UPDATED! iPhone 3G in Canada: Regarding Rumors of Rogers Billing for WiFi...

Sarumon Consults the Eye of Rogers on Canadian iPhone 3G Data Rates

UPDATE: More confusion! Stylemonkey in the comments below says Rogers claims not to be doing this when he called in over the phone. However, I spoke to a couple more Rogers reps and they're still insisting they're being told Rogers will bill for WiFi use, perplexingly by using the EMEI number of you phone. While they say Rogers can't tell data usage this way, they can tell WiFi is being used, and will bill based on time. Ridiculous? Sounds like it. But what's even more ridiculous is Rogers telling this to (some of?) their stores and people in the field. Crazy!

ORIGINAL POST:

So I was waiting in line at a Rogers store yesterday when the staff came out and said that if we didn't take the Rogers' iPhone specific plans, anytime we used WiFi it would be counted towards our custom plans (like the newly announced $30/6GB promo). They said that even though the iPhone would show WiFi, it would still count down (crazy fast) 3G data, and we'd only find out come bill time when charges came in. One of them said they were waiting on clarification from Rogers. Another said this was what Apple wanted and implemented. (Yeah, I know... I'm just repeating the comments).

We didn't run the story then because we couldn't get any confirmation of the rumor, but now other reports of people being told the same thing at different Rogers stores has turned up.

Read on for more!

The staff seemed a bit confused between WiFi Hotspots (which the iPhone-specific plans grant free access to) and WiFi via private routers (home/work/etc.), so this sounds to me like something Rogers just completely mixed up in communicating the details.

As far as I understand the technology, if the 3G icon goes off and the WiFi radio icon comes on, the HSPA stops negotiating the data connections and the 801.11g radio takes over.

3G stays on for voice, but there should be no way for Rogers (or any carrier) to count data via WiFi and subtract it from your 3G bucket even if they wanted to.

One anonymous Rogers insider has stated this to be the case (that WiFi doesn't eat your 3G bucket). Obvious, maybe, but it's also obviously turning into a concern for people who've been told this, may not be engineers, and want some peace of mind.

Of course, the real peace of mind will come when first bills arrive, WiFi data drain free!

Overall, what with Rogers' Sales Central online system crashing, Apple's iTunes authentication servers crashing, and the general crazy in the air, the lack of direction from Rogers HQ is inexcusable, especially in making sure all stores, reps, and employees were well informed, operating under unified policies (i.e. not letting non-Corporate owned stores exclude everyone but new activations), and had the tools and accessibility they needed, rather than having to call home only to find their lifelines claiming "sorry, we haven't been trained about the iPhone).

NOTE: There are unrelated reports of people who are having trouble keeping WiFi signals (they connect for a moment only to have the iPhone switch back to 3G), which probably shouldn't be confused with the above.

Were you at Rogers' launch? Did you hear anything about WiFi charges? Having WiFi problems? Please let us know!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 39 comments. Add yours.

Alain says:

It seems to me that not only did Rogers bungle their chances at attracting new subscribers with the plans first announced for the iPhone and the uproar those created, but they also did a really bad job with launch day: activation problems caused new users to walk out of the store with their iPhones inoperable (although that apparently was not limited to Canada) and misinformation pouring out in rivers, re: Wifi access, incompatibility of current plans witht the iPhone requiring current subscribers to cancel current plans and incur cancellation fees (at least this is what was also reported by some), etc...
Extremely bad execution overall.
It almost seems like Rogers doesn't care about it's subscribers. Should that be a surprise?
It makes you wonder why anyone would want to do business with them, apart from the obvious being you can't get the iPhone from another legitimate source in Canada.
I heard a rumor Bell might be getting a CDMA version of the iPhone. Not much chance of that happening, but if it did, it should cause Rogers to smarten up.

Stylemonkey says:

I just got off the phone with a customer service rep @ rogers.. according to them their is no charge for wi-fi browsing on personal/open wi-fi networks and it does not come out of the 6 gb bucket.. Customer service reps have been wrong in the past.. but the woman i talked to seemed extra cautious and double checked with her data folk. But I'm guessing that's pretty much mandatory @ rogers now (with all the rumors flying around).

Slugger says:

They would absolutely be required by law to provide you with a blow-by-blow of what you will be billed for at the time of sign-up. This is ludicrous to say the least. Some poorly informed cell phone agents I guess.

Pete says:

More confusion leading, inevitably, to more costs.
The Rogers rep reference to "personal wi-fi networks" I'm sure meant your own wi-fi at home. If Rogers can find a way to screw you over by confusing you with the details, they will.
Let's put an end to it (not to mention the bogus SAF!)
http://www.davidmcguinty.com/english/TakeAction/PetitionTheHouse/PetitionC555Fraisdacces.html

Slugger says:

Give your head a shake. Did you sign up for the "wifi" service? If so how much per month or MB? Right. Didn't think so.

