Sunday, January 15, 2012

How Most Canadian Cell Phone Contracts Work, and How To Get The Best Phones for $0 (Over Time)

Since I started becoming interested in both consumer rights and mobile technology, I've encountered a lot of confusion at the intersection of those two ideas: just what rights do consumers have with their cell phones; what are they allowed to do? Here's a BIG collection of those answers. I expect to be directing quite a few people towards this post!

Scroll down the blog post for answers to the following:
  1. Do I own my cell phone?
  2. What if I break my cell phone? What if I hate using it?
  3. I'm on a 3-year contract and I lost my phone. My carrier wants $200 to cover the remaining months. Seems like highway robbery to me. What do you think?
  4. Other than a carrier's store/website, where can you buy a phone?
  5. SIM Cards and Changing Phones
  6. The $0 Phone is (Almost Always) a Bad Investment
  7. A Personal Example: How to Get Top-of-the-Line Phones for $0 (over time)
  8. Cell Phone Number Portability in Canada
  9. I live in {X Province}. I will be spending a few weeks/months in {Z Province}. What's the best way to ensure coverage? 

1. Do I own my cell phone?

This is not a dumb question, because to most everyday users it is not clear. The answer is yes. You own the physical piece of hardware (the cell phone) that you bought and paid for from the carrier. That iPhone belongs to you, and only you.

A $50/month, three-year contract equals $1,800 of your money paid to a cellular carrier over that time period. Given that guaranteed revenue stream, most carriers in Canada and the United States will subsidize the cost of the cell phone itself. So even if you've received a $0 cell phone with your new cell phone contract, that piece of hardware belongs to you. You're free to modify it, scratch it, put a sticker on it, or sell it.

2. What if I break my cell phone? What if I hate using it?

If you drop your cell phone and it breaks, or if you truly dislike using it, you are welcome to replace it with a new cell phone at any time, whether you have a contract or not. You do not have to wait for your contract to expire to change phones. In fact, it pains me when people tell me they're "waiting out" their contracts while paying $40-80 dollars a month to use hardware they hate!

Since the cell phone belongs to you (not the carrier), the carrier doesn't really care what you do with your physical phone as long as you maintain your contractual agreement. If your phone needs replacing, you have a few options:

1) Buy a new phone from the carrier. You're welcome to walk into a SaskTel store, pick out a shiny new iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android and say "I want this phone on my current contract". The downside: if you're in the middle of your contract, you will be ineligible for a subsidized cell phone. That new iPhone may cost $600 - which represents the true, unsubsidized cost of the phone.

2) Buy a new or used phone, anywhere else, so long as it's compatible with their network (see next section for more information).

Something thing to be aware of: most carriers charge a "new device activation fee" for bringing a different phone onto their network. This is a one-time fee; at SaskTel it is $25.

3. I'm on a 3-year contract and I lost my phone. My carrier wants $200 to cover the remaining months. Seems like highway robbery to me. What do you think? (added this question Nov 25/2012)

Sadly, there is no such thing as a "free" phone.

As an example: Telus (or Rogers, or SaskTel, or whoever) will give you a $300 phone for $0 if you agree to a 3-year contract. They know that they can lose a bit of money on the phone, but make it (and much more) over the 3 year contract.

A $75/mo plan over 36 months is $2700 in Telus' pocket, but some of that monthly fee pays back the $300 they LOANED you when they "gave" you that phone for "free" - I use quotes not to be facetious, but to emphasize that the phone didn't REALLY cost nothing and it wasn't REALLY free.

If you lose your phone or want to cancel your contract, suddenly Telus can't make 3 years' worth of money from you, AND you (or your daughter) effectively lost $300 that Telus loaned you.

4. Other than a carrier's store/website, where can you buy a phone?

This one's easy: virtually anywhere. You can look on eBay, Kijiji, or see if your nerdy friend has an extra phone lying around.

You need to be sure that your new phone will be compatible with your carrier's network. If you order a phone directly from Japan, chances are it won't work in Canada. But if you buy a used phone from a SaskTel customer, you know that phone will work on SaskTel's network.

Often times it may not be clear if a phone will work on SaskTel's (or your carrier's) network. I recommend collecting as much info on the phone as you can (brand name, model number, serial number, etc) and send that information to your carrier. In the past, SaskTel has been very helpful answering compatability questions that I've had.

5. SIM Cards and Changing Phones

A SIM card is a tiny removable chip in your phone. If you're on Rogers, or if you're on SaskTel or Telus' new 4G networks, you have one. It's wafer-thin, about an inch long and looks like this:

SIM stands for "subscriber identity module" which gives you a hint about what it does: it identifies you to cell phone towers, which then know what services you should be billed for (voice, text, data, etc).

In "the old days", a carrier like SaskTel would manually program your cell phone number into the phone when you purchased it. On the newer networks with newer phones, a SIM card eliminates the need for that manual entry: any phone you insert your SIM card into will be the one that rings when someone calls your cell phone number.

If the following conditions are true...

  • You have an active contract with a cellular carrier (eg, SaskTel)
  • You have a SIM card
  • The phone(s) that you have are compatible with your SIM card and cellular carrier
...ANY phone that you put your SIM card into will just start working, with no need to talk to your carrier (or be charged a $25 device activation fee). Again, your carrier only cares that you pay for your contract, they don't care what phone you use. Knowing this, it's possible to own multiple cell phones, and put your SIM card in the one you want to use at the start of the day.

In short, a SIM card allows you to access the services your carrier provides to you, through any cellular device of your choice.

6. The $0 Phone is (Almost Always) a Bad Investment

If you have a "dumbphone" (a non-smartphone), chances are your bill is around $40/month, which is $1,440 over three years paid to a carrier. If you have a smartphone, chances are your bill is around $75/month, which is $2,700 over three years.

Especially to smartphone buyers: if you're paying close to $3,000 for your contract, why accept a mediocre device? $0 phones are often older, out-of-date phones that lack the cool features of the newest phones. Their cameras are bad, their user interfaces are frustrating, and certain apps may not work - or worse, they may not support apps at all! Imagine, a phone without Angry Birds.

If you're signing up for a new contract or renewing an existing one, I urge you to take advantage of the subsidies that carriers give high-end smartphones for 2- and 3-year contracts. Spend $160 on a top-of-the-line phone! After all, the unsubsidized price of top-of-the-line iPhones and Androids is upwards of $600. Buying an top-of-the-line iPhone or Android for $160 (with a three-year contract) is like taking advantage of a 75% off sale!

If you or someone you know is not very tech-y but you still want a smartphone, buy an iPhone. I'm not a huge fan of them for a bunch of nerdy, obscure reasons, but they're extremely high-quality, capable and most importantly, easy-to-use devices.

On the other hand, if you accept a years-old $0 phone with a new contract (old BlackBerrys are often freebies), you're going to be using a slow device with a bad camera, bad apps, bad user interface, and bad screen resolution for the next three years! If you look at your phone more than five times a day, you owe it to yourself to use a functional, non-frustrating, usable piece of technology.

