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admin | Category: Yellow Pages Reverse Phone Lookup | 08.11.2013
After crunching the subsidized cell phone math and multiplying the mobile contract costs, I came to the conclusion that buying an unlocked iPhone 5 outright from Apple with zero ties to any contract-wielding carrier is a ringin’ deal. Since this blog is about being a smarter, less spendy consumer, I’m going to walk you through my decision to spend a whopping $783 on a freaking smartphone.
I have happily used my relic of a cell phone for the past 7 years, and I wrote about resisting the call of new phone technology in Do you really need that upgrade? While I’m awesome at delaying gratification, there comes a time when technology becomes unusable, deprecated, or broken.
I love working in the Apple ecosystem, and spending more for an operating system, the applications, and hardware I prefer is worth it to me.
Also, with so few carrier options, studies show that mobile service in Canada is overpriced and anti-competitive. Being dialed in and handcuffed to a contract and carrier was never my preference, but I still ran the numbers using the tools that have saved me money over the years — my brain and a spreadsheet.
Mobile nerds can open my mobile cost comparison spreadsheet, but I’ll just tell everyone else the results.
I then compared the monthly cost of going prepaid (aka Pay-As-You-Go) with PC Telecom and Koodo Mobile, a subsidiary of Telus with plans that let you carry-forward unused voice and data balances.
After pricing out SIM cards, base plans, and calculating data needs, my preference went to Koodo Mobile for flexibility and a low $26.32 per month cost. Bottom Line: After doing two basic mathematical calculations known as addition and multiplication, I came to the conclusion that opting for a prepaid plan could save me nearly $30 per month, or just over $1,000 in monthly fees over three years.
Use your cell phone outside your local area or travel to another country, and you’ll likely get whacked in the wallet by crazy high roaming charges. It’s no shocker that Canada is known to have some of the world’s highest roaming rates. A SIM card is a small, thumbnail-sized chip that stores your phone number and personal information. I have every reason to be terrified of bill shock, especially since Canadians have little protection and warning when they’re set to hit data limits. By April 2013, more than 97% of American wireless customers will get automatic usage alerts when consumption of data, voice, text, and international charges approaches or exceeds plan limits.
Bottom Line: Paying the big bucks for an unlocked cell phone and opting for a prepaid plan can save you money by helping you to stick to a usage limit, capping spending, and avoiding the dreaded bill shock. Before dropping $783 on my brand new unlocked iPhone 5, I searched a slew of online classified sites to see if a used unlocked iPhone could be had for less. After nearly laughing my a$$ off, I discovered that gently used unlocked smartphones are pretty decent at keeping a high resale value.
Given my cell situation I’m set to save a minimum of $480 over the next three years by paying $783 outright for my fancy unlocked iPhone 5. How much would you have saved by ponying up the cash for that pricy cell before locking into a lengthy phone plan with a greedy service provider?
I have been with Rogers for a few years now, and every now and then I have asked for discounts. I have thought about not having data, but I just personally feel that having a smartphone with no data defeats the purpose of having a smartphone. Perhaps Telus has a habit of lying to me, but any time I’ve brought up the Sim situation in regards to swapping sims and bringing in unlocked phones. Last year we had to deal with switching cell companies because of a buyout (DMTS->TBayTel).
Since we travel to the US several weeks every year, and have three unlocked phones, (I kept my previous Galaxy S2 when I bought the Nexus 4) we have options.


