Bell ‘Pay Less Upfront’ Program: Extra Subsidies, with Choice to Return Phone or Pay Back Savings

Bell Mobility recently launched a new smartphone program offering more subsidies upfront, in what appears to be a similar offer to the Telus ‘Bring-it-Back’ program, which launched last fall.

Bell pay less upfront

With Bell’s Pay Less Upfront program, the company explains “You can now pay even less at the time of purchase for your smartphone when activating on a Premium Smartphone Plus or Premium Smartphone Ultra Plus plan with a 2-year term.”

After your two-year contract is up, customers have the option of either returning their smartphone or keeping it—by paying back the deferred Pay Less Upfront amount.

Bell offers the following example of the Pay Less Upfront program using a Samsung Galaxy Note9 on a Premium Smartphone Plus plan with 1GB minimum data, on a 2-year term:

  • Pay Less Upfront program: From $100. Pay $99.99 (0% APR) at end of contract.
  • With Premium Smartphone Plus plan: from $199.99
  • Full price, no term: From $1379.99

So with the program, you’re saving an extra $100 upfront with the program and at the end, if you don’t want to keep your phone, you can only return it if it’s in good working condition. It’s like leasing a smartphone for two years.

For Apple’s smartphones, here’s what you’ll ‘save’ upfront:

  • iPhone XR: from $135; pay back $194.99 at end of term or return phone
  • iPhone XS: from $200; pay back $259.99 at end of term or return phone
  • iPhone XS Max: from $300; pay back $289.99 at end of term or return phone

Apple’s iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, along with the Galaxy Note9 and Huawei Mate 20 Pro are the only devices listed as eligible for the program right now, and also the most expensive.

But of course, you’ll be paying more per month, despite the upfront savings. The Pay Less Upfront program is only available on Premium Smartphone Plus (starts at $110/1GB with local calling) and Premium Smartphone Ultra Plus (starts at $120/1GB with local calling) plans. With unlimited Canada-wide calling, it’s an extra $5 per month, so starting at $115/1GB and $125/1GB respectively. Ouch.

The Pay Less Upfront program allows someone to upgrade to one of the newest phones by offering a larger discount upfront, however, that comes to an end after two years, when you need to either repay the deferred savings or give up the phone (which is still worth much more than the upfront savings after your term is up).