Rogers has started rolling out device financing plans, offering customers $0 down and zero percent interest options when purchasing a new device.
“We are thrilled to offer our customers new flexible and affordable options to get the latest smartphones or connected device,” Brent Johnston, president of wireless services at Rogers said. ”With Edge Financing, customers can get any device they want for $0 down any day of the year.”
The new financing option takes the retail price of the device and splits it up over 24 months or 36 months. Customers then pay these 24 or 36 equal payments as part of their monthly wireless bill.
Customers can go and ask for one of the company’s two-year subsidy options under the Edge Tab program. Edge Tab will include Edge 20, Edge 30, and Edge 40, which offer “customers a discounted upfront price for their device with a variable amount of subsidy with each plan.”
So for example, with Edge 20, a customer would pay $20 per month as part of their plan for $480 in discount on a 24-month term. After two years, the customer can switch to a Rogers Infinite plan with no tab.
Rogers says the price of the plan and device costs will appear separately to make it easier for customers to understand their statement.
Telus also launched a similar plan earlier this month called ‘Easy Payment’ that works similarly.
At the end of the financing term, the device cost automatically drops off a customers’ bill, leaving the customers to only pay just their wireless plan cost. Customers also have the option of making pre-payments or pay off their phone balance off fully at any time.
This new financing option is available for tablets as well as eSIM-enabled smartwatches.
Edge Financing could be challenging a rule in the Wireless Code
In a Globe and Mail article, this new financing option would essentially let customers pay off their extremely expensive phone over a period of three years instead of two. This option hasn’t actually been evaluated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the Globe and Mail reported.
According to the Wireless Code, wireless service providers that sell phones with an up-front subsidy have to make up the cost of the device in equal payments over 24 months. Companies are also not allowed to charge a cancellation fee. This rule allowed customers to have more options and for it to be more affordable for customers.
The Globe and Mail reported that a three-year financing option could have customers facing a financial burden of paying off their phone even if they switch over to another carrier after two years.
In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Johnston said that by separating the two (device and monthly phone plan cost) it would stay within the rules of the CRTC.
“Clearly it’s the right thing from a customer perspective. It offers a more affordable choice and that’s the primary consideration here,” he said.
He emphasized the difference between a subsidy plan that packages the two (device cost and monthly plan price) versus separating the two. In the latter case, once a person pays their phone off fully, the cost of their bill will automatically drop down to just their monthly wireless service.
In subsidy agreements, the price of the plan remains the same even after the customer pays off the cost of their entire device.
The CRTC did not respond directly to customers having to make repayments longer than two years.
Patricia Vallado said to the Globe and Mail: “A customer can cancel their contract after two years with no cancellation fees – even if they have agreed to a longer term.”