Canadian mobile carrier Fido yesterday did something that should make our friends up in the great white north a group of happy customers, they changed their pricing structure around and eliminated contracts...sort of. In a move similar to what T-Mobile has done recently here in the states and what other Canadian carriers Virgin Mobile and WIND Mobile offer, Fido changed their pricing structure around so that a down payment is made (or sometimes not even that), and the smartphone is then paid off over the course of a 24 or 36 month period.
While this may still sound like a contract, and in a way all of these new plans sound like contracts, they really are different. In the case of Fido the marketing strategy is made up of pointing to early upgrades as long as you pay off the remainder owed on the handset, although a $25 Hardware Upgrade Administration Fee also applies.
Here is the way the new plan will work according to the carrier:
Choose a smartphone with an eligible term plan - the price and savings will depend on the device you choose, but we'll spot the majority of the upfront full device cost. The remaining amount is your Fido Tab24 or Tab36 balance.
Every month into your term, the Tab24 balance automatically decreases.
Want to upgrade your smartphone? Simply pay off the Tab24 or Tab 36 balance and you'll be eligible to upgrade to the device you want.
And since we are all Android fans here, a couple of examples of the plan in action using some of their Google Powered handsets are worth a gander.
Samsung Galaxy S III: CA$250 with a two-year Tab24 agreement (vs. CA$550 outright)
Google / LG Nexus 4: CA$100 with a two-year Tab24 agreement (vs. CA$425 outright)
Samsung Galaxy S II LTE: CA$0 with a two-year Tab24 agreement (vs. CA$450 outright)
Now granted all of these plans are just different ways of skinning the same cat because they are still locking you into a multi year agreement, the consumers are now at least made aware of how much their smartphone actually costs. Additionally with Canada being home to the infamous three year contract, it's a sure bet that people will be jumping at these plans especially with the promise of an early upgrade once their device is fully paid off.