and have no contract.

    It’s not perfect as not all apps work, but a rather large amount do.

  37. DAvid on April 27, 2010 at 12:32 am

    Right now telus offers 200 minutes in their $50 plan. You can opt for an extra 100 minutes, fave 5 or unlimited text in addition. You get 500 MB data at this price which should be fine unless you download video over their network. The $20 per month premium for the phone service is a minor increase over the $30 you are currently paying, given the added value. The price of entry, though is a bit steep.
    In rural areas Rogers coverage is spotty at best, though slowly improving. Fido does not have much coverage outside major centers, and Wind, etc is only in T.O. & Calgary just now — not much use for many of us.

    A smartphone replaces many devices with one that is easy to carry with you, and can be invaluable when traveling. If you do not have these additional devices (GPS, iPOd, etc.) already, it can actually be a bargain.
    My Significant Other does not drive & cannot read maps +1 for the Smartphone with GPS
    You’re in unfamiliar territory and need to find a XXX +1 for the Smartphone with Google or Yahoo!
    Road or weather conditions while traveling +1 for the Smartphone
    geocaching +1 for the Smartphone
    Finding where you parked the car +1 for the Smartphone
    sending your current location to your ‘six’ +1 for the Smartphone
    keeping your calendar synced with S.W.M.B.O+1 for the Smartphone
    directions to the nearest double-double +1 for the Smartphone
    keeping up with MDJ on the road =priceless

    You’re learning a part for your local amateur theatrical production. You can record & listen to the part
    watching last night’s news on the bus to work
    airline check-ins & updates
    etc., etc., etc.

    Twitter -1 for the Smartphone
    Facebook 1 for the Smartphone

    I switched from a pay & talk phone ($10/ mo) to an iPhone ($50/mo), and haven’t looked back. I almost never had the phone with me, but almost always have the smartphone. I did not own a GPS, Ipod, Palm, pocket-sized camera, or kindle, so my phone purchase has saved me purchasing any of these. My email is synced between my desktop and smartphone, as is my calendar. Notes, spreadsheets, powerpoint, etc are all readily available for review. I’ve always got a classic book to read, tunes to listen to, or a podcast to listen to. Best of all, because I have the device with me due to the phone, all the rest is in my pocket.


    Did I say having a 3G connection while traveling is a major bonus?

  38. DAvid on April 27, 2010 at 12:38 am

    Oh, Yeah, it is well worth waiting for a special. The major carriers regular offer early evenings, waive the set-up fee, and other bonuses. Christmas time seems especially good for offers.


  39. mode3sour on April 27, 2010 at 1:26 am

    I’m with DAvid

    The list goes on and on haha

    It’s even useful when you’re at home to do things like control your laptop attached to your tv over wifi like a touchpad or control itunes seamlessly (even a $$$ logitec remote can’t do this much)

    Track your sleep cycle and wake you up almost naturally during a light sleep cycle (biological alarm clock $$$)

    Show you all the upcoming traffic webcams, speedtraps, gas prices etc etc (priceless)

    Label the mountain peak, store etc on your screen your camera is pointing at (just cool)

    Listening to audiobooks on a plane (I actually look forward to flying now)

    Measure the angle of elevation of an obstacle and automatically calculate the trigonometry for height, and stamp onto a picture lat/long/bearing/range/elevation/horizon angle etc (huge time saver for my job)

    Buy stocks anywhere (already paid for itself here)

    And of course get MDJ by RSS feed

    I don’t know how I lived without it

  40. frugaldoc on April 27, 2010 at 4:02 am

    Boo hiss on iphone and Apples shortsighted policies with respect to closed software, limiting developers, controlling their app store in a somewhat arbitrary yet self serving way. And not trusting people with more than one button. My vote is for android phones because it does not have these drawbacks. As well there is excellent google integration if you use their apps. Phones can be had at better deals because you don’t have to deal with as much hype and demand.

  41. M on April 27, 2010 at 9:33 am

    This is a disappointing post. You’re only comparing 1 small set of plans.

    I expected more.

  42. Sampson on April 27, 2010 at 10:22 am

    @ DAvid – undoubtedly smart phones are very powerful machines, but the question really should be is the premium paid for an iPhone worth it over an alternative. This is where I’ve chosen an alternative.