Eric March says:

I am almost certain Rogers is referring specifically to Rogers-operated WiFi hotspots at places like Second Cup and various malls, not personal or open WiFi connections. Rogers charges normal data rates when you use one of their hotspots based on your cell number, thus it would count towards your normal 3G allotment of data usage when you use one of them. They don't care if you use open or personsl WiFi connections -- they can't even detect it. (How could they?) But because their hotspots require you to log in via your cell phone number for billing purposes, they can certainly detect that and will bill you accordingly. (Based on bandwidth throughput logged by your session, not minutes.)

Eric March says:

Oh, and I should mention: The 3G data deal includes free WiFi at their hotspots on the three-year contract. (It was with their original plans anyway, but that probably carries over to the $30 promo.)
Read here: http://www.engadget.com/2008/06/27/rogers-announces-iphone-3g-plans-unli...

Rene Ritchie says:

@Eric,
The $30/6GM does not include Hot Spots, at least from what Rogers is saying. That only comes with the the iPhone specific plans.
I also agree they're probably only charging for Hot Spots, BUT, if they're telling people they will be charged for ANY WiFi usage, many people aren't knowledgeable about how this stuff works, and will be scared into getting an iPhone specific plan, which is a big problem.

jkimball says:

This is exactly why the iphone originally released with ONLY unlimited data plans..way to go Rogers, your nickel and diming is scaring away customers

Matt says:

Does this apply to those of us who did not get any sort of Data Plan?
Or is it whether you have a data plan or not, you will still not be charged for WiFi access (home, work, school, etc)

trevor says:

Matt, you should not be charged for wifi data to your iPhone that you get from school or home.
I 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.
I'm a more sophisticated user than most (computer science degree) so I am relatively sure this is nonsense. I relate the story to provide more evidence of how incredibly badly Rogers/Fido is handling this rollout and getting information to its staff if that information is outside of its official strategy: buy an iPhone, pay for a recommended iPhone voice/data plan.

Vanessa says:

Ok, so basically I signed up for an iPhone, and I didn't get a data package. So I haven't been using the internet at all, but friends have told me that if I can get a wifi connection at home (which I have), I can switch out of my 3G and into wifi..meaning I don't have to pay for any data usage while on wifi? Sorry this is all confusing to me, and I don't want to get a bill a being surprised when I get charged thousands for using the internet.

Vanessa says:

Dind't realize that the question was answered, thanks!

Jon says:

I was given the ignorance excuse when I picked up my phone from a Rogers booth, but to my knowledge there was no mention of WiFi counting towards data. Also, the rep (who I know, and who is a nice guy) strongly suggested I get the new iPhone specific plan (the $30 one), and he only confirmed that data would be used at x rate UNLESS I was in a WiFi, in which case it would be free. I highly doubt that Rogers would charge for WiFi data - I doubt they could even monitor it.

Dars says:

FIDO customer service people told me the same thing..
I dont want to get the data plan, since I'm just mosty at home and at the office where I can use the WIFI to connect the IPhone. They told me that FIDO would still charge even for using your WIFI at home, which I told him doesn't make sense at all, and told me that I shouldn't be surprised if I receive my bill worth thousands.. So, I ended up not getting the IPhone..

you says:

What's going on with these providers the WIFI is becoming a common weapon in every store now to buy the Iphone...Doesn't make any sense at all, that's goes out of the ordinary when a Fido agent start explaining and formulating his sort of deep knowledge on WIFI technology..that's all bullshit...if at that point the Iphone technology is so advanced so what the heck we need then a SIM card, do you people how a cellphone works ...!!!!! a little bit of logical reasoning here...

Sya says:

The question is, can Rogers/FIDO know that you're connected through WIFI and charge you for it? They have this plan were you can use your phone through your WIFI and get unlimited talking through VoIP, which they charge you for it. Can they do something similar on the IPhone when accessing internet through WIFI?

Chris says:

I just went through the crazy hassle of trying to pick up the Blackberry Pearl from Rogers which turned into a 4 hour mission (NOTHING NEW - NOT SURPRISED) However, when I was in the store today and was talking with the sales clerk. I was informed that Rogers would be charging $7/Hour for WI-FI use. She wasn't specific on Rogers "hotspots" but for all internet usage through WI FI and not through the $30/6G monthly fee will be be billing clients for $7/HOUR! Has anybody else heard this.. or was I just talking to another ignorant clerk?

