BlackBerry Q10 Buyer's Guide - Canadian edition

Canadians, are you looking at getting a BlackBerry Q10 this weekend? Be sure to check out our extensive buyer's guide first!

BlackBerry Q10 by the CN Tower
By Simon Sage on 3 May 2013 04:02 pm EDT

The BlackBerry Q10 is now in stores across Canada, and we’ve cracked open boxes from Rogers, Bell, and TELUS. The device doesn’t change much from carrier to carrier (unless a white paint job is a big deal to you), but what really matters here is the service and how much it costs.

We’ve broken down what you’ll be looking at when buying a Q10 in the UK, so let’s do the same for Canada. First off: no matter where you get it from The Big Three, it’ll be $199 on a three-year agreement to spend at least $50/month, or $699 to get it outright.

Keep in mind that all three work on what’s effectively a pro-rated early termination fee now. It used to be that if you cut your contract early, it was more or less a flat fee based on how many months you had left on your contract, capping out at around $400. Now the subsidy you take on your phone is factored in with how long you have left on your contract. Rogers calls this system FLEXtab, TELUS calls it Device Balance, and Bell calls it Data Service Agreement Price Adjustment. Basically, if you get $600 off the price of your phone, and you want to cancel after two years, you owe $200. In the Q10’s case, you’re getting $500 off initially for the device, so It would be about $167 to get out of your contract a year early.

The tab system is very similar, except it takes into account your monthly rate more specifically. With that, WIND, Bell’s Virgin Mobile, TELUS’ Koodo, and Rogers’ Fido brands apply credit to your device balance equal to 10% of your bill every month to your device balance. You pick how much of a subsidy you want on the up-front cost of the device, and whenever you want to leave, you just pay up whatever’s left on the tab. With this system, you can get $150 off with Koodo, $300 off with Fido, or $500 off with Virgin. Eventually, WIND will be able to get you $300 off the Q10 cost.

With all of the above you’ll have the option to buy your device outright for $700 if you don’t want to be tied down to a contract, or $650 if you’re willing to go month-to-month. They may limit you to buying only one Q10 outright, though.

So, with all of that out of the way, let’s drill down into the plans and coverage, carrier by carrier. All of the plans listed here from Bell, Rogers, and TELUS have unlimited nationwide texting, call display and voice mail.


Rogers coverage map
Full coverage map

Rogers is the big boy on the block. They’ve got the best coverage, a limited-time exclusive on the white Q10, and the Q10 is one of only a few of their phones to take advantage of 2600 MHz LTE, which apparently offers speeds up to 150 Mbps. They've even got some tailored-made services for the Q10 which seem to be working well. Keep in mind that you’ll have to make sure you get the Q10 with the model number SQN100-3 to take advantage of those speeds. Even then, it might not be worthwhile to snag one if you travel to the U.S. a lot, since LTE down there doesn’t operate on that band. Luckily, Rogers is also selling the more roamer-friendly SQN100-1 model as well.

On top of all of that, Rogers (like Bell) is knocking off $10 from their $55 plan until May 15. 

Rogers BlackBerry Q10 plans

  • $45 - 1000 local minutes (unlimited local evenings), 150 MB
  • $70 - Unlimited local minutes, 1 GB data
  • $100 - Unlimited nationwide calling, 5 GB data

Buy the Rogers BlackBerry Q10 here for $199 on contract


Bell coverage map
Full coverage map

Bell is currently knocking off $10 from their $55 plan as a Q10 exclusive, which is nice. Don’t worry, the minimum $50 plan restriction we talked about earlier for three-year contract is waived for the promotion. As for coverage, you’ll see that there are a few areas where Bell reaches that others don’t, namely up north.

Though Bell has the same kind of 150 Mbps LTE  as Rogers in the Greater Toronto Area, Cambridge, and Kitchener-Waterloo, Bell isn’t selling the SQL-100-3 (or any other Q10 compatible with 2600 Mhz). Still, I’d love to unlock a Rogers one and see if you got similar speeds with a Bell LTE SIM.