    I have a Windows mobile based HTC non-data phone. I pay $20 all-in for a great voice plan (better than most iPhone plans) – unlimited internet all across Canada. I’m lacking GPS functionality (but I could add a bluetooth key-ring one and full Garmin software), and wi-fi (but I’ve got an old phone). These two are big, but newer models resolve these. Everything else on your list, I do/have.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Apple fan and use Macs a plenty – but the iPhone in my view is quite the overpriced luxury item. There are plenty of cheaper alternatives.

  43. Simon on April 27, 2010 at 10:56 am


    What makes the mac “not an overpriced luxury item”??

  44. Sampson on April 27, 2010 at 11:01 am

    @ Simon – work buys them ;)

  45. SteveM on April 27, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Saving money is always smart, but sometime saving money is about looking further down the road past what you spend today.

    The true cost of smart phones are sometime harder to see and are not as easy to calculate as you would think, as the start up cost is not the only think to take into consideration.

    My wife is a big fan of this site and she would consider herself as very frugal and I consider her to be very good with money.

    But when I was considering buying an iphone, she thought it was a waste of money and just a toy.

    For the most part, she is right, people do buy technology for the wow factor, but when I do, I would like to think its based on a bit more.

    So after much protest, I decided to buy the iphone any way.

    My Rogers phone bill at the time was about $160.00 per month as I used it for business and have a family plan.

    I upgraded one phone to the iphone and got the $30.00 a month data plan, at the time it was the 6 gig plan.

    After a month or two, I got the feel of the phone and found some apps that were very useful for my business.

    But the part that made a difference was I now used technology in a different way, I used email and other features from the phone more and talked less, which drastically reduced the minutes I was using.

    Before I knew it, the cost of my plan actually dropped by $60 per month, so even though I was adding $30 per month for the data plan, I was saving double that in airtime.

    Plus I down loaded a scrabble game that has kept me pretty much entertained where ever I go. This is another thing I found, games and apps on itunes are very cheap, starting from free to an average of $2.

    It’s not very often technology becomes more than a toy, but in the iphone case it has, I have found apps that have help save me money and time over and over again.

  46. Sampson on April 27, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    iPhones and Apples products typically represent the ultimate of emotional purchasing. They always seem to bring on an onslaught of staunch supporters.

    While smart phones may ‘save you money’ going forward (the common justification), you can achieve the same thing with another product.

    Like cars, someone might buy a Prius at a premium, and justify the additional cost by mentioned gas savings, and reduced emissions, but if you drive often at speeds when the electric motor is not in use, then buying a Civic might actually be the better option for both $ and emissions.

    If people like the iPhone, great, but call a Spade a Spade.

  47. Tummon on April 27, 2010 at 2:03 pm


    Iphone pricing for both hardware and service is comparable to other similarly equipped smart phones. Are you suggesting that most Blackberries fall into your generalization of ‘overpriced luxury’ items?

    If you’re paying $20…great…but that’s likely not a plan that is either obtainable or useful to most people (i.e. it’s likely limited which wouldn’t support exchange integration).

    I’m a big Apple hater myself actually but the iphone represents great value to those that have use for a powerful, portable device.

  48. DAvid on April 27, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Care to put together a comparison of the features and prices for a current phone package in the manner you describe? I’d like to see how your setup would compare to that which FrugalTrader created.


  49. SteveM on April 27, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    I think I should clarify, I don’t want to put any emphasis on the hardware as it’s not just the start up costs that are important, which includes hardware, but a combination of plans and start up cost. Its total cost of ownership that is important.

    The main point I wanted to make was that even though I paid a bit more in the beginning, the savings over the long term became evident. Over the first 3 years I ended up saving roughly $30 per month, so less the cost of the hardware, I was ahead over $700.

    Oddly enough, I am not very big supporter of apple products in general, in fact, I would say I am very much a pc person, many because apple hardware is very expensive and suited for specific needs, where as pc platforms are more generic and software is more readily available.

    But when it comes to smart phones, I did pick an iphone, mainly because it meet my needs better than the other smart phones. I have tried other smart phones, but for one reason or another, they just didn’t fit.

