Online petition protests Rogers iPhone plan
Globe and Mail Update
June 30, 2008 at 10:27 AM EDT
Canadian iPhone fans have launched an online petition protesting pricing plans Rogers Wireless Inc. will offer customers when the coveted touchscreen device arrives in Canada July 11.
So far more than 16,000 people have signed the petition at ruinediphone.com since the site was launched Friday. The creators say they plan to send a hard copy of all the comments posted on the site to Rogers Communications’ [RCI.B-T] headquarters in Toronto to demonstrate users’ “indignation.”
“Everyone would like to say “no thanks” to Rogers/Fido for screwing our iPhone Canadian dream with poor data/voice plans,” the site’s main page says.
A Rogers spokesperson could not immediately be reached Monday.
In an open letter to Apple Inc. [AAPL-Q] chief executive Steve Jobs posted on the site, creator James Hallen calls Rogers’ 3G iPhone rates “unfair” when compared to the packages offered through AT&T Inc. in the U.S. and other carriers around the world.
“There are a vast number of Canadians that would take the opportunity to buy an iPhone at $199 (Canadian) but these new plans have put it out of reach for many,” he says in the letter.
Mr. Hallen had hoped to gather 10,000 signatures to the petition by the time the iPhone goes on sale in Canada July 11, but had already surpassed that number by Sunday morning.
Visitors to the site claim Rogers’ voice and data plans are too expensive when compared to other country-exclusive iPhone carriers around the world. They say the company’s plans to only offer the iPhone at full price – $199 for an 8 GB model, $299 for a 16 GB model – on fixed, three-year contracts is both restrictive and unfair.
Other carriers, including O2 in the UK, offer shorter term contracts or sell the iPhone on prepaid plans. O2 offers one plan that includes a free iPhone with an 18-month contract.
Rogers’ combined voice and data plans for the iPhone, which include unlimited calling on evenings and weekends, range from $60 per month for 150 daytime minutes with 400 MB of data usage, to $115 for a deluxe 800 minutes and 2 GB package. The packages each include unlimited WiFi access at all Rogers and Fido hot spots.
But unlike other carriers, including AT&T, Rogers does not offer an unlimited data usage plan for the iPhone.
One of the reasons the iPhone is such a sought-after device is because of its superior Web-surfing capabilities, which can quickly become an expensive pursuit with the wrong data plan. Users posting on ruinediphone.com claim that Rogers’ plans make surfing the Web on an iPhone prohibitively expensive.
“We fail to understand why you are giving Canadian customers a patently worse deal than AT&T in the U.S.,” writes a user named Rodger Morrow. “You will make more money and sell more iPhones if you make the rates affordable…”
In a statement Friday, Rogers said that its 400 MB plan would allow a user to send about 200,000 text e-mails or view 3,100 Web pages or 1,360 photo attachments. It claims its 2 GB plan would allow a user to download 16,000 Web pages.
However, one user on the forum points out that loading a Facebook page can rack up as much as 1.2 MB, which would drop the number of page views per month to 1,600 from 16,000.