After months of wild online speculation, Rogers Wireless finally released its pricing plan June 27 for iPhone, the Apple-flavoured, multi-use mobile that really needs no introduction.
And it was the blogosphere’s worst nightmare: the plan starts at $60 a month, tops off at $115 a month, requires a three-year contract and puts caps on data usage.
Beyond that, a mess of ambiguous information about the plan is floating around, and Rogers is doing a sloppy job of cleaning it up.
Liz Hamilton, a spokesperson for the company, would not comment on the plan itself, but told Canada.com that there is apparent “confusion in the marketplace.” She has a point.
In the months leading up to the pricing announcement, coming iPhone rates were rumoured to be prohibitive, prohibitive, prohibitive.
Despite that, the iPhone, due out July 11 and nicknamed the “Jesus phone,” remained intensely anticipated, putting Rogers in the unique position of not having to promote its product so much as its pricing plan.
And how’s that going?
Look no further than ruinediphone.com, an online petition claiming Rogers “screw[ed] our iPhone Canadian dream with poor data/voice [pricing] plans.” It’s a bit over the top, but at press time, the petition included more than 27,000 names.
The Canadian e-protest is also getting attention around the world, with a write-up in Britain’s Daily Telegraph and on CNN.com.
Comparing the Canadian pricing, $60 a month for 400MB, to the rates paid by iPhone users in Hong Kong, $24 a month for 500MB, is enough to cause a revolt. Two weeks ago, a leaked memo, purportedly from Rogers, circulated around the blogs with inaccurate, much lower rates than were later announced. And the plan was described as unlimited. Rogers neither confirmed nor denied authorship of the document, which only served to raise expectations.
Then another note, again claiming to be a Rogers internal memo, hit the Internet, detailing the activation process for the iPhones. In essence, it alleges that they must be activated in-store and carry a secret version of iTunes, presumably for proprietary reasons.
When it comes to managing pricing backlash and general malaise about the iPhone, both online and in real time, Rogers has been invisible, and no representative could be reached for comment for this article.
With exorbitant costs followed up by non-existent public relations, Rogers is effectively turning the Jesus phone into a false messiah.
Leak of the week
While it may have admirable goals, Canadians Against Suicide Bombing (CANASB) has a bizarre approach to advocacy. Listen to the group’s embarrassing theme song, a cheeseball throwback to 70s game show soundtracks.