I’m usually the one in my family and circle of friends with the latest & greatest electronic gadgets, so every once in a while a friend of mine will ask me not if, but when did I get Apple’s latest phone and how I find it. Inevitably I have to disappoint them because I don’t in fact have an iPhone, nor do I intend on getting one, and the reason for that is not the phone (which seems very slick and fun) but the network provider for it in Canada, Rogers Wireless (and its Fido subsidiary).
It’s not because I don’t like spending money on shiny new things — I most certainly do — but with the iPhone Rogers is laughing all the way to the bank with a lot of suckers’ money. Let’s look at the hard data and see what obtaining an iPhone with a decent plan would cost me:
- the phone itself, the 16GB version: $299
- the minimum plan during the time-limited “only until September” promo: $35
- fee for 6GB of data transfer per month (a package with the $35 plan): $30
So that’s $300 and $65 a month which is not cheap but not so bad, you’ll think… but wait, there’s more. Because for $35 you’re getting 150 weekday minutes and unlimited nights/weekends, but one thing you’re not getting is voice-mail. Surely you’ll ask, what sort of idiot doesn’t have voice-mail these days, and you’d be right. Therefore…
- voice mail package: $15
You might be able to get away with paying slightly less by settling for the “baby” plan with 400MB of data transfer per month — which would be reasonable for an ordinary phone — but this is an iPhone. The reason you’re getting it is to use the GPS (which relies on Google Maps and is therefore bandwidth-intensive) and to be able to check out web sites and YouTube clips while on the go. You’re going to need the additional transfer capacity, and once you go over your 400MB it’s $0.50/MB for the first 60MB over, then $0.03/MB after, so the initial $20 savings will most likely end up costing you quite a bit more more in the long run. In fact if you use 441MB of bandwidth on the baby plan you’ll end up paying more than if you had paid for 6GB of bandwidth from the start, a phenomenon I have affectionately dubbed “the great Canadian wireless data ripoff”.
So that’s $80 a month. But we’re not done yet, there are a couple of additional fees that apply to any account:
- network access fee: $7
- 911 fee (not for having called 911 because I haven’t, but in case I should need to): $0.50
So in fact the monthly bill isn’t really $65, it’s $87.50. That’s a serious amount, even for someone like myself with a good job and my own business. And it doesn’t stop at $87.50 either because I would of course have to pay all applicable sales tax on that amount. Here in Quebec it’s 5% GST + 7.5% PST (calculated on the original price + GST), which brings the total to $98.77 per month. And the phone itself will chime in at $337.50.
So, almost $350 for the phone and practically $100/month for phone service, and that’s for a full 3 years. When you look at it this way, it’s not surprising at all that I don’t have an iPhone and most likely will continue not having one. In fact it’s a bit of a mystery as to why ANYONE in Canada would carry one of these things around.