Which Canadian carrier should you get: Rogers, Bell, or Telus?

Once you've decided you're getting a new iPhone 6 Plus or iPhone 6, and picked your model, capacity, and color, you still need to choose your carrier. If you're in Canada, that means the big three carriers of Rogers, Bell, and TELUS, their lower-price subsidiaries, and a few upstarts. All of the big three have confirmed that they'll be offering the latest and greatest iPhones, though none of them have nailed down pricing. Apple announced $299 on a two-year plan for the 16 GB iPhone 6 Plus, and $199 on contract for the 16 GB iPhone 6, and it's safe to assume the Canadian carriers will stay in line with that. So which carrier should you go with? We've chewed through the plans and coverage, and here's what we've found!

The big three: Rogers, Bell, and TELUS

Across the board, we're expecting the 16 GB iPhone 6 will be $199 on contract, $299 for the 64 GB version, and $399 for the 128 GB model. The iPhone 6 Plus should start at $299 on contract for the 16 GB model, $399 on contract for the 64 GB version, and $499 on contract for the 128 GB iPhone 6 Plus.

Flextab

The big three Canadian carriers all work on what's effectively a pro-rated early termination fee now. It used to be that if you cut your contract early, it was more or less a flat fee based on how many months you had left on your contract, capping out at around $400. Now the subsidy you take on your phone is factored in with how long you have left on your contract. Rogers calls this system FLEXtab, TELUS calls it Device Balance, and Bell calls it Data Service Agreement Price Adjustment.

Basically, if you get $500 off the price of your $700 device, it would be about $250 to get out of your contract a year early. That $500 discount gets paid off in equal increments every month in your term (so, $500/24 = $20.83). After 12 months, you will have paid back $250 of that balance, leaving the other half to be paid off before you leave. When you're halfway through your contract, you're halfway to paying back your subsidy.

Monthly rates across all three are suspiciously identical, and all Canadian carriers allow you to share your data to an iPad for another $10/month.

Bell and TELUS share the same towers for their GSM/LTE network but have different back-hauls (different connections to the internet from the towers). That means the Bell/TELUS tower near your home, school, or work could still provide better speeds on one or the other networks.

The budget three: Fido, Virgin Mobile, and Koodo

Each of the big three carriers owns a subsidiary that typically offers lower-cost options by way of a tab system, similar to what the big three are using. Rogers owns Fido. Bell owns Virgin Mobile. TELUS owns Koodo. All three have announced they'll be carrying the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. They're great options if you want a balance of subsidized cost up-front and contract flexibility.

The alternatives: WIND, Moblicity, and regionals

If you're really want an alternative, you also have the option to buy the 6 Plus unlocked starting at $859 or iPhone 6 starting at $749, and run with WIND or Mobilicity. They have great plans starting at $25. It ends up being cheaper in the long run, just keep in mind that you'll be missing out on LTE.

Region-specific carriers are also out there, like Sasktel, MTS, and Videotron. Typically they'll have roaming agreements in place if you ever leave your hometown. Decent data plans will typically start at about $50/month, which can certainly be cheaper than going with Rogers, Bell, or TELUS.

Who should get their iPhone 6 on Rogers?

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Rogers is the big boy on the block. Of course all of the major centers are covered with Rogers LTE, including Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Regina, Edmonton, and lots of others. Recent expansions include a bunch across Quebec, such as Greater Montreal Area (East), Granby, Lachute, Saguenay, Saint-Hyacinthe and Bromont. Data overages cost $15 / GB.

If you're in those areas and speed matters more to you than money, go with Rogers.

Rogers iPhone 6 Plus and 6 plans

Who should get their iPhone 6 on Bell?

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For coverage, you'll see that there are a few areas where Bell reaches that others don't, namely up north. Bell regularly boasts to having Canada's largest LTE network. When it comes to speed, Bell has the same kind of 150 Mbps LTE as Rogers in the Greater Toronto Area, Cambridge, and Kitchener-Waterloo. Data overages are $0.05/MB, which is on par with TELUS, and way more pricey than Rogers.

Just looking at the coverage map, Bell is a good choice if you're in the Prairies, Maritimes, or up north.

Bell iPhone 6 Plus and 6 plans

Who should get their iPhone 6 on TELUS?

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You can see from the coverage map that the Ontario corridor is well covered by TELUS, as well as the Maritimes. Alberta's also looking pretty good, and it there's even some decent service in the Northwest Territories. TELUS network speeds peak out at around 75 Mbps, which is a little slower than Bell and Rogers at their fastest. Data overages are $5 / 100 MB for first 1500 MB, and $0.05 / MB after first 1500 MB, which is considerably more steep than Rogers' overage rate, and roughly the same as Bell.

Coverage may again be a deciding factor when going with TELUS, but anecdotally, you may find their customer service a little bit better than the other two. TELUS subsidiary Koodo has ranked pretty well on that front. Also, if you happen to be in Quebec, TELUS is a no-brainer. In La Belle Province, you get 4 GB for $80 instead of 500 MB.

TELUS iPhone 6 Plus and 6 plans

Who should go with a discount carrier?

Here's where it gets more complicated. If you have an unlocked iPhone and are simply looking for a SIM card to place in it, you have a ton of options from Fido, Virgin Mobile, and more. If saving money is absolutely the most important thing to you, figure out the barest minimum voice, data, and extras like messaging you need, and then check out someone like Virgin Mobile. You'll get a great deal.

Still undecided?

If you're still not sure about which Canadian carrier to get for your iPhone 6 Plus or iPhone 6, jump into our iPhone discussion forums and the best community in mobile will happily help you out. Then let me know - which one did you go with and why?

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

18 Comments
  • confirmed by rogers after 2 months of bitching they don't support any device in Calgary, Alberta. Doesn't matter if you have an iphone BlakcBerry android(any oem) signal issues are rampant from full LTE connection to 0 in the blink of a second.
  • Don't be fooled by their coverage maps. I was in a suburb of Ottawa last Saturday evening and couldn't get any Internet on my 5s while it said Fido Edge for the network. I walked 50 m and I had LTE. There's a few spots on my trip from the suburbs to downtown where the network drops from LTE to Edge on the Fido (Rogers) network.
  • "If you're really want an alternative, you also have the option to buy the 6 Plus unlocked starting at $749 or iPhone 6 starting at $649, "
    Where are you getting them unlocked at that price?? The Apple site has them listed at $100 and $110 bucks more?!? and Add $110 as they go up in size. I didn't think I've seen that much of a increase in the past.
  • Yeah I saw it for 859 for the plus on the apple website and not 749. Thats way too expensive for a phone. A macbook air is pretty close to that price.
  • Thanks guys, fixed. Was rolling with U.S. numbers since the carriers weren't talking, but good to see Apple Canada's site is a bit more informative.
  • Just to note, last year the $199 US translated to $229 Canadian at launch. As well, I see on the Apple site the the storage upgrades on the unlocked phones are $110 instead of $100 per storage increment. I expect we will see this at the carriers as well.
  • What would be really interesting is to show how much one could save if they bit the bullet and bought the phone unlocked. What's the advantage/disadvantage of one versus the other.
  • That's a great idea for a unlocked price comparison between Canadian carriers. I'm sure someone's done it.
  • Wow, Canadian carriers are expensive. $80 a month for 500MB is insane. In the US $80 a month will get you 2GB on AT&T, 1GB on Verizon, and unlimited on T-Mobile and Sprint.
  • Same here there showing the plus plans rates if you go on the lite plans you can get 2gb for $80. and if you want a cheaper plan this is with bell if youve been with them long enough the have a plan called fab ten were you get 6GB of data 10 callers anywhere in canada 200 local minutes unlimited nationwide text,video and picture messaging for $70. also if you own your own device you can get 2GB for $75
  • Sorry man but you're totally wrong about Telus fees for iPhone (also confirmed at FutureShop):
    80$/4GB, 95$/6GB,115$/10GB
    http://www.telus.com/fr/qc/mobility/share-plus.jsp?INTCMP=Beta_PlansCata...
  • hi Simon
    These are the Shareplus plan I get when looking for the iPhone 6 plan for QC/Canada
    why do we have 2 different info?
    http://www.telus.com/en/qc/mobility/share-plus.jsp
    I'm trying to add a picture, but i can't
    jean
  • Ah, I'm getting redirected to the Ontario site. I can see your plans when manually switching location. That's weird that Quebec has such better prices. Not the same story for Rogers and Bell. Will update the guide.
  • You're making me realize that maybe Telus will adjust their prices, either for Ontario :) or in QC :(
  • Well I have been with rogers over the past few years and I love the super plan that I have so I will be staying with rogers and keeping my plan just gonna upgrade the phone and hopefully receive it on launch day
  • No dice friend, like any provider right now, you will have to be on an in market plan to get an upgrade, and the Super plan hasn't been an option for an upgrade for some time now. You will have to change plans.
  • what are the current prices for locked iphone 5s and 6 in Canada?