Rogers Tries (And Fails) To Appease Angry iPhone Buyers As Belgians Contemplate $1,000 iPhones

from the ain't-so-cheap dept

Part of the supposed appeal of the new 3G iPhone when it was announced by Steve Jobs a few months back was that it was going to be much cheaper than the old iPhone. That was true until you actually looked at the fine print. The $199 pricing only applied in the US to those who signed a long-term contract with AT&T — for which you had to pay higher service fees. In other countries the story was also questionable. Up in Canada, the only national GSM provider, Rogers, caused a stir with ridiculously high service plans. After a rather loud protest, Rogers has pretended to relent by having a limited-time offer for cheaper data rates, though still not offering an unlimited plan. This has potential customers still pretty ticked off:

So, all early adopters that will ever be interested in the iPhone will have to buy by August 31. It’s a ridiculous idea, and an obvious attempt to turn a concession demanded by the market into a cudgel against its customers — not only can you not have an unlimited plan, but you can’t buy at your leisure — for example, waiting a few months to see if users reports overcharge horror stories from Rogers’ miserly plans. You have to “buy now!!!, this offer is **limited**” What nonsense. If the plan is a bona fide effort to respond to a recognized customer need in a responsible manner, it should not be time limited.

Meanwhile, folks over in Belgium have a different problem. Due to laws forbidding the entirely reasonable practice of bundling goods together with subsidized pricing, you can only buy the phone at full price: which works out to nearly $1,000. On the good side, this has highlighted how dumb the “no subsidized bundling” law is, and politicians are looking to toss it out this fall.

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Companies: rogers

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Comments on “Rogers Tries (And Fails) To Appease Angry iPhone Buyers As Belgians Contemplate $1,000 iPhones”

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31 Comments
Richard Reiner says:

More Rogers skullduggery

I just spoke to a Rogers rep about the new $30/6GB data plan — not only is it time-limited, but they won’t sell it to people who have any other device, such as a Blackberry, even with a new device or plan! How’s that for fair and equitable? I signed up last week for a new blackberry plan, and am paying $30 for a measly 300MB of data…

Cynic says:

Just seems to me like the mobile phone industry must be not only buying politicians but paying enough to keep them bought in order for this level of monopolistic pricing and dirty tricks against their owns consumers to go on year after year without any significant government intervention.

It’s bad enough that I’m overpaying for my phones and service, but to think that some of my money goes to buy politicians just adds insult to injury.

John Wilson (profile) says:

Re: what?

No, the government here in Canada doesn’t dictate prices.

However.

Like in the United States the regulators (CRTC in Canada, FCC in the US) are operating on the needless notion that they must encourage the wireless industry.

So what do we get in Canada? We get three major wireless carriers who pretty much operate in lock step, offer the same plans with minor variations but with the same lock in and are owned by wired carriers. Two telephone and one cable.

Oh yes, and two of the three now want to charge you for every text message received unless you have a plan that includes free texting.

Similar things are happening in the States.

So tell me, just how are we better off than we were in the old monopoly days?

Oh yes, and the US and Canada have the lowest penetration of wireless in the G8.

ttfn

John

Franssu says:

Re: what?

What free market ? We are talking about a monopoly here, as Rogers is the only GSM provider in Canada. And also operates with the other cellular service providers (Bell and Telus) as a cartel.

Monopolies and cartels are not free market. They mean vendors gouging the market to their advantage, raping customers. Government intervention is desirable to avoid this kind of mess. Unfortunately, our conservative government and the CRTC wants to keep Canadian corporations happy, and have no intention to keep the customers happy or to guarantee the existence of a free market by allowing, for example, the arrival of foreign operators.

So please, before chanting the advantages of free market, have a look to see if what you’re talking about looks like a free market.

Anyone (profile) says:

Unbundling ain't dumb

You know, forced un-bundling isn’t all that dumb. In Finland we have about the best priced plans in Europe thanks to rampant competition enabled by customer choice and have never had to deal with nasty things like locked phones and 2 year plans.

