An iPhone at the Apple store in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Apple’s iPhone 8 turns into bargaining chip in limited-time carrier promotion

TORONTO — Rogers Communications is using one of Apple’s newest smartphones, the iPhone 8, as a bargaining chip as it seeks to get customers to sign up for select service plans over the busy holiday shopping period.

In a limited-time offer announced Thursday, Rogers (TSX:RCI.B) began advertising an iPhone 8 with 64 megabytes of memory for $0 if customers sign up for a two-year plan that costs at least $2,280 before taxes over the contract

That amounts to about $95 a month for a plan that includes 300 local voice minutes, one gigabyte of regular data and two bonus gigs.

Additional features would push the monthly fee higher.

While it’s normal for carriers to offer older phones for little or no money to entice customers, it’s less common for a newer phone like the iPhone 8 to be available for $0.

“I think it’s a change in market dynamics,” IDC Canada mobile products researcher Manish Nargas said Thursday.

He pointed to a revised federal code of conduct, which went into effect Dec. 1, that requires carriers to sell unlocked mobile phones — making it easier for consumers to switch to another network.

“Now when you’ve got into a situation where everything’s unlocked and everybody’s on equal playing ground, you have to create new ways to resonate with the consumer,” Nargas said in an interview.

“You might be paying $0 up front, which is great for the consumer, but it does tack on a sizable amount to your monthly bills.”

Nargas noted that, last weekend, other carriers followed Rogers after it and its Fido brand began offering $60 per month big-data plans until Monday or Tuesday — an apparent answer to a Freedom plan announced a few weeks ago.

As of Thursday afternoon, Telus and Bell hadn’t matched the Rogers iPhone 8 temporary price cut. They were promoting $0 offers for Samsung Galaxy S8 and S7 smartphones and some older Apple phones.

Rogers hasn’t commented on its most recent pricing moves, but its executives have said the company competes with Freedom on price but has advantages in terms of network, distribution system and customer care.

“Freedom still has a ways to go in terms of having a network that competes with us and with the other two large players,” Rogers chief financial officer Anthony Staffieri told an industry conference on Dec. 5.

Shaw’s Freedom (TSX:SJR.B) — which has its network primarily in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia — wasn’t able to carry the Apple 8s and newer iPhone X until this month.

By contrast, Apple’s iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 plus have been available from Rogers and the other major Canadian carriers since September and they’ve been selling the iPhone X more than a month longer than Freedom, which has had to upgrade its network this year to carry the Apple products.

Last weekend’s price war spawned significant negative social media feedback for Telus, Rogers and — to a lesser extent, Bell — when their customer service phone and chat lines weren’t able to keep up with demand.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Up to 60,000 Alberta beehives could perish

“A perfect storm” of obstacles is threatening thousands of Alberta beehives. “It’s… Continue reading

57 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Alberta on Friday

Central zone remains at three active cases

Frontline rural police will benefit from new support positions say municipal representatives

Province says of 43 new RCMP officers on the job, 18 will provide support and specialized services

China finds energy expertise in central Alberta

Red Deer County companies Icon Energy Services and C-Sense Consulting find success in China

Man and woman accused of breaking into rural lease site arrested

Pair arrested after vehicle got stuck in field near Huxley

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

Protesters return to St. Louis area where couple drew guns

Protesters return to St. Louis area where couple drew guns

Heavy rain floods southern Japan, leaving over dozen missing

Heavy rain floods southern Japan, leaving over dozen missing

At Rushmore, Trump says protesters seek to ‘defame’ heroes

At Rushmore, Trump says protesters seek to ‘defame’ heroes

First Nations coalition rejects recommendation to lift Sen. Beyak’s suspension

First Nations coalition rejects recommendation to lift Sen. Beyak’s suspension

Canada restricts dealings with Hong Kong over new security law

Canada restricts dealings with Hong Kong over new security law

Man accused of ramming gate at Rideau Hall with truck faces multiple charges

Man accused of ramming gate at Rideau Hall with truck faces multiple charges

Hosting regular season MLB in Toronto “totally different ball game”

Hosting regular season MLB in Toronto “totally different ball game”

Siakam says he feels safe in Florida, despite explosion of COVID-19 cases

Siakam says he feels safe in Florida, despite explosion of COVID-19 cases

Most Read