Wireless: Canadians pay more

Ever get the feeling we canucks just don’t seem to get a fair shake in the wireless department when compared to our southern cousins? I do. I am sick of being laughed at by the Americans when I explain the pricing of mobile products out here. Take the Treo 270 that I reviewed a few weeks back.

It cost $699 CDN on Rogers if you signed up for a plan. That’s right, $699 was the “deal” price. That same phone was free on a plan for T-Mobile customers in the US and available without a plan for far less that $699 CDN. What??? Since that review, Rogers dropped the price by $500 bucks and now sells it on a plan for $199.00. I’d like to think I may have brought them back to reality on that one but I won’t keep my hopes up.

So what’s the deal? Why must we be expected to pay more? I have no idea. Below, I’ve noted a few more examples to prove the point. In each case, I note the price of the phone on a plan and included any rebates as advertised. I picked phones that I liked which were available here and then found a US carrier that had the same phone.

Phone Model
Audiovox Thera$299.00 CDN
($99.00 USD = $131.82 CDN
(
Verizon)
Danger Hiptop / Sidekick$375.00 CDN
(Fido)
$199.00 USD = $264.97 CDN
(T-Mobile)
Kyocera 7135$699.00 CDN
($499.95 USD = $665.68 CDN
(
Alltel)
Motorola V66$29.00 CDN
(Rogers)
FREE on a plan
(T-Mobile)
Nokia 3300$199.99 CDN
(Rogers)
$49.00 USD = $65.24 CDN
(AT&T Wireless)
Nokia 6800$399.00 CDN
(Rogers)
$49.00 USD = $65.24 CDN
(AT&T Wireless)
Panasonic GD88$339.99 CDN
(Rogers)
$99.99 USD
(GU87) = $131.82 CDN
(AT&T Wireless)
Samsung SPH-A600$299.00 CDN
($199.00 USD = $264.97 CDN
(
Sprint)
Samsung SPH-i700$899.00 CDN
(Telus)
$599.00 USD = $797.57 CDN
(Verizon)
Samsung S307$329.99 CDN
(Rogers)
$199.00 USD = $264.97 CDN
(Cingular)
Siemens SL56$399.99 CDN
(Rogers)
$99.00 USD = $131.82 CDN
(AT&T Wireless)
Sony Ericsson T226$24.99 CDN
(Rogers)
FREE on a plan
(AT&T Wireless)
Sony Ericsson T616$299.99 CDN
(Rogers)
$49.00 USD = $65.24 CDN
(AT&T Wireless)
Sony Ericsson P800$899.99 CDN
(Rogers)
$499.99 USD = $665.74 CDN
(AT&T Wireless)
* Prices from December 22, 2003

Why? Think it’s the cost of wireless plans? Maybe we get the minutes so much cheaper? Think again. Wireless packages are complex things and few can be directly compared – peak times, unlimited weekends, set up fees, 911 service fee, extra minutes rate, long distance charges, roaming charges, evenings start at 6, or 7, or 8pm, user to user… the details are long. But just a few minutes surfing through the carrier websites will tell you they often get a better deal there too.

So what do we do now? Complain. Comparison shop the phone you want and tell your retailer what you find. Tell them, tell them and keep telling them. Who knows, we might have another reality check in the works.


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