7. A Personal Example: How to Get Top-of-the-Line Phones for $0 (over time)

Here's my system to get the best phones and pay (essentially) nothing. In fall 2011, I was eligible for a subsidized hardware upgrade with SaskTel. A hardware upgrade is essentially a reward for making it through 24 months of a 3-year contract; carriers let you buy a new phone at the three-year subsidized price IF and ONLY IF you renew your contract with them for an extra two years.

I bought a Samsung Galaxy S II at the subsidized price of $160 plus tax. I removed the SIM card from my old phone - a Samsung Vibrant - and put it in my new phone. I turned it on and it worked. Easy!

Later that week, I unlocked my old phone so it would work on any carrier's network (which required some Googling and some hacking). This is not required, but it increases the number of potential buyers since someone could take it to Telus and use it there. Then I listed my old phone for sale on Kijiji. Within a few days, I sold it to a guy for $250. Hello, profit!

In fall 2013, when I am eligible for another hardware upgrade, I will once again buy the latest-and-greatest phone for the subsidized price of about $200. I will also sell my Samsung Galaxy S II on Kijiji for about $200-300. This is possible because I purchased my current phone at its subsidized price, not its true retail value of $600-700. Because these are higher-end phones, they retain value much better than the $0 phones.

The market for used high-quality smartphones is strong, so by purchasing subsidized top-of-the-line smartphones and selling them two years later at their used, but unsubsidized value, I'm essentially paying $0 for the best phones available. This is infinitely better than the people who get stuck in the free/$0 cell phone cycle - their hardware costs over time are the same as mine, but I get to use the better phones :-)

How do you figure out what price to sell your old phone for? Just search Kijiji and see what other people are charging.

8. Cell Phone Number Portability in Canada

If you decide to switch from SaskTel to Rogers, or Telus to Bell, or MTS to TBayMobile, as a Canadian you have the right (by law) to keep your phone number. This is called Wireless Number Portability, and you can find more info on it here: http://www.wirelessnumberportability.ca/english/index.html

The main restriction is that you must be within the same metropolitan area. If you're moving cross-country, you may not be eligible.

You also have the right to port your landline number to wireless. So for you dinosaurs who have a landline but no cell phone, you have the right to move your landline's phone number to a cell phone (or vice versa).

The most important thing to remember is not to cancel your old account before signing up for the new account - your new carrier (or existing carrier, if you're going from landline to cell but staying with the same company) will initiate the process of porting your number for you. This number portability process should be free, even if there are other fees on your account (like SaskTel's $25 new device activation fee). And it should always be possible to port numbers - within the restrictions outlined on the linked site - so don't let an uninformed service representative tell you it's impossible.

9. I live in {X Province}. I will be spending a few weeks in {Z Province}. What's the best way to ensure coverage? (added Dec 22/2012)

If you're going to be in another province for a few weeks or months (but not years):

1) Go pre-paid, but the provider doesn't really matter. For a Rogers, SaskTel, Bell, Telus, Fido, etc pre-paid phone plus a month of phone and data is probably going to run you $50-100 for a cheap phone, $20 for a month of calling, and $20 to add on some data. Do some research to see who has better coverage in that province if you will be travelling around.

2) Roam on your existing provider's number. Depending on your use, if you're in another province for a few weeks or months the roaming charges may be less than the $100-200 you might otherwise spend on a pre-paid phone plus minutes and data.

That's all I can think of! Please leave a comment or shoot me an email if you have a question - I do enjoy updating this post and making it a useful resource. Please note that I don't know the "best" details of every plan, provider, etc, so I often can't recommend a particular plan, phone, or provider. Unless you're in Saskatchewan, go SaskTel :-)

117 comments:

  1. Thanks for the info, very helpful. Been wondering about the workings of a phone contract (and the loopholes). This makes it easy to understand :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Can I sell my daughters cell phone to someone even though the phone is not yet paid for, it was being billed to me monthly and she lost her privledges to her phone and I have been slow to pay down the bill? Can someone still use that phone with another sim card under their own account?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous, are you sure the phone isn't paid for? Usually the phone is purchased at the start of the contract. I'd talk to your daughter's cellphone provider to see what your options are.

      Delete
    2. Maybe if she tried prepaid calling cards, she might stick to that. They usually have low rates and excellent services

      Delete
  3. Hi,

    I noticed your comment..."A hardware upgrade is essentially a reward for making it through 24 months of a 3-year contract; carriers let you buy a new phone at the three-year subsidized price IF and ONLY IF you renew your contract with them for an extra two years."

    Does Sasktel allow you to get the three-year subsidized rate if you only renew for an extra two years? Or do you mean that you get a phone for the three-year rate and then you get to upgrade again in two years? Sort of making it like you're always on a 2 year plan when it comes to being able to sell your own phone every two years. That was probably confusing.
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Scott,
       
      Sorry for the confusion. Let me lay it out another way:
       
      Month 0: Start new 3-year contract, get subsidized 3-year pricing on a device.
      Month 12 (1 year): Nothing happens
      Month 24 (2 years): Eligible for hardware upgrade at the 3-year subsidized pricing IF you extend your EXISTING contract an EXTRA 24 months. From this day forward you are effectively on a new 3-year contract, and can sell your old phone.
      Month 36 (3 years): Nothing happens
      Month 48 (4 years): Eligible for hardware upgrade at the 3-year subsidized pricing IF you extend your EXISTING contract an EXTRA 24 months. From this day forward you are effectively on a new 3-year contract, and can sell your old phone.
      Month 60 (5 years): Nothing happens
      Month 72 (6 years): Hardware upgrade, extend contract, sell phone, etc.
      (repeat forever)
       
      Hope this makes sense to you.
       
      Brahm

      Delete
  4. Thank. That's what I figured you meant.

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  5. Am considering purchasing an Iphone for my son as his old phone has quit working. Does not yet qualify for an upgrade until January and Virgin will not budge on this. Want only to sell another cheap phone. We figured we may as well go with an Iphone to keep up with technology and were wondering if it would be better to purchase the Iphone outright as opposed to subsidizing through a carrier?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous,

      When you have a choice between buying the phone outright or getting the carrier subsidy, you need to figure out if, for the next three years:

      - You'll be staying in the same general service area;
      - You can afford regular monthly phone payments, and;
      - You want to commit to a data plan.

      If those things are all true, you might be able to save some cash in the long term with a carrier subsidy. But, if you plan on moving around, changing carriers, or you just hate being tied down to a contract, buying the phone outright is the better option.

      Delete
  6. I am with telus, I paid for the early upgrade device thing so I own this phone out right however to get out of my contract that ends march 2014 (I travel a lot and where I live there is very little service on the south end of the city and out of town) they are telling me I have to pay for the device to do this...that makes NO sense to me at all, as I have already paid over 300 for the phone itself. I just want to switch to a provider that has better service area. PLEASE HELP! thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Crystal,

      The only time you'd pay the Early Device Upgrade fee is when you're buying a new phone because you want to replace the old one, OR when you're breaking your contract early.

