Rogers ‘unlimited’ cellphone plans rake in the dough

by ,

(with apologies to CBC News )

Toronto-based Rogers, Canada’s largest cellphone provider, quietly announced a plan last week that would allow “unlimited” internet browsing on certain cellphones for $7 a month. The company also introduced a “Communicate Suckage” pack for $20 that bundles the browsing with text messaging, voice mail and call display features.

Rogers spokeswoman Elizabeth Hamilton said the prices reflect the changing state of the gullability of cellphone users.

“We’re in the business of financially raping customers for trivial functionality. As subscribers grow, as applications actually do something, we can really rip customers a new one,” she said. “We’re finding new ways of gouging them all the time.”

Both plans allow customers to browse whatever websites they want on their mobile phones, .. except for really good ones, which aren’t approved by Rogers, like Google Maps. The plans also do not apply to anything with a CPU in it, and do not cover e-mail, since Rogers wants to introduce another $20 “E-mail Suckage” plan for that. Rogers really, really hopes that customers don’t read the fine print and try using their cell phone as a modem, so they get raked over the coals with per-kilobyte charges.

Critics said the plans were Rogers’ latest attempt to confuse customers, this time by misrepresenting the word “unlimited.”

“What appears to be a good deal on the surface is actually complete shit,” wrote Marc Lostracco, assistant editor of the Torontoist website. “Customers need to remember that a company calling something ‘unlimited’ is obviously out to get you.”

Hamilton disputed the criticism and said the plans fit the uses that Rogers allows.

“It’s actually an excellent cash cow,” she said.

entertainment.

About rae

I'm a long-time Mac and iOS developer. I'm also a big fan of Ruby on Rails and relational databases. I tend to work remotely, in my basement with occasional trips to the office. I'm also a big videophile, both TV and film, and can't wait for a good, inexpensive home 4k solution.

6 comments on “Rogers ‘unlimited’ cellphone plans rake in the dough

  1. Jeff K

    This Rogers site prominently states that “tethering” is $0.05/Kb.

    Thethering is a rich-person’s sport. Telus has some reasonable tethering rates. I used to do it a fair bit, but its more expensive than the most expensive rate for wireless internet at a hotel that might charge for it, so I gave up; Still, being able to check the various Canada/US bridge crossing wait times while sailing along I-90 was cool.

    Keep in mind that some cell-phone towers have extremely limited band-width. Opening the flood gates to youtube is not technically feasible (outside of major cities). “Unlimited facebook access” appeals to a certain market segment.

    I’m guessing the Torontoist folks are tethering experts or something?

  2. Alex

    Here’s a US plan that gives you data roaming in Canada at $0.002/kb or 25 times cheaper than Rogers… Guess who’s network it will use when you are roaming?

    Reid did an excellent job translating the article to plain English.

  3. rae Post author

    Wow, 0.2¢/k sure beats Rogers’ 5¢/k! Unfortunately that link requires a zip code.

    Ok, here’s an excerpt of the information from that page for my fellow curious Canadians. Should make for a large comment…

    Stay productive, responsive and connected while on the go, right from your laptop at average download speeds of 600 Kbps – 1.4 Mbps and at average upload speeds of 500 Kbps – 800 Kbps.*
    *Speed claim based on network tests with 5MB FTP data files, without compression, utilizing a Rev. A capable device. Other data services (Quick 2 Netsm dial-up connections) at $0.25 per minute.

    Additional Plan Information:
    Required Equipment
    BroadbandAccess-capable PC card

    Required Minimum Term, Activation Fees, and Early Termination Fee

    • One-year or two-year minimum term required per line.
    • Activation Fee: $35 per line.
    • Activation fees may vary or be waived for business customers that have a Major Account Agreement with Verizon Wireless.
    • Early Termination: Up to $175 fee per line.

    Roaming in Canada will be charged at a rate of $0.002 per kb or $2.05 for MB. Roaming in Mexico will be charged at a rate of $0.005 per kb or $5.12 per MB. For more information on roaming in Canada and Mexico, visit http://www.verizonwireless.com/naroaming.
    Taxes, Surcharges and Fees

    • Tolls, taxes, surcharges and other fees, such as E911 and gross receipt charges, vary by market and as of October 1, 2007, add between 4% and 34% to your monthly bill and are in addition to your monthly access fees and airtime charges.
    • Monthly Federal Universal Service Charge on interstate & international telecom charges (varies quarterly based on FCC rate) is 11% per line. Beginning January 1, 2008 the Federal Universal Service Charge will be decreasing to 10.2% per line.
    • The Verizon Wireless monthly Regulatory Charge will increase from 4¢ to 7¢ per line effective 11/15/07.
    • Monthly Administrative Charge (subject to change) is 70¢ per line.
    • The Federal Universal Service, Regulatory and Administrative Charges are Verizon Wireless charges, not taxes. For more details on these charges, call 1–888–684–1888.