  50. Sampson on April 27, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    I’ll try to find some numbers (Tummon is partly correct, I think my plan is largely unavailable, but I think you can get it somewhere), but hey, I don’t have my own blog to do this stuff, and I’m not that altruistic.

    I hope people don’t think I’m trying to knock on these products or decisions, like I said much earlier, I’d buy one if I wasn’t so cheap (call it jealousy).

    The problem with the expensive pricing is not necessary the iPhone hardware itself, or the packages etc, it is the lack of flexibility when it comes to the Data plans. There are data phones, that also can use the standard internet access (non-data) where you can get all the lower cost options from the regular phones, have all the Smart phone functionality, are Windows based, wi-fi, GPS.

    My biggest gripe is the hand cuffing to more expensive Data plans. I surf on my phone as much as the next guy, but I don’t need to watch video or download incredible amounts of data on it.

  51. cannon_fodder on April 27, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    I have both a Blackberry ( through work) and an iPod touch. I do not like Apples proprietary and restrictive policies nor the mass lemming-like following of their products and marketing.

    But I LOVE the iPod touch. There are so many worthwhile and free apps for it that I find it far more useful than my BB. So I give credit where credit is due.

  52. DAvid on April 28, 2010 at 2:59 am

    Frugal Trader asks: “Is $50/month expensive relative to the US for a voice and data plan (including txting)?”

    From the AT&T website, the minimum cost package would be:
    Phone $199 on 2 year contract
    Voice plan (includes Long Distance) $40 (450 minutes) – $70 (unlimited minutes)
    Data Plan $30 (5 GB / Month)
    Unlimited Messages $20 ($5 and $15 packages also available)
    Activation fee: $36

    So the minimum costs for a plan including unlimited texting is $90. If you limit your texts to 250 per month you could lower your monthly cost to $75. The absolute lowest fee is $70. If you are a low usage client (me) the deals in Canada are better. If however you expect to use a large number of minutes, especially long distance, and lots of data, AT&T has more cost effective plans. I have read the average AT&T contract is about $85 per month. In Canada with telus, $87 could provide you with 800 minutes, unlimited text, and 2 gigs of traffic, LD is extra. You can tether your phone on a Canadian plan, but not on a AT&T plan.

    I have not seen any info on the actual usage patterns of users in the USA, but I would expect many on the unlimited plans do not use anywhere near the level of use these plans allow.

    So, in Canada, if the $50, or $65, plans meet your needs, they would be a better deal than the AT&T package. You wouldn’t need to make many LD calls for the $80 package to become cost ineffective.


  53. Future Money-Bags on April 28, 2010 at 6:35 am

    I know a lot of people that have the unlimited, and when I first heard about it I didn’t believe it.
    Until my uncle let me use his cell to call back home and said he has unlimited to US and Canada for under $50..
    But that was a few years ago.

  54. Noel on June 16, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    I have the iPhone 32GB 3GS and am grandfathered on the CityFido unlimited 24/7/365 voice plan for $45/mos (no longer offered) + $30/6GB/mos data plan + $6.95 system access fee + $0.50 911 fee + $15/voicemail, callforwarding, calldisplay, 2,500 text messages, 1,000 pictures messages plan which is $110.12/mos with tax. I get unlimited voice and the 6GB as long as I keep renewing my contract.

    Awesome, and I can’t get this anywhere else for this price.

  55. Ming on June 30, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    I’m with Bell and my plan consists of, 500min unlimited incoming, 6pm 500mb data plan caller id msg center call forwarding 2500 text unlimited incoming text, no system access fee, 62$ plus taxes
    you guys think thats a good price?

  56. Ed on August 31, 2010 at 3:22 am

    My wife’s corporate plan with Bell just expired so we are currently looking for the best iphone plan. Any suggestions?

  57. DAvid on August 31, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    In my opinion, the best advertised deal is from telus mobility, with their $65 voice & data plan, which for a short time includes 6GB data. However, you would likely get a better deal from Bell by calling their Loyalty & Retentions department, and negotiating the plan you really want. Also take a look at the other phones out there. Android phones are worth a look (especially if you use Google products) and some of the Windows-based phones have value if you use Microsoft Office applications frequently.


  58. Ed on September 1, 2010 at 3:14 am

    Thanks David, I appreciate the advice.

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