Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Canadians Petition iPhone Pricing with RuinediPhone Website-UPDATED!

There's no denying that Canadians are passionately angry about mobile phone data plan pricing in Canada. This issue has heated up to a blazing degree since the announcement of the iPhone and, most recently, new data plans for the device. In fact, things have gotten so hot that consumers have created their own protest Website at (do you think the site address gets their point across?) that's petitioning for Rogers to create more suitable plans for the device. Currently, more than 25,000 Canadians have signed the electronic petition, and several news report claim that many plan to congregate outside of the Rogers office to present the signed document.

Unknowingly making the situation worse is AT&T's announcement that the carrier will allow U.S. customers to purchase the 3G iPhone on its own...eventually. Sure, AT&T won't do so at launch, but the carrier giving customers a head's up on this small fact just adds salt to the wounds of Canadian cell phone users. Add to this the fact that U.S. customers can buy the device by signing up for a two-year plan rather than three years like in Canada, and you have the recipe for a lot of pissed off people.

A spokesperson for Rogers Wireless pointed out to me that, while the new pricing plans, which range from $60 to $115 per month, will be available to iPhone 3G users, customers don't have to sign up for one of those. They can still use most other previously existing plans provided that they renew or sign on for 3-years. As for their eligibility to upgrade to the iPhone, this all depends on where they are in their current contract.

"Customers do not need to take the value packs, and can order most other features a la carte, such as $7 for Caller ID," explained the Rogers spokesperson. "Any customer with a monthly service fee that is over $30 can upgrade to an iPhone 3G at $199 (for the 8GB model)."

In alluding to the absence of an unlimited data plan (the highest amount of data supplied is 2 GB for $115/mo.), the spokesperson said that "Rogers believes that unlimited data plans may well charge customers for more than they are using." Indeed, that's true. But I'd argue that anyone purchasing an iPhone is probably a heavy data user: why else would you want a highly-intuitive mobile device with a massive touch-screen interface? Surely not to make calls using oversized number keys! What's more, an unlimited plan could certainly be offered in addition to existing limited data plans rather than just in place of them.

Canadians quite obviously view these new plans as being the best of the worst. In an open letter to Steve Jobs posted on the RuinediPhone Website, the creator, James Hallen, pleads with the Apple head to do something about the situation. "We are loyal customers," he says, "[and] we don't want to lose faith in Apple." In an effort to make the point even clearer, a cute slogan beneath the Web address at the top of the page claims: "Screwing iPhone customers since '08".

While I have to agree that the new data plans are really not that appealing, I think the issue goes way beyond just the iPhone, and even just Rogers. Data consumption in Canada has reached all-time highs. Study after study reports that Canadians are one of the top Internet using countries in the world. Something needs to be done north of the border to accomodate our increasingly healthy appetites for data across the board, not just in the wireless space. The underlying issues behind this Website are indeed very important to the future of data in Canada. It's interesting, though, that a mobile phone is what spawned such a harsh backlash. After all, it is just a phone, guys!

On that note, will the RuinediPhone Website succeed in changing data plans or, at the very least, in convincing customers not to buy an iPhone 3G when it becomes available here? What's more, how will Apple react at all to the negative press surrounding the issue? By July 11, we hope to have that answer.

Read More on the ongoing iPhone saga:

Canadian iPhone Plan Pricing Revealed

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You can add a data plan to your existing plan, but it's $30 for 300MB and $100 for 6G. It's just not affordable!