Bell BlackBerry Q10 plans

  • $45 - 1000 local minutes, 150 MB data
  • $70 - Unlimited local minutes, 1 GB data
  • $80 - Unlimited local minutes, 3 GB of data

Buy the Bell BlackBerry Q10 here for $199 on contract


TELUS coverage map
Full coverage map

I've always been a big fan of TELUS, mainly because among The Big Three, I find it's easiest getting plan information from them. Also, the cute branding and nice-looking stores help too. You can see from the coverage map that the Ontario corridor is well covered, as well as the maritimes. Alberta's also looking pretty good, and it looks like there's even some decent service in the Northwest Territories. I've generally been happy with the speeds I get on TELUS, though I haven't spent too much time on their LTE. 

Coverage aside, there's not much else to the TELUS Q10 offering - no preloads, no on-device branding, just the straight goods. Even the plans line up pretty closely to what Rogers is offering. 

TELUS BlackBerry Q10 plans

  • $50 - 1000 local minutes (unlimited local evenings and weekends), 300 MB
  • $70 - Unlimited local calling, 1 GB data
  • $100 - Unlimited nationwide calling, 5 GB data

Buy the TELUS BlackBerry Q10 here for $199 on contract

WIND Mobile

WIND Mobile coverage
Full coverage map

Now, WIND doesn’t actually have the Q10 for sale yet, but they’ve announced it and it’s coming. Personally, I’d hold out on getting a Q10 until they get their turn at stock, because these plans are hard to beat. You’ll be taking a hit in a few other departments, of course. For one, even with the aforementioned WINDtab, it’ll still be a slightly beefy up-front cost. Secondly, you won’t get LTE. Third, coverage is limited to larger urban centers before you’ve got to pay for roaming (the rates for which are admittedly reasonable).

Even within coverage zones, the nature of using the AWS spectrum means you aren’t going to get as good indoor coverage as the other guys. The big pull with WIND is the unlimited data. They’ll throttle you at 6 GB, but even then, if you’re not in a busy part of town, you can blow well past that before getting a throttle warning.

WIND Mobile BlackBerry Q10 Plans

  • $20 - Unlimited local talk, text, $5/100 MB
  • $30 - Unlimited province-wide talk, nationwide text, and data
  • $40 - Unlimited nationwide talk, international text, and data

Oh, and Sasktel has it too. That’s a tour of how you can pick up a BlackBerry Q10 in Canada. Maybe the other smaller carriers like Mobilicity, MTS, and Videotron will pick it up eventually, but this is what we’ve got so far.  Canadians, where are you going to get your BlackBerry Q10? Is there anything here about the carriers that would sway you one way or the other? How about some hidden perks that folks might not know about?

Reader comments

BlackBerry Q10 Buyer's Guide - Canadian edition


So.....i was at future shop just now hoping to play with a demo. they have the q10 stocked up in the shelves behind the counter, but no demo to play with. Talk about retail support smh

Posted via CB10

I was told by Futureshop and Rogers store employees that you can't buy the device outright and only through a contract. That is what they told me when I went in for the z10 when it first came out. Even went as far as saying that most new phones are like that and that you can't usually buy them until a year later or so.

Posted from my Z10 using CB10

The salesmen may be paid more for people who buy on contract instead of outright. Some people in Manitoba bought Z10s outright from Koodo to use with MTS. And the carriers list a contract free price...

It's true. I used to work for fido. If they sell the phone outright to you, they make no commission. So only way to get it is if u sign a contract or activate a month to month service. If u want to buy it outright, order it through phone with your service provider or just Craigslist that sh!t

Posted via CB10

150mb of data? Lol. Here in South Africa I get 200 minutes 200 sms's and 1gb of data for 50 usd.

Blackberry for life!

Canadian carriers are pretty much the worst as far as cost VS what you get. If you live in a largeish city where there's coverage(and I've found it's perfectly fine in Ottawa, for example), Wind is about as close to European rates as you'll find, and it's still about $10 more per month than I was paying for unlimited everything in the UK.

