What the big players have to offer:
Here's a look at the best offerings from the big four in Manitoba for the Galaxy S III and the iPhone 5. (Pricing as of Dec. 17 to 27, subject to change.)
The Manitoba-based provider has the largest market share, more than 50 per cent, and best coverage in the province. By signing up for a three-year plan, you can get the 16-gigabyte Samsung Galaxy S III for zero down or the 16-gigabyte iPhone 5 for $79. MTS also offers a $100 conversion credit to people who switch providers. MTS's best plan is the Unlimited Talk and Surf for $63.50 a month. It's not truly unlimited, however. The plan provides up to 300 minutes of free local calling weekdays with unlimited calls after 6 p.m. MTS customers can make unlimited calls, even long distance, to other MST wireless customers. Texting, photo and video messaging are unlimited and so is data usage in Manitoba. Outside the province, the limit is 300 megabytes in Canada a month. It's also offering free call display for the first three months, but voicemail and call display normally cost extra. MTS launched the 4G LTE network last fall, offering its clients the fastest upload and download speeds available.
With the network charge of $3.50, call display, voicemail, the plan costs $75.50, without taxes and price of phone. All plans have a one-time activation fee of $40.
The second leading provider in the province offers similar deals on its devices. The iPhone 5 is $79 for the 16-gigabyte version, and it offers the Samsung Galaxy S III, 16-gigabyte version, for $29.99 for a three-year contract. Rogers also offers a $50 mail-in/online rebate on its 32-GB version of the phones, with the iPhone 5 costing $179.99 and $49.99 for the Samsung, after rebate. For $58 a month, it offers five gigabytes of data, 300 minutes of local calling with unlimited calling after 6 p.m. The plan includes unlimited text, picture and video messaging, but free voicemail and call display cost $12.79 a month. You can also choose 10 numbers for unlimited calling, local and long distance.
With value pack that includes call display and voicemail, total cost before taxes is $70.79, excluding phone cost. Activation fee is $35.
The number three competitor offers similar pricing for both phones as its rivals. The Samsung Galaxy S III is free, and the iPhone 5 is $79 for the 16-GB version and $179 for the 32-GB when signing a three-year contract. For $60 a month, you can get five GB data usage, unlimited nationwide calling and text, picture and video messaging. Its plan also includes caller ID and voicemail. It does not offer 4G LTE to clients, but it does offer the next fastest 4G DC-HSPA in Winnipeg, Brandon and surrounding areas.
Total monthly cost is $60 -- excluding phone pricing and taxes -- with no activation fee, but you do have a one-time $10 charge for a SIM card for the phone.
Bell charges $179 for the 16-GB iPhone 5 after mail-in/online rebate for a three-year contract, and the Samsung Galaxy S III is zero dollars down when signing up for three years. For $55 a month, it offers the Manitoba 55 Promo with unlimited calling across Canada, two GB data usage and 10 hours a month of mobile TV. It also has unlimited text, picture and video messaging. Voicemail and call display each cost an additional $8 a month. It offers 4G HSPA coverage in Winnipeg, Brandon and surrounding areas.
Total monthly cost, excluding phone and taxes, is $71. The one-time activation fee is $35.