Unlimited Data With Your Rogers iPhone? Think Again

27 06 2008

Rogers took this morning to announce their pricing scheme for the imminent 3G iPhone launch in Canada.
Lets get it out of the way quickly – we’re getting screwed. yet again.

Plans for your mainditory 3-year contract will start at $60/month (Rogers or Fido, theres no deal to be found going Fido this time) netting you a whopping 150 minutes, unlimited evenings and weekends (starting at 9 p.m.) and… wait for it… 400 megs of data and 75 sent text messages.

Things scale all the way up to $115/month with 800 minutes, unlimited evenings and weekends and 2 GB of data with 300 sent texts.

Dont forget thats all before your manditory 7-dollar network surcharge (for which a class action lawsuit is currently underway). Gotta pay to improve the network right? But then, whats your bill paying for?

Something seem wrong there? Hell, a lot seem wrong there? Lets take a look after the break.

Edit: Rogers now has a direct link to their pricing
Edit: Thanks to Andy Peating for his handy direct comparison
chart 

To begin with, we all need to take a long look in the mirror and address why we dared hope for even a second that Rogers wouldn’t be looking to grab as much cash as possible for the barest minimum of service.
Rumors have been floating around about a flat-fee unlimited data plan from Rogers/Fido for a little while now and many chose to believe them, despite the clear track record of consumer abuse by Rogers inc. I was one of these believers and for my part, I can say that I felt confident Apple would be able to enforce some greater control over Rogers in offering the iPhone if for no other reason than to avoid tarnishing the Apple name along with Rogers.

As I mentioned before though, we as consumers and fans fell into the trap of heedless optimism – this time would be better, this time Canadians would have a data/voice package comparable to and competitive with the rest of the Western world. This time however, is once again like every other time.

That Rogers has chosen to gouge its customers in this fashion, especially in the face of a barrage of American advertising prominently displaying unlimited data and excellent voice rates from ATT&T, is not only despicable in its callousness but insulting in its assumption that Canadian consumers will simply pay what Rogers asks becuase ‘thats just how things are up here’.

To make my point clearly and succintly I will turn away from rhetoric for a moment and simply present the data surrounding this travesty. One hopes that upon seeing the figures for yourself you will be spurred into action – and to that end I have provided some links at the end of this article.

Copied from the press release, Rogers iPhone plans look as follows:

<< 
    iPhone 3G Price Plans at Rogers Wireless
    ----------------------------------------
 
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                              Sent      Incoming
                                              Text      Text       Visual
    Price   Voice                    Data     Messages  messages   Voicemail
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    $60 /   150 minutes + unlimited  400 MB   75        Unlimited  Unlimited
    month   Evening and Weekend
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    $75 /   300 minutes + unlimited  750 MB   100       Unlimited  Unlimited
    month   Evening and Weekend
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    $100 /  600 minutes + unlimited  1 GB     200       Unlimited  Unlimited
    month   Evening and Weekend
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    $115 /  800 minutes + unlimited  2 GB     300       Unlimited  Unlimited
    month   Evening and Weekend
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

This of course includes no Call Display, Caller ID etc.
Two value packs are offered with the iPhone. One for $15/month offering the afforementioned Call Display and Caller ID along with WhoCalled (a service that sends you a text message with the number of any call you missed – nigh on useless if you have Call ID and your phone is on, but i digress) as well as Caller Ring Trax, 2,500 call forwarding minutes and 2500 text messages. A $20/month plan features all of the above with 10,000 text messages and evening time starting at 6:00pm.

 

Now, lets take a look at the plans offered by AT&T:  

Minutes/Plans

Monthly Cost

Rollover® Minutes

Unlimited
Nights/Weekends

Unlimited
M2M

Unlimited
AT&T Unity Minutes

Additional
Features

450 Minutes (Nation)

$39.99

X

Includes 5000

X

 

View Details

900 Minutes (Nation)

$59.99

X

X

X

 

View Details

1350 Minutes (Nation)

$79.99

X

X

X

 

View Details

Unlimited Minutes (Nation)

$99.99

 

X

X

 

View Details

900 Minutes (AT&T Unity)

$59.99

 

X

X

 

View Details

1350 Minutes (AT&T Unity)

$79.99

X

X

X

X

View Details

All of these plans include

  • Three-Way Calling
  • Call Forwarding
  • Unlimited Mobile to Mobile Calling
  • Caller ID
  • Call Waiting
  • Basic Voice Mail

Unlimited data comes in on your iPhone at $30 more.