    Important Customer Information:
    For more information, refer to the Customer Agreement or speak with a Sales Representative. Service is subject to the Customer Agreement, which you should read before activating service. Plans not available in all areas. Credit approval required. Billing, shipping and end-user address must be within the Verizon Wireless licensed and service areas where the wireless phone number is issued.

    BroadbandAccess:
    Subject to VZAccesssm Acceptable Use Policy, available at http://www.verizonwireless.com/datausage. To make sure you have coverage in newly expanding markets, from the VZAccess Manager, go into “Options” and click “Activation,” while in the National Enhanced Services Rate and Coverage Area every three months. This may alter your Rate and Coverage Area. You are responsible for maintaining virus protection when accessing service. BroadbandAccess is for individual use only and is not for resale. Charges for Quick 2 Net® or dial-up calls will be based on the cell sites used and time of day at the telephone switching office that carries your call, which may be different from the time of day shown on your device. Rates do not apply to credit card or operator-assisted Quick 2 Net or dial-up calls, which may be required in certain areas. Usage rounded up to the next full minute. Charges start when you first press CONNECT or the call connects to a network on Quick 2 Net or dial-up calls. Time may end several seconds after you press DISCONNECT or the call otherwise disconnects. For Quick 2 Net or dial-up calls, we only bill for those calls that are answered (which includes Quick 2 Net or dial-up calls answered by machines). Quick 2 Net or dial-up calls to “toll-free” numbers are toll-free; you will be billed airtime.

    DATA PLANS AND FEATURES
    Prohibited Uses. While most common uses for Internet are permitted by your Data Plan, there are certain uses that cause extreme network capacity issues and interference with the network. These are not uses intended by our Data Access plans and are therefore prohibited. Examples of prohibited uses include the following:

    1. server devices or host computer applications, including, but not limited to, continuous Web camera posts or broadcasts, automatic data feeds, automated machine-to-machine connections or peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing;
    2. as a substitute or backup for private lines or dedicated data connections;
    3. “auto-responders,” “cancel-bots,” or similar automated or manual routines which generate excessive amounts of net traffic, or which disrupt net user groups or email use by others;
    4. “spam” or unsolicited commercial or bulk email (or activities that have the effect of facilitating unsolicited commercial email or unsolicited bulk email);
    5. any activity that adversely affects the ability of other people or systems to use either Verizon Wireless Services or other parties’ Internet-based resources, including “denial of service” (DoS) attacks against another network host or individual user;
    6. accessing, or attempting to access without authority, the accounts of others, or to penetrate, or attempt to penetrate, security measures of Verizon Wireless’ or another entity’s network or systems; or
    7. software or other devices that maintain continuous active Internet connections when a computer’s connection would otherwise be idle or any “keep alive” functions, unless they adhere to Verizon Wireless’ data retry requirements, which may be changed from time to time.

    This means, by way of example only, that using these Data Plans or Features for P2P file-sharing services, web broadcasting, or for the operation of servers, telemetry devices and/or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition devices is prohibited.

    If usage exceeds 5 GB per line during any billing period, we reserve the right to reduce throughput speeds of any application that would otherwise exceed such speed to a maximum of approximately 200 Kbps. These speeds are subject to change, in our reasonable discretion, in order to address network issues. In order to assess your usage, you may obtain information about your usage during a particular billing period, including during the Return Period under your Worry Free Guarantee, through My Account or by contacting Customer Service. These Data Plans or Features are for individual use only and not for resale. We further reserve the right to take measures to protect our network from harm, compromised capacity or degradation in performance, any of which may impact permitted data flows. Accordingly, we reserve the right to deny, modify or terminate service, without notice, to anyone we believe is using Data Plans or Features in any manner that adversely impacts our network or service levels, and we also reserve the right to terminate service upon expiration of the Customer Agreement term.

    We may, but are not required to, monitor your compliance, or the compliance of other subscribers, with the terms, conditions, or policies of the Customer Agreement.

  4. Casey

    Very funny! I found this after doing a Google search on Liz Hamilton. She appears to be the Rogers version of the Iraqi Information Minister. I’ve been have a good laugh at the iPhone backpeddling she’s been doing.

  5. Reid

    With 3G now and the 6 GB data plan, tethering makes tons of sense. Speeds are pretty good (some say comparable to WiFi), and as long as you don’t run BitTorrent, you should be ok.

    I wonder if Rogers still has some legalese regarding tethering though. Will have to do a search at some point..

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