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!
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!