updated 12:50 pm EDT, Sat July 14, 2007
iPhone at Rogers
The iPhone is already being used with Rogers Wireless for support purposes in Canada, claims a source reportedly familiar with a manager at one of Apple's local call centers. The Peterborough, Ontario office is said to be extending its previous support of all North American portable computers to include the iPhone and has received a collection of iPhones last week to familiarize agents with using the device. Exposing all the functions, however, has required that the iPhones be activated on Canada's Rogers Wireless network -- a function impossible for current models available in stores, which can only be activated through iTunes and which only support AT&T SIM cards.
While the activation by itself is significant, it has become clear that Apple has made more than just token efforts to support the iPhone on Rogers' network, according to the manager. Handsets running on the network purportedly show both the "Rogers" text branding in the onscreen menu bar and are running on Rogers SIM cards rather than borrowed or generic AT&T versions. EDGE is also supported for the phones even if the capacity of the service is "still not entirely ready" for Apple's phone, the report says.
Certain features are also allegedly disabled or disallowed for the Canadian team, the contact claims. In addition to the potential network issues, YouTube videos were also said to be broken. Agents were also advised that they should refrain from making phone calls, but it was unclear at the time of writing whether or not this was to prevent abuse or for technical reasons.
If validated, the presence of iPhones on Canadian networks doesn't immediately point to a short-term introduction of the device but would suggest that Apple has taken early steps towards integrating the hardware with its first network outside of the US and is largely ready to go live with service once negotiations are completed. Rogers had previously reported that discussions with Apple were stalled due to the US release and may face difficulties given the disparity in price between American and Canadian cellular data plans.