Rogers iPhone: Get a second mortgage


Whoever leaked the supposed memo with Rogers’ pricing for the Canadian iPhone played a cruel joke on their fellow Canucks: instead of the much-hoped-for $30 unlimited data plan — like AT&T users in the U.S. have — we get a series of plans that start at twice that amount, and the cheapest plan comes with a pathetic 400 megabytes of data and a paltry 75 text messages. If you want 200 text messages (which many U.S. plans come with) and a gigabyte of data per month, you have to spend a whopping $100 — oh yeah, and that’s without the ridiculous “system access fee” that gets tacked on, and call display is extra too.

The most common response to the plans so far, at least to judge by a Twitter search and a blog search, is virtually unprintable — as was the original domain name of this website, which is collecting names on a petition to send to the Competition Bureau (as of Sunday morning, the site had accumulated more than 10,000 names). There are some detailed responses here, and also here, and serial tech entrepreneur Albert Lai has a response to the plans here. Former Tory candidate Stephen Taylor calls it “a rip-off.”

As my friend Mark Evans notes on his blog, Rogers is clearly going for the cash grab here. I wish I could say that I was surprised, but this is pretty much what I was expecting. I think Rogers knows that Apple devotion and early-adopter syndrome will drive plenty of people to buy an iPhone regardless of the plans, and they will make boatloads of money on them, and everyone else can get stuffed. It’s a shame that Canada’s cellphone market is such fertile ground for plundering.


A Rogers account representative emailed me some additional info (which she also sent to Tris Hussey of Maple Leaf 2.0). In a nutshell, she says that you can choose one of the new data plans and add a voice plan, or you can add a data plan to your existing voice plan (but not one of the iPhone bundles). Upgrading to the iPhone from your existing phone and plan starts at $199.

“Rogers customers … can select from the new data pricing (ranging from $30 for 300MB to $100 for 6GB or $50 Flex Rate plan) and add a voice plan, or they can choose a combined voice and data plan to best suit their individual needs. Customers are not required to take the value packs, and can order most other features a la carte, such as $7 for Caller ID.

Existing customers can keep their existing voice service plan and pick a separate data plan (not in the iPhone 3G bundle) to meet their needs. They will need to check their upgrade eligibility, but any customer with a monthly service fee that is over $30 can upgrade to an iPhone 3G at $199 (for the 8GB model).”

Update 2:

Jevon at points out some fine print in the Rogers contract that could jack up your costs for the iPhone even further — to the tune of $1,100 or more, thanks to a mammoth “break fee” that you will be charged if you try to escape from your three-year contract early.

Comments (32)

  1. Mark Evans wrote::

    Great headline!


    Saturday, June 28, 2008 at 7:38 am #
  2. mathewi wrote::

    Thanks :-)

    Saturday, June 28, 2008 at 9:55 am #
  3. tamera kremer wrote::

    Classic headline Mathew!

    I'm not buying it… plan to upgrade to the new BB Bold when it arrives… it suits my purposes to a T and won't break my bank. I love shiny toys, but only when they're useful and fairly priced in the marketplace.

    Saturday, June 28, 2008 at 8:10 am #
  4. jules wrote::

    The $100 plan is pretty comparable to the average blackberry plan. It's not good, but it's not surprising. I've got a feeling that Rogers used their blackberry customer usage stats to come up with the price plans, but they forgot that most berry users expense their berries back to companies, they don't pay out of their own pocket. I've got my doubts that companies will allow employees to expense their iPhone ;-)

    Saturday, June 28, 2008 at 8:18 am #
  5. mathewi wrote::

    I think you're right, Jules — I think most Berry users (like me) have
    corporate plans, so it's not as painful, or at least not directly.
    But the iPhone is a totally different market.

    Saturday, June 28, 2008 at 9:57 am #
  6. Paul Marshall wrote::

    The other thing to consider (and the reason why BB data usage is a meaningless comparison) is that the iPhone is specific designed to be conducive to driving far more data usage than the BB. I am a BB user (Corporately) and was considering getting an iPhone personally but will not be doing so largely because the reason I would get the iPhone is to use it to browse and stay connected in ways I won't with my Corp BB.