These only appeared after allowing experimental period to allow bundling plans for 3G cell phones a couple of years back. And guess what, we pretty much hate them – having learned to appreciate all the freedom, and being cost-conscious enough to calculate the true total price of the bundled goods (you will more often than not have paid more for the phone by the end of 2 years, can’t change operators, phones or chip in a foreign SIM on travels before the contract is through).

Same goes for the iPhone, calculating the price for 2 year plan has definitely raised a few eyebrows over here. Of course the more innocent phone users here are expecting the device reasonably priced, unlocked, unbundled and without long contracts, just like our beloved Nokias have always been…

Nasch says:

Re: Unbundling ain't dumb

You know, forced un-bundling isn’t all that dumb. In Finland we have about the best priced plans in Europe thanks to rampant competition enabled by customer choice and have never had to deal with nasty things like locked phones and 2 year plans.

If you have vigorous competition and a truly free market, the government doesn’t need to step in and ban business practices, because any that customers don’t like will fail. If they ban something like forced bundling, that will be at best useless, and at worst get rid of something that some customers would prefer.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Iphone

whats so “cleaver” about the iphone is that there is no one who needs to defend his stance on the iphone. Nokia’s are great phones, no doubt, but the user experience on the iphone changed the way people use cellphones. they created a revolution…dont believe me, look at how many companies are scrambling to put out touch screen devices to “kill” the iphone. But i agree, its just a phone, if its too expensive, dont buy it. there are plenty of worthy alternatives that get the job done.

Scott says:

'no subsidized packages'

The law was probably intended to prevent US style locked in plans where you are at the mercy of the service provider. European phones are typically unlocked. You buy your phone, you choose your service provider and put their SIM chip in your phone and off you go. While I do not have a problem with subsidized packages, as a whole, when they are the only choice, consumers get the shaft.

What the ‘full price’ of $1000 (600 Euro) should reveal is how stupidly expensive the iPhone is.

Twinrova says:

And the award goes to...

Trust me when I tell you I don’t envy anyone with an iphone (or any other Apple product for that matter).

Apple + expensive = always together.

I think what people tend to forget is the “$199” phone isn’t what Apple charges phone companies, so guess who ends up paying for it (and interest!) in the long run.

Bend over, consumer. This one’s gonna hurt.

Anonymous Coward says:

I don't believe the costs shown to the consumer are true costs

I don’t buy the whole “this phone is cheap because it’s subsidized”
clap trap. These phones are commodity devices which are produced in
numbers which should dwarf the number of laptops that are produced.

The components in these phones are commodity — they aren’t special
grade electronics. And, even if they were special, the economies of
scale of mass production would make the parts cheaper.

Laptops which are far more capable, and with more components in them
are produced for less than $500.

Does anyone have a reference to the ‘tear down prices’ for any of these
cell phones which are so expensive normally, but cheap when
subsidized?

I just don’t buy into the marketing story that they are expensive
without subsidization. I do accept that they are stupefyingly marked
up to make you take the ‘subsidized’ price and a long term contract,
but I don’t believe that the subsidy affects the actual cost of the
handset.

So, can we please stop talking about how the ‘subsidy’ makes them
cheap? They aren’t really subsidized, it’s just another marketing
plan to separate you from your money.

Steve Szikora says:

Rogers Billing

Rogers billing is out of there mind. I Started with I phone with my voice plant with 6 GB data. The first month went by, I called them up see what i was using. They told me that the account they given me did not exist. So I tried to explain that I have purchased the iphone in Brantford Rogers. So the Guy argued that there is no record of it. Then I called back a few days later hoping that this can be staitend out. so the next guy said he will set me up. So I told him that what happened so he got the 6GB signed up, told him make sure it going back to day one so I do not have charges against me. When he noted that I do not use that much data he told me Al I need is a combo voice data with 400MB a month. So I have agreed. for $60.00 amount for both Since since Aug 8 2008 til October 9 I have used Celluar Network Data Sent 15.1MB and received 168MB . And they a nerve to charge me $11808.83 are they clueless how to figure out the bill. While I was writting this I was talking to customer service there and tried again, when I told them I will go to court he hung up.

I do not see why they cant figure this out. I think their should be a class action lawsuit aganst Rogers

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