How the Rest of the World Buys Cellphones


When it comes to buying a cellphone, various countries around the world employ different price models versus here in Canada. Let’s take a look at how complex buying a phone can be in different countries around the world:

  • Japan: customers looking to buy new smartphones can opt for one or two year plans, which includes the cost of devices built into monthly plans, on top of voice and data.
  • United Kingdom: customers don’t pay much up front, but rather the cost of their new smartphone bundled into monthly plans, over fixed terms.
  • Vodafone in various parts of Europe: customers pay a portion of their smartphone cost up front, while the rest of the device cost is bundled into monthly costs.
  • United States: customers on T-Mobile, for example can get the iPhone 6 for “$0” upfront, but pay off the balance over a two year term, on top of their voice and data plan.
  • China: users on China Mobile prepay for their premium handsets upfront, then pay a monthly fee during a 24-month term, for those signing contracts.

Do you see a pattern here? The bottom line is buying a new smartphone, regardless of where you are in the world can be complex. Carriers tend to ‘hide’ the actual cost of devices by having customers pay into costly monthly plans over fixed terms. Not only that—customers continue to pay the same monthly fees after device balances are actually paid off!

Here in Canada, depending on which carrier you sign up with, it can also be complicated finding a new phone and plan. But if you want transparency in what it actually costs for your new smartphone, look no further than Koodo Mobile and their Tab program, which reveal the exact amounts of your subsidies.

With the Koodo Tab, things are very simple. For example, let’s say you want a smartphone that costs $360 on a $33 plan. With the Tab, you decide how much you want to put into it.

Say you’re ready to take full advantage of the Tab at up to $360 (Tab Plus offers up to $500) towards a new phone. You’d pay $0 in-store, then the Tab balance would be divided over a period of 24 months, to calculate your monthly Tab charge.

Using our example above, the $33 plan would come with a $15 per month Tab charge, for a total monthly bill of $48. Once you’ve paid off your Tab and the balance reaches zero (after 24 months), your monthly bill drops, and would be at $33 per month. You do not keep paying off your device balance, unlike some other carriers in town!

But what if you’re ready to upgrade to a new device and you have a Tab balance remaining? You can upgrade as you wish, however any remaining Tab balance must be paid off first, then you can start a new Tab on a different phone. Want to learn more? Check out the video below:

Fairness and transparency should be the status quo when it comes to your mobile phone bill and Koodo has been on a mission to champion the values of honesty and simplicity in Canada.


  • Aleks Oniszczak

    This “story” smells like an ad. Also, if Koodo believes in “fairness and transparency”, why doesn’t it ever mention that it charges MORE than similar services in other countries and why it calls that “fair” and “honest”. If this so-called article is about comparing Koodo’s service to that of services in other countries – it’s pretty odd not to mention that it charges significantly more. What a joke to call plans in other countries “complicated” when the truth is that those other plans are actually pretty simple to understand and, more importantly, fairly priced.

  • Hi Aleks, yes, this is a sponsored story. At the top of the story it says ‘Presented by Koodo’.

  • Corrode

    It’s also ironic how complicated it immediately gets when they try to explain the “Tab” system. (Mostly, I think it’s just worded poorly.)

  • pegger1

    I don’t see that anywhere on this page.

  • Babbitt

    I don’t see it on the page either.

  • Jorden

    I only see it when I turn off Ad Block… Ironic…

  • Even with Ad Block enabled, we still <3 you!

  • RL

    1 Country 1 Plan! That is FAIR. Not based on where you live!

    Why is it other Provinces Pay more for the same service?

    Different Internet? Different Cellular network?

  • Ashley Mann

    I never get upset at this kind of advertising. I love it. Why? It immediately tells me more about a company then any ad the company could ever run.


    Well, in rhis case, this kind of advertising tells me Koodo is deceptive, uses covert advertising tactics to sell to me and for me its dishonest to diguise a legitmate story as an ad.

    So, now I know how i will be treated as a customer of Koodo: deception and dishonesty. Now i know who to stay away from.


  • Sidney

    I will only consider becoming a Kodoo/Telus customer when they stop charging for received texts while outside Canada.

  • Jorden

    I don’t use it as much on personal machines, but the ones at work are old and slow. Adblock makes all the difference, so I’ll admit I do see ads when I visit outside of working hours as I check the blog multiple times per day :).

  • RL

    They stopped Charging long time ago!