The iPhone in Canada: Da Hupdate
The story of Rogers’ brutal iPhone plans continued to get press in the US nerd press and the Canadian mainstream media. Mostly attention was focused on petition site ruinediphone.com, which went down for a couple days, leading to speculation that Rogers was blocking it (not true, it was a server issue). Ruinediphone now has 33,000 signatures and the website now indicates the domain has been purchased by web design firm oilchange.com.
Here’s a segment from Global News:
Rogers launched a half-assed PR clawback of its own, hiring an outside agency to email some prominent critics. The emails indicated that other plans could work with the iPhone:
Rogers customers have more choices available to them and can use their existing voice and smartphone data plans if they wish. For example, they 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.
Note: I’m on Rogers-owned Fido, so I called them to see what the details were on their data plans as the site doesn’t mention any plans matching the Rogers data plans proper. They told me they didn’t have any information and I should watch the Fido site for updates. Thanks, Fido! Arf!
Also, Bell took advantage of the mess by announcing its plans for the iPhone-alike Samsung Instinct, offering ‘unlimited data’ for $10. However, the data plan is weaker than it sounds (video, GPS cost extra, email not push and only works with ‘standard domains’ like hotmail and gmail), making me again wish that someone would sue someone when they use ‘unlimited’ to mean ‘limited’. Also, the Instinct’s browser is said to be its weakest part and it’s certainly no iPhone, and probably not even a smartphone.
What to do?
A lot of astute commentators have pointed out that if you don’t like the deals, don’t buy the iPhone. Thanks, geniuses. But if you do in fact want one, here are some more realistic options.
- buy it, just not in the first week or two. For god’s sake, don’t let Rogers crow about explosive sales. But this is certainly a feeble protest.
- buy it in the US, or buy an original iPhone used, and add a Blackberry plan. This way, you don’t add to 3G iPhone sales numbers, and I think you might avoid the 3-year contract and its usurious cancellation fee (but I could be wrong). Disadvantage: lack of 3G speeds and GPS, and the Blackberry plans are still shitty, who’s kidding who.
- buy an iPod Touch instead. You get everything awesome about the iPhone except the cellphone and non-wifi data hookup, without paying Darth Rogers. Disadvantage: no cellphone or non-wifi data, natch.
If you avoid the 3-year contract lockdown, then some viable competition could surface in a year or so thanks to the wireless spectrum auction.
Fight back, eh
I would like to point out that angry commenting on websites isn’t the strongest form of political protest in the world (nor is this the world’s most crushingly important issue, of course, but hey, we’re geeks). That said, do sign ruinediphone.com as clearly the number of signatures gets press. Also consider doing the following:
- Sign the petition supporting bill C-555, a Liberal bill calling for CRTC investigation of Canadian telecom practices, amongst other good things (like outlawing the “system access fee”!)
- complain to Canada’s competition bureau
- Send angry emails. iPhone in Canada suggests the following:
Ted Rogers firstname.lastname@example.org
J Innes (VP) email@example.com
Jane Haitsma firstname.lastname@example.org
-Simon Atkins (Canada) email@example.com
-The head corporate media guy in the USA
Steve Dowling – firstname.lastname@example.org
and the BIG honcho at Apple for communications is :
-Katie Cotton – email@example.com
Vice President of Worldwide Corporate Communications
Canadian Minister of Industry, Jim Prentice: Prentice.J@parl.gc.ca
I don’t think emailing Ted Rogers is a great tactic, but I do think Apple is monitoring the situation with increasing concern.
Anyway that’s everything so far; I’ll update this page if anything exciting happens.
UPDATE JULY 7: