Rogers Backlash on iPhone Pricing

Well, in the wake of Canada Day, you'd think we'd be feeling all good about ourselves. Perfect time to get excited about the iPhone, which has finally come to Canada - legally, that is.

What a golden opportunity for Rogers to bring the gift that keeps giving and endear themselves to the wireless digerati.

We sure have a strange market up here for wireless, not to mention a wildly successful wireless spectrum auction that has been brought in some $4 billion for the government. Can't get enough of a good thing, I guess.

Because Rogers holds so many trump cards, they've chosen to come to market with some pretty expensive and restrictive pricing plans, and the pushback from consumers is really starting to kick in. I'm not going to get into the details, but their pricing plans are in stark contrast to the U.S., and I don't think there has ever been an instance that so baldly shows how different our market is here, and how much more people have to spend to get wireless services.

By nature, we're a polite people and don't complain too much or too loudly. That's why I'm posting about this, especially for those of you not that familiar with the Canadian telecom market. Let's just say that a lot of consumers are speaking out, and in true Web 2.0 fashion are self-organizing, and using all the tools. It's a great example of Internet democracy in action, and it will be interesting to watch how Rogers reacts.

I haven't blogged about this yet, but you can get my take in one of the articles that just ran this morning.

There's lots more out there of course, and I'll steer you next to a feature piece that ran in today's Globe & Mail. It covers the ground pretty well, but what I love the most about online versions of newspaper articles is the commentary from readers. As of this moment, there are 135 comments, and it's a great way to take the pulse of Canadians. Most of them are slamming Rogers, but there are also pro-Rogers voices, explaining that it's a free market, and they have every right to maximize their revenues and profits. After all, they took the risk, so they should gain the rewards. I suppose, but there's not a lot of risk here really, right?

On the blogger front, I'd also urge you to review Kevin Restivo's recent posts - he's been following this pretty closely.

Of particular interest on his latest post is a link to a online petition that has been getting lots of grass roots support. The Web works in strange ways, folks, and his link takes you to a URL that is too obscene to mention here, and you get the "Forbidden" 403 code, so you won't have any luck finding it. I think Kevin's intent was to steer to you to a different website, more appropriately titled "". That makes more sense, but guess what - that URL also comes up "Forbidden" 403. Very interesting, huh? You'd think we were in China, where dissent is not often tolerated. I suspect this website is a bona fide place to rant and rally around a bone fide issue. Am I being blocked from this site because I happen to be a Rogers broadband subscriber? There's a scary thought, huh.

A sidebar thought that I can't figure out. If this website has been set up to organize Canadians against these pricing practices, why is it a .com URL, and not a .ca URL? Is it just me?

To continue this journey, it's always good to pick up on what Mark Evans has to say, and Jim Courtney's take on Skype Journal.

Bottom line - Rogers is behaving as one would expect an oligopoly to behave, and in response, it will mobilize our desire to see a more competitive market. The consumer will ultimately decide and will show Rogers just how much they really want the iPhone. Rogers may take the hint and follow Apple's footsteps by lowering prices, or they may hold their ground and exploit this window where they're the only game in town.

Based on a sample of one, my oldest son Max has gone back to using an iPhone, but I can't print here what he thinks of what Rogers is doing. Let's just say a lot of Canadians are seeing red right now, and I'm not talking about our flag or the Rogers logo.

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