    Rogers really missed the boat on this and I believe/hope sales of the iPhone and the recently released rate fail miserably so that they reconsider. Don't even get me started on the 3 year mandatory plan!!!!

    Saturday, June 28, 2008 at 11:47 am #
  7. Zunaid Khan wrote::

    Love the headline. Not surprised by this. I am big Apple fan but I will stick with my Blackberry thank you very much

    Saturday, June 28, 2008 at 9:04 am #
  8. Casey wrote::

    I think that Rogers has severely under estimate the passion and net savvy of the Canadian Apple community. There is a firestorm of bad will towards Rogers brewing here.

    Please everybody sign the petition and send an email to the big wigs at Rogers and Apple (addresses on the petition web site).

    It would also be helpful to Digg the pages in order to get more visibility on Digg.

    Saturday, June 28, 2008 at 3:37 pm #
  9. David wrote::

    Question for all the indignant Canadians… would you rather be tied to Bell or Telus for 3 years? Probably not. The entire Canadian cell phone business is a huge consumer rip-off. We probably have the longest “standard” contracts and highest data rates in the world and that's before you tack on that marvel of misleading advertising, the system access fee.

    Given our geography, however, I can't see anyone capable of challenging the status quo any time soon. There's no way someone like Shaw could suddenly put up thousands of new towers while simultaneously undercutting the pricing of the established players.

    Saturday, June 28, 2008 at 4:06 pm #
  10. Yikes! And a three-year contract.

    Sunday, June 29, 2008 at 12:02 am #
  11. Lead Goat wrote::

    Firestorm? I'd say it's going to be browner.

    Sunday, June 29, 2008 at 12:06 am #
  12. citizenziggy wrote::

    I not surprised but shocked. its not much different around the rest of the world, tho.
    Australia is the worst at 40+c / 30sec. calls. and no data on most prepaid.
    I'd like to point out there is a big difference between prepaid and plans. everyone talks about postpaid plans when most of the world suffers much worse on the ghastly prepaid plans. most times no data at all.

    in all my recent travels airtel, India and tmobile, UK offered unlimited fixed price data plans for prepaid. its a shame more people in north America don't talk about
    this more.

    most early adopters, we already have iphones or will simply obtain and unlock. and hopefully new national gsm carrier in Canada is data friendly. the early adopters will get around it like using the secret sacred sixty plan (60$/1GB) ask for it. its the same plan as the hsdpa data card.

    but wait a second… doesn't canadian copyright bill make reverse engineering illegal? criminal maybe, like the US dmca?

    [looks like iPhone safari text input is failing me now. post before it crashes :o ]

    sadly it seems that only open competition in a truely free market will deal with this problem — that includes foreign competition.

    this is just the tip. try roaming data on for size?

    Sunday, June 29, 2008 at 2:52 am #
  13. citizenziggy wrote::

    btw: rogers prepaid data rate is 5 cents per KB. 50$/MB. $50,000/GB
    isn't that outrageous?

    to download a song from iTunes on data would cost 75$ for a short 3MB song.
    BUT why is it if I buy that same song from the rogers music portal they waive the data charge and bill me $1.25huh?

    even more confusing and nonsensical,
    a voice call is still data. in fact, a voice call uses ~0.7-1.6kB/sec.
    that's 10cents/ second in data??

    42-97.5kB/ minute.
    the equivalent of a 1 minute call in data is $2.10 – $4.87/ minute if data is used instead of voice. heck I get free voice calls after 6pm but then why not free data.
    why are there two prices for what is effectively the same service.
    I guess we let tel/cablecos bill once for voip(phone), again for iptv(tv), and once again for tcp/ip(Internet), why not once again for mobile.

    now can we finally include mobile in the net neutrality debate?

    Sunday, June 29, 2008 at 3:22 am #
  14. I found out there is still another cost to consider before we get the privilege of being hosed by Rogers. The cost of getting out of a current cell contract and/or adding an iphone contract. Rogers couldn't do the appropriate thing and maybe, like reward their long-term customers with an easy switch to an iphone plan if they so choose. They also feel the need to get you in the wallet on even the switch. No matter how you slice it – your going to pay a penalty of some sorts if you are already under a current contract (and I'm talking about a Rogers/Fido contract -same carrier!) Your either have to break your current contract or pay a much higher iphone fee to get started (a store rep told me this.) Can someone please make me understand how any of that makes sense? I'd say the way to go is get an iphone (no contract with ANY carrier) and use it's features and wifi.

