My Humble Version of the iPhone Upgrade Program in Canada

iPhone Upgrade in Canada

As I write this I am waiting or my iPhone 8 to be mailed to me.  That’s right, I didn’t buy an iPhone X or XS or XR (are those the options, I’m not familiar with it because I can’t fathom to pay $1000 or more for a smart phone– no matter how smart it is).  I did my own iPhone upgrade in Canada.

iPhone Upgrade in Canada (My Version)

I still have my iPhone 5 while I wait for the 8.  I’ve had my iPhone 5 for 5.5 years.  I liked having my iPhone for so long because I could then have a cheap BYOD plan (in case you haven’t heard of the term, it means Bring Your Own Device).  I thought it would last longer but they decided to stop updating the operating system in order to intentionally phase me out.  I also replaced the battery last year (best $80 ever spent) and it gave the iPhone 5 another good year of use.  Then it started getting cold and my iPhone 5 was not happy, dropping from fully charged to 1% battery in a mater of minutes and then shutting off by itself.

I did my research, and even went to the Apple store to look at what the iPhone 7 or iPhone 8 looked like.  I asked the sales people when the iOS system would stop updating for an iPhone 7 if I were to get an iPhone 7.  The lifespan of an iPhone 7 is probably around 3-4 years and the iPhone 8 or X is around 5-6 years.  I felt a bit sheepish with an iPhone 5 especially when I was talking to the Apple staff- as if I was some peasant leper who doesn’t have the latest Apple gadget (this is why I don’t go shopping in malls, folks!!).  I overheard someone saying “I think I’m the only person in this store who still has an iPhone 5” (no, you’re not alone!).

I even went on the Black Friday weekend and the prices at Apple were still pretty steep:

  • iPhone 8 $819 with a $70 Apple gift card
  • iPhone 7 $649 with a $70 Apple gift card

I was thisclose to buying it then I realized I should do a bit more research instead of impulse buy.  I left the store frustrated and overwhelmed with the paradox of choice.  I thought I should calculate what the cost of succumbing to a 2 year contract is, and whether buying a phone outright makes more sense than a 2 year contract.

I did make a decision to buy the iPhone 8 instead of the 7 if it didn’t cost an arm and a leg.  Here’s my thought process.

Buying a Refurbished iPhone at best Buy

Barry from Money We Have gave me a heads up that there were some Refurbished iPhones for sale at Best Buy that are unlocked.  Some of the prices were great, like $500 or so for an iPhone 7 but there was limited or no choice for any iPhone 8’s (or they were around $800 still which is basically regular price).  This would have been my second option if the other contract I signed up for didn’t pan through.

My Research on the Best iPhone Contract

Here was my research with my calculation on extra cost in addition to what I was paying for BYOD at the present moment (which is around $55 a month after taxes for 2G of data and 300 daytime minutes)- please note, these were Black Friday/Cyber Monday prices.

My iPhone 5 decided to crap out at an opportune time.

Koodo (Telus’s cheaper buddy)

  • $45 for a 2G data plan with 500 minutes and unlimited text messaging, and add a $15 Medium “tab” for 24 months which will automatically knock off once you finish paying it off
  • In addition, the iPhone 8 was $150 to purchase
  • Total ‘extra’ cost for the iPhone 8 over 2 years would be $440 (from my BYOD plan now)

Rogers EPP Plan

The EPP Plan is the employee price plan which is considered to be better than what you could get by calling loyalty and retention.  These are offered for  Often they give 30% off discount (approximately) from regular prices for plans.  You have to log in through your work discount portal to see the special offers and they are usually not easily accessed by the public.  I was ready to jump ship to Rogers because this was a pretty good deal.

  • $149 iPhone 8 upfront cost
  • $59 a month for 24 months with data and minutes plus tax
  • The total ‘extra’ cost for the iPhone 8 woul be $415 over 2 years

Telus EPP Plan

There were some great deals for the Black Friday promotion for Telus.  They recently have a “Bring it Back” program which is similar to the iPhone Upgrade Program in the United States.  You pay a certain amount on your plan for two years, and at the end of the two years, you can pay $200 to keep the phone or just return the phone and then you’ll be able to ‘upgrade’ to the next or newer phone.

  • A similar plan was $74.50 for 24 months
  • And the Bring it Back Cost (because I would buy it at the end of 2 years) would be $200
  • The total extra cost from my normal BYOD plan would be $667 for the iPhone 8.
  • As you can see the Bring it Back Program (which was launched by Telus September 2018) or the only iPhone Upgrade Program in Canada so far, isn’t really worth it

Online Chat with Telus Corporate

Finally, before signing up for a plan, I thought it would be better to just check with someone before I execute a 2 year commitment of increased cell phone bill payments.  I called in to Telus and the wait times were over 1 hour (that’s a LONG TIME).  The phone message suggested to try using their chat feature, and I did.  It was great, and I got connected quickly and I didn’t have to speak to anyone!  #introvertdream

Online Chat with Telus Retention

You can even screen shot the details for reference, which I found very helpful with the chat feature.

I asked if there was something similar to what I was using right now for my BYOD plan without having to have an astronomical price increase just to pay the premium.  There wasn’t, unfortunately.

  • There was a promotion of 5GB of data (that’s more than I’ll ever need, unfortunately they couldn’t reduce this amount)
  • There was unlimited local calling
  • This would add up to $66.50/month + taxes, which would be an extra $468 over the two years
  • The iPhone 8 would be $0 upfront and after 2 years
  • However, they offered to reduce the amount because I had a monthly credit for loyalty on my account- that’s $10 off a month (I will have to say good bye to my Canadian long distance minutes but I don’t have anyone I talk to anyways)
  • Drumroll please, the additional cost of the iPhone 8 using this purchase method is $196 over 2 years!

Needless to say, I bought!  So in this case, buying the iPhone 8 outright would not have been the most economical option and getting hooked into another contract for two years isn’t the worst thing ever and actually saved me money.

There you have it, that’s my humble version of the iPhone upgrade in Canada- DIY upgrade with the intention of keeping it for longer than 2 years… way longer.

In summary, the negotiation tactics used to upgrade your iPhone in Canada are similar to negotiating cheaper Internet in Canada.

Do you do research when you are buying a big ticket item?  What’s your big ticket item threshold? $100?  $500?  How often do you upgrade to a new phone?

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17 thoughts on “My Humble Version of the iPhone Upgrade Program in Canada”

  1. This is awesome research! It’s crazy to me that buying the phone outright didn’t work out cheaper. I have 6 GB of data per month plus rollover which is wayyyy more than I need but we pay $78 including taxes for both of us and my husband gets most of that reimbursed from work. My mom got her first iPhone a 4S!) for free for signing up for a new contract (it was a few years old then haha). She has 300 MB of data now on a prepaid plan she found so she can iMessage her daughters when she’s out.

    • @Leigh- I know, I was surprised too. Wow rollover! We don’t have that in Canada. It’s nice you and your husband can share your phone plan, that’s a good price too. Hehe, 300MB of data- I hope she has a warning when she is close to maxing that out. I remember when 500MB seemed like a lot, and now I need at least 1-2GB!

  2. I upgraded my iphone4 ( I was cutting edge back in 2010 when I got it) last year to a 7. That’s another story. The 4 was so slow, it became unusable. It also didn’t support WIFI calling. For whatever reason my cell coverage in my new house is awful, so I call over my WIFI and it works great. Not many people know about the WIFI calling feature on the last few phone editions, but if you have poor cell coverage, it’s a great option. When I leave the house it kicks over to cellular, just like data usage. I got a great deal on the 7. I think it was around $300 dollars. I bought it a few months before Apple was rolling out the X series, so I think the retailer was trying to get rid of them. It works great and does everything I need. I won’t upgrade until their is a reason to do so from a functionality standpoint. I don’t need the latest bells and whistles. Tom

    • @Tom- So you had your iPhone 4 for 7 years (!?) Okay you win haha. That’s amazing you made the iPhone 4 last so long. I have an iPhone 7 for work and it’s great. I need to figure out if there’s a way to not have “live” pictures, they creep me out when the move like that (Can you believe I call myself a millennial with a comment like that?).

      • @GYM – to make non-live photos, you just tap on the yellow circle indicator at the top of the screen in the camera app 🙂 I pretty much only turn it on for taking photos of waterfalls or dogs now.

        • @Leigh- THANK YOU! I will try that. Okay I just did and it fixed it! Haha, why is the default “on”?!?!! Thank you, you’ve made my life simpler.

  3. You did a bit better than me. I picked up a new iPhone 8 last week for 149+tax and an extra 5$ a month on my plan. Ends up being about 300 which I am still pretty happy with. Enjoy the phone, it’s a pretty big jump for me going from an SE to the 8 so it will feel blazing fast coming from a 5!

    • @Leonidas- Thanks! $149 + tax and extra $5 sounds good- I was totally gunning for that (and would have been totally fine with paying that) until I found out my $10 loyalty would roll over to the new plan.

  4. Whenever I need to talk to customer service, I’d prefer the chat feature too. It really is an introvert’s dream, lol!! It gives me time to think of what to say.
    We just bought an updated Vitamix a month ago and luckily we didn’t pay the retail price($500) on it since we returned our old Vitamix at full price($340-350), so technically we only paid around $160. We definitely did research on this to make sure it was worth getting. We read reviews, watch youtube videos on it and was convinced that we should get it.
    I’m like you on phone upgrades, I only do it when my phone runs into the ground. I’ve had two phones in the last 6-7 years I believe.

    • @Kris- That is an AWESOME deal for Vitamix. I was really hoping my iPhone would last longer but the battery really sucks- must be all that time on Twitter, haha…..

  5. Hi GYM, great research. I’m glad it worked out for you. Yeah, shopping for phone and its plan is very time consuming. I did it 3.5 years ago when my old flip phone was replaced. My current phone cost around $30, and it’s a basic LG smartphone, with less than 2 GB of storage. I’m with Cricket, and the monthly cost is $30 (with tax everything included), with 2GB of data, unlimited nationwide voice and text. No contract. It has been working all right so far.

    • @Helen- Wow Cricket is a great price! Is Cricket independent or part of a bigger chain (e.g. Verizon?). I have 16GB of storage on my iPhone 5 and I am always having to delete pictures and videos it’s terrible. I also have trouble deleting them even them I upload them to my computer because I like looking at old videos of my baby haha.


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