      For instance, let's pretend the year is 2010 and you are a new Telus customer. You buy a BlackBerry, and the price of that BlackBerry is subsidized (discounted) because you sign a 3-year contract. To give you the discount Telus expects you to be a customer for the whole three years, or else they lose money by subsidizing the phone.

      Now let's time-travel to March 2011: you're sick of the BlackBerry you've had for 1 year and you want to upgrade to a shiny new iPhone. You COULD pay full retail price (let's say $800) for the iPhone and NOT extend your Telus contract for an extra three years. This is much more expensive up front, but can be cheaper in the long term.

      But, you want the short-term value: the subsidized phone price of $300. Telus lets you start a new 3-year contract if you pay the Early Device Upgrade fee on your OLD phone (the BlackBerry). Telus shows you how this fee is calculated on this page: https://www.telusmobility.com/en/AB/Upgrades/calculate-your-device-balance.shtml You pay the upgrade fee on your OLD phone, your new 3-year contract is put in place to 2014 and you go home with a subsidized $300 iPhone.

      So now (today) it sounds like you're in a situation where you need to break out of your contract early. Telus sees that they sold you your current phone at a subsidized price, and they need to recoup the discount they gave you won't fulfill the 3-year contract. Remember, the previous Early Device Upgrade fee you paid was to get out of this same situation on your OLD phone. But now, there is also (probably, unfortunately) going to be another fee for breaking out of your contract early that is not related to device costs.

      Sorry for the long-winded reply. Just remember this: If you've EVER gotten a discount on a new phone for signing a contract, Telus (or any other carrier) is going to want that discount back if you break your contract early.

      Delete
  7. My daughter is one year into a 3 year contract with Telus. The phone was $0 and then they discount it monthly over the term of the contract. She lost it and now they want $221 to cover the remaining months. Seems like highway robbery to me. What do you think?
    Jennifer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Sadly, there is no such thing as a "free" phone.

      As an example: Telus (or Rogers, or SaskTel, or whoever) will give you a $300 phone for $0 if you agree to a 3-year contract. They know that they can lose a bit of money on the phone, but make it (and much more) over the 3 year contract.

      A $75/mo plan over 36 months is $2700 in Telus' pocket, but some of that monthly fee pays back the $300 they LOANED you when they "gave" you that phone for "free" - I use quotes not to be facetious, but to emphasize that the phone didn't REALLY cost nothing and it wasn't REALLY free.

      If you lose your phone or want to cancel your contract, suddenly Telus can't make 3 years' worth of money from you, AND you (or your daughter) effectively lost $300 that Telus loaned you.

      That's why, *when you sign your contract* you agree to complete the whole three years, or pay a penalty for ending it early. This does 2 things: Pay back the $300 loan, and make Telus lots of money.

      It sucks to lose a phone, and I don't think carriers do a good job of explaining how this works to their customers, but it's not highway robbery. (this is why I always read ALL the fine print, even if it takes 20 minutes and the salesperson gets annoyed). Hope this helps.

      Delete
  8. Yes, thanks! Am now looking on eBay for a cheaper replacement.
    Jennifer

    ReplyDelete
  9. My son lives in Prince George and his Telus Blackberry recently died. He's asked if I can send him my old SaskTel BB Curve. I called the vendor I bought it from and they told me that Telus and SaskTel aren't compatible and that I'd have to get the phone "unlocked". Two questions - what exactly does unlocked mean and could my son get this done in BC or would I have to get it done here?
    ~Deb~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Deb,

      There are two types of "locking/unlocking" that people talk about with cell phones:

      1. The password you can (optionally) use on your phone to keep prying eyes out, and

      2. A carrier-based lock, programmed into your phone that prevents your device from being used on competitor's networks (even if the device is technically capable of operating on that network).

      SaskTel is telling you that your old BB Curve is carrier-locked to SaskTel, so the phone can only be activated on SaskTel networks. I despise carrier locks. I think they're anti-competitive and not at all consumer friendly.

      (You bought the phone - shouldn't you be able to use it anywhere? What if you could only drive your Toyota on "Toyota roads"?)

      To get your old BB Curve unlocked and ready to work on Telus' network, you have two options:

      1. Convince a SaskTel dealer to unlock the phone for you. This is not a service they advertise, but they should be capable of doing it. They may charge a fee; I would not expect to pay more than $30. NOTE: Telus won't unlock a SaskTel phone. They'll send you back to SaskTel to do it.

      (Don't know what to ask for? Just say "I need this old SaskTel phone unlocked so my son can activate it on Telus' network - his current phone is broken". If they give you grief, emphasize the phone is not currently tied to a contract and SaskTel won't be losing any business. Or try another dealer location).

      2. Have someone else unlock it. There are a bunch of websites that instruct you to send in your IMEI number (a unique number that identifies your phone) and the website generates an unlock code for your phone. This is possible because "unlock codes" are generated by an algorithm. Usually these websites charge fees. Use caution researching these sites because it's hard to seperate the sketchy ones from the reliable ones. (NOTE: your son could do this in BC if he wanted to try it).

      Once the phone is unlocked, Telus should have no problems activating it on their network. Remember that carriers usually charge about $25 to activiate any new device, whether they sold it to you, or if you brought it to them.

      Hope this helps.

      Delete
  10. My contract is up with Fido I am thinking of switching to Telus because Fido doesn't offer any phones I like. What do you think about purchasing an unlocked nexus 4 for $359 from Google and not being tied down to a contract or do you think its better to get a $100 down Samsung S3 on a 3 year contact?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous,

      I'm familiar with both phones but I'm no expert on which is "better" - I think the S3 and the Nexus 4 both have pros and cons. (Nex4 has no SD slot, for instance).

      I'm also not familiar with Telus' pre-paid plans vs. their contracts. You'd have to crunch some numbers and figure out what option works best for you.

      On principle, I think the unlocked, contract-free phone is more consumer-friendly:
      - Not tied into a contract
      - Easy to use on different carriers
      - No hidden costs; can cancel at any time.

      But if you're going to live in the same area for the next three years, contracts aren't so bad (in my opinion). It's your call!

      My advice: You know what phones you want. Now start looking at pre-paid versus contract plans, and make a spreadsheet figuring out your costs over three years.

      Delete
  11. hi
    m moving to canada from pakistan
    plz guide me in detail which network will be suitable for me
    i want good call rates and gprs/3g services
    and i want a smart fone on contract too
    plz guide me

    anza

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    Replies
    1. Hi Anza,

      Welcome to Canada! I can't guide you through every step of the process, but I can give you some important information for new Canadians:

      1. Canada is a HUGE country. Most large cities have great 3G coverage. Small towns and remote locations may have bad coverage, or they may only have one carrier.

