Rogers, TELUS and Bell: Instalment Plans Aren’t Coming Anytime Soon

With equipment instalment plans (EIPs) and leasing options for smartphones gaining popularity in the U.S., the idea hasn’t kickstarted in Canada yet, and Rogers, TELUS and Bell have no plans to do so anytime soon, according to statements said by carriers at a recent conference in Toronto, reports The Globe and Mail.

Rogers telus bell

Apple announced their own iPhone Upgrade Plan last week, which allowed customers to lease iPhones with zero down over 24 monthly payments, with an option to get a new phone after one year (plus it includes AppleCare+).

Compare this to the ongoing subsidy model used here in Canada, where customers pay a smaller amount upfront, while the rest of the device balance is paid off over the duration of a two-year contract. This enables carriers to generate consistent voice and data revenues over two years as customers sign contracts in order to obtain subsidies.

At the BMO Media and Telecom Conference today in Toronto, executives from incumbent carriers spoke about U.S. pricing models and said they don’t plan on launching them in Canada.

BCE chief executive officer George Cope said “I think it’s actually a very healthy market when people put some money down to purchase the product,” along with “But if the market changes, we’ll change with the market. We’re already subsidizing the handsets a lot as it is, so we’ll see how it evolves.”

Rogers chief financial officer Tony Staffieri said the company has no plans to introduce EIPs, but would consider it “reactively” if necessary, saying “For us it just doesn’t pass the ‘so what?’ test. Why would we do it? We just see it as cash dilutive for us, and eventually the industry, if everybody does it. So we don’t see a lot of upside for it.”

Telus chief financial officer John Gossling said EIPs are not appealing, saying “Frankly, whatever you call it – instalment plan, EIP, leasing – it’s a big working capital hit in terms of what you’re investing. A customer can now walk out of the store with a free phone, in effect – they’re going to pay for it over time – but no money down, versus $200, $300, $400, depending on what phone you’re talking about [under the subsidy model].”

Gossling also said the current subsidy model has worked well for TELUS, as customers become aware of device balances and can understand when they are eligible for an upgrade. He also said the culture in the U.S. is different than Canada, as down south–you can financing literally anything.

The TELUS CFO also implied Apple’s latest iPhone 6s models are expensive, saying “I can see why a handset manufacturer might like it [the EIP model], especially when their product is pushing $1,000,” but implementing such financing schemes is not what the company aspires for at the moment.

Eastlink has had instalment plans for smartphones since 2013, but that has not inspired incumbents to follow suit. The Atlantic Canada-based carrier earlier today announced iPhone 6s pre-orders, with customers able to acquire the newest iPhone for zero down and $31.21 per month for the entry iPhone 6s.

What do you think about instalment plans versus subsidy models when it comes to smartphones? Now if Apple were to bring the iPhone Upgrade Plan to Canada…

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  • Patrick Ducharme

    I would take it ! but only if it comes directly from Apple, not from a Pig3. At least, you still have the option to choose any carriers you want without having to worry about the EIP if it was took at the Carrier level. Also, if Apple bring it like the US version, that will include the applecare+ wich is a good idea with a phone!

    Just 1 think I don’t catch… Is the phone stay the property of Apple?? I mean, after 12months, when you do get the next one, what do you do with the current one? if you can’t keep it… I guess it’s more like a “lease”, comparable to a lease on a car (?).

  • Mac

    Unfortunately, since this is Canada, I don’t see this program coming anytime soon. It’s unCanadian to have something that sides with the consumer.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    Thanks for posting this Gary.

  • 1His_Nibs1


  • 1His_Nibs1

    Not to mention competition. *cough*COLLUSION!*cough*

  • johnnygoodface

    …”where customers pay a smaller amount upfront”… I wouldn’t say that 660$ out of 1200$ is “smaller”

  • 1His_Nibs1


  • Widohmaker

    If Apple launches the US program in Canada it would be very disruptive to the Big 3. It’s hilarious to listen to the leaders of these companies. They come off as backwards thinking instead of progressive and innovative.

  • Lol

  • Was thinking the same thing!

  • Cheers

  • Tim

    If you want an installment plan, buy it on a low interest credit card. If you divide the payment over 24 months, you’ll pay about $150 on top of the unlocked, buy-up-front price. It’s completely competitive with apple’s offering. Plus, many cards will also double your warranty for no added cost. Some will even give you theft insurance. Not sure why people are complaining about this. If you don’t have the credit for a credit card, it’s unlikely apple or the big 3 will give it to you either. We already have the credit options everyone is asking for, just under different brands.

  • Mac

    Maybe they were looking for any Pig3 top executives profiles on Ashley Madison?! lol

  • 1His_Nibs1

    That’s because they are & in doing so that would mean Canadians have competition or at least another avenue to choose from but the oligarchs don’t want you to have any choice other than them. Trust me if Apple offered this I’d much rather give my money to Apple instead of the oligarchy that is the Pig3

  • Sterling Archer

    I cannot wait for Apple to bring this to Canada.

