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iPhone Pricing in Canada - Rogers' American PR firm, MS&L Digital, sends bloggers identical unhelpful emails - import iPhone?

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2008-07-06 18:31

There are far more important issues to deal with than the Rogers iPhone rates (e.g. the ridiculousness of Bill C-61, global warming, etc) but I was forced to comment after I received the exact same email from MS&L Digital (Rogers' American PR firm) that Tris Hussey received: (my current plan is to invoke the "Ian Bell option", i.e. import a unlocked 3G iPhone from France and buy a r*poff 1GB/month data plan from Rogers which gets around the 3 year contract!)

QUOTE (from Tris' blog which he received permission to post, the email I received is identical, anybody else get the exact same email?)


My name is Nicole Burguess and I’m writing on behalf of Rogers to give you some additional information about the Rogers rate plans available for the iPhone.

The iPhone 3G bundles released June 27 are not the only price plans available to customers, they are the high value plans that allow Rogers customers to use the device to its fullest and offer considerable savings over separate voice and data plans that exist in market today.

That said, 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.

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). Other options outside the iPhone bundle may be available depending on the customer’s individual information.

If you have any questions, please let me know and I will do my best to help you.


Nicole Burguess

Account Executive | MS&L Digital


Here's my response:

Hi Nicole:

Thank-you for your email but it does not respond to the concerns that many people including myself have namely:

1. Why are the contracts 3 years for the iPhone rather than 2 years or 1 year like they are elsewhere in the world?

2. Why is data so much more expensive for the iPhone than AT&T plans? Why is there no unlimited option? I can guess at reasons but this is something that Rogers in my opinion needs to make clear. I have been using a Fido "grandfathered data plan" for unlimited EDGE data for $50 a month. Until Rogers communicates clearly why an unlimited 3G data plan at a price of $100/month or less is nonviable, the lack of an affordable unlimited data plan is indefensible.

3. The lack of reasonably priced data plans is hindering Canada business which in the end hinders Rogers.

I'll be blogging the above and your response (unless you ask me otherwise) at


...Roland Tanglao +1 604 729 7924

p.s. Canadian idealists (of which I am not one) would be outraged that Rogers is reaching out to Canadian bloggers using an American PR firm (I realize you have a satellite office in Toronto but your headquarters are in the USA). I "googled" your firm and was encourage to find out that you have a social media practise and that you were behind the GM FastLane blog; hopefully you will influence Rogers to engage in social media and to clearly communicate in a timely fashion; something they have been incapable of in the past.

Rogers iPhone pricing plans revealed: 3years $3440 but appears to be no explicit bandwidth cap and no 3rd party app ban

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2008-06-18 18:03

So the questions start:

  1. Is there a bandwidth cap?
  2. Are 3rd party applications like ShoZu and Qik (if ShoZu and Qik don't port to the iPhone others will) allowed?


ShoZu-like and Qik-like applications appear on the iPhone 3G and they work well and Rogers allows them with a reasonable bandwidth cap (reasonable to my multi-media creation needs is 2GB YMMV :-) !!!),

THEN (it's not a r*poff, hurrah!) AND I'll get a 3G iPhone (since net-net, it's only about $10 a month more to pay than my current $50 per month grandfathered EDGE Fido plan).

The only thing that still gives me pause is the 3 year contract but I can live with it if the apps are there!

So I guess I don't buy one on my birthday but wait to see if the 3rd party apps that I want appear and if Rogers allows them.

From » Blog Archive » Rogers iPhone pricing plans revealed: 3years $3440:


$199 + 36months x $90 = $3440 and that’s if you buy the cheap one. Don’t forget the GST/PST.

However, you’ll probably realize you are likely to spend at least that much on cellphone service in the next three years, no matter what your plan.