      2. In some provinces, certain companies may have better coverage. In Alberta, it's Telus. In Saskatchewan, it's SaskTel. In Manitoba, it's MTS. I'm not sure about the rest.

      3. Canada has some of the most expensive cell phone plans in the world. For a smartphone on contract, you can expect to pay between $60 and $100 Canadian dollars per month depending on your plan.

      4. Rogers, Bell, and Telus are Canada's "big three" carriers. They usually have the widest selection of devices. Their contracts are usually VERY similar to one another. Smaller carriers may have better customer service and cheaper plans, but fewer smartphones to choose from: MTS, SaslTel, Public Mobile, Videotron, WIND, or Mobilicity.

      5. If you're doing any long-distance calling (to Pakistan or elsewhere) be sure to know the cost, or if it's covered in your contract. It can be expensive, espeically on a cell phone.

      Hope this helps you.

      Delete
  12. In the U.S., you can buy throwaway phones (e.g. $30 for 100 minutes .. enough to last the vacation). Is there anything comparable in Canada? The cheapest Walmart prepaid phone is $60 and I don't know if I'd have to spend 30 minutes "setting up and activating".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi James,

      I'm not sure. I think some setup and activation is required most of the time, but it's minimal. I had a Virgin Mobile cell while I lived out-of-province for a year and the purchase (including setup) didn't take more than 20 minutes.

      7-11, Petro-Can, Virgin, and lots of other pre-paid carriers all seem to have similar rates and options. Leave me another comment if you find a good solution.

      Delete
  13. Hi i'm thinking of getting a phone. Possibly a shared plan with my parents except they currently have a 3 year contract with bell. Would they have to pay the cancelation fee if I added another phone onto their plan for $20 a month? Or would we just have to pay the activation fee?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous, only Bell can say for sure, but I'd guess there would be no cancellation fee at all. It's usually a one-time $25 (approx) fee to activate a new phone.

      The total cost would be the activation fee, plus the one-time cost of the phone, plus whatever the monthly fee is for adding a new phone to your parents plan.

      Delete
  14. Hi Brahm, I signed a 3 year contract with Telus last night. Not the smartest thing to do since I get the balance of my cell phone and internet services from Bell. A Bell CSR told me that Bell allows 14 days from signing for customers to gracefully bow out of their contract. Do you know if there would be a similar clause for Telus. I did not see one in the contract. Thank you for your time.
    It is a woman's perogative to change her mind..right *shrug*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Double check your contract (you should have a copy) or give them a call and ask. Questions like this are usually answered best by Customer Service, not a random blogger :)

      One tip, though: If the first rep doesn't give you the answer you want, call and ask again (and maybe a third time). Every once in a while you get someone incompetent who tells you "no" because it's the easiest answer.

      Delete
  15. Good afternoon Brahm, Thank you very much for replying so quickly. Of course you are absolutely right in saying that I should find my answer through their customer service. I appreciate the tip.

    Have a fantastic day!

    Diane

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi!

    I'll be moving to Canada (Toronto) in March. Are there requirements for a contract, such as credit in the country? I'll be a permanent resident, but I would've just arrived, so I wouldn't have any credit right away. I've looked into plans at Rogers and they seem to best suit my needs.
    Thanks!
    - Talita

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    Replies
    1. Hi Talita,

      Most (if not all) carriers perform a credit check if you are going to be signing a contract with them. They want to be sure they can collect on all their bills!

      If you don't have credit (or credit that they recognize), you can probably still sign a contract if you leave a deposit. You will have to talk to Rogers (or other carriers) about what the deposit amount would be. They will return your deposit over time if your account stays in good standing.

      If a credit check or a leaving a deposit is an obstacle to you, you may want to investigate

      Hope this helps,
      -Brahm

      Delete
    2. Oops, forgot to finish what you should investigate. Check out pre-paid phones if the credit check or the despoit is an obstacle.

      Cheers,
      -Brahm

      Delete
  17. This has been SO helpful. Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hey Brahm,

    It appears the jig is up. I just visited the Sasktel store this evening and found out they changed the 24 month upgrade policy. They replaced it with, what I can only describe as, a much worse deal. Instead of being able to extend your contract by 24 months and get a fully subsidized phone after 2 years, you now are now able to get a fully subsidized phone with a new 3 year contract at any time, but must pay off the portion of the subsidy on your previous phone.

    Example:

    Previously: Purchase new SIII for $0 on 3 year contract (a $600 subsidy). After 2.5 years, get new fully subsidized phone ($600 again) and extend previous contract for 2 more years.
    In short: $1200 subsidy over 5 years of contract.

    Now: Purchase new SIII for $0 on 3 year contract (a $600 subsidy). After 2.5 years, get new fully subsidized phone ($600 subsidy) but have to pay off the last 33% of the previous subsidy (-$100) and have to sign a new 3 year contract.
    In short: $1100 subsidy over 5.5 years of contract.

    What this mean for you is that after 2 years, you'll be required to pay back 33% of the cost of the phone to Sasktel so you can sign a new contract with them and get a new phone. There goes that nice chunk of change from selling your phone on Kijiji.

    Longer contracts, less subsidy. It's just worse overall for the consumer. I'm thinking of just waiting out my contract (couple more months) and moving to another carrier.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Damn! Well, thanks for letting me know. I'll update the post eventually.

      I'm hoping the CRTC moves towards scrapping the 3-year contracts from Canadian carriers. I wouldn't mind a total shake-up; 3-year contracts are simply not competitive and don't favour consumer choice & mobility!

      Delete
  19. HiI was wondering if you could answer a question for me.
    I was a customer with rogers and I ported my number to fido as new customer.
    i originally had the iphone 5 but as a new customer I was told that I could return/exchange my phone within 15 days/less then 30 mins talk time. a few days later i ended returning my phone to get my galaxy s3 on a 2year contract instead of three year one I had with iphone5. The cost of the iPhone(279) covered my cost of the Galaxy S3(250). This was all in December and fast forward to today, I was charged for another galaxy s3 ($550 handset charge minus a $300 credit agreement) and 25 Hardware upgrade fee. I know them charging me for another galaxy s3 was wrong, the girl at the store screwed up the processing of my return but i was wondering if the 25 upgrade fee is still applicable to a new customer who return her phone with the 15 days a per the customer satisfaction guarantee.

    Thanks in Advance (:

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi!
    I currently have a contract with MTS but have moved to a different province. MTS is not affiliated with any other company across the country therefore they told me the only way to get out of the contract would be to pay the $400 fee. Is there any way that the contract could be broken for this type of situation?
    Also, are they allowed to make it so that the service plan you have for long distance and data is only active in Manitoba and as soon as you leave the province, you no longer have the same data usage limits as well as long distance coverage?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anon,

      You may want to track down the original contract you signed and check what the provisions are for moving out of a service area.

      If you can't weasel out of the $400 fee, escalate the issue and see if you can get a sympathetic manager to "split the difference" - maybe they can reduce that amount a bit.

