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?

58 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    DAvid

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

  6. 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?

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

    Ed,
    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.

    DAvid

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

    Thanks David, I appreciate the advice.

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