Poor people don't think in terms of total cost, they think in terms of "monthly price". These are the sort of people who don't know how much their car is going to cost them, they just know the monthly payment amount. This is how they remain poor.
It reminds me of that South Park episode where Cartman tries out Nascar.
Anyway, there are a lot of people who don't do the math when they're faced with a new cell phone purchase. They just see "iPhone - $199". They don't see "$100 * 24 + $200 = $2600 + $tax" for two years with a smartphone.
So, since much of the phone cost is buried in the monthly price, and since carriers put a healthy mark-up on the Nexus 5, it doesn't really seem much different than most phone contracts.
The smart people in the room have a Nexus 5 on Wind. Or perhaps if they're not in the Wind service area, they may have one of those $60 6GB plans from Koodo, or something comparable.
I'm totally in favor of phones like the Nexus 5 or the Nokia 520 "$99 phone" sort of products, along with a economical phone service.