Fido (and Rogers) raise SMS rates to the USA by 66% from 15 cents to 25 cents

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2008-06-13 19:31

The ongoing Fido (and Rogers) r*poff continues. The math: 0.10/0.15 = 66.67%. In a world where every other form of electronic messaging is decreasing in price, Rogers and Fido continue to raise their messaging prices. Needless to say the knock on effect for businesses and innovation and Canada is a net negative. I h*te SMS but it's essential for today's real time business and this is a tax by a member of the Canadian bandwidth oligopoly on businesses and consumers.

From Options you can add:



Please note that effective July 15, 2008, the rate for sending a text message from Canada to the United States is changing to $0.25 (from $0.15). This change also applies to Text messaging options and certain Value packs, as text messages sent to the United States will no longer be included in the options. Pricing does not include applicable taxes.

Visit for text messaging rates and other important information.


International text message Options

25 international text messages $4

50 international text messages $7


Rogers 1 GB Data Plan is now $100/month instead of $65, price raised 54%

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2008-06-04 02:45

Sorry, Rogers raising prices by 54% from $65 to $100/month for 1GB of mobile data is unacceptable. This unfortunately confirms Danny's experience.

From Rogers “Vision” sucks — Alec Saunders SquawkBox:


the $65/month data plan which I’ve written about previously has gone away. Rogers will still give you 1 G of mobile data, but now they want $100/month. Hello? When the rest of the world has data rates that are plunging like a stone, Jolly Rogers is cranking their rates up. Sure smells like a monopoly to me. Is anyone at Industry Canada paying attention? Needless to say, I chose to stick with my pre-existing $65/month “deal”.


12 hours with Rogers N95 8GB NAM - Get an unlocked one instead!

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2008-06-01 21:19

After 12 hours with a borrowed Rogers N95 8GB NAM, my conclusion is still to get an unlocked one!

In short, the Rogers N95 8GB NAM is:

  1. The Multimedia creator phone that N series users the world over have learned to love. Great camera and great video!
  2. The S60 interface we have come to love/hate which is hard to use as all N series aficionados know.
  3. Rogers has put their bogus "deck" in the web browser and Vision software on their version of N95 8GB NAM and it's just as suspected, unusable and totally superfluous. Change the home page and don't use the Vision app; none of it's any good!
  4. It's the Rogers Data plan that we have all come to love. Danny who set up the phone, was told by a Rogers CSR he could get a 1GB data plan for $100/month which contradicts the $65/month 1GB PC Card plan that Alec Saunders got from Rogers. Inconsistencies 'r Rogers! Or is it a deliberate attempt to confuse customers by telling different customers different stories about data plans?

My conclusion remains the same: get an unlocked N95 8GB NAM and a $65/month PC Card plan. You'll be a lot less frustrated!

Some more details after the jump

  1. Memory Full when running Fring. Ah S60 memory manaegement, this shouldn't happen ever!
  2. Fit and Finish seem much better than my N95-1
  3. Doesn't seem crippled in any way in terms of adding apps or wifi
  4. Lots of access points: GoRogers, Media, Rogers Internet, Streaming - I am sure this confuses customers to no end!
  5. 3G *is* much faster (no surprise) but slower than WiFi
  6. Rogers "Home Page" aka "deck" is aweful as I expected; give me the internet
  7. App Manager Shows:
    1. Music Player
    2. Fring (only app installed by the customer of this phone)
    3. Fifa07 Demo
    4. APSServer v2
    5. Google Search
    6. Asphalt3
    7. Google Maps
    8. Block Breaker Del
    9. Wheel of Fortune
    10. Mail by Google
    11. Midnight Pool
    12. Gmail
    13. WPT Hold Em
    14. Mobile email
    15. Rogers on Demand
    16. YouTube
    17. Street Fighter
    18. Mobile TV
    19. Vision App

Rogers implements kludgey SMS "you are now getting r*pped off" alert system instead of reasonable data plans

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2008-05-11 07:54

Rogers implements kludgey SMS "you are now getting r*pped off" alert system instead of reasonable data plans. Title says it all. Instead of wasting money on designing, implementing and telling customers about this system, why not have reasonable cost data plans e.g. $50/month for 1GB, $60 for 2GB (and if there are good business and technical reasons why you can't do this even though other countries can, please communicate them)? Oh well now you know why billing software is a billion dollar business.