Jake says:

OK I get the iPhone and they tell me because of my credit I have to put down a $200 deposit??? OK sure (bell never did that with my Blackberry) so I got the $30 data and $45 voice and $20 extras thing. 7 days later after the phone comes out they cut it off. WTF!!! so I wait on hold for 30min and the Rogers rep says you have reached your $200 limit and they canceled my service... Why? Because the first bill is Pro-rated and that comes to $209. I have had the figgen phone for 9 days!!!! I gave them such shit and the turned it back on and they asked me for $9... 9 fucking dollars!!! My clients can't get a hold of me for $9?
Roger's policy's stink and I want to go back to bell.

Sya says:

"$7/Hour for WI-FI use- Chris"
The clerk might be talking about the $7 additional plan, when you use your phone through WIFI (VoIP)...

France says:

WiFi is a functionality of the unit, not to be mistaken with a functionality of the cellular network. I am assuming that this rumor started with misinformed reps who confused the iPhone package's "Rogers and Fido WiFi Hotspots" with actual WiFi.
Here is a perfect example: If you purchase an iPod Touch, which is WiFi capable just like the iPhone is, you can connect your iPod Touch to WiFi as you see fit. Obviously if you use a pay-per-use WiFi connection (like a HotSpot) you will be charged depending on your use. If you have a WiFi network at home in no way will you or should you be charged for this.
Basically it's like Rogers/Fido saying to you "Well, you've got Bluetooth but you need to have it activated, for X$/month...” WiFi is basically the same thing, granted you need to know where you are using it but if you are at home in no way should your carrier charge you anything for this.
Also, a note to those that have been informed that if they do not take a data plan, they will be charged for using WiFi at home or won't be able to, this is either misinformation or simply a sales tactic. I would suggest to anyone having a problem with this to complain to the CRTC.

keith says:

Yeah I was told the same thing, that I will be charged for use via WiFi, she said if I went on the weather network for example, it would cost me 5 bucks without having a data plan..........I wonder if it's ignorance or sales grabs, maybe a bit of both.

Kumar says:

I bought an iphone yesterday without a data plan, and I was told by the rep that I may see some internet charges even if I dont use the data on my iphone because apple runs some updates on your iphone periodically which can't be turned off, hence if you are not in a wifi zone and there is a update done, you get charged as per rate .05/kb and it can result in some heavy charges on your bill such as few hundreds or so. He also said that he has had customers coming to his centre complaining after receiving their first bills for more than $1000.
He also mentioned, that only way to stop those updates is to get your internet blocked completely from rogers, which should not affect the wifi functionality. Only backdrop is that if you are not in wifi zone and need to go on internet, you won't be able to because rogers have it blocked on your request.
I still went and bought the phone without the data plan and got my mobile internet blocked by calling rogers customer service.
Hope this helps.

tyt says:

I just got off the phone with one of the supervisors at the Fido customer services, and he totally answered all my questions.
If we are using a personal Wi-Fi network (i.e. home or work), and not the Rogers/Fido provided HotSpots, there will be NO additional costs (unless you are buying something off the internet or itunes - products, applications, games, ringtones... etc). He was saying how when you ask Fido to block the internet access, they are only blocking "Door 177", hence, you still have full internet access when you are at your own home/work place.
He reassured me by checking my current invoice, and no internet charges were on it (since I just got my iPhone, without the data plan, a few days ago).
This might be a little repetitive, but hope this helps~

Sixpakx says:

I just received a bill from Rogers for $600 Dollars (no joke), and I do not have a data plan with ROgers, I use WIFI at home. never used my iphone at any hot spot. I have a older IPHONe which I baught from the states and using my Rogers SIM in it. The customer service Rep Told me that even though you used WIFI its still considered Data usage. So now I am screwed. Where am I going to get $600 to pay my bill. ANd I dont want to ruin my credit. THe phone wait yesterday was over 2 hours when I called rogers Customer services. Today I was able to talk to them after a long wait. Is there any way we can stop these charges, also if I have to pay for internet charges then why get a phone which is WIFI capable. I am very disappointed at Rogers WIreless as a company. Shame on robbing people from there heard earned living.