      I'm not sure I understand your second question, sorry. Your data limits should be unaffected by where you are located in Canada, but if you leave your "home base" (your Manitoba community) then all of your calls will probably be long distance.

      Delete
  21. Hi ,I think I know the answer to this but would like confirmation,my son has a 3 year plan (my contract) with bell (blackberry curve - $0.00) ...the phone is down again and he says he wants to go to one of those mall kioskes and get a i phone and put his sim card in it....he says he can do it with no issues from bell....Will bell know that his phones has changed and ask for more money or do they care at all as long as the contract is fulfilled?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anon,

      You are correct - as long as Bell's contract is fulfilled, they don't particularly care what phone is attached to the account.

      He may want to double-check that he's not on a BlackBerry-specific plan, as some features of that plan may not work with an iPhone.

      He will also want to check that a SIM card from a BlackBerry can fit in an iPhone (the different generations of SIMs have different form factors).

      Delete
  22. Question. I'm currently with MTS and my billing has been incorrect for months. I've complained to the customer service line and they've finally said they would cancel my contract if I returned the phone to them. I asked about my current # and they said it belonged to them because I wasn't in "good standing" with the contract because it wasn't the full 3 yrs. Not because I didn't pay my bills.

    Can they do this? They have not billed me correctly for over 6 months and as far as I;m concerned this is a breach of service on their part. I've always paid my bills on time.

    Please comment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anon,

      I'll preface my reply by saying this: I'm not a mediator nor can I offer really detailed advice for individual complaints. Obviously this is because I don't have all the details (and I wouldn't want you to share them publicly). But here are a few thoughts for you based on the information you've provided.

      1. You are correct; "[account] not in good standing" is not the same thing as your contract term being over. Sounds like the customer service rep misspoke. On the other hand, "breach of service" would imply your phone is unable to make calls - nothing to do with billing errors.

      2. If you can't resolve your complaint with MTS, you may want to file a complaint with the CCTS - Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunication Services. You can also file a complaint with Industry Canada. See links for both on a useful CRTC page, here: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/INFO_SHT/t1021.htm

      3. If you decide to leave MTS, DO NOT CANCEL YOUR CONTRACT if you want to keep your phone number. First, sign up for service at a new provider. They will get the number from MTS. More details here: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/INFO_SHT/t1025.htm Note: If you haven't fulfilled your 3-year term, you'll have to pay MTS a fee to exit your contract (this is standard with phone companies: read the fine print). No matter what happens, there should be a solution where you keep your phone number.

      4. Final piece of advice. When complaining, to MTS, the CCTS, or to Industry Canada, be concise: describe what the problem is and why it's a problem. Propose a resolution and ask for help. Customer service reps can work wonders fixing issues - if the conversation isn't adversarial, confrontational, or overly dramatic. Avoid accusatory language; focus on what the problem is and seek a resolution.

      Again, remember I'm not the final authority - your best bet is to resolve this with MTS. Hope this helps and good luck!

      Delete
  23. Hi!

    So I have a very good contract with Solo Mobile (because I got my first contract with them 5 years ago) and now Bell bought Solo. My contract with Solo (or should I say Bell) is ending in 4 months and Bell is sending me text messages and letters saying I am allowed a new phone if I simply renew my contract with Bell.
    I went to a Bell store (twice, two different stores) and said, I want a new phone, I will renew my contract. They say: your contract is too good, we cannot offer you this, you would have to pay 3 times more if you want the same contract. And then they start offering me new client deals with "dumbphones" at 0$ or "smartphones" full price!
    Isn't this false publicity!? How can I keep my "client" privileges even if the carrier is changing (Solo --> Bell)?
    THX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anon,

      I'm not familiar with Bell or Solo plans, or what happens when one company buys another.

      Once your contract is done, you should check and see if you can just stay on it. In other words, don't renew with Bell, just keep going month-to-month on your old plan.

      Delete
  24. Hi Brahm

    My 3 year contract is ending soon with Bell. I want to switch over to Petro Canada. When is a good time for me to transfer the number over? (few days before expire date? Day after?)

    Thanks,
    Henry

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Henry,

      Give Petro Canada a shout and ask them! :) I'm guessing the answer is a couple days before your old contract is done.

      Check this page for some more info: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/info_sht/t1025.htm

      Brahm

      Delete
    2. Thanks Brahm.

      Henry

      Delete
  25. Hello Brahm

    I have a question. Right now im living overseas outside of canada and thinking of buying the Iphone 5. in a few month ill be moving back to canada to start university there. if i buy the iphone 5 outside of canada, will i be able to use it when i move back canada? i heard that you have to buy a contract on a sim card and the provider will give you a phone with the contract (in this case another iphone). so that means i will be owning 2 iphones, one i bought overseas and one that comes with the contract.
    is there a way of only buying the contract/sim card to use on the phone that i bought overseas? or i have to pay for the contract/sim card that includes a new phone regardless if i want it or not.
    so if i buy a phone right now and when i get to canada and buy a contract/sim card for the phone i currently have, the provider will include another phone with the contract, therefore i will have 2 phones. is that correct? is there a way of purchasing the sim card itself without the additional phone?
    thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anon,

      If you buy an iPhone before moving to Canada, be sure that it isn't locked to your carrier. If it is, you'll need to have your carrier "unlock" it so it can be activated with a telecom here.

      When you get a contract in Canada, I don't think you have to buy a phone with it. To be sure, call up your potential provider (Bell, Telus, Rogers, or a smaller regional carrier) and ask them if you can get a contract if you bring your own device (or ask on one of those online chats). The answer is probably yes, but I'm just some guy with a blog - best do your research and check!

      Delete
  26. Excellent Blog every one can get lots of information for any topics from this blog nice work keep it up.
    Systems Phone Systems

    ReplyDelete
  27. I am with ROGERS here in Ontario . I was offered a new Samsung Galaxy s 3 a week or two ago over the phone
    ( I had an issue with billing ) as they said my contract ( 3 year would be up on April 1 st / 2014 ) the price after the rebate would be $45 including $35 activation fee. I said I would think about it, I did and phoned them back and ordered it, at that time they offered the iphone 5 for $184.99 ( I have an iPhone 4 now and don't really want to change to an Android ) !! When I phoned in to cancel the order they told me that the iPhone price had dropped over the weekend to $ 84.99 ( incl activ. $35 ) and of course a new 3 year contract. Would you advise me to wait till my contract runs out and shop around as I am not a " techie " don't have a pc at home or need it !? I just wish the screen was bigger as my " old eyes " are having issues reading . Thanks John O 'Reilly

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi John,

      If it is not a financial obstacle for you to commit to a new 3-year contract and the subsidized price of a new phone, my advise would be to buy whatever phone you would be happiest and most comfortable using (whether it is an Android with a giant screen, or the iPhone 5 with the slightly-bigger-than-iPhone-4 screen).

