updated 10:50 pm EDT, Sun July 6, 2008
Apple sanctioning Rogers?
With the backlash rising against Canada's exclusive iPhone carrier, Rogers may be facing sanctions by Apple for its exorbitant rate plans. An unconfirmed report indicates that Apple, unhappy with the pricing plans offered by the carrier and perhaps the negative attention, has diverted a large percentage of iPhone 3G shipments -- destined for Canada -- to Europe. Since the initial announcement of Roger's rate plans, over 43,000 users have signed the virtual petition at RuinediPhone.com and even the main stream media is bolstering the negative attention with headlines such as "Solution to high iPhone prices is not to buy one."
The editorial, which was published in the Vancouver Sun last Friday, touts other competitive devices (such as the Samsung Instinct, which is offered by Bell Canada with an $10 unlimited data plan) and concludes that consumers should consider alternatives to fight the "monopoly position for a premium product." (Other main stream publications have run similar editorials.)
"If you don't like the price of an iPhone, don't buy it. One side-effect of the year-long wait for iPhones in Canada is that other gadgets, such as the much-talked about Samsung Instinct, are providing new competition," the publication writes. "If Rogers finds it has priced itself out of the market, it won't take a petition to ring in lower prices."
Smithereens, a blog by Daniel Smith, says that it has confirmed several portions of the report, while other details remain unconfirmed. Citing senior Rogers representatives, Smith says Apple is diverting iPhone 3G shipments to European markets, but can only say that the numbers of iPhone 3G reaching Rogers stores will be 'significantly reduced.'"
In addition, Smith has confirmed that a number of retail partners which had hired additional staff at the request of Rogers, have let some go, which is also thought to be in anticipation of the reports of Apple's sanctions.
Smith also said that stores have been told to "exercise caution" not to over-promise delivery of the new devices. Though unconfirmed, early reports indicated each Rogers retail outlet was to receive as few as 10-20 units, "ostensibly due to Apple's displeasure over Rogers' high data and voice rates."
Rogers wireless rates historically have been "astronomically high," according to its consumers, but the latest iPhone rates plans have drawn significant attention from consumers, the media, and now Apple. Rogers, which initially defended its rate plans to Electronista, is now working to further "tweak" some of its rate plans and potentially add an unlimited data plan -- following earlier attempts to counter criticism by offering separate voice and data plans and allowing users to select features a-la-carte rather than part of initially announced iPhone plans or pre-bundled value packs.
"Customers are not restricted just to the 4 iphone bundles that were announced & are able to select from most of our other voice & data plans," Bruce M. Mann, Vice President Investor Relations at Rogers Communications Inc. said. "We do not have an unlimited data plan, although we are looking at potentially tweaking some of the data plan bucket sizes." [article updated]