HAINANGM says:

i just got my bill from fido which is huge amount of money so i called fido custom .what they told me is they charge for any internet connect for 5cents per KB .thats so ridiculous !!! i think i should call WIFI associaton to find out .

meoca says:

I just bought an iphone locked to Fido yesterday from a friend. I inserted my Fido SIM card (a $30 unlimited incoming plan without the data plan on it), and immediately tried if I can make and receive calls - it works well! When I got home, I noticed that the 3G option is turned on. I immediately turned it off since I connected via wi-fi from our own home network. I thought that it may conflict or I may be billed by connecting to the Fido 3G network.
Just this morning, I noticed that I cannot make any calls, and I cannot receive calls either. Then, there is a voice prompt everytime I called saying something about my security deposit should be sent. So, I immediately called the customer service and I was told that I reached the $300 dollar credit limit. I was asking how but couldn't give me an answer since I need to wait next month to get my next bill. I felt that it was a very lame explanation and it's unacceptable to have me without a phone for a month.
With that, I expressed my intent to just close my account given the circumstances, and I was transferred to a different department. It was not that hard to get an explanation after all. After 5 to 7 minutes, the rep told me that I have incurred internet usage against my SIM. I told the rep that I did not connect to the internet using my SIM until last night when I used my SIM with my new iPhone3G.
I was asked to wait another 5 to 7 minutes. The rep then told me that it they technical team had confirmed that it is really from my SIM. She further told me that I have incurred a total of $2000 usage. I was shocked when I first hear that. But the rep, immediately gave an offer that if I just add a $30 data plan, then it will cover for those alledge internet usage. Well, at least, it gave me some level of comfort for having hear that. But, I wanted more explanation as to what have happened since it could happen again. I also regained from the $2000 shock - thinking that I could not be charged by that amount anyway, since I have a $300 credit limit!
While I was searching for further explanation, I felt that I could not get any valid explanation since the rep seems to have been doing me a favor. It seems to me that she wanted me just to say YES or NO to that offer. Obviously, i succumb to that offer.

IHATEROGERS says:

DO NOT PAY THE USAGE CHARGES. IT IS TOTAL BS THAT THEY MAKE YOU PAY FOR WIFI USAGE WHEN IT WAS NOT CLEARLY STATED ON THE CONTRACT. ROGERS HAS DONE THIS TO ME TWICE AND THIS IS AFTER I REQUESTED THEY BLOCK OFF ALL INTERNET ACCESS AND USAGE. THEY CANNOT BLOCK YOUR WIFI THEREFORE, YOU CAN STILL USE IT. MY FIRST BILL WAS $2000, WHICH I MADE THEM REVERSE. I JUST GOT A CALL FROM THEM AGAIN STATING MY LAST MONTH BILL IS AT A WHOPPING $5700!!!! LOL HELL NO! AFTER BITCHING WITH THEIR CSR, I ALSO HAD THIS REVERSED. I HATE ROGERS AND WILL BE SWITCHING CARRIERS PRETTY SOON.

Katie says:

I had a 300 dollar bill last month for data usages which i never used. I sat on the phone with rogers for 3 hours only for them to tell me there was nothing they could do about these charges. If i hadn't had these internet usage charges my bill would only have been 50 dollars. Im a student and can't afford to pay for outrageous bills especially ones that i didn't use the data that it says i did.I am not impressed at all!

Chris says:

I upgraded to an iphone last month. The sales person said that I had to run my old plan for two more weeks so he recommended that I not use the iphone. I reluctantly took his advise and turned off my phone. I then shared my wife's phone when possible. (I also emailed some complaints to Rogers and they were very unhelpful sending me "form" replies recomending that I call in - i did and was on hold for an hour - hung up)
After two weeks I turned on the phone and yahoo - I love the phone. I then received my first bill and they charged me over $200 for usage charges for the first two weeks (NO JOKE). My phone was OFF! I called up and was on hold for another hour. I had to go back to work so i have to call again.
Rogers.com online billing is always down - MY5 online services is also down allot. Calling them is hit and miss. Even the promo of combining services on one bill (cel, cable and internet - 10%) comes with conditions when it should simply be a reward.
I love my iPhone - but I hate dealing with Rogers.
Just my 2 cents

John says:

I had loads of fun with this tonight.... Got a bill with Over $700 worth of data usage on my wife's line. this is after numerous confirmations that Data was blocked on this line. billing was quite helpful on this and reversed the charges. they had also pointed out that I had the Wrong kind of data block - said it was only blocking Spam - huh... what the heck is that supposed to mean? anyways... she made the change and now the Edge icon doesn't show up when wifi is out of range or off. I'm hopeful that this worked. But when they had to adjust the charge for some texting, I was put through to another girl that informed me that there is NO WAY to completely block data on the Iphone. I says PARDON !!!
she tried to sell me a discounted data plan for that line and said she was concerned that next time I might not be so lucky to have the charges reversed.
Now here's my theory - I'm thinking the rumours I've heard about Rogers charging for data usage INCLUDING WiFi are true. the only way my wife's phone would have accumulated that much data was if the phone was reporting data usage back to rogers and included wifi. If not - there is way to much mindless banter going on with my phone on the network - which would concern me even more.
anyways. I hope Rogers and Apple get they're heads out of each other's @sses long enough to fix this issue, whatever the heck it is. I'm getting tired of spending an hour on the phone with Rogers every bloody month.