      The iPhone 5 and the Galaxy S3 are both currently top-of-the-line phones, but in a few months there will be a new iPhone and the Galaxy S4 will be released too. So if you care about having the latest and greatest you may want to wait a few months, but if it doesn't matter, the S3 and iPhone5 will be perfectly usable phones for the next couple years.

      Brahm

      Delete
  28. Hello !
    I was suckered into buying a new contract with bell for 3 years for the $0 Samsung Galaxy s3 for Smartplan45. It was the first time I've ever purchased a cell phone.
    I've had the phone for a week, and feel like its been the worst investment I've ever had. I'm still within the 14 day return, however, since I went over the "30 minutes", which is impossible to not go over, I cannot refund the phone. I will have to pay early termination fees ($631 + $45 + first bill), is what the CSR told me. But i've heard otherwise of there being a capoff. I also cannot transfer responsibility as apparently company policy states you have to be with the contract for 6 months in order to transfer. Which BTW is not stated anywhere on their website nor the Service Agreement I signed.

    I've given them my 30-day notice already.

    The MAIN reason I want to get of the plan is because I found a better plan. Fido has a promotional deal with the same phone (more data, and equally the same amount of features). Although, the phone will cost $100, the CSR offered to give me $100 credit with an addition $20 credit (refer a friend). Its $5 cheaper (Smartphone40) AND its with a 2 year contract. The two year contract is what sold me.

    Do you think I should stick it out with the 3 year contract or just pay the termination fee sell the phone and get the plan with fido ? What are your incentives or what would you do? I am at a complete dead stock right now.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thanks for all the advice here Brahm. Looking to get out of my Bell contract here before it's up and found some good info.

    Best,
    Terry
    peterboroughlimoservice.com

    ReplyDelete
  30. Awesome post! Your blog is attention-grabbing. I cherished it.

    rio orange

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi Brahm,

    How does having someone (friend) buy the remainder of my contact off me work? I posted an ad on Kijiji and have a buyer. Now what?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably a question better suited for your carrier - call them and ask how to transfer a contract.

      Delete
  32. Hi Brahm great information thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    I was wondering what the advantage is of buying a phone outright either new at $600 or a used one off ebay? Why are there so many buyers for old phones?

    If a person already has a phone will the provider offer a lower monthly rate because they are not subsidizing a phone?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. New phones have some warranty, so there is some value there...

      Also, since subsidizing new phones is a form of credit, some consumers can't get credit (or contracts), so they look for old phones to use with pay-as-you-go plans.

      If a person already has a phone, chances are the monthly plans won't be any cheaper - but this is another question with many answers.... you'd have to do some additional research!

      Delete
  33. Hi Brahm,
    I'm with the Telus network for my cellular device.
    I was on my account yesterday when going to pay my bill and I noticed that my "device balance" for the subsidized price is at $0.00 yet I still have 12 months left remaining on my contract...
    Because it is at a zero balance would it be possible to get rid of the remainder of my contract without major cost due to not having an outstanding balance on my device?
    Thanks.
    Jesykja

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jesykja,

      You would have to review the details of your contract with Telus.

      I am GUESSING that you are still contractually obligated for 12 more months of service, even if the device balance is zero (they are probably trying to incentivize you to purchase a new phone and extend your contract).

      Hope this helps,
      -Brahm

      Delete
  34. Hey man,
    I am
    Moving from india to canada in january 2014 nd i want to buy an iphone 5 on a 3 year based contract. How much do i have to pay to service provider at first forr the phone??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am just some guy who writes a blog - I don't track all the prices.

      You will have to visit one of these service providers (online, for instance rogers.ca or bell.ca) and look up the prices there.

      Delete
  35. Hello Brahm,

    As a customer buying a used phone, does the buying customer have any protection from a carrier like TELUS taking action on the original phone owner's account and blacklisting the used phone months after the used phone was already purchased and in use by a buying customer? I understand the reasons for blacklisting a lost/stolen phone immediately after it has been reported but what about why carriers like TELUS retroactively blacklisting phones for non lost/stolen reasons months/days/years afterwards where as you say the likelihood that the original phone owner still owns the device may be slim.

    Jay

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good question Jay. To be honest I have not even heard of the blacklisting process, so I don't know how it can be initiated, or how it could be prevented or undone.

      Delete
  36. Wow, thanks for this awesome resource!

    ReplyDelete
  37. we are trying to figure out if we can transfer a iphone 4 from SaskTel to bell. as we live in the Yukon and my bfs mom bought him a iphone that was hooked to SaskTel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bell phones are compatible on the same networks and vice-versa (last I checked, Bell uses SaskTel towers in Saskatchewan). You will, however, have to make sure SaskTel unlocks the phone so it can be used on Bell.

      Delete
  38. Does any phone with CDMA compatibility work on SaskTel?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This used to be the case, as long as the device was unlocked. I'm not sure if it still applies since SaskTel is switching from CDMA to GSM/LTE.

      If you have a phone and you're wondering if it will work, SaskTel has a compatibility tool on their website: http://www.sasktel.com/personal/mobility/phones-devices/non-sasktel-device-compatibility-check.html

      Delete
  39. Hi Brahm - I will be travelling in and out of Canada for the next year or do. What do you reckon would be the best deal for me? Pay as you go? Love all your info btw. Great stuff - thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sandispoon,

      Thanks!

      Yeah, I figure if you're going to be in and out, pay as you go is probably your best bet.

      I lived in Montreal for a year and got a Virgin Mobile pay-as-you go. The phone was about $75, and I added $100 to the balance and that's all I ever needed. Just keep an eye on when the credits expire - unlike in Europe, pay-as-you-go credits disappear after a while here.

      Delete
  40. my nephew is moving from Manitoba to B.C for 2 months.He has a phone on contract with mts,and I was wondering if there was a way to suspend servise for 2 months or can he use his phone in B.C

    ReplyDelete
  41. Hello,

    I am wondering if i purchase a used pay as you go telus prepaid phone if I can put my telus sim card that is on a contract in that phone...my old phone is broke and so is my wallet and this seems the cheapest way to go...if it will work.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  42. Very interesting brahm blog webaite, thank you for putting up..beauty online stores and makeup online stores

    ReplyDelete
  43. Hey I have a question I've been in nova scotia since october, and have my saskatchewan number still, I'm wondering cause I'm not running off my own network could this be why my bill is high? Also should I change my number as we r leaving in couple months, but can't keep affording my high phone bill?? So basically is it due to me not being in my area

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, sounds like you're paying long distance/roaming rates. Call up your provider and ask them to explain your bill.

      Delete
  44. 8 months into my 3 year contract with Bell my Samsung S2 screen broke. I am paying $75 per month. My phone would cost $200 to fix. cancelling my contract would cost $600 and buying a new/used phone would cost $500-700. I am currently using a Blackberry Torch (which is just horrible to use) and down graded my monthly payments to $45 per month. Are there any other POSSIBLE options? Could i not get another phone and enter another 3 year contract with Bell?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope... you're probably stuck. The contracts are not sympathetic to broken devices, unless you had (usually optional) insurance. Sorry!

