iPhone Canada: Pay me now, or pay me later

by Mathew on April 29, 2008 · 9 comments

If you’re an Apple fan who has been waiting for the iPhone — or at least an “official” version of the iPhone — for lo, these many months, your heart probably leaped at the word from Rogers Communications supremo Ted Rogers this morning that he has signed a deal with Apple to launch a maple-flavoured version of the world’s most sought-after handset. If you have ever had a cellular data plan from Rogers, however, your heart probably leaped a little less high, and may even have let out a small sigh or shrugged its heart-shaped shoulders.

Why? Because as more than one person has pointed out, the fact that the iPhone is coming to Canada isn’t really the important thing. It’s important, of course, but everyone knew that it was going to arrive eventually. The *really* important thing is what it’s going to cost when it finally arrives — and not so much the phone itself, but the data plan. Will the word “unlimited” be used in conjunction with the word “data?” And if it is, will it actually mean “unlimited,” or will it mean something else that only appears in that special Rogers’ dictionary?

The nightmare scenario is that the iPhone comes, but the costs for service are so prohibitive — not so much for phone calls, but for data charges, Web surfing and so on — that it makes it ridiculous for anyone but a movie star or possibly a dentist to actually afford. Rogers and Bell are notorious for adding charges that boost even the most normal cellular bill into the stratosphere, especially when the user goes onto that thing called the “Internet” and does stuff with a regular app as opposed to the crippled WAP browser that most devices come with.

These are just the kinds of activities that iPhone users tend to engage in, of course — which is why Ted and the gang are so excited about getting them here, and even more excited that they will only work on the Rogers network. For me, I’d be a lot more excited if there was a reasonable data and Web-surfing plan attached to it.

  • http://www.digitalspace.ca/ Mark Lise

    My thoughts exactly, I'd be more excited when my usage wouldn't mean a $300/mth data surcharge. The phone is “old” after a year or two anyways, and there will always be something else to look forward to. Even @ 2 years, a $500 phone costs about $20/mth after which point you can probably ditch for $50-$100. The usage is where they make all the money. :)

  • http://rapspace.tv Sudha Krishna

    I agree Mathew, the data plan is key. Right now I have an HTC touch through Bell (and foolish me for getting the phone and the plan) and frankly both are terrible. The Window Mobile Browser is awful. The HTC touch interface is awful. The Bell service is worse than awful. The iphone is a superior product but I suspect the data plan will be cost prohibitive and they will lock you in for god knows how many years. Something you may want to follow up on is the online petition of potential Roger's Iphone customers http://www.petitiononline.com/iPhone99/

  • lance38

    I'm in the same boat but I don't regret it quite as much. NewsBreak, email, and Opera Mobile work well. Voice quality on the HTC Touch is awful though. I rarely talk on the thing so it's not a huge deal to me.

    I do miss having a keyboard on my phone. I should've gotten a Telus blackberry.

  • http://www.en-dash.com/blog calamityjake

    AT&T's data plans for the iPhone are surprisingly reasonable–it was notably cheaper than the standard data plans when it first came out (I think the price may have pushed down other phone/provider data plans since then). I have heard bad things about Rogers, but I expected AT&T data plans to be prohibitively expensive, too. So I hope for my frozen northern cousins' sake that Apple “persuades” Rogers not to screw its customers in this case.

    PS: Think there's any chance that Rogers will be launching with the 3G iPhone?

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    I hope you are right, Jake — but I have had my hopes dashed before.

    As for launching with the 3G, see above :-)

  • http://www.netchick.ca Tanya (aka NetChick)

    I bought / jailbroke and did some “other hacking” of my iPhone for use on the Rogers network only weeks ago. The upside is that I pay very little for data because of all the research I did, but the downside is that I now have to sell my phone in a hurry because I *know* the 3G phone is coming in June, and Rogers wouldn't be bringing in the iPhone without that service. It wouldn't make any sense.

    Visual voicemail, here I come… And not worrying every month that Rogers might figure out what I've done. *sigh*

  • dignon

    I have an iPhone in Canada that's been jailbroken and on an unlimited data plan with Fido for a couple months. I was totally upfront with them about the fact it was an iPhone and they assured me I won't be charged any extra -and so far, I haven't. The unlimited data added about $7 to my bill. Rogers has similar packages.

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