Lastly, if you travel a fair bit, you really need to look into having a dual SIM card phone, as it gives significant advantages.
T-Mobile today started accepting pre-orders for the iPhone 5, as part of their new contract-free wireless plans. For an individual plan, the first line costs $50 for unlimited talk, text and 500MB of high-speed data.
When you bundle this with the cost of the iPhone, it breaks out to $80 for the 2GB option or $90 for the unlimited plan. Verizon uses a similar pricing structure as AT&T, whereby the iPhone 5 is also heavily subsidized by your wireless agreement.
T-Mobile’s CEO used plenty of brash language and a circus like atmosphere to introduce the company’s new uncarrier plans. T-Mobile plans cost less, offer an easy out, but your overall experience will be dictated by the service available in your area. As a snowbird who spends the winter in Florida and summers in Canada, T Mobile is the only USA based carrier that I know of to offer nano SIMs for our two unlocked iPhone 5s which we bring south with us from Canada for the winter. All North American mobile telephone companies are woefully inadequate when compared to what is available in Europe and Asia as far as acquiring local SIM cards is concerned.
3) When your SIM arrives install it and signup for a no-contract plan from the SIM provider you selected. An unlocked cell phone is not tied to the carrier you bought it from and can be used with most mobile carriers anywhere in the world by swapping something called a SIM card.
The world (and internet) have changed drastically since I starting using my 2006 candybar cell, and not being able to text friends, check my email, or do bloggy-related things online made my old phone a major liability. First off, Canadians have the world’s longest mobile phone contracts — sign up for a subsidized phone with one of the big three carriers (Bell, Rogers, or Telus) and expect to be on the hook for three long years.
After comparing the cheapest cell plans offered by Rogers, Telus, and Bell, the numbers were so uncompetitive and similar that averaging a price with a subsidized iPhone 5 was so easy-peasy, it kinda made me queasy. Going prepaid with an unlocked phone also gives me the flexibility to swap SIMs and switch providers if a better deal comes to town.
Bell Canada issued this Canuck a $9,350 data roaming bill after his visit to Israel, but excessive smartphone roaming fees can happen during quick jaunts to neighbouring countries too. Americans may have greater choice in the mobile market, but there are cases where roaming Yankees got stuck with a $10,000 phone bill too.
When your cell phone is not locked to a specific carrier, you can easily switch networks by swapping the SIM with one from a local service provider and avoid exorbitant roaming charges. It happens when you unknowingly go over your plan’s voice or data limits and your provider charges you dearly for the overage, without warning. Wading through the used locked iPhones was a hassle, especially since most were being sold with a 2-year contract still attached!
If you like upgrading your mobile gadgets often, choosing to pay more up front for an unlocked device could save you a bit of money since the resale value is decent. And these savings do not account for potential overages, roaming fees, and other gotchas an inflexible contract might cost. This spring, they allowed me to upgrade from my blackberry 9780 to an iphone 4s (while still under my 3 year contract) for free!
It was expensive at the outset but looking back it’s one of th smartest purchases I have ever made.
Taylor is the creator and lone writer of Squawkfox, a personal finance blog where consumer savvy is fun. The T-Mobile plans require you pay for the phone over a span of 2 years and requires a down payment.


That last number is woefully insufficient, suggesting that most customers will pay an additional $10 for 2GB of data, so a net cost of $60 per month for unlimited talk, text and 2GB of data. Verizon plans require a monthly line access, which is before any talk, text or voice add-ons. In reality, customers are faced with the choice of an iPhone subsidized by a 2-year wireless contract vs a 2-year payment plan for the hardware. Contract termination fees can cost you hundreds, even if you’re staying with the same carrier. Heck, this Verizon customer racked up a $1,500 cell phone bill in 12 days thanks to a little travel. The shock part happens when a defibrillator is needed to revive your body after your brain realizes the financial impact of that massive cell phone bill. After adding up contract costs, comparing unlocked and subsidized phone options, fearing bill shock, and popping SIMs to avoid roaming fees, I think maybe it’s time to rethink how we buy cell phones. I just had to send the phone back (which I paid $50 for 2 years ago), and the iphone was brand new (not refurbished) as it was sealed. I’m a big traveller and have taken it to a number of countries and have always had an easy cheap time using it wherever I am in the world. At your destination, most airports have SIM card kiosks near the baggage pickup area, so you can buy a new SIM card for that country real cheap. In the case of the 16GB iPhone 5, that’s $99, with a $20 monthy payment for 24 months.
Carriers make it increasingly difficult to compare plans, since they all offer different options.
The latter gives you the freedom to leave, but in actuality, you can leave Verizon or AT&T early by paying an ETF. Canadians are the big losers in the mobile space, paying a chart topping $67.50 for voice, text, and data plans. I now have a bag of SIMs I keep in my wallet and just swap out for the one I need on the plane and I’ve got phone service as soon as I touch down!
Wouldn’t it be great if there were standardized plans across all carriers, so consumers could easily make their purchase decisions.
A comparable 2GB data plan, with unlimited talk and text is priced at $60 for a total of $100 per month. We’ll leave the math of that equation for another article or perhaps a lengthy discussion in our forums. So, having data has been useful when there is no wifi connection (which I found that only McDonald’s, Starbucks or Tim Hortons to be the few places that I can connect to wifi).
They gave me an offer of adding 500 mb for $5 more or for another $5 for 1GB (or the same $5 for 6gb) so I took the 6GB offer, since I felt it to be the better deal. If at any time you decide to leave T-Mobile, you are still responsible for the cost of the iPhone, but they will at that point unlock the phone. Both Verizon and AT&T have the advantage of wide-reaching LTE data networks, with T-Mobile offering support in just a few cities. Your 2 year cost for wireless service (not including assorted taxes, fees and activation charges) breaks out to $2879, combined with the $199 for the iPhone and you are in for $3078.




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