Once again, I hit the streets of Toronto to discover if going to physical carrier stores would get me a better internet deal than shopping online – and again, it did.
I didn’t expect almost every carrier to offer the same upload speed, leaving me with only one real upgrade option.
Here is an overview of my trip.
Every adventurous shopping trip starts online
First, I had to find the best deals in my area, any limitations the salespeople could throw at me, and determine what my current plan offered.
I started with a $79 per month plan from Teksavvy with 150Mbps down and 30Mbps up. This is not a bad plan, but I was determined to find something that would bring my monthly price down or offer me substantially more speed for the same price. At that time, Teksavvy had no deals, but the other day when I sat down to write this story, it launched several great offers.
Overall, the best deal I could find online in my area was a $74 dollar plan from a reseller called Primus that gave me 1.5 Gbps download but only 30 Mbps upload.
I also looked through the Red Flag Deals tech deal forums to see if there were any deals I could try to weasel by calling or chatting online with a carrier’s sales department. I found that some users get a great 1.5 Gbps deal with basic TV from Bell for $60, but the company refused to offer that deal at my house. Based on what I’ve discovered, it appears to be a condo-exclusive plan.
After more searching I left home and went to the mall.
Deals in the real world
On my way to the mall, I stopped at Rogers and Bell stores down the street and discovered a few deals to start. One thing to note here is that these sales seem to rely heavily on where I live. So while I can’t promise that the same deals will be available across Canada, I suggest going into some of your local stores and asking around.
The Bell store offered me 500Mbps 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 1Gbps down and 30Mbps up for $65 per month for a year with a $100 bill credit.
Finally moving into the mall, flanker brands Virgin Plus and Fido reduced their plans by around 50 percent. You can probably grab a 100 Mbps plan for $45 a month or a 50 Mbps plan for $40. These are ridiculously good deals for most people’s internet goals. However, as I mentioned, I’m looking for a reasonable upload speed upgrade and both of these carriers come out at 10mbps, which is a downgrade from my current 30mbps.
“Online, this bundle still gives you the $200 gift card and six months of Crave, but the internet speeds aren’t as fast, and the prices are significantly higher.”
The fact that these carriers cap uploads feels very anti-consumer. Amazingly, Virgin Plus (owned by Bell) doesn’t offer faster upload speeds because that’s such a huge selling feature that Bell uses to draw people away from Rogers and the other leading players in the internet space.
After finding out that the flanker brands and Rogers wouldn’t work for me as the best upload I could get from them would be 30mbps or less, I sadly went to another Bell store.
This was a nice move. I’m not super happy with the price I have to pay, but the salesperson at this store was helpful and built me a package that matched the $85 price from the previous location, but instead included 1.5Gbps upload and download speeds, six months of Crave ($20 tier), a $200 Visa gift card and a basic no-contract TV package. I tried as hard as I could to get the 500mbps speeds instead as that’s all I need to give myself a bit of an upgrade but the way the bundle discounts worked the offer couldn’t go any lower. At least this deal got me more for my money, but who knows if I’ll ever see the TV package.
One side note regarding the TV portion of the package is that it was originally a standard cable TV package with a receiver that had to be installed in my home on a two-year contract. The salesperson told me that the contract could be rejected if I did a self-installation or just used TV over the Internet through the Bell app. This was huge for me because, ideally, next Black Friday I will try to lower this price again.
Online, this bundle still gives you the $200 gift card and six months of Crave, but the internet speeds aren’t as fast, and the prices are significantly higher.
What does this mean to you?
Overall, I hope everyone can take advantage of the deals I found, but because internet service and the deals are so dependent on your home address, it’s hard to determine what people can actually get for Black Friday this year.
That said, if I’ve learned anything, it’s that going into stores and calling reps seems to yield the best deals on the Internet. If youare lucky like me and can change providers, shopping around will always help too.
Follow this link for an overview of all our Black Friday deals. You can find all the top deals at Canadian retailers here.