Contract or BYO? The Cheapest Way to Get a Moto X Play in Canada

17 December 2015

The Moto X Play is one of the best-value phones on the market; it's about as close to top-tier as you can get, without going the whole way and breaking the bank. For what is generally considered a mid-rang price, you get great hardware, a smooth and fast experience, and a camera that outshines its price-point competition.

There's only one other phone that manages the same almost-flagship-but-not-quite experience for a reasonable price: the Nexus 5X.

Don't compare these two phones looking for a "best" option. The Nexus 5X has slightly better hardware, and a few more features, but comes with a higher price tag. When you break it down, both are equally value-for-money, so your choice should be based on how much you feel like paying.

Chances are good that the X Play will do everything you want your smartphone to do, and do it well. If that's the case, there's really not much point in forking out more than you need.

If the Moto X Play is to be your next device, what's the cheapest way to get your hands on one? Let's compare some 1GB plans to get a general idea.

When choosing a Moto X Play plan, there are two options:

  1. Find it on a 2 year contract, then sign up and grab it for a reduced price
  2. Purchase it outright, then sign up to a contract-free BYOP plan for a cheaper per-month rate

Note: Available carriers, plans, and pricing change depending on what region you're in and over time. We've used Ontario as a base, which should reflect the pricing and options in most provinces. Those in Manitoba, Saskatchewan or Quebec will see cheaper, or more-generous plans. To view these, or to double-check availabilities in any province, click the Change Usage & More link at the top of each table, and adjust your location at the top of the next screen.

Who Won?

For those short on time, the winner was buying the Moto X Play outright (assuming a price tag of $420), and jumping on the 2GB WIND plan. In total this came to $1165 over 24 months; about $420 (AKA the price of the phone again) cheaper than the lower-cost contract plan.

For more details, or if you can't get good WIND coverage in your area, read on.

Moto X Play on Contract

You can grab the Moto X Play from a bunch of carriers, which is good news. It means you have a range of choices, which is always a good thing.

For contract plans it's best to measure the total cost over 24 months. If all you do is compare the monthly payments, you leave out the up-front device payment, which can vary quite a bit. By factoring in monthly payments over the life of the contract + any up-front phone payments and activation fees, you get a better idea of how much a phone and plan will actually cost you in the long run.

Motorola Moto X Play Plans

With at least 1GB data | Filters
Motorola Moto X Play
  • 2GB Canada-Us Borderless
  • 2GB Data
  • Contract (24 mths)
  • $68.95/mth + $15 Upfront

Bell's $65 per month plan takes first place over 2 years. Even better, you pay $0 upfront for the device, although there is a $24.95 connection fee. Admittedly, this option only gets you 300 local minutes per month, so if you make a lot of calls, or regularly call people outside of your local area (such as inter-city), then you might be better off with something else.

Next we have PC Mobile with its $58 plan and $230 up-front for the handset. While that up-front cost does sting a little, with this plan you get unlimited nation-wide calls. In case you were wondering; yes, PC Mobile is a 4G LTE carrier. Coverage is more-limited in some areas than you'll find on the big 3, but that's to be expected from anyone whose name isn't Rogers, Telus, or Bell.

Videotron's plan is only $1.75 more over 2 years than PC Mobile's but is has double the data at 2GB. The cost is more spread-out with a $64.95 monthly fee and and $49.95 up-front price for the phone. This plan also features unlimited nation-wide minutes.

TELUS' plan has some easy pricing: $65 upfront ($50 for the phone and $15 for activation) + $65 per month. Thanks to the 300 minutes of local calls, this is best compared to Bell's plan, which is a tiny bit over $37 more-expensive over 24 months.