A says:

This was INCREDIBLY helpful guys. Thanks a lot. I had recently gotten an iPhone without a data plan about two months ago and unknowingly had the 3G function on. I was charged $100 during the course of a week and I had not even used the internet. I finally decided to use WiFi at my school today and I guess I'll find out if I get charged on this month's bill.

Dan says:

(Response to I HATE ROGERS)
HELP!!!! We have just been told that our first iPhone Internet charges have amounted to $3,300.00 for a 4-DAY PERIOD!!!!!!! HOW CAN THIS BE???? Not only is this outrageous, it's highway robbery!
I need some advice from I HATE ROGERS about how you managed to get your astronomical bill ($5,700.00) reversed! PLEASE ADVISE!!! I am a single parent and simply UNABLE to come up with this kind of money. The rates are criminal!!!

Ryan says:

Hi,
For those who got charged with thousands of dollars, can you check your data usage under Settings/General/Usage? I did quite a bit of research for the past two days regarding this issue... and am wondering if the statics showing on iPhone is accurate.
How much data did you guys have to use to get to a bill of $5,000 +? I've been having pretty bad experience with Rogers as well. The data plans that Rogers came up with totally ruined iPhone...

Darren says:

I'm wondering about the accuracy of the iPhone's usage statistics, too.
I got my iPhone for Christmas and first turned it on on Christmas Day. On the first bill since getting the iPhone (invoice date of 5 January) it indicated that I had used 28,996 KB -- almost 30MB in 11 days.
Right now, my phone says that I've Sent 1.8MB and Received 12.3MB. The phone statistics have never been reset.
I called Rogers and spoke to their "Data department" and they reported that, as of 14 January, I had used almost 40MB -- again, my phone is reporting that I'm nowhere near that amount of usage NOW. Their response to my request for clarification was basically that the iPhone must not be accurately tracking data usage.
My thoughts are that either Rogers is just making stuff up, or maybe they are charging for all data -- even through my home WiFi. Anybody have any idea what's going on?

kwby says:

Rogers dinged me with a $1000 data charge, when I only have a voice plan, but my cell has wifi. I was on the phone for hours screaming at rep after rep and raised the issue to a high manager who reversed the charges but then they blocked my phone from having wifi.
I HATE FRIGGIN ROGERS SCAMMERS!!!
Why can you surf freely with a laptop, iPod touch etc but get charged for same surfing with a phone with wifi???

Syzygy says:

I bought an iPhone last summer from Rogers and paid out a $200 security deposit. It's now a year later so I called them up and asked them to refund me the deposit. I have a year's worth of bills paid on time so there was no problem. It's very nice to get that $200 back! You might also want to give them a call...

papa1zulu says:

Ok, I know this is a pretty old thread , but have just got a I phone from my girlfriend, that she no longer wants because of all the bull crap that she had to go thought with rogers, with all the thing previously mentioned here, wi-fi ,3g,data plan...yatta,yatta,yatta. So I tend to be a little handier with computers than she is,and am convinced that I can get better results. Also I hate paying for any service or software that I could get for free. So anyway, she has had here data plan shut off, and can no longer receive the internet via the 3g network. I was doing a couple of experiments with it to see what i could figure out. So I turned on the wi-fi on the I-phone, and connect to my personal wireless internet,( that I am already paying bell for) then I removed the sim card from the phone,and was still able to navigate the web. So this would lead me to believe that roger do not , and can not charge me for the wireless connection. So this would be just like a I-touch, or a laptop. I think the real question here is how could roger possibly charge me for a service that is being provided by a completely different company, that I am paying for in full already. Now I do know the exact law govern these thing , but it seem to me that one would be being double charged for a single service. Also rogers is charging for a service that they are not providing.
Any thoughts on this...
I will continue researching this , and look for ward to the debated that I'm sure that will come, with different arguments and fact depending on which rep I'm taking to.

rick says:

Im going to sue the roders asshole,because bbb better buisness buro states that if you pay for service you dont recieve,thats against the law.basicly a psp,laptop,and other devices have wifi and are free why should it be any diffrant on a phone?it doesnt cost them any money for us using wifi on our phones.so Im gonna sue them and get a hudge settlement.We are paying for service we arnt receiving.wifi usage is a phone functionality...I tried to take out the sim card and use my wifi...didnt work...that prooves they are scamming us!