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Negotiating a cell phone plan isn't dead. Always try to call and see what you can do because you never know what customer service will give you.

Since I had my cell phone stolen while on vacation (I almost lost it last year in Bali, Indonesia and ended up paying an exorbitant amount of money to get it shipped back to Canada) so it’s almost like the movie “Final Destination”.  My cell phone was going to disappears on me inevitably.  So when it did, I was glad that it happened less than 6 months until my 3 year contract was up.

As I recently acquired an iPad as a Christmas present to myself, I started paying extra for data charges on my iPad.  As someone used to paying $56 including taxes for:

  • 250 minutes anytime
  • 6 pm evening and weekends
  • unlimited text messaging
  • 500 MB data
  • Voicemail 3 (visual voicemail)
  • Caller ID

I wasn’t really happy paying an extra $10 on average on a monthly basis.  Also, I had not realized (yes, I know, I am quite technologically impaired unlike the proprietors of this blog!) that you could tether your iPad to your iPhone for data and basically use it as a Wi-Fi hotspot.  I should have realized this earlier before I bought my 3G iPad, but I digress.

Negotiating A Cell Phone Plan

Going back to negotiating for the new cell phone contract– I had a great steal of a deal for a corporate plan with Rogers, but for some sick reason unbeknowst to me, I like the commitment that I have had with Telus for over 11 years.  Also, I am a Telus shareholder (I am also a Bell shareholder but that’s beside the point).  To be honest, I had some anxiety about renewing because I haven’t had the time to research the deals available out there, but spent about 30 minutes looking at the latest Red Flag Deal retention deals and was able to see what was available/ out there.

Related: Negotiating with Rogers Wireless- Head to Head Battle!

I was also deciding whether or not to buy a phone outright like Kerry from Squawkfox did, or get a discounted version and just commit to another three years like I did earlier.  Although Kerry bought an unlocked phone outright from Apple and found the saving to be substantial, I was thinking of doing the same.  Until I talked to the customer service rep and found that that Telus can unlock the cell phone for you for a $35 fee after 90 days of owning the phone.  I like this idea because as an intrepid and frequent wanderlust traveler, not having a cell phone handy can be well, kinda difficult.  I also like the idea of paying $179 for a $700+ cell phone (I know I know, I’m paying for it by being tied to a 3 year contract, but quite frankly, I am pretty happy with contracts especially if you are getting a good price for what you want).

I decided to give my good friends (lol) at Telus a call, and yes, I Googled my own blog post Step By Step Guide on How to Save Money on your Cell Phone Contract from a few years back as reference to find the retention department number.  I talked to a customer service rep and told her my situation.  I had about 4 months left on my contract.  Although I would have LOVED to have waited until my contract was over so I really will have the “upper hand” in terms of negotiation, I couldn’t because of the circumstances.  Nonetheless, I was pretty happy with what she offered me.  I mentioned the Rogers corporate deal and although they couldn’t match it, they did a good job in offering me more.  I had 100 Canadian long distance minutes for free a few years back (before my iPhone 4) and I wanted it back.  She wasn’t able to offer this to me.

I called back again and talked to another customer service rep and he was able to add this to my plan.

So, after about 1-2 hours of my time, this is what I got for $50+tax:

  • 250 minutes anytime minutes
  • 6pm evening and weekends
  • unlimited text messaging
  • Voicemail 10 (visual voicemail)
  • Caller ID
  • 100 Long distance minutes (Canada)
  • 1 GB data

I cancelled my iPad plan and will tether it to my iPhone when I don’t have wi-fi.  I don’t use more than 1GB of data on both devices, so I’m pretty happy with that.

So to summarize, negotiating isn’t dead, even after three years.  Some tried and true tricks are:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want
  • Be nice (this is the MOST important thing) but be ready to “ask for the supervisor” if you get pissed
  • Be humble and friendly (you are at the customer service rep’s mercy- if they don’t like you they are going to do jack sh*t for you)
  • Call again and ask for what you want
  • Note their names
  • Write down what they offer you and make sure they put these in the “notes” on their system

Readers – Any other tips out there?

Article comments

Dardar says:

I’m with Wind Mobile.

$50/month (for a while it was $40):

– No contract – cancel anytime without a fee
– Unlimited data
– Unlimited minutes (without any restrictions on hours of use)
– Unlimited texting to Canada and the US
– Unlimited Canadian long distance
– Voicemail (it’s an add-on that costs $5)
– Caller ID

You have to buy the phone outright (this can be pricey depending on what kind of phone you want) but you can get one on Craigslist or Wind often has deals. I got $150 in credit for bringing my number over from Rogers. Also, roaming can get a little pricey when you leave a “Wind Home Zone” (places where Wind is located – Toronto, Ottawa, etc.). I’m not outside of the Toronto area much so it’s not really a factor for me. Finally, no Iphone (not a dealbreaker for me – I have a Samsung Galaxy and it’s great).

Even after factoring in having to buy my own phone, the plan per month is considerably cheaper than what I had with Rogers (and I have more!). Also, since you don’t have a contact, as new “specials” come in, you’re eligible for those as well. I’ve brought my plan down in cost three times now, without a hassle.

