It costs up to $200 more to buy a Pixel 6/6 Pro from carriers than from Google

If you get a Pixel on a plan, you'll end up paying around the same as if you bought it from Google

Google’s Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are fairly popular, but it remains rather difficult to get your hands on the new smartphones. Estimated delivery times range from late November to early January depending on the model and colour you pick, if the version you want is even in stock at Google’s online store.

While it may be tempting to buy the phone from a Canadian carrier instead, it’s worth keeping in mind almost every carrier charges more for an outright Google Pixel 6 or 6 Pro than it costs to get it from Google.

Now, it’s important to remember that the above pricing is for buying the Pixel 6/6 Pro outright from a carrier. In most cases, customers who choose to get one of these phones on a plan from a carrier will end up paying about the same for the phone after two years (with some exceptions I’ll get into below).

For example, Rogers charges $936 for the Pixel 6 outright, but if you sign up for a Rogers plan and finance the Pixel 6 through the carrier’s device financing program, you’ll pay $33.29/mo (over 24 months, that works out to $798.96).

Interestingly, Rogers also advertises the $33.29/mo financing cost as a “discount” from the regular $39/mo financing cost for the Pixel ($39/mo over 24 months is $936). Bell similarly claims on its website that the financing cost is cheaper, but is a little less secretive because it clearly states that it’s cheaper than “our device full price.” I didn’t see similar claims on Telus’ website. However, the Vancouver-based telecom also had a slightly higher financing cost for the Pixel 6 that worked out to $828 over two years.

Watch out for bring-it-back “deals”

Another thing worth considering is that Rogers, Bell and Telus all offer some variation of a ‘bring-it-back’ program where customers can choose to pay a reduced financing fee if they give back the phone at the end of their two-year term, or pay the difference. Using Rogers as the example again, the monthly cost becomes $28.29/mo or $678.96 total over two years. Although Rogers doesn’t list the bring-it-back price on its website, based on the difference in cost between the two options it seems like customers would need to pay $120 at the end of their contract to keep the phone if they wish.

Although the numbers will be slightly different with each carrier, the general idea is the same — you’ll pay roughly the same for the Pixel 6 or 6 Pro on contract as you would buying it directly from Google. If you try to buy the phone outright from most carriers, you’ll end up paying significantly more. While this rule generally holds true, it’s almost always worth running the numbers before buying any phone and comparing the total cost to an outright purchase direct from the manufacturer.

For example, we did a similar look at iPhone 13 pricing, which interestingly was around $30 to $45 more at a carrier compared to direct from Apple (depending on model and some other factors).

Finally, some carriers actually do offer slightly better pricing than Google if you sign up for a two-year term. Namely, Freedom Mobile, Shaw Mobile and Vidéotron. We have a full breakdown for subsidized pricing available here, but in short if you choose to get a Pixel 6 or 6 Pro from any of those carriers on a two-year plan you’ll end up paying less for the phone than buying it directly from Google (depending on the plan you pick, which is an important factor in the overall cost).

As always, make sure to factor in the costs of the phone you want to get, the mobile plan you want and any other costs when looking at buying a new device. Sometimes it’s worth paying a little extra for a phone if you can score a great plan (or forking out for an outright device to keep one).