      Delete
  45. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Hi Brahm
    I need help. I am a New Zealander moving to Canada (British Columbia to be precise) at the end of July and want to know the simplest way to go about getting a phone. Preferably a iphone or samsung, I think a pre paid contract would be the way to go as well. Can you help me at all as I am unaware of if you need sim cards and networks etc..
    SOS

    ReplyDelete
  47. Hi can somebody please tell me if I have the right to get the unlocking code for my phone , from the cell phone service provider ( mobilicity), if there is no contract and i am in good standing?

    ReplyDelete
  48. Hello, do you know if an LG Nexus 4 would be compatible with SaskTel? It has network connectivity for

    Unlocked GSM/UMTS/HSPA+
    GSM/EDGE/GPRS (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
    3G (850, 900, 1700, 1900, 2100 MHz)
    HSPA+ 42

    I think that would work with SaskTel? Then I could just move the SIM from my iPhone 4S (bought on-contract in June last year) to the N4, correct?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah it should work - make sure your SIM cards are the same size.

      Delete
  49. Hey Brahm..Great post..!!
    I just have a question though..I am moving to Saskatchewan from India in a week and am looking forward to buying a good phone (like an S3 or S4..or HTC). Could you recommend a service provider offering good cheaper plans as well as have the flexibility to work throughout Canada (I might have to move around for internships etc for 1-2 months period). I am looking for anything other than Bell and Rogers since they seem a tad expensive.
    Would be great if you could gimme some tips! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  50. Thankyou, Fantastic Information. I definetly understand how the contact works & doesn't work. With this new knowledge I will be able to buy my new phone.

    ReplyDelete
  51. My company has an account with bell. Now we purchased a used phone off kijiji and when I went to activate it onto one of our accounts they said "because the original owners owe them money, they cant set this phone up" to me it makes absolutely no sense, I understand they owe them money based on a contract thing but what does it have to do with the actual phone itself as they terminated the people from using it.

    My question is does this make any sense to you, and do you have a possible way around this?? should I maybe speak to a manager or something in the bell department?

    ReplyDelete
  52. Hello Brahm

    I live near Vancouver and Bell is exclusively offering the Sony Xperia Z(the only phone i want) on the 30th. This is the first time i am going to get a phone and I have $750 upfront right now to spend and I am wondering if I should get a 1 year $629 contract, 2 year $250 or a three year $149 contract or buy it outright for around $650. I would appreciate your opinion

    Also what do you think is the minimum monthly payment if you want no data very few voice talk mins, and unlimited text on the 3 year contract?

    Lastly great page you explained a lot of questions I was wondering Thanks!!

    -Manveer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Depends on if you know you're going to stay with the same provider for 3 years.

      There's nothing wrong with contracts as long as you know the terms. I have no idea what the rates would be.

      Delete
  53. So...I have a 3 year contract with Bell for a Samsung Galaxy S3, it doesn't work well at our house where we use a signal booster. I miss calls, texts won't send, even with full bars. So, if I understand you correctly, I can take my SIM card out and put it in another phone and it will work? And I could sell the S3?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you can swap SIM cards between phones and your service won't be interrupted.

      No guarantees your new phone will have better service though!

      Delete
  54. So i am going to be moving from MB to SK right away. currently I have a contract with MTS mobility that just started this past spring. I will need to get onto a network in SK and was wondering what I need to do as i have never had to go through this before. I'm pretty sure its going to cost me some $$, just looking for a bit of advice and to be pointed in the right direction.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Call MTS - you'll have to break your transfer with them which will probably involve an early termination fee (probably a dollar value for every month that will be unused on your contract).

      You'll also want to see if they can unlock your phone for you. Then you'll be able to use your existing phone on a network in SK (I recommend SaskTel, but you could do Bell, Telus, or Rogers here too. Or the little MNVOs like Virgin, PetroCanada, etc).

      Hope this gives you a starting point!

      Delete
  55. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Good article, for a year and a half ago. Unfortunately, there has been a major game changer since then.
    That comment about buying the cellphone in the package is like a "75% off sale" NOT!!!
    It's quite the opposite ! Buy that $700 dollar cell phone in the package, and you will pay $1100 over the term of the contract. And it's always been that way. Shame on you.
    However this story gets even better, with the evolution of the Asian knockoffs. Just when you thought you knew all about the knockoffs, look again! My Samsung knockoff is now a year old. What's it missing from the original? If I listed what I've discovered, in a year of comparison with my friends Samsungs, you wouldn't even know what I'm talking about. Like, I don't have a compass. Did you know smart-phones have compasses? I don't have "NFC" (and I've never found anyone who uses it) But, you can get the app.
    It even looks like a Samsung. The giveaway is my larger screen. Everyone wants to know "what model is that!" (Dual sim unlocked/rooted)
    COST: $174, tax and shipping included. Came with the largest battery there is, for a phone. And a second identical backup battery, which I may never get to use because I am only charging once a week !?! As little as two years ago, knockoffs had issues. But China learns fast. This thing is awsome !
    Mine is a six inch screen. If you want something more normal, be prepared to pay less. There are Four inch screens for $100.
    So.... to pay $100 or $1100; that is the question ! You will recover that $100 plus in the first two and a half months of your contract, and then save $1000 over the next 33 months.

    ReplyDelete
  57. If I am entering Canada from another country (i.e emigrating) can I enter into a contract for a mobile phone and if so what paperwork do you need to take out a contract.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Need one info...I already have a top of the line smartphone (without contracts) with me right now and I am not in Canada. I would be coming there next year start anyways. would it be cheaper to get my own phone and use a sim card or should i just give my cell to my family member and buy a good smartphone ( the top ranges one) with contracts??

    ReplyDelete
  59. Broke i-phone screen- it shattered. Still with MTS contract in Manitoba til next June. What would be the best way to get a new phone with them and the cheapest?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Does anyone have the answer to this question?

      Delete
  60. Brahm, could you clarify something for me please? I'm getting a new S4 and will stay with SaskTel. As far as I can find out, the monthly service contract will cost the same whether I buy outright or take the subsidized phone on a 3 year contract. Since a 3 yr contract is not a problem for me, I can't see any advantage to buying outright. Am I missing something here? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  61. New, stunning (to me) info today from my old provider, Virgin Mobile. I'm not especially experienced in the mobile environment; basic talk/text continues to be sufficient for me. Because my partner is moving from her old business and starting her own, she, I and my teenaged son moved a few months ago to a carrier whose plans better fit our collective phone needs. We ported our old numbers to the new carrier and got new phones. When two of the old phones were finally paid off on Virgin's supertab last month, I figured they would be unlocked, finally and completely my property. I contacted Virgin today to be told they are not unlocked, nor will they be by Virgin, since the old accounts terminated before Virgin received my unlock request. I am gobsmacked at this kind of sheer contempt for the consumer. I paid a lot of $ for those phones, yet they are essentially junk unless I now spend the time and, apparently, money to jailbreak them (or go back to Virgin - hah!). The rep was able to reassure me more than once -- apparently with a clear conscience -- that although I do really own the phones, they will only ever be Virgin phones. (Back to your comment, Brahm, about buying a Toyota and driving it only on Toyota roads). He suggested I might renew my Virgin accounts for 90 days so the phones could then be unlocked. Really.