From Rogers and Fido Data Alerts | Canadian iPhone User - (via Tod Maffin)


There is a new feature from Fido and Rogers that is available now to all subscribers. The system will automatically send you a text message to alert you when you are using pay per use data. This is especially important for people using an iPhone.

This is even more important for those who are using the $7 unlimited surfing plan. The system will tell you if you are incurring pay per use data charges. If you don't get a text, you should be fine. If you do, watch out and stop using data.

You will receive a warning text at thresholds such as:
- $10, 20, 50, 75, 100

This is available right now for people who are not on any sort of data plan. It will begin working on May 18th for those on a data plan such as the $7 plan.


Rogers uses deep packet inspection? Rogers charging extra for data for built-in email app? Data plans "incredibly limiting"

Submitted by Roland on Sat, 2008-05-10 11:23

Rogers charges extra per kilobyte for the bult-in email app? This is really bad. I hope Howard got that wrong. Otherwise a lot of email junkies (if they can figure out how to configure their S60 email client, it's not easy) will be unpleasantly surprised by VERY VERY large data bills!

Is the "deep packet inspection" guy a Rogers employee? I can think of other techniques to detect third party apps, like hacking the S60 3G and EDGE communications software stack to check if the app is built in and if so to send some sort of "validation packet" which the Rogers gateway detects and removes (thanks to JeffG's friend for that idea!), many ways to skin this cat, all futile, innovation sapping and time consuming in the end, better to spend the energy on innovation than bogus packet inspection and billing software IMHO!

Anyways, compared to the rest of the world, as I said in my previous post, these plans are a r*poff and the N95 Browser while awesome compared to the pathetic browser in the rest of Rogers' phones (cf. any Motorola phone browser) is really inferior to the iPhone browser.

Again, my recommendation: Just say no to "browser only" data plans and "3rd party application bandwidth" taxes! Buy a 3rd party unlocked phone and get the $65 PC Card plan and enjoy your freedom!

From Batteries included » Rogers launches Nokia n95 8GB:


One of the data plans available for it is 20 bucks a month, unlimited on device browsing (using Nokia’s terrific s60 browser), 2500SMS, “100’s” of MMS (the Rogers guy’s words) and unlimited web email. If you sign up on a 3 year then you also get unlimited Vision. The $7 unlimited on device browsing plan is also available.

If you add your own apps or use the Nokia email client (for POP or iMAP) then data is billed per kb (so don’t use your Slingbox unless you have WiFi). I asked how they can differentiate between the different types of data. One guy said they use deep packet inspection (the same thing Rogers uses to throttle bittorrent).

There are the typical Rogers customizations; separate Vision app, Music store that doesn’t work with the built-in music player, that sort of thing. It also appears to come with Telenav (which you have to pay to use) - Nokia’s mapping program is also available.

While I’m not thrilled with the customizations, I’m lukewarm about the plans. The data plans are incredibly limiting but the n95 has a pretty good browser so that makes things a little easier to bear.


Rogers Unlimited Plan is restricted to Rogers' apps, 3rd party apps pay r*poff tax. Buy unlocked N95 8GB instead

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2008-05-09 17:39

As I feared the $7 "unlimited" data plan for the recently introduced N95-8GB and other Rogers approved devices restricts you to using the built-in apps. The built-in apps are *ahem* (to be nice) not that great with the exception of the web browser (and I fear that Rogers has somehow neutered the "great for Nokia" webkit based browser but not so great when compared to the iPhone browser). 3rd party apps, like ShoZu and Qik, are much better in my humble opinion.

Not only that, you are forced to commit to a 3 year contract if you wish to use the $7 plan.

