Categories
Customer Service

Rogers delivering friendly reminder that Quebec is an overtaxed nightmare of a province

Obviously concerned with an impending barrage of customer service calls, Rogers Wireless has started sending out texts reminding customers not to blame them when they get an increased bill in the mail next month. The text even includes a link to the Quebec government’s website! How convenient!

Quebec’s sales tax will rise a full point to 8.5% on January 1st, which may not sound like much, but it’s another dollar a month if your wireless bill is already near the Robert Borden level, or $12 a year. That’s two beers at a bar, or a decent lunch, or an album on iTunes. But most importantly, it’s another reason for cross-border shopping. Come the New Year, buying iPads and laptops will be even more expensive in La Belle Province. Sigh.

Categories
Smartphones Social Networking

Rogers is asking customers about a Facebook phone

Rogers has asked customers via this Ipsos survey about a possible Facebook phone. Click for a better look.

We’ve heard rumours and denials and then more rumours about Facebook developing its own smartphone in recent weeks. So when a friend forwarded me this screen cap of a survey Rogers asked them to fill out, I was more than a little interested. The survey this question appeared in was centered on mobile operating systems, first quizzing customers about what an operating system is before asking them which mobile OS they preferred.

While Rogers used the term “Facebook centric phone,” I think its clear that Mark Zuckerberg’s company wants more control of the mobile future, and won’t be content with simply piggybacking apps onto other smartphones. Even the current contact syncing available on some platforms doesn’t seem to be enough. A true Facebook phone would be able to leverage status updates, wall posts, and the company’s location service, Places, into a veritable advertising machine.

While the last thing in the world I’d want is a Facebook phone, I’m sure there is a very specific group of people who love the idea. Also teenagers.

Categories
Apple Tablets

AT&T drops bombshell on America, makes Rogers and Bell iPad data plans seem like greatest deals ever

You should head on over to Engadget for all the details, but if you want the abridged version, here it is: AT&T is stopping the awesome $29.99 unlimited data iPad plan Steve Jobs heralded at the iPad unveiling and replacing it with a new $25 for 2GB of data package. Current subscribers get to keep the old plan, but everyone else gets the shaft. The move now makes Rogers and Bell, who offer 5GB of data for $35 in this country, seem like veritable deals.

The move, which comes just one month after the iPad 3G’s American launch, is being spun by AT&T as “making mobile internet affordable to more people.” This PR line is complete nonsense. Anyone who has been using an iPad knows that it eats up data, and this move pretty much acknowledges that AT&T completely underestimated iPad data consumption.

Let’s hope this shocking development at AT$T AT&T does not give Canada’s wireless CEOs any crazy ideas. By the way, my take on the iPad data plans offered by Bell, Rogers, & Telus is here.

Categories
Apple Tablets

Bell, Rogers, & Telus: Who has the best iPad data plan?

Telus finally got into the iPad 3G data game yesterday. I was initially intrigued, but in true Canadian fashion, Telus has found a way to make the plan brutal for consumers.

At first, it seemed as if Telus was shaking things up. 500MB for $20 is a much better deal than Rogers and Bell’s 250MB for $15, primarily because you can use up 250MB in a couple of hours of YouTube action on the iPad. But the devil is in the details. After you’ve used your 500MB with Telus, overage fees begin at five cents per megabyte. There is a cap as to how much you can pay, $50. When I heard this, I thought “This is a great deal, $50 for unlimited 3G internet in Canada,” but upon further inspection, you’ll find that  Telus caps usage at 5GB, giving it no advantage over Bell or Rogers.

Since it takes just another 600MB (1.1GB total) to reach $50, you’ll be at the Telus price cap very quickly. With Telus, you’ll reach $35 after only 800MB of total data. For the same $35, you’d get 5GB with Rogers or Bell. You’re paying $15 more than you would with Rogers or Bell for the same amount of data.

Surfing on the iPad is not at all like surfing on the iPhone. You’ll more often than not get the full version of websites, so browsing will eat into your data plans much quicker than they ever did on the iPhone. And because the iPad is so much faster than an iPhone, you’re loading more pages in the same amount of time.

Taking all of this into consideration, depending on what kind of user you are, you’ve got only one choice.

For people who won’t be using 3G often, and if you are good at keeping track of your data usage, Telus’ 500MB for $20 is a better deal than Rogers or Bell’s $15 offering. Telus says they will eventually come out with an iPad app to monitor your usage, so hang in there.

For heavy 3G data users, only the Bell and Rogers 5GB for $35 plans offer any value. Use 1.1GB of data with Telus and you’re at $50!

One other note: Telus charges a $35 activation fee, but gives you a month of free data. So you break even there.

Of course, if you’re a jailbroken iPhone, Android, or even Palm Pre phone owner, the best plan is to use a WiFi tethering app, like MyWi on jailbroken iPhones, to share your data plan between devices. And since you’re tethering over WiFi, there’s no need for you to buy the 3G version of the iPad, which costs $130 more. But if you like to be all legit, follow my advice above.

Categories
Customer Service

[UPDATED] Alert: Rogers confusing Montreal with Montebello, charging customers long distance

Rogers, meet Google Maps.

[UPDATE MAY 10, 2010: Just got off the phone with Rogers after receiving my new eBill, complete with another $20+ in fictitious long distance charges stemming from calls I apparently made in Montebello. I escalated the matter to management. I told them about the hits this blog is getting from people typing “Rogers Montreal Montebello” in Google as proof that this is a serious problem. They reimbursed the charges, again, but told me the issue has continued into the next billing cycle.

If this is happening to you, please post your comment below. I’m getting hits now on an almost daily basis from people with this issue.]

Just got off a 31-minute phone call with Rogers customer service after getting charged $22 for long distance phone calls. Apparently, there is a billing glitch where calls made in Montreal are being charged as if there were made in Montebello, Quebec, a quaint little town near the Ontario border 90 minutes from the big city. The only reason I found out about it is by looking through the detailed list of my calls after seeing my monthly charge was too high. Amazingly, some of my calls made throughout the month were being charged as if I made them from that wonderful town. Sometimes there was as little as four minutes between calls I made in Montreal and supposedly made in Montebello! See below:

Montreal to Montebello in four minutes. I don't drive that fast.

So if you notice your Rogers bill is too high, double-check every single charge, and make sure it isn’t continuing into the current billing cycle, as it did with me. Obviously, Rogers isn’t going around crediting people if they don’t take the time to call. On the positive side, at least they’re not Bell.

Categories
Apple iPhone Smartphones

What a Bell & Telus iPhone means

If you believe what The Globe & Mail reported earlier this evening, the iPhone is finally headed to Canada’s other two big mobile providers. This comes after the companies worked around the clock and at great cost to launch their new iPhone-capable networks a year ahead of schedule. The urgency at which both Bell and Telus moved to make this possible offers some great insight into the state of the Canadian mobile phone industry. The most important things that this news highlights:

Categories
Smartphones

Rogers continues to rip travelers off – but in a blatant, proud kind of way

Rogers today announced new SMS packs for Canadians who make the unfortunate choice of using their canuck phones abroad. The packs (not plans – you buy the texts up front and they can be used over 30 days) start at $10 for 20 messages. There’s also a $20 for 40 and $35 for 100 message pack available. Now while it’s nice that Rogers is doing something for travelers, that doesn’t change the fact that using your Canadian cell phone anywhere outside of Canada is a complete ripoff. How do you save money on your cell phone when traveling abroad?