    I am currently buying my phones outright but I would much more happily spread it out over a future 24 months giving that money to Apple anyway, it makes the insane out front cost for consumers a delicacy and it’s simply good business.

    The second Wind improves, I’ll also be ditching Telus. They’re so close… So close.

    The carriers are being daft about this, yes it would be a hit but they could dig their heels in before Apple comes to market. Once Apple is here, people won’t even pay a single ounce of attention to subsidizing through their carriers, Apple’s option is so much cheaper than a subsidy, too!

  • Joe Peplowski

    I hate our carriers as much as you, but $660 is literally smaller than $1200. They have many flaws, but they got that sentence right.

  • Sterling Archer

    Amen. When I realized I would end up paying well over the amount subsidized because of having to degrade my plan… Well, I sucked it up and bought through Apple, getting not only the same plan but I got a 10%/month discount through the carrier.

    I guess they simply don’t want my extra money. It’s so irritating.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    And that is why the carriers won’t do it unless forced to. There is absolutely no guarantee that Apple will bring this to Canada. (GAWD I hope I’m wrong). You can also bet that the Pig3 will bitch, whine & moan just like they did when they thought Verizon was coming North & it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they were to threaten Apple in a veiled manner to prevent this from coming to fruition.

  • Disruptive and a money loser. It says it all in the article, they are not going to do this because they are making too much money gouging the consumer for as long as they can.

  • SV650

    You can buy your phone on an instalment plan at Koodo. Most of their users seem unhappy with this option if the comments on their support site are any indication.

  • I would get on the monthly plan with Apple in heart beat.

  • FragilityG4

    How is that small? It’s more than half the cost

  • FragilityG4

    Of course they don’t want this … Then they wouldn’t be able to bully people out of their old plans. They’re setting it up so every year you want to get a new phone you’ll have to change your plan to something more expensive with less data. They want you to go over your data … That’s how they make their money for the shareholders.

  • Joe Peplowski

    It’s smaller than the full cost, not necessarily small. No one said anything about it being small.

  • Parksy

    Apple would be fine with them threatening and ultimately not selling their phones. It would bring more people to Apple which ultimately increases their profits. The phones are the same price regardless of where you buy them so Apple would simply be getting the profit that Rogers/Bell/Telus had been taking. Apple wins, the carriers lose and Apple would be fine with that.

  • FragilityG4

    In the article the Pig3 refer to the price as “small” … Small to me and others would be a couple hundred bucks not half the total device cost.

  • erth

    If it wasn’t for apple, we in Canada would still be using blackberries. Wake up bell canada, you are becoming irrelevant

  • Joe Peplowski

    Read it again… They never called it small

  • chickeee

    and you have an unlocked phone

  • FragilityG4

    You’re right they never did call it small. Having said that the laid back mentality of “well it’s not the full price” is the reason they get away with that. When the iPhone first came up Rogers tried to only offer 500MB. There was an outrage over the internet that put pressure on them to change and they did. No we’re giving it all back. Time to say NO again.

  • Joe Peplowski

    Agreed, the carriers are scumbags, and when Apple’s upgrade program comes to Canada they will get shafted.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    I hope your logic proves to be right. All I know is in this article all three seem pretty smug about the whole situation. As if they know something the rest of us don’t. I mean, to totally dismiss it without even a “maybe” or “if/when Apple brings this to Canada…..” but they didn’t even acknowledge this as a potential threat to losing business.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    100% agree!

  • 1His_Nibs1

    And when that day comes, I will shout out in joy and revel in the Pig3’s misery for their arrogance, greed & lack of respect shown towards their “customers”. Right now we are treated as animals being led to slaughter by the Pig3.

  • FragilityG4

    Here’s hoping.

  • Parksy

    It would be a terrible thing for them (Rogers/Telus/Bell) and they aren’t going to make any changes to their very profitable business model unless an external force requires them to. Apple has a gravitational pull like no other company. They are a relatively high-end brand that many of us can still afford. If their products aren’t available via one channel, we will go to the channel that offers them; in this case it would be Apple itself. Apple is coming up with a way to get their products into the hands of consumers and then make them upgrade on a consistent basis. They don’t get a monthly income stream from the handsets. The telecom providers on the other hand don’t make a lot of money on the handsets, they make it all on the monthly plan. It doesn’t matter if you are using a brand new iPhone 6S or a cheap entry level smartphone, the monthly income is the same. They make a bit on selling the handset but the bulk of that cost is being sent to Apple. The monthly fee (and overage charges) is where the money is. They don’t care where the handset came from, as long as it’s using their network.

  • Manuel Da Rocha

    hi can someone explain to my the difference of price between the usa and canadian prices for the subsidised iphone. there seem to be a very big difference between USA and CDN something is not right ?

  • BlackBerry Pearl 4ever!

  • Geoffrey Spencer

    Questions: Do you own the SECOND iPhone after 24 months? Are you not in a sense using TWO iPhones for $660 (upgrade after the first year)? What about the 64 Gig and 128 Gig models?

  • 1His_Nibs1

    It’s called exchange rate on the CDN $ vs. the U.S. $. The CDN $ is no longer on par as it was a year or two ago.