The best phone deals in Canada after the Big Gig plan

Freedom Mobile started the discount phone plan frenzy, and there are still some decent deals to be had. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)
Freedom Mobile started the discount phone plan frenzy, and there are still some decent deals to be had. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

It’s the holiday season, which always means the biggest phone deals of the year.

This year was no exception, especially when Freedom Mobile brought out their Big Gig Plan (10 GB of data for $60), which persuaded all their competitors to offer the same deal in the latter part of December. But now that the deal is done everywhere except where it originated, you might find yourself wondering if there are any good deals left out there.

While none are quite as blockbuster as the Big Gig plan, there are some deep discounts you can get if you look around.

Bell Mobility – A Free Phone, a Bonus GB and Unlimited Minutes Across North America

The best offer from Bell Mobility is actually a combination of some of their top promotions.

The Phone:

  • A free Samsung Galaxy S8 and a Galaxy Tab E on select two year plans.

Ok, almost free (a $25 connection fee still applies), and if you try and get out of your two year contract early, you will likely be subject to cancellation fees and may have to pay back the remaining value of the handset. As for the phone, you’re getting the latest and greatest from Samsung. The phone’s design, battery life, features and functionality consistently rate high among reviewers with only the fingerprint reader on the back being reported as awkward and finicky, making unlocking the phone and using Samsung Pay cumbersome and annoying.

The Plan:

  • Unlimited U.S. and Canada calling and texting plans feature 4GB of data and unlimited picture and video messaging within Canada for $115 a month.

This is a good plan if your cellphone is your main line, especially since other options from Bell restrict you to 300 local minutes, even on the family plan, which adds 4GB of data for two at $145 month. Single smartphone plans for $75 a month only offer 300 local minutes and 1GB of data (plus a temporary bonus promotional gigabyte) for a total of 2GB.

The Bonus:

  • A free additional gigabyte of data on select two-year terms (new activations and upgrades)

If you can add the bonus gigabyte to the four gigabytes you already have on the unlimited Canada and the U.S. calling and texting plan, this turns into a pretty sweet deal. The above gets you a free phone, 5GB of data and unlimited calling and texting across North America on a two-year contract.

Rogers Wireless – iPhone 7 or 8 for $0 with 32GB or 64GB of Data on a Two-year Share Everything Plan

The Phone:

  • $0 iPhone 7 or 8

This is a Boxing Week offer, so it’s only good while supplies last. The iPhones being offered are the iPhone 8 at 64 GB and its predecessor, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus at 32 GB. Ordinarily, an iPhone 8 at 64 GB on a two-year plan would cost $299.99 and an iPhone 7 with 32 GB is usually $50. The iPhone 8 is the newest offering from Apple and is only overshadowed by the iPhone X. The camera is said to be one of the best on a smartphone able to take clear pictures in low-light conditions, and the glass design is said to be easy to hold and not too slick. The iPhone 7 is also popular with holdouts waiting to upgrade to the X, but need a decent phone in the meantime.

The Plan:

  • A two-year Share Everything Premium + Tab

To get the iPhone 8 for $0, you need to get the plan above, which means increased flexibility to choose the plan that suits your needs. With a Share Everything Plan you can choose between 6GB and 60GB of data, either keeping all the data for yourself or sharing it between a family or friends with up to nine handsets and the more you add, the more you save. For these purposes, we’d recommend the unlimited Canada-wide calling for a regular price of $80 a month and not the 300 local weekday minutes for a regular price of $70, which caps you at 2GB to 6GB of data. The Premium + Tab also means you pay the lowest upfront cost possible for your phone. Of course, backing out of the contract early means you have to pay the remaining cost of the phone and cancellation fees. You can also add free subscriptions to Texture, Spotify, NHL Game Centre Live or add a “roam like home” plan if you choose.

The Bonus:

  • Get an additional $10 off a month on the Share Everything Plan for 24 months.

The additional discount here will knock down your unlimited Canada-wide calling plan to $70 a month and your 300 local weekday minutes plan to $60 a month.

Telus – Four Phones with 12 GB of Shared Data for $60 a Month Each

The Phones:

  • Four phones for $0 that are Samsung Galaxy A5 Black with 32 GB.

