Friday, January 18, 2008

Will Canadians Ever see the iPhone?

Believe it or not, I'm not one of those people sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting for the Apple iPhone to arrive in Canada. But I do find the fact that it still isn't here a bit insulting. What's the deal?

When it comes to downloadable movies or TV shows through iTunes, I understand the reasons for the delay. Separate licensing agreements need to be worked out with Canadian broadcasters, CRTC regulations met, and so forth. But here, we're just talking about a phone. A mobile device just like any other mobile device that lets you make and receive phone calls, surf the web, compose e-mails, listen to music, and the like. Partner with a wireless carrier, and let's get going, already!

The iPhone has been available south of the border for about seven months, and yet we haven't even received a confirmed date as to when we'd see it here in Canada. Sure, the rumour mill has been going crazy as of late, with many reputable sources claiming that a Canadian launch announcement would be made during Apple's MacWorld conference earlier this week. Well, the conference has come and gone, and still no announcement.

Since the iPhone operates on the GSM standard, it's pretty safe to assume that it will be available through Rogers Wireless once it does arrive here. However, with the wireless spectrum set to open for auction for additional competition in May, is it possible that Apple is waiting to weigh its options and perhaps join with another partner? Or maybe the company is waiting for a next-generation model to finally let Canadians join in on the fun.

Whatever the reason for the delay, let's hurry it up. Or pretty soon, all the anxious Canadian mobile phone upgraders will get tired of waiting. The longer the iPhone takes to recognize the Canadian market, the more popular devices like the BlackBerry and HTC Touch will become.


Offgrid said...

The iPhone is already here : and that's the problem !

mikeyV said...

I've got an iPhone.
I am based out of Vancouver, BC.
It is a beautiful dream come true.
Just go to the USA and pick one up.
Unlock it.
Simple as that.

Yenno what is funny.
Some guy at a Mac Store told me that it was coming out in Canada on the 19th of January on Rogers. He said that an Apple rep told him
It won't ever make it to Canada.

LOL. Posted from my iPhone.

Scott said...

I'm not convinced the delay comes from Apple.

Anonymous said...

fuck comwave

its their fault we dont have one, because they are still running ads for their 'iphone'

webmaster said...

Originally, I thought it was due to the iphone name dispute with Comwave but as time passes, it looks more and more like it's Rogers that is the problem. Apple will want Rogers to offer an unlimited data plan and Rogers isn't budging. After all, they are the only national GSM carrier in Canada.

Hopefully with the wireless spectrum coming up that the rumors of Telus going GSM will make Rogers think about competition and losing its monopoly on GSM.

I keep saying that they need to relax foreign ownership rules because it's a joke that we're paying so much for so little. And scrap that System Access Fee as well or include that in the plan rather than as an extra fee.

Maybe Jack Layton will do more than previous people in addressing this to the general public.

Anonymous said...

I wonder sometimes if it has to do with the fact that the Blackberry is Canadian, and RIM has contracts with Rogers....

Phil said...

I agree with the writer. I am not sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for this phone to show up, but yes it is insulting that there is a huge market in canada for this phone and we are kept in the dark as to why we arent getting the iphone. People will head south and purchase one and unlock it to use here in Canada. Rogers needs to see that they will lose this battle especially if other carrier decide to use GSM and what better way to attract customers then to use GSM and offer an iphone. anyways...that's my rant.

Anonymous said...

No iPhone in Canada? Maybe never, or at least not for a long while? It has to do with lack of competition in the Canadian wireless market.

How can Rogers, given the stellar performance of the iPhone in capturing market share, fail to make an expedient introduction to Canada? Simple. They don't have to respond to demand because they have no real competition at present.

Given the impending bandwidth auction in Canada and the potential for new players in the marketplace, you might think Rogers would have already begun to shore up their dominant position by leading the market with affordable data plans and innovative devices. The fact that they have not, for whatever reason, was most apparent in recent days when, in response to the company's announcement of a doubling of its dividend rate, Rogers stock sold off.

Canadians aren't stupid. It is becoming increasingly clear to more people that Rogers puts internal interests ahead of consumer service. That's why the stock has sold off. That's why new sign ups in Q4 last year came in lower than expected, and that's why Rogers is in danger of losing market share and suffering an eroding bottom line over the medium term.

Rogers needs to act now by introducing low-cost data plans and introducing the iPhone. But don't count on it.

Ryan K said...

You've got to love a company that announces a record $4 billion in annual profits on revenues of $10 billion (an incredible 2/3 markup on their $6 billion in costs) in the same week that they send out letters to customers to tell them that their service fees are being increased in order "to continue to provide the highest quality service".

It's time for the CRTC and our government to step in and break the backs of our telco, cable and Internet oligopolies, and spur competition in the marketplace. Rogers' refusal to introduce a reasonable consumer data plan is evidence of just that.

Anonymous said...

At first I thought it might be the lawsuit with the iPhone VOIP phone, but ...

If it was the lawsuit with iPhone VOIP, don't you think Rogers would have come out and said, "hey! it's not us."

Clearly Rogers is holding up the iPhone.

The problem we face in Canada is that the CRTC is not there to protect Consumers, like the FTC does in the U.S. The CRTC in Canada focuses on assisting Canadian Corporations, not Consumers.

We need an advocacy group to help Consumers in addition to Corporations and the CRTC can buck-up and do this or, as Citizens, we need to find another source to voice our concerns!

michaelo said...

This is more complex than "it's Rogers' fault" or "it's Apple's fault", or even "it's the RIM lobbyists fault."

Even today's rumour that Apple has stopped returning Rogers' calls, because they're apparently ticked at the number of Rogers techies already carrying unlocked iPhones, is simply that - an entertaining rumour.

I think that a big part of the root problem is the obscene inequity of our mobile data rates in Canada, when compared with the rest of the world. Tom Purves did an excellent, must-read analysis of this some time ago (here: Mobile data plans in Canada are almost 30 times more expensive than those in the US. And - incredibly - much more expensive than countries such as Rwanda!

Canada continues to lag where we ought to lead simply because of the disgusting, praetorian billing practices of ALL of our mobile vendors.

For Apple or any of the other cool mobile device companies to really succeed in Canada, they'd have to be able to offer their handhelds with unlimited data plans at least broadly equivalent to those available south of the 49th.

But if you're one of the incumbent telcos and you're already getting away with obscenely over-inflated pricing, it's going to be really hard for you to drop yer drawers just so we can all get some legal iPhone lovin' on.