At this time, if you are mobile enthusiast, therefore, I can't recommend the Rogers Unlimited On-Device Mobile Browsing Plan or buying a Rogers N95 8GB. Instead I recommend buying an unlocked N95 8GB from Tiger Direct or other source and then buying the Rogers 1GB/month $65 'PC Card plan' which Alec Saunders uses with his unlocked non Rogers N95. As far as I know, this plan doesn't have a 3 year contract requirement. And it doesn't have the 3rd party app tax (Alec uses 3rd party app Qik to stream video live and doesn't pay 5 cents per kilobyte).

Anyhow, to end in a positive note, if any Rogers N95-8GB owners want to experiment with 3rd party apps and want to set them up in such a way as to avoid the "5 cents / kilobyte 3rdparty app" r*poff tax, and you are in Vancouver, please email roland AT and let's get together in Gastown at lunch on a weekday and I'll show you how (it's not as intuitive as the iPhone). I've been using Nokia S60 smart phones like the N95 for four years and can show you how to use the powerful but not so intuitive S60 interface to your advantage.

From - Wireless Essentials:


NEW! Adding Unlimited On-Device Mobile Browsing Plan* to your voice plan provides:

* Unlimited on-device mobile browsing access to your favourite social communities like Facebook & MySpace, news, sports and entertainment sites all on the go for one flat monthly fee!
* Access to search the mobile Internet with Yahoo! Search and Google
* Access to information sites like Yahoo! Canada,, Windows Live, The Weather Network, Lavalife Mobile and more!
* Protection against high pay-per-use data charges while surfing the mobile Internet

Start saving on all your mobile Internet browsing with Unlimited On-Device Mobile Browsing* or pay per use at 5¢/ KB.

Plan or pay per use at 5¢/ KB

Unlimited On-Device Mobile Browsing Plan
Monthly Fee Includes
$7 Unlimited On-Device Mobile Browsing*

For a limited time, customers who activate on a Voice Plan and add Vision Unlimited On-Device Mobile Browsing* on a 3 year term receive Vision Bonuses. Learn more

*Important: This plan includes unlimited on-device mobile browsing only and is only available on select phones (PDAs such as Blackberry or Windows Mobile devices, PC cards and non-Rogers certified devices are not eligible). Data usage incurred on ineligible devices or incurred while tethering (using device as wireless modem for computer) or incurred using non-Rogers (3rd party) applications downloaded to your device will be subject to pay-per-use charges of 5 cents/KB. A 3-year term service agreement is required for Rogers Vision devices.

What is tethering?

This plan does not include any usage incurred while tethering. Tethering is when you use your phone as a wireless modem to connect to the Internet. The phone can be connected via USB cable or Bluetooth. Once connected, you can access the Internet wirelessly on your laptop using the Rogers Wireless network. While accessing the Internet wirelessly on your computer, data charges are incurred at a rate of 5¢/KB.
What are 3rd party applications?

3rd party applications are applications like Yahoo! Go or Google Maps. These are non-Rogers applications which may be downloaded to the device and incur data charges at a rate of 5¢/KB.


Free Ringtones in exchange for Steak Frites at Jules Bistro

Submitted by Roland on Thu, 2007-09-13 16:53

If you are in Vancouver, have a Mac, legally purchased music and an iPhone or an phone that allows you to do MP3 ringtones that isn't locked down by your carrier, I'll teach you how to create your own ringtones and do 6 ringtones for you in exchange for a lunch ($17 steak frites + a glass of tap water) at Jules Bistro. Seriously this ring tone thing is ridiculous. Don't do it! Don't buy a song from iTunes and then buy it again for a ringtone. Please!

Allowing CDMA and GSM in North America is like allowing left and right hand drive cars simultaneously

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2007-08-14 17:28

Allowing both CDMA and GSM in North America is like allowing left and right hand drive cars simultaneously. Alec nails it. Personally, I'm ignoring CDMA (since I don't have the cash to have a boring CDMA handset, the GSM ones are so much more fun for multimedia creators like myself; I am tempted by EV-DO but again no extra money for this) ; it'll either go extinct or more likely through software all phones will run every possible standard because we are unfortunately not smart enough as a society to just choose one.

