Good news: Black Friday carrier deals are just as good online as offline

If you head into a store this Black Friday weekend the deals mostly match what you'll find online

I took a walk through Toronto’s Eaton Centre Mall this morning, and as of the time of writing, the carrier deals in stores match what we’re seeing online. There are some exceptions, but overall, if you want a good deal, you don’t need to leave the comfort of your home this year.

Today’s main deal floating around is 40GB of data for $34 if you bring your own phone (BYOD). For the last week, the best BYOD deal was 30GB for $34, so the carriers are adding more data to sweeten it on Black Friday. MobileSyrup will be checking back in at the mall over the weekend and will update this post if the deals change significantly.

Walking around the mall as it opened was quite interesting. It appears that Freedom was the first to offer the deal, with the other carriers following suit. However, Fido’s large promo board and ballons seemed to be drawing more traffic than Koodo or Virgin. The Freedom kiosks were also always packed, but they fit fewer people, so it can look deceiving. It’s also worth noting that Virgin was about an hour behind the other carriers in offering the deal.

Specifically, I like the Koodo plan since it comes with either premium voicemail or unlimited international SMS, so you can text anywhere in the world as long as you’re in Canada. That said, it does come with a $10 SIM card fee. Koodo is Telus’ flanker brand and runs on its networks.

On the bottom end, I’d stay away from Virgin Plus since you need to pay a $60 connection fee that a lot of the other carriers are waiving (Virgin does waive this fee when you shop online, as do most carriers), and it has some strange limitations on its video streaming and may throttle your videos down to 480p depending on the streaming service. However, Virgin does include international texting in the plan. Virgin Plus is owned by Bell and runs on its network.

Fido’s plan has no activation or SIM card fees, so it’s technically the cheapest upfront, but it has no perks compared to Koodo. Rogers owns Fido and runs on its network.

Freedom Mobile is usually the underdog, but with its new Nationwide data plans, it competes more squarely with the flankers. That said, it still sits in the middle of the pack in terms of usability since it’s new to the whole nationwide thing.

Overall, compared to last Black Friday when the deals were only better in stores, it’s nice to see the carriers offer the most affordable option they’re willing to sell to people who can’t make it into a large shopping center.

On a final note, we recommend trying to switch data plans to a new carrier at least once a year. In our experience, the best deals come from win-back offers. These happen when your old carrier calls you and asks what your current plan is, then tries to beat it. Therefore, the more you hop from carrier to carrier, the more potential win-back offers you might get. It’s not a perfect system, but it’s the easiest way to let deals come to you over the years.

If we update this story with better deals, you’ll see an update tag at the start of the headline. You can find a roundup of other carrier deals we’ve seen here.

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