Once again, I scoured the streets of Toronto to find out if going to physical carrier stores would get me a better internet deal than shopping online – and again, it did.
I didn’t expect nearly all carriers to offer the same download speed, which leaves me with only one real upgrade option.
Here is a summary of my journey.
Every adventurous shopping trip starts online
First, I needed to find the best deals in my area, the limits sellers might place on me, and what my current plan offered.
I started with a $79 per month plan from Teksavvy with 150 Mbps down and 30 Mbps up. Not a bad plan, but I was looking for something that would lower my monthly price or give me a lot more speed for the same price. At the time, Teksavvy wasn’t offering any offers, but the next day as I sat down to write this story, it threw out several great offers.
Overall, the best deal I could find in my area online was a $74 plan from a reseller called Primus that got me 1.5 Gbps download but only 30 Mbps upload.
I also searched the Red Flag Deals tech forums to see if there were any deals I could try to figure out by calling or chatting online with a carrier’s sales department. I found some users getting a delicious 1.5 Gbps deal with Bell’s basic TV for $60, but the company refused to offer that deal to me. From what I’ve found, it looks like an exclusive condo plan.
After more research, I left the house and went to the mall.
Real World Deals
On the way to the mall, I stopped at the Rogers and Bell stores facing the street and found a few deals to start. One thing to note here is that these sales seem to be heavily dependent on where I live. So while I can’t promise the same deals will be available across Canada, I suggest popping into some of your local stores and asking around.
The Bell store offered me 500 Mbps up/down for $85 a month with no contract. The Rogers store, on the other hand, had a much better deal, but not as good internet. The carrier offered 1 Gbps down and 30 Mbps up for $65 per month for one year with a $100 bill credit.
Finally, by moving into the mall, spin-off brands Virgin Plus and Fido cut their plans by around 50%. You can probably pick up a 100 Mbps plan for $45 per month or a 50 Mbps plan for $40. These are ridiculously good deals for most people’s Internet needs. However, as I mentioned, I’m looking for a reasonable upgrade in download speed and both of these carriers achieve 10 Mbps, which is a downgrade from my current 30 Mbps.
“Online, this package still gets you the $200 gift card and six months of Crave, but internet speeds aren’t quite as fast and prices are considerably higher.”
The fact that these carriers limit downloads seems very anti-consumer. Strangely, Virgin Plus (owned by Bell) doesn’t offer higher download speeds because it’s such a big selling feature that Bell uses to keep people away from Rogers and other big players in the internet space.
After realizing that spin-off brands and Rogers wouldn’t work for me since the best download I could get from them would be 30 Mbps or less, I reluctantly headed to another Bell store.
It was a very good decision. I’m not very happy with the price I have to pay, but the salesperson at this store helped me out and built me a package that matched the $85 price of the previous location, but instead included speeds 1.5 Gbps download and upload rates, six months of Crave ($20 tier), a $200 Visa gift card, and a basic no-contract TV package. I tried my best to get the 500mbps speeds instead because that’s all I needed to give me a bit of an upgrade, but the way the bulk discounts worked, l offer couldn’t go any lower. This offer at least gave me more for my money, but who knows if I will ever watch the TV package.
A note about the TV part of the package is that it was originally a standard cable TV package with a receiver that was to be installed in my house under a two year contract. The salesman told me that the contract could be canceled if I did a self-installation or just used Internet TV via the Bell app. This was huge for me since ideally next Black Friday I will try to lower this price again.
Online, this package still nets you the $200 gift card and six months of Crave, but internet speeds aren’t quite as fast and prices are considerably higher.
What does this mean for you?
All in all, I hope everyone can take advantage of the deals I’ve found, but since internet service and deals are so dependent on your home address, it’s hard to pinpoint what people can actually get this year for Black Friday.
That said, if I’ve learned anything, it’s that going to the store and calling the sales reps seems to get the best deals on the internet. If you’re lucky like me and can switch providers, shopping around will always help too.
Update from November 24 at 6:24 a.m.: To clarify, Rogers and some other carriers offer faster download speeds, but not to my address. Probably due to old infrastructure and nobody in my unit hooking up a Bell line before I could access those faster speeds through resellers. It will be interesting to see once the Bell line I purchased is established if it opens up more options for my device through other internet retailers.
For a roundup of all our Black Friday deals, follow this link. You can find all the best deals from Canadian retailers here.
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