Lastly we have Rogers. While the rest of the plans on this list end up being pretty close in cost, Rogers is a serious outlier. At $75 per month it's already sounding pricier, but there's at least $0 up-front payments for the phone, leaving only the $20 activation fee. Even so, it's a solid $178 more than the next-cheapest plan over 24 months, and $215 more than Bell's plan. This plan offers 300 local minutes

Moto X Play on BYOP plans

Bring your own phone (BYOP) plans are great for two reasons: per-month pricing and flexibility. It's difficult to compare pricing too specifically here, when you're looking for the cheapest deal. That's because you can pick one up for a different price, depending on where you go.

If you model you buy is unlocked, then you should be able to take it to any carrier. Of course, you can always buy it from a carrier, then sign up to a BYO Plan, but that limits your options quite significantly.

For the sake of simplicity, let's assume a price of $420 for a Moto X Play when purchased outright, and add that to the cost of a 1GB BYOP plan over 24 months. This way we get more options, and can compare the overall cost to grabbing the handset on a contract.

Cell Phone Plans

With at least 1GB data | Filters
Virgin Mobile
Virgin Mobile
  • $35 BYOP Plan
  • 1GB Data
  • No Contract
  • $35/mth
  • $45 Plan
  • 1GB Data
  • No Contract
  • $35/mth + $10 Upfront
Koodo Mobile
Koodo Mobile
  • $35 - Unlimited Minutes Plan
  • 1GB Data
  • No Contract
  • $35/mth + $15 Upfront
  • 1GB Basic Plan
  • 1GB Data
  • No Contract
  • $37.95/mth + $15 Upfront
  • Share Everything 1GB with Unlimited Local Calling
  • 1GB Data
  • No Contract
  • $40/mth + $9.99 Upfront
Freedom Mobile
Freedom Mobile
  • $40 Data, Text & Talk
  • 2GB Full Speed Data
  • No Contract
  • $40/mth + $10 Upfront

Unsurprisingly, WIND comes out on top with its $30 plan. $745 + $420 comes to $1165 over 24 months (plan + handset, remember). This plan has 2GB of data and unlimited nationwide talk and text. The only downside is that WIND does not currently support 4G LTE data speeds.

Mobilicity knocks it out of the park with 6GB of data on its $40 plan, this time running you a total of $1380 ($960 for the plan, $420 for the phone) over 24 months, once again limited to 3G speeds. If you were considering 1GB to begin with, then it's probably better to save the extra cash and go with WIND. However, if you were only looking at smaller plans to save on bucks, and 6GB sounds great, then this might be a match made in heaven.

Videotron is the first option for those seeking 4G LTE speeds. The $41.95 per-month plan comes to $1441.80 over 24 months, once you've factored in phone price and activation fees. That's a cool $276.80 more than WIND's plan, which also has double the data. Then again, if WIND coverage is splotchy in your area, and Videotron is strong, then there's hardly a choice to be made.

PC Mobile is back again its $52 plan, coming to $1668 over 24 months. With unlimited nationwide talk and text, this is a good option if you can't get coverage from the previous three. Otherwise, you may as well save yourself some cash.

CityFone's appeal in this instance is the same as PC Mobile's: it's a good plan but there are better options to be had, if you can get the coverage. $54 per month + phone + activation fees comes to $1741. This plan has 1GB of data, but only 400 minutes of nation-wide calls.

Virgin Mobile's plan might be the most expensive on this list, but for a good reason. Virgin is wholly owned and operated by Bell, meaning it has full access to the Bell Network. That means better coverage in much of Canada, and full 4G LTE access. $55 per month comes to $1324.99 over 2 years once the phone and activation fees are considered. That's not much more than CityFone's plan, but comes with unlimited nation-wide minutes.

Special mention: It's worth noting that both Fido and Koodo have virtually-identical plans to Virgin, but didn't make the cut by a few dollars (over the whole 2 years). Fido is owned by Rogers, and operates over that network. Koodo is owned by Telus, and has access to the Telus network. If the Virgin plan sounds good to you, but you'd get better coverage from either Fido or Koodo in your area, then it's best to consider them, as well.



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