Oddly, Fido's rates don't make me feel quite like I'm being taken advantage of (forcefully, in uncomfortable places), when they're owned by Rogers, which has some of the worst rates of the Big Three. Even so, I'll be thrilled when Wind's coverage upgrades go into effect and I can switch back. Working out past the edge of the city kinda blows.

You have to appreciate that building the infrastructure to cover the vast area of Canada is more expensive than the condensed zone of Europe. There is a higher population density and it's in a smaller area. They OUGHT to be charging less! Alberta, for example, has a land area of 640,000 Sq km and a population of 3.6 million for a density of 5.69 /Sq km. The United Kingdom, comparatively, has a land area of 243,000 Sq km and a population of 63.2 million for a population density of 255.5 /Sq km. Carriers in the United King can access nearly 20 times the population in less than half the area. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that a carrier in the UK can be much more cost efficient. So, bottom line, quit your bitching and deal with the fact that there is a trade off between having lots of open space and the cost of living in it.

Posted via CB10

90% of Canadians live on 10% of Canadian territory, mostly in the major cities and their nearby suburbs. The idea the size of our country is the reason why the big telecoms charge so much is their propaganda to avoid the truth that there's a lack of competition in our system, that it's really an oligarchy. We should be paying less than we do.

Posted via CB10

My Q10 was 649 and I have unlimited data through SaskTel. Even with their Fair Use Policy, i get 10GB at LTE speeds and anything over and above is H+. So, it's the very beat deal going of any company. Only thing is, you have to live in Saskatchewan. But, you also get unlimited everything out of province too, so it's a win win Al the way.

Posted via CB10

SaskTel has very generous data plans, but the unlimited usage is definitely impacting their performance. In downtown Regina on a weekday HSPA is almost unusable because it is so saturated. Their LTE is damb fast right now (I benchmarked over 40mpbs at one point back in Apr) but thats only because noones on it yet...

Posted via CB10

I'm a lifelong proud Ontarian who is happy and proud (as a fellow Canadian) of Saskatchewan's growth over the last decade or more.

Good on you and your fellow er...Saskatchewanites? Saskatchewanians?

Going to say that its probably best to go to a store to check if they have additional plans on top of the standard ones offered on the website. I walked into Rogers yesterday and got 1000 minutes and 500 MB of data for $50. That's 5 dollars less and 350 MB more than the cheapest plan for Rogers stated there.

After 9 yrs with Rogers I turned the tables...beat them down to an off-the-books plan: unlimited North American minutes and long distance, unlimited data and enhanced vmail for $95/mo...

Posted via CB10

Prices vary by province Saskatchewan has lower prices for Telus because they have to compete with SaskTel. I think it's the same in Manitoba as well.

Posted via CB10

I checked on Virgin Mobile Canada 'a site and although they say they're out of stock, the off contract price is listed at $649.00!

Posted via CB10

Curious question for you: Rogers told me today, when I called to ask about upgrading, that "because the Q10 doesn't compress data like older BlackBerry's did, I have to upgrade my data plan because the Q10 will consume more data". Apparently I get within 25%-50% of my limit each month.

Is this true? Or just a way to get me to upgrade?

It's true that the Q10 and Z10 don't compress data, but it won't make that much of a difference. Sounds like a snakey way of getting you to upgrade.

Posted via CB10

I was told by my carrier that the uncompressed data will be about 9-10 times the size of what the compressed data is. However, I got the data plan I needed with hardly any increase. I think it's a trade off.

Posted via CB10

9-10 times!? That's way more than the 2 times I was told. Also, outrageous. These carriers are such liars.

Calling them out on it.

You can't beat FREE! :) Work pays the bill! I know my voice plan on the account is shit but I have ULT BlackBerry data and text messaging for all my friends that are still iSheep and driods.

Posted via CB10 using a Z10

I have the Z on Rogers and can honestly say you need to call in to get good plans. For 55 a month I get unlimited Canada calling, unlimited texting, caller id, voice mail, 1 GB data. That said I when over on data in the first month so Rogers guy gave me unlimited for two months to see where I am at. Really, there are some ways to get lower rates.