Highly recommended.

Young says:

@Dollar- That’s true, but I find that in certain places, Wind mobile’s coverage kinda blows 🙁 But yeah, if I were in a place like Toronto that would be good. But I do go outside of Vancouver a lot of the time and I wanted something versatile. But that plan you mentioned rocks!

kevin says:

go here to get a glimpse of just how low carriers can go if you know how to push the right buttons:

as for my own plan, $86 tax in gets me:
– unlimited north american calls and texts
– visual voicemail for iphone
– caller id
– 6gb data plan

These are great tips! A lot of people think that negotiating with service providers means being rude, but I find that the nicer you are (but firm) with people, the more you’ll get. Good job!

Hey Young,

Ever checked out Koodo’s plans?


SavingMentor says:

Koodo definitely consistently has the best plans that are accessible to all Canadians nation wide that don’t have to be negotiated. That’s a lot of caveats … but that’s honestly what most regular people are interested. A good all around deal without any hassle.

I’m currently on their $35 plan myself:
400 daytime minutes (including nationwide long distance)
Unlimited evenings and weekends after 7pm
Unlimited txt(including international) and picture messaging
Call Display, VM, Call Waiting, Conference Calling, etc
300 MB of data
$5/250MB of additional data

I believe you can also get a 10% discount on that if you don’t want to use the tab and bring your own phone.

However, you’ve got a free phone and I don’t, which is a definite plus. I just stay away from the latest and greatest phone and wait for a good promotion on a decent smart phone from Koodo and keep upgrading and selling on Kijiji whenever the next good deal comes along on a newer model.

Young says:

@SM- Hi friend! Long time no see 🙂 Yeah, that’s a good plan but I could not do 300MB. I go through that in half a month lol. But if I were to go to a discount carrier I would definitely opt for Koodo.

Alex says:

I am with Mobilicity (you have to be in their coverage zone)

I pay $25 after tax for:
-Unlimited North American minutes.
-Unlimited International SMS
-Unlimited Data
-30 minutes of North American Roaming
-All the features like Voice Call, Caller ID, etc

I have to admit the $25 is for a year, the regular price is $40 for this package.


Jason says:


I think you can still do alot better than that. I recently re-negotiated our corporate plan after I say all the ads for that smokin Fido plan.
For $56 they were offering
unlimited talk in Canada (No long distance)
unlimited picture and text including international destinations
2GB of Data, and Call waiting, display and Visual Voicemail.
I do know that Koodo and Bell were matching these deals before, so if you like the Telus network you could just switch to Koodo their sister company.
Fidos new deal is only $39 http://www.fido.ca/web/page/portal/Fido/MonthlyPlans/Group2

Just FYI our rogers plan is the following,
400 daytime mins (They don’t do unlimited on corp accounts)
1000 incoming mins
unlimited evenings and weekends after 6pm
Call waiting, display, forwarding, Visual / Enhanced Voicemail
Free Rogers to Rogers calling
*250 canadian long distance mins
*50 USA long distance mins
*Unlimted north american long distance for $5.00 extra
We get all of the above for $22.00 for a 20 line commit, data is either 6GB CDN or 1GB North American for $30 extra. (Again on corp lines they don’t like dealing with small data plans apparently)

Also for iPad data you might want to have a look at 7-elevens speakout. You can buy a pay-as-you-go card and just never use minutes. They have an unlimited data plan for $10 that is excellent. It’s all done through a proxy, so some images are reduced in quality (facebook for example) but for the most part you’ll never notice. This isn’t for everyone as there is a little configuration involved and some things like skype don’t work because you only get access to port 80 (internet data). More info here;

Kayla says:

I’ve always been a fan of Telus; never had issues with them, always had great customer service when I needed it. Here’s my story with a recent negotiation (though it wasn’t even one, in my opinion).

My 3 year contract with Telus was done in March, and I was eligible to get a brand new phone for free. I have also been a long-time customer of Telus and figured I should probably ask for a different plan than what I had. I think I had just about exactly what you had. Basically 500 MB of data (which I would sometimes go over in a month and have to pay a bit extra.. I use my phone a lot data-wise); can’t even remember the minutes I had because I hardly use my phone for calling (weird, right?), but I remember that I had a lot more minutes than I needed… All I really wanted was a plan that was cheaper than what I had but with more data and the same basic features I already had (voicemail 3, unlimited texting, LD, etc).

I went and got my new phone in-store, and while the cashier was ringing everything through she asked if I wanted to speak to someone about changing up my plan (for whatever reason I couldn’t do it with her). So I called, and basically asked, “I’m looking for a cheaper plan than what I’m paying now, with less minutes, but more data.” The rep offered me a plan with 150 minutes, unlimited texting, voicemail 3, and 6 GB of data, for only $65 a month after taxes (I was previously paying around $70). I even told her that 6 GB was way too much (I could almost get away with canceling the Wi-Fi in my apartment and use my iPhone as a hotspot for everything). But she insisted, so I took it. Now that I have it, I’m never, EVER getting rid of this plan. The up to 6 GB of data add-on is $60 alone.

I always tell people it never hurts to ask because you never know what you can get! 🙂