FROM Driving on the right-hand side in a left-hand wireless world. — Alec Saunders .LOG:


The wireless infrastructure is also a commodity. The Europeans got it right when they recognized this and mandated GSM over CDMA. One or the other didn't really matter, by the way. There are technical differences between GSM and CDMA, but at the end of the day nobody except industry people and operators care. What was important was standardization because it allows the ecosystem around the rest of the technology stack to flourish. By choosing not to choose, however, regulators have allowed an artificial lock-in to occur built around networking technologies. The absurdity of the latest round of telephones with CDMA built in for North America, and GSM for the rest of the world illustrates this problem very neatly. Two standards, two sets of royalties, and lord knows how many radios results in a limited choice of handsets, and more expense for the consumer. It's as if we allowed right-hand and left-hand drive cars in North America, built separate highways for each and invited the road operators and auto manufacturers to compete. Then, because some people's houses and businesses are on one road/auto standard and others on another, the industry decided to build cars with two steering wheels that can drive on either road standard.

Consumers are best served when commodities are delivered in standard ways. And because monopolies tend to act in the best interests of shareholders rather than consumers I would argue, in disagreement with my friend Mark, that when the market reaches a point where competition is not being served, standards should be dictated.


AT&T's iPhone plan s*cks

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2007-07-11 17:58

Quelle surprise that AT&T's iPhone plan s*cks! Oh well, it's worse in Canada unfortunately. I still want an iPhone though of course. The user experience alone is worth it for mobile enthusiasts.

FROM What's Hidden in the iPhone's 'Fine Print'? : Doug Ross @ Journal:


Telecom Analyst Bruce Kushnick has inspected the iPhone's terms of service and offers some surprising revelations :


4) All Use of the Networks Are Always Rounded Up to the Nearest Kilobyte or Minute.

...This practice is now standard and is anti-competitive. In the 1990’s, phone companies, to be competitive, created “6 second billing”, where the call was rounded to the nearest 1/10th of a minute. This change adds 15+% to the average bill. Moreover, the companies now have all gone to full minute billing, full kilobyte billing, so that they can make an extra minute on almost every transaction...


13) Prohibited Uses and “Unlimited” Sales Hype.

Even though the service is called "unlimited" they are simply using that word as a marketing concept, not an actual service description. You can't use the service for VOIP and worse "unlimited plans cannot be used for uploading, downloading or streaming of video content (e.g. movies, tv), music or games." Here are just some of the restrictions [prohibited services]:

* With server devices or with host computer applications, including, without limitation, web camera posts or broadcasts, continuous jpeg file transfers, automatic data feeds, telemetry applications, peer-to-peer (p2p) file sharing, automated functions or any other machine-to-machine applications...
* for voice over ip...
* in conjunction with wwan or other applications or devices which aggregate usage from multiple sources prior to transmission...
* Except for content formatted in accordance with at&t's content standards, unlimited plans cannot be used for uploading, downloading or streaming of video content (e.g. movies, tv), music or games. Furthermore, unlimited plans (except for dataconnect and blackberry tethered) cannot be used for any applications that tether the device


Removable User Identity Module proves that CDMA is the Betamax of mobile technology

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2007-04-23 02:38

It would be cool if somebody actually implemented a system where we could move GSM SIMs to CDMA phones and vice versa so with one SIM or R-UIM you could use mobile phones from CDMA or GSM suppliers or networks but the odds of that happening I'd imagine are the same as the odds were of Betamax winning over VHS :-) ! [And yes I know that CDMA technology is used by 3G GSM!]