This phone is a very competent mid-range option, as far as being a high-end phone without the high-end price. The phone is free upfront and should tick all the boxes for the majority of people. It looks great, its curved screen is easy to grip, the camera is decent, but you do have to hold it steady because there’s no image stabilization. The good battery life means you should have a bit of juice left the next morning. Honestly, you can’t go wrong.

The Plan:

  • 12 GB of data shareable across four phones for $60 each a month with 300 local daytime minutes for each.

This plan will work as long as your cell phone isn’t your primary line and a few family members (perhaps children) don’t use the phone that often. The data is decent here, but you may want to up the minutes depending on your usage. While the data is $60 per month per person, the minutes on top comes to $45 per person, which isn’t bad as long as each of the four members are paying for their own plan.

Bonus:

  • Each additional phone added to the primary line gets $5 off

While the primary phone line costs $45 per month with 300 local daytime minutes, each additional line gets $5 off, so three out of the four total $40 each.

Freedom Mobile – iPhone 8 with 64 GB of Storage and 10 GB of Data for $65 a Month

The Phone:

  • iPhone 8 with 64 GB of Storage on MyTab Boost

Freedom Mobile has a payment plan called MyTab Boost, which allows you to pay $0 upfront, but then you pay a small monthly amount towards the cost of the phone for up to 24 months. In the case of the iPhone 8, you’ll be paying $15 a month for 24 months on top of your plan with no money upfront.

The Plan:

  • The Big Gig Plan: 10 GB of data plus talk for $65 a month

This is the plan that started it all and forced the big three (Telus, Rogers and Bell) to take notice and offer their own 10 GB for $60 for a limited time. Since this an iPhone 8, you’re paying a little more for what Freedom calls their Big Gig Plan, but you can get the same 10 GB for $60 if you pick a Google phone like the Pixel 2 or Pixel XL. Incredibly, there’s no additional cost for talk. You get unlimited Talk and Text to the U.S. and Canada plus unlimited text, photo and video messaging. Away from Canada you get 500 MB of data, 2,400 minutes of talk to Canada and the U.S. and unlimited text messaging across the globe. Their network may be spotty though, so functionality might be an issue. It is LTE, so it is very fast and up to current standards.

Bonus:

  • Free Gift with Samsung and Sony Phones

If you apply this plan to a Samsung Galaxy Note 8, a Samsung Galaxy S8, a Samsung Galaxy S8+ or a Sony Xperia XZ1, you get a Samsung charging and memory bundle (a $195 value). However, your MyTab boost monthly cost will be higher at $35 a month for 24 months.

Koodo Mobile – LG Q6 with 32 GB of Storage on Tab Medium with 1 GB of Data

The Phone:

  • LG Q6 with 32 GB on Tab Medium

Similar to Freedom Mobile, Koodo offers a tab program to pay off your phone. The LG Q6 can be purchased for no money up front and then $15 a month for 24 months. The phone itself is basically a mini version of everything you liked about the LG C6. It’s a great mid-range offering. The fullVision display and rear camera are standouts in terms of quality, but the back of the phone is scratch prone and there’s no fingerprint sensor, which is kind of annoying for activation.

The Plan:

  • 1 GB of Data and Unlimited Canada-wide minutes and text messaging for $65

This plan gives you the most freedom at the cheapest price. Otherwise you’re capped at 500 Canada-wide anytime minutes for $55 ($10 less). As for data, they notify you before you go over and when you reach your limit they pause your data and give you the ability to add more right from your phone. An additional 100 MB of data costs $7 to top up. Family calling is also unlimited and you get all the features such as call-waiting, conference-calling, call display and voicemail. The $65 is added to your $15 for 24 months, so be warned.

Bonus:

  • 2 GB of data for 24 months and a $100 gift credit

Everyone can use another 2GB of data and this plan qualifies, giving you a total of 3 GB for two years. Plus, if you bring your own phone, you get a $10 credit on your bill for a year. To qualify for the $100 gift credit, you need to either buy online at koodo.com or in store at a Kodoo retail store. The gift amount may vary and it’s while supplies last.

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