Over in England on the 02 network, things get even rosier:

Monthly Charge

£30

£35

£45

£75

Cost of 8GB iPhone

£99

£99

Free

Free

Cost of 16GB iPhone

£159

£159

£59

Free

Minutes

75

600

1200

3000

Texts

125

500

500

500

Unlimited Data & Wi-Fi

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Visual Voicemail

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Reduced Roaming Rates

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Minimum contract length

18 months

18 months

18 months

18 months

 

So what does that mean for you as a Canadian consumer?

It means that on the cheapest package, for $9.99 more per month (from the Rogers offering at $60.00) AT&T is giving you 300 more daytime minutes, only 5000 evening/weekend minutes (down from unlimited), no texts (down from 75) and unlimited data (up from the anemic 400 megs). As well as the call forwarding, caller id, call waiting etc. that you would have to purchase a Rogers bundle to recieve.

To put it another way, to recieve a compareable package from Rogers would cost you $90 per month and still not have unlimited data

Meanwhile, 02 makes Rogers look positively criminal with the cheapest comparable plan (by voice minutes) at 35GBP working out to $70 Canadian. For your 10 dollar premium across the pond you recieve: four times the any time minutes, more than six times the text messages, unlimited data and a 1.5 year contract instead of 3.

I’m sure the Rogers PR machine will be in full swing to combat any complaints of price gouging or lackluster service. In fact, I’d almost guarantee someone is going to come out with a press release that says, ‘After careful consideration of the Canadian market, we have found that consumers simply arent interested in unlimited data packages at this point. They would prefer flexible lower sized plans to meet their requirements. Of course, Rogers is always attutned to market conditions and will adjust if necessary.’
After which we should all collectively vomit and chuck our waste directly at their head office.

 

The iPhone is first and foremost a multimedia device – it’s designed for people who want to be online consistently grabbing media of various kinds. That large screen isn’t just for checking email (your Blackberry is getting lonely – go do that now) its for checking out full featured web pages (news.bbc.co.uk not its mobile browsing equivalent) for watching video streaming to your phone and for moving media (files or pictures)
So, as a final counter to the inevitable spin, let me present one more chart from this mornings press release (its also my personal favorite chart from Rogers in general)

Data Usage - What You Get
    -------------------------
 
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Monthly
    Data Usage   Online Applications
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    400 MB       up to 200,000 text emails or 3,100 web pages or 1,360 photo
                 attachments
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    750 MB       up to 380,000 text emails or 5,900 web pages or 2,560 photo
                 attachments
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1 GB         up to 524,000 text emails or 8,000 web pages or 3,500 photo
                 attachments
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    2 GB         up to 1,048,000 text emails or 16,000 web pages or 7,000
                 photo attachments

    ————————————————————————-

Now that you’ve read the chart, the conditioned response Rogers would like you to have is as follows:
“Sweet jesus! 400 megs is 200,000 text emails? 3,100 web pages? 1,360 photo attachments? Who could possibly do all that in a month – surely even that amount is excessive.”

Let me however adjust your response for future exposure. Somewhere more to the “blinding rage” side of the dial.

At half a megabyte per photo attachment (assuming you shoot from your iPhone and we average out the high and low of JPEG image compression) thats 800 photos not 1,360. This does not include of course the data usage for the email youd have to send along with the photo (however laughably small it may be – but hell Rogers wants to include it so why not) or, more importantly the data used to open up your facebook or flickr page to even start uploading.

Now, With the average web page (that is individual page not the entire site) coming in at 312k, and the average number of objects to be loaded totalling 250K, thats 0.5MB per page view. Do you think you could visit more than 800 average pages in a month? I do. And lets not forget that these figures skew higher should you go to a media heavy site like tmz.com or go scrolling through your latest facebook photo album.

As an aside, you could have loaded up my blog 1000 times this month (just sayin’)

Or how about streaming down a video or some Java app? Now we’re getting into multiple-megabyte situations and youre only looking at one piece of content on one page once.

 

Should you need more data under the Rogers pricing scheme, you simply move up to the next tier and get more. Of course, should you find yourself at the top tier paying $115 per month and still running out of data… well.. Rogers is happy to have you keep on surfing. Just dont be late paying your bloated bill after the overage charges.
Market conditions, network size, current infrastructure capacity; these are all areas in which Rogers could site reasons (questionable or otherwise) for higher than American prices. However, no reason or excuse can possibly justify the plans they have laid out, not just for the iPhone but all wireless products, in the face of far better pricing and features from almost every other carrier in the western world.

