iPhone 3G in Canada: One Week Later
Thanks to Will for the video!
I got to my local Rogers (corporate owned) store way early, and was immediately nervous upon seeing tons of cars. They were filled with senior citizens -- strange iPhone demographic, I thought. When the doors to the mall opened at 7am, the seniors raced in. Near jog, no joke. I thought I'd end up behind a ton of angry, eager iPhone golden oldies, but a funny thing happened: they raced right on past Rogers. Turns out they jog/power walk/amble about there every morning. Who knew?
One week later, and how are things now? I just got my first bill (wow, that was faster than 3G!). $30/6GB data, $35 Mega My 5, $15 Visual Voice Mail Value Pack, $35 activation fee, plus crazy Canadian taxes. $124. (Plus the initial $299 for the 16GB handset...)
But what else is going on in my home and native land? Read on to find out!
Its been quite a ride (just check out all the coverage here). But the fun hasn't stopped for Canadians. Sure, some independent stores were refusing to process anything but new accounts for launch week, Rogers the 16GB units disappeared almost instantly -- at least after the Customer Central software came out of crash mode some time around noon, and just in time for iTunes' servers to go down. But sales were brisk all around. Rogers claims they very nearly sold out, moving "tens of thousands" of the iPhone 3G. And while confided to greater metropolitan areas, 3G speeds are proving to be decent. That's the good news.
The bad news? Not everyone was getting 3G from the outset -- or any network connection at all. I literally stood next to someone at a Rogers store who was getting zero connection, while I was blazing away on 3G. While some thought the Rogers cell network had gone down under a flood of new iPhone's eat up the bandwidth, the some are/some aren't nature of the problem makes the situation at launch unclear.
Also, the WiFi shenanigans continue, of course. While in line, the Rogers reps (who were all great, kept up their senses of humor through the outages, but were misinformed by HQ) were telling people if they didn't sign for iPhone plans, Rogers would charge for WiFi use. And it didn't end there. If the commenters here at TiPb are too be believed, people calling in to remove their data plans are still being told that if they have the data removed, they won't be able to use WiFi either:
called Fido tonight (owned by Rogers; also sells iPhones in Canada) and asked if I could get just voice, turn data off and was told yes. I asked, what if I want to use wifi when my data service is turned off? They said "you won't be able to. You will need to call us back and have us turn it back on." The rep looked things up, left and checked, and repeated this claim a total of three times.
Personally, I rocked an original iPhone 2G on Rogers for nearly a year with no data plan (EDGE settings removed to spare myself the usury-like $0.03/kb surcharge) and WiFi worked just splendidly, thank you.
But no one outside of Rogers/Fide can make any guarantees. Absent anything resembling communication from Rogers, and despite no rational explanation from technologists of how Rogers could, never mind if they would, prevent WiFi access (or even charge for it as some Rogers reps have maintained), customers remain concerned -- and less tech-savvy customers may just panic and end up getting bamboozled.
Using an iPhone in Canada? How's your experience going so far?