    Sunday, June 29, 2008 at 8:59 am #
  15. Dave_Conabree wrote::

    Well said Mathew,

    Hopefully, the decision to split off a portion of the wireless spectrum auction to new players will provide some eventual relief.

    I doubt that the big three wireless providers have really considered how many of their customers deal with them only begrudgingly, feeling fleeced with every bill and just itching to find a service provider that they feel will appreciate thier business.

    It would seem that for many people, the Canadian cell phone rate experience is akin to getting a plumber on a Sunday night. You have no choice but to pay the massive markup because he is the only game in town at that hour. Until we get a few new plumbers, ones who must build a loyal customer base in order to survive, this situation is unlikely to change.


    Sunday, June 29, 2008 at 11:52 am #
  16. Albert Lai wrote::

    I think a lot of people are missing the most important point of all:

    If we don't have fair and reasonable unlimited data rates in Canada… there will be very little in the way of 3d party (jesus phone or otherwise) mobile application adoption (and related development/innovations).

    Sunday, June 29, 2008 at 11:02 pm #
  17. mathewi wrote::

    That's an excellent point, Albert.

    Sunday, June 29, 2008 at 11:59 pm #
  18. Robert Dall wrote::

    I could not agree with you more !!! Love the headline!

    Monday, June 30, 2008 at 2:20 am #
  19. Tris Hussey wrote::

    Thanks for the link Mathew. Do you think that the new providers will help this?
    Irony: Moving to TO I have to use Rogers for a lot of services. Sigh.

    Tuesday, July 1, 2008 at 4:26 pm #
  20. mathewi wrote::

    I'm not sure whether new providers will help or not, Tris — I sure
    hope so. But then again, they may be just as happy to join the cozy
    little club, and not be too eager to rock the boat price-wise.

    Tuesday, July 1, 2008 at 7:32 pm #
  21. tgarbutt wrote::

    We may be witnessing an historic event in Canada!
    Canadian consumers are “mad, are standing up and are not taking it anymore”.
    Hopefully Apple will do the right thing and remove iPhone from Robbers.

    All Canadian captains of industry should be aware, this is a shot across their bows for their neanderthal and predatory business practices.

    Change NOW or perish!


    Monday, July 7, 2008 at 1:04 pm #
  22. kalambouryilo wrote::

    Looks very very interesting!
    Thanks for letting us know about it.this why i love internet the power of sharing .I am in love with your blog
    My best regards,

    Mortgage approvals still falling

    Monday, December 1, 2008 at 5:50 am #
  23. Kimm wrote::

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    Friday, January 30, 2009 at 12:46 pm #
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  25. The price has come down alot of the iPhone, and the plans have only been so-so…now they are thinking about charging for incoming texts?! and raising the system access fee??? bunch of bull to me…

    Monday, May 25, 2009 at 9:01 am #
  26. Nice article…. I tell my friends about it.. I hope it is advisable to use..Thanks for sharing this..

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 9:53 pm #
  27. Great blog. Very informative tips , especially in light of the ever changing mortgage market, consumers need up-to-the-minute updates on what’s going on.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks (6)

  1. Why I won’t be getting an iPhone. « Liam Kinnon on Sunday, June 29, 2008 at 1:45 am

    […] links that brought me to this conclusion. iPhone in Canada: iPhone pricing incurs Internet Revolts Matthew Wingram: Rogers iPhone, Get a Second Mortgage Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)iPhone 3G Costs – UK vs USA vs CanadaiPhone in […]

  2. […] Mathew Ingram notes that there are folks trying to get the attention of both the government and the Competition Bureau, but I think it needs more than that: The most common response to the plans so far, at least to judge by a Twitter search and a blog search, is virtually unprintable — but you can get a pretty good idea by the domain name of this website, which is collecting names on a petition to send to the Competition Bureau (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 Tory candidate Stephen Taylor calls it “a rip-off.” Source: Rogers iPhone: Get a second mortgage » | […]

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