I hope that by laying out all this information in one location, hopefully with some semblance of clarity and intelligence, you my fellow consumers can see just how out of pace Rogers pricing is (and frankly always has been). As one of only 3 major carriers in this country – and the only GSM provider – Rogers continues to act in bad faith with its customers, abusing its virtual monopoly position.

There is absolutely no reason for Rogers to charge the prices it does for the service it provides, to structure its “bundles” in blatantly cost-maximizing fashion and to offer pricing to businesses that far outstrips what it offers consumers.

I encourage you to contact Rogers, the CRTC, your local MP, the Minister of Industry and to simply spread the word to others that this is not how it should be and certainly not how it has to be. Finally, resist the urge to buy the iPhone (and Rogers Wireless products in general) as best as you can – unless the government steps in or big media decides to run with a story for a long time, the only way to affect change with a company is to speak consistently with your money.

That having been said, Fido may be owned by Rogers but their regular plans are comparably reasonable and CDMA is crap – so I’ll embrace the hypocracy there (I already do in fact).

 

Contacts:

For Rogers Inc. I would encourage you go down to their wireless stores/booths in person to complain. Don’t take it out on the sales guys, but state your case and ask them to pass it along, start with a manager preferably. Real faces are much more effective than a ton of anonymous emails.
You can always call 1-888-ROGERS1 and ask for customer service or email through the Rogers site

The CRTC is not responsible for regulating cell rates in Canada or dealing with wireless business practices. I suggest you contact the CRTC to encourage them to take a more active role in regulating the mobile phone industry in general. Head to http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/contactus.htm

Contact Jim Prentice, the Canadian Minister of Industry at Minister.Industry@ic.gc.ca. Direct complaints regarding the anti-competitive practices of Rogers Inc. and all its subsidiaries and their abuse of near monopoly to the minister. Again, this is not an iPhone related complaint, but one addressing the severe failings of a Canadian corporation.

Speak to your local Member of Parliament, with the Parliament in summer recess your MP’s will be back home in their rididngs and its the perfect time to talk to them face-to-face. A list of Federal MP’s can be found at webinfo.parl.gc.ca

 

The good people at Web Site Optimization provided much of my data

Preying on the fact that consumers don’t know they’re getting screwed isn’t licence to back up the lube truck.

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11 responses

27 06 2008
iPhone - Tips and Tricks » Blog Archive » Unlimited Data With Your Rogers iPhone? Think Again

[…] drewkai placed an observative post today on Unlimited Data With Your Rogers iPhone? Think AgainHere’s a quick excerptI was one of these believers and for my part, I can say that I felt confident Apple would be able to enforce some greater control over Rogers in offering the iPhone if for no other reason than to avoid tarnishing the Apple name along … […]

27 06 2008
Andy Peatling

And here is a side by side comparison….

http://apeatling.wordpress.com/2008/06/27/iphone-3g-costs-uk-vs-usa-vs-canada/

Robbery!

27 06 2008
Jason

that’s a good break down and collection of stats. i was wondering what they were exactly.

27 06 2008
drewkai

Thanks Andy – I added a link to the post with your chart

28 06 2008
Rogers iPhone: Get a second mortgage » mathewingram.com/work |

[…] (in half an hour, the number of names climbed by more than 300). There are some detailed responses here, and also here, and serial tech entrepreneur Albert Lai has a response to the plans here. Former […]

28 06 2008
Themeless Randoms

Rogers + iPhone = Fiasco…

Now that Rogers has finally announced their rates for the iPhone in Canada (release date July 11, 2008), internet news sites and the blogosphere have been running rampant in their bashing of Rogers. Roger’s supposedly has the worst rates of any c…

29 06 2008
Attention Rogers Mobile: You blew it with the iPhone data plans and you know it

[…] (in half an hour, the number of names climbed by more than 300). There are some detailed responses here, and also here, and serial tech entrepreneur Albert Lai has a response to the plans here. Former […]

9 07 2008
Rogers Caves to Nothing: iPhone Plans Still Disgusting « Court Ordered Therapy

[…] eye opening, if disgusting, look at just how out of step Rogers plans are in general head over to this post where I break down exactly how much more one can get from AT&T for less in direct comparison of […]

13 12 2009
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21 01 2010
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