    Doubtless I sound like an outraged newbie who should have known better. Do carriers as a rule unlock subsidized phones after they've been eventually paid for?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably miles too late for your Virgin Mobile phones but I was recently told by Tellus to go to cellphoneunlocker.net & pay $35 for them to walk you through unlocking your phone...

      Delete
  62. Dear Brahm Neufeld,

    I am telus customer. I still have about 1 year left on my contract so if I were to upgrade I will be paying a balance off my iphone. I am no considering buying a new phone yet to determine either HTC Samsung S4 or Sony Z (perhaps you can advise me on these phones) As for my question should I buy the new phone outright with no contract or should I get the new two year contract from Telus. Please note my original IPhone plan has 500 megabytes of data and cost me 50 a months. Now with the new 2year contract I will have to increase my monthly fees to 80/month vs. 50/months in my old contract that is an increase of 30/months if I were to retain my old data plan just for upgrading my new phone.

    So wouldn't it be better to upgrade by buying the phone outright with no contract vs subsidized phone with 2 year contract that will increase my monthly bill forever until I change my contract after 2 years?

    Please advise.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  63. Once you sign a contract, can the provider just change the contract without getting you to sign it? For example, taking away your ability to talk to your top ten free during the day and charging you exorbitant rates? Is there any agency that monitors this that we could complain to or do we just have to pay up and change providers?

    ReplyDelete
  64. Brahm, under #7, you said, "In fall 2013, when I am eligible for another hardware upgrade, I will once again buy the latest-and-greatest phone for the subsidized price of about $200. I will also sell my Samsung Galaxy S II on Kijiji for about $200-300" How did that work out for you? TODAY, I am eligible to upgrade my Samsung Galaxy S II after 2 years of my 3 year contract with SaskTel. I wish I could sell MY S II for more than ZERO Dollars because as of 2 DAYS AGO it will NO LONGER CHARGE! I have been VERY careful with it - it's not even SCRATCHED, but it has been a mild piece of C r a a a P since day 1 as either the caller or I - or both - got an Echo during conversations, & it rarely had service, so basically its EXPENSIVE internet was only available at home using WI-FI. The GPS usually placed me relatively 20 MILES from my actual location! Now I'm S.O.L. - Up the Creek Without a Paddle - & I still have a YEAR left on the stupid CONTRACT! How do I get out of this contract so I can try a different carrier & MAYBE a better phone? Oh but I guess the SIM card wouldn't work with a different Carrier! Do phones have an OBSOLESCENCE TIMER in them? "UH OH! 2 years old - time to buy a new phone - Let's CRASH & BURN!"

    ReplyDelete
  65. Hi Brahm Neufeld,

    I have a question for you. I am with a Canadian carrier and my family have 4 Nexus 5 phones, we are still under contract but we may be moving out of the country and going overseas. If we take the unlocked phones with us can the carrier or would the carrier permanently disable or render the phones useless even in Asia. Is that even possible, or could we sell the phones over there?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi David, you need to research how to unlock your phones. If you bought your Nexus 5 phones straight from Google they will already be unlocked and should should work on any carrier with compatible hardware (you will also need to confirm if your overseas carrier supports the same frequencies as Canadian/US carriers).

      Delete
  66. hey i got a question,
    i was on a three year contract with bell on an iphone4 and after 1 year i breached my contract, now im thinking of unlocking my iphone, was wondering if its gonna cost me a fortune to unlock it due to the fact that i breach my contract and bell wants full price on the iphone now, plase advise

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  67. how old do you have to be to get a contract??

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  68. Hi Brauhm, can you please help me out with my situation. I am very worried. I went into a contract with Rogers a few months ago when I was with my ex boyfriend and his family. I stupidly and under pressure signed a 2 year contract and took 5 phones home for zero dollars. The relationship went bad and these people have burned me and refused to pay their part of the bill. I also took out other loans for this person that I won't be able to pay back. So I see the big tidal wave of debt coming. So what I did out of desperation for some quick cash is I sold all 5 cell phones in new condition on kijiji removing all 5 sim cards of course. When the bill comes in the mail I just intend to ignore it and let them send me to collections. I am now on a fixed income (government) for a disability so my wages cannot be garnished. I am going to get all of my debt together and bring it to a bankruptcy place in the future. I consulted them but it will take months for everything to get sorted out. There are other issues at hand. I tried to cover all of my issues here so I can make my question plain and clear here.... Will the people who bought the Rogers phones find themselves with a bad/blacklisted/locked phone? This is my fear and I didn't consider this before. I just assumed since it was MY hardware and I removed the SIM cards and My debt to worry about ...I was free to sell the phones. Thank you so much for your time.

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  69. How the hell do you return a found phone?

    No button for that?

    I cannot find that information anywhere on virgin mobile canada's site. WTF???

    Quote "It can be stressful to lose your phone or have it stolen. ... lost or stolen, and do not notify Virgin Mobile of its return, then the phone may be permanently disabled."

    http://www.virginmobile.ca/en/support/faq.html?q=005

    Why the hell would i want it then?

    ... "so you have to buy more phones" ... - "Leroy Gaetz, PI" by Joe Pesci in Lethal Weapon 4

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  70. Hi,

    I will be travelling in Europe for the next 3 months and I have an actual contract with Fido. I was wondering if I can unlock my iphone, use an europeen SIM card when I will be there and re-use my old SIM card and my contract when I come back. I contacted Fido and they can pause my contract (with fees) for couple of months. But I would like to know if my old SIM card will work in my unlock cell phone.

    Thanks again

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  71. I live BC , have telus cell phone # (780) would like to get a contact in Sask with telus or bell . Can they make me give up my (780) area phone # ?

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  72. You can also sell your cell phone and use the cash to pay up your contract, this is becoming a really popular way of upgrading for cheaper. I recommend giving http://www.sellmycellphones.com a try. They are a comparison site and compare more recyclers prices than any other in America. I have used them and got a great price for my Samsung S3. The whole process was really easy and I would recommend them to anyone looking to sell.

    I believe that one of the recyclers on the site called Gizmogul buy phones from Canada so it's definitely worth a shot!

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  73. Hi Janey,

    I just wanted to say that I used the SellMyCellPhones.com website that you recommended and sold to the Gizmogul company last week. Yesterday I got the money in my PayPal account. I am glad I found your post and gave them a try. Thanx!

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