Bell stops offering subsidized plans, now only does device financing

Bell Mobility has stopped offering device subsidy plans and now exclusively provides device financing for customers.

It stopped offering subsidy plans as of July 20th.

Bell was one of the last holdouts, offering both the new ‘SmartPay’ device financing alongside the old subsidized plans. SmartPay lets customers get a smartphone for $0 down and pay off the phone’s price over 24 equal monthly payments. The main benefit of this system is that phone payments no longer tie directly to customers’ rate plans, although you must still be a Bell customer with an eligible Bell rate plan to do SmartPay.

Additionally, Bell gives customers some level of choice when it comes to financing. For example, customers can opt for Bell’s ‘Device Return Option,’ which reduces the cost of a smartphone if they promise to return it to Bell at the end of their contract.

Alternatively, customers can select to pay a down payment instead of taking the phone for $0 upfront. Depending on the size of the down payment, the monthly device financing cost can drop significantly.

Still, some people preferred the old subsidy model, which reduced the upfront cost of a smartphone but locked customers into a specific plan tier that combined the rate plan with the phone’s cost.

It worth noting that Bell flanker brand Virgin Mobile replaced its subsidy plans with a device financing option in May. Virgin calls its device financing ‘Sweet Pay.’

Telus’ flanker Koodo and Shaw-owned Freedom Mobile remain among the few major Canadian carriers that don’t offer device financing programs.

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