Hoping I can get a data deal through Rogers as I find the LTE so much faster than wifi!

Posted with my Zed via CeeBeeTen

Correction: Fido's early cancellation fee is also a pro-rated system, just like the Big3. The reduction of their "tab" is not dependent on the value of your monthly bill.

It's an interesting situation with SaskTel, and their roaming agreements... Pretty sure nationally they will roam on either Telus or Bell, as both of those companies dumped a boatload of money to SaskTel to roam on their CDMA network a few years ago, which SaskTel then used to build out their HSPA+ network. That's why the coverage maps for SaskTel, Bell, Telus all look the same...

Now Rogers, shame on them for their laughable coverage in this province... HSPA and LTE only in Regina, & Saskatoon, and 2G EDGE only along the major highway corridors.

I don't get out of the city much, and my wife has a Telus Pay&Talk for those occasions, so Rogers has some pretty fantastic plans to compete... ie I get 300 mins for 12.95, 500mb BIS with LTE for 25 (reduced to 20 by phone rep deal)... and $12 value pack 1/2 off... so grand total $42 after tax per month.. i'm happy! with the 9900, I never went over 200mb, and that was only with lots of tethering. My Q10 should be interesting to see if this changes! Only $5 more to go to the 1GB plan.

Posted via CB10

I have the Z10 and bought the Q10 outright from a Rogers store no problems. Not only that but I have probably one the best plans there is. Joys of living in Manitoba. We get good deals :)

Posted via CB10

I tried calling rogers and getting a better plan option (i only have my internet with you would think they would jump at the idea of getting me signed up to more services like cable and cellphone... all they kept pushing is the home phone ..had to repeatedly tell them i do not want it). I was hoping to get the $63 plan for q10 with 2 gb of data.. but no way, its not "compatible" with that phone.. or so the story goes. I am thinking of staying with WIND and getting the tab. I am finding that Fido has the best offer right now if you are a new customer.. $60 2gb unlimited canada calling etc. You have to pay more for the phone though ($350) and its a 2 year plan/ contrast to WIND, they have a wider network (no away) and they do have LTE... i don't know how it compares to the others, but it does cover a variety of cities in Ontario. I have no experience with FIDO.. so not sure if I should take the risk ...

I got my Z10 from Rogers about a month and a half ago and got unlimited Canada wide calling, texting, and 3 GB data for $65/ month and that's in Winnipeg so it beats the 1 gig crap they had before!

Posted via CB10 for Z10 - GO JETS GO!

Guys no mention of Quebec? not even in the comments? did they already seperate or did they become irrelevant? :(

The difference between SQN100-1 & 5 appears to be only one extra band on HSPA (band 4) on SQN100-5. Does this mean an unlocked SQN100-1 will become an SQN100-5 (and work on Wind)? Also, the Blackberry (canada) website only lists specifications for the SQN100-5. That is why I asked the question above. Also, if Blackberry added LTE band 7 to the SQN100-5 making it a penta band LT too, it would be near perfect. By the way, does anyone know who will sell the SQN100-5?

I picked up m Q10 in Alberta on Fido and so far coverage and speeds have been amazing. I used to be with wind and paying that extra 20 dollars for the Fido plan is really worth it for the speed increase. Also if you go to Fido dealer they have a promotion for $100 off when your purchase a case. 2 year term,LTE speeds, nationwide calling, 1 GB of data, all for $60... seems like one of the best deals out there!

Posted via CB10

i picked a q10 .initially the word shortcut was working for three days now it is not working could anyone help me?

Yup Wind rocks, Unlimited Canada wide calling, unlimited international text, unlimited data (throttled over 5/6 GB) + voice mail = 48/month
The big three CAN'T beat that not even close...
Waiting for Wind to upgrade areas around Ottawa so I can switch my daughter from Bell to Wind (I am paying 84/month for her plan which is less than mine :(

Can some one if we are ever going to have the Lobo App for BB10 anytime soon? I have it on my laptop and the PlayBook bit would live to have it for my Z10 also...I would appreciate any info! Thanks.

Posted via CB10