FROM Removable User Identity Module - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia via email from David


Removable User Identity Module (R-UIM), a card developed for CDMA handsets that is equivalent to the GSM SIM and 3G USIM except that it is capable of working in both CDMA and GSM phones and networks. It is physically compatible with GSM SIMs and can fit into existing GSM phones as it is an extension of the GSM 11.11 standard




It seems that not only are R-UIMs the equivalent to SIMs, according to the Wikipedia article they're actually compatible with SIMs and can be placed into GSM phones:

It can actually store provisioning information for both types of networks:

Technically, the R-UIM is basically kind of like of an extension of a SIM card that is defined in the "GSM 11.11" standard:

Perhaps the CRTC should simply say that all providers in Canada (regardless of the underlying network) must use R-UIMs?


Rogers hypes video shot on N series Nokia phones that they don't sell

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2007-04-16 08:24

Pretty hilarious that Rogers is hawking a video shot on N series Nokia phones when Rogers doesn't offer any Nokia N series phones in Canada. Or maybe this means Rogers will be selling N series phones in Canada soon? Now that would be cool! Fingers crossed.

Of course anything that Rogers sells would be horribly locked like my trial KRZR K1 which has had its ring tones locked (you can't put your own MP3 ringtones even though unlocked KRZRs support them) and its bluetooth address book and calendar are locked.

I'd love to see Rogers introduce unlocked N series phones. If/when that day comes, I'll be the first to praise them for it. Not holding my breath.

Buyers beware. Buy only unlocked phones if you want to use all their multimedia features and not be tied to cellcos r*poff ringtone stores. At least Rogers and Fido customers have the option of buying and using unlocked phones. Telus and Bell customers are stuck with the cr*ppy handsets that Bell and Telus foist on them.

FROM Chantal Kreviazuk, Rogers and Nokia Partner to Shoot the First Canadian Major Label Video with Handsets:


TORONTO, April 5 /CNW/ - Multiple award-winning singer/songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk has partnered with Rogers and Nokia, to film her new video for the smash single "Wonderful," entirely on two Nokia Nseries mobile phones. The video was conceptualized by SONY BMG MUSIC (CANADA) to be filmed using a Nokia Nseries handset and was shot in Los Angeles last month at six unique locations. This marks the first time a major record label has partnered with a mobile phone manufacturer to shoot a music video for widespread servicing on national television outlets. Log onto to watch a 30second clip of "Wonderful" and access information on Nokia products. Win one of 5 prize packs including a Nokia 5300 XpressMusic phone, $100 gift card from Rogers and a full Chantal Kreviazuk discography. Visit Rogers Yahoo! at to get an exclusive first look at "Wonderful" and the making of the video, for a limited time.


Fido data comes down in price, $4000 now buys 1GB of data not 200MB

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2007-04-10 07:59

Fido data has come down in price since I blogged about this in 2006 and 2005. According to Boris, it now costs $4000 for 1GB of data on Fido instead of $4000 for 250MB, a bargain, NOT :-) And although Telus only charges $400 for 1GB, it's still too much especially for a network like Telus's where you can't use cool GSM devices only the cr*ppy CDMA ones.

Boris's graph says it much better though:

Cellphones are a r*poff in Canada - why is this news?

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2007-03-05 09:01

Yes, cellphone fees are a r*poff in Canada compared to both the USA and Europe and data fees even more of a ripoff. Go oligopoly go! NOT!

FROM High fees prompt Canadians to leave cellphones on hold (article will go behind paywall; Globe and Mail please change this misguided policy.)


The report breaks the market into three categories of users. The high-end business user, who uses 1,200 minutes of voice plus data monthly, pays 150 per cent more than a subscriber in the United States.

The average user, defined as someone using 500 minutes a month, pays a 33-per-cent premium. And the light user, someone who keeps the phone packed away most of the month and spurns add-on features such as voice mail and call display, actually comes out ahead, paying 27 per cent less.

However, Canadians pay more in all three categories when compared with Europeans, the report said.

“Canadians aren't tech laggards, as has been suggested in recent discussions on the country's state of wireless phone competition. Instead, they are rational economic beings. Canadians hesitate to buy cellphones or to hit the send button on a cellphone knowing full well the cost at the end of the month will be breathtaking,” it said.


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