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iPhone in Canada may cost $300 per month

updated 10:50 am EDT, Tue July 10, 2007

Rogers Data Hinders iPhone

Exorbitant data pricing could be the primary barrier to the iPhone launching in Canada, according to University of Ottawa Internet research chair Michael Geist. The professor and expert notes that a distinct lack of rivals in the Canadian cellphone business has let providers effectively monopolize pricing for accessing mobile Internet services, creating a situation where the companies can charge exceptionally high rates and refuse to offer unlimited data plans. The situation is particularly dire for the iPhone's likely carrier Rogers, which is the only major GSM network provider in Canada and has no incentive to discount its services.

"The barrier to the iPhone in Canada is not Apple," Geist says. "Rather, it is the lack of wireless competition that... leads to pricing that places Canadians at a significant disadvantage compared with other developed countries. Is it any wonder there is a petition calling on Rogers to introduce a more competitive iPhone data plan?"

The university chairman highlights the gap through the differences between AT&T's least expensive iPhone plan and Rogers' most expensive, noting that to match as many features as possible would cost a Rogers subscriber $295 Canadian ($281 US) per month -- more than $220 over what an AT&T customer would pay. And Rogers users would still be handicapped as bandwidth use would be limited to 500MB (versus unlimited) with only a tenth of the night and weekend minutes, Geist says.

Rogers has so far confirmed that its talks with Apple are "not very far" but has attributed much of the delay to preparations by Apple for its US launch. Terms discussed between the two companies have not been revealed, and no indication has been made that Rogers intends to change its plan structure for the iPhone. But the carrier may be forced to rethink its pricing, Geist notes, as the plans may neuter not just the iPhone but local firm Research in Motion and any others that want to sell data-focused phones in the country.

"Canada is not even close to being competitive with countries around in the world on data prices, which hurts Blackberry sales and reduces the use of mobile services when compared to other countries," he says.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. chadpengar

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2001


    RIM is from Canada

    Ironic given that RIM is a Canadian company

  1. bobolicious

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Aug 2002


    Only in Canada Eh....

    ...this does confirm my fears & previous posts - Rogers is notoriously aggressive in it's pricing & garnered a public outcry some years ago for unilaterally imposing opt-out new cable services & fees requiring every customer who didn't want them to decline the service...

    The company recently imposed a large cell rate unilateral increase to facilitate US roaming - yet another feature I will likely never use nor would choose...


    If the above is true then I suggest giving us unlocked GSM phones at the Apple store & let Rogers miss the proverbial boat.

    While the high end features of the iPhone are slick, I for one will only use the basic phone & view the efficacious convergence of devices enough of an incentive to buy...

    Our CRTC regulators should take note...

  1. robttwo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2005


    Oh Canada

    Socialism at work!

  1. Terrin

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006



    So what explains US companies like Microsoft?

    . . . . Socialism at work! . . .

  1. Warrenpeace

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2001



    We definitely need more wireless competition here, but our CRTC hindered system won't allow it. They'll always side with Canadian companies, whether it's good for the customer or not.

    But this whole post is also speculation. This guy is trying to get his name out there. Really he has no idea what will happen. Rogers will likely end up having plans that don't offer unlimited data and people will just have to rely on Wifi more often.

    It'd be great if Apple had a CDMA version ready and could make Rogers fight for the rights to have exclusivity in Canada.

  1. iSkippy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2004


    Rogers one of the worst companies to deal with. I'd rather Apple leave Canada out of its iPhone plans than make a deal with those schmucks.

    Here's hoping for a CDMA iPhone sooner rather than later.

  1. aristotles

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Jul 2004


    CDMA? Not!

    Here's hoping they don't do CDMA. I travel a lot and I like having a GSM phone from Rogers that I can use in Europe on O2, T-Mobile and Sonera (Finland).

  1. eddd

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2001


    we'll see

    Apple fought the mighty record companies over pricing and won. This isn't the exact same situation, but there are similarities (a hardware device that is the channel for a compay's products and services). I expect Apple to play hardball here.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: we'll see

    Apple fought the mighty record companies over pricing and won. This isn't the exact same situation, but there are similarities (a hardware device that is the channel for a compay's products and services). I expect Apple to play hardball here.

    There are no similarities. When the iTMS was announced/opened, the iPod was not yet the hot fad product of the century. As such, they didn't use their iPod to force the record companies into anything. In fact, if the iPod was a 'bigger' product, I would think the labels would've been the ones playing hard-ball.

    Keep in mind that Apple needs the cellular companies more than they need Apple.

    Of course, the easiest thing to do would be to just sell the stupid thing without a contract, and let people get whatever plan from whatever provider they wanted to get it from, like they did in the US.

    Oh, right, rather than let the consumer have choice and options and do what's in their best interest, they teamed up with Cingular (now AT&T) and provide you very limited options.

  1. jarod

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2005


    Canada = Communists

    Time to tear em down, soldier!

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