June 10, 2009

Oh Rogers, You're So Silly

As you may have heard Apple announced a few things during Monday's keynote at WWDC.

The most interesting for me is Snow Leopard, but that's for another post.

The announcement that also sparked my interest is the announcement that Rogers is on board for the OS 3.0 launch and ready to handle tethering and MMS, unlike AT&T.

So, my curiosity sparked and I called Rogers.

My first call was pleasant. I mentioned I had gotten a prerelease Gold Master for OS 3.0 and was wondering about tethering prices before I got dinged with a bill. The Rep, Dave, pleasantly told me that because I had a data plan that was over 1GB (6GB / $30 / m) my tethering wouldn't cost anything extra. As long as I stay under my 6GB limit.
Perfect! Makes sense - the answer I wanted. Boom - we're done.

Later that day I had some time and wanted to setup tethering. I tapped (in OS 3 GM) Settings -> General -> Network. Third option from the top: Set Up Internet Tethering. (Oddly enough this wasn't showing up for Cory on his 3G despite also being on the OS 3 GM). I got a popup advising me that tethering was not activated and I should contact Rogers.

Call 2 - this one threw me off completely. A rep who's name I didn't catch (but marked down the conversation reference number - they give those out now instead of agent codes it seems) told me a completely different story. I wanted to confirm what the first rep had told me about tethering being included in my plan.

This rep was unaware of tethering on iPhone at all and hadn't heard of OS 3. He also told me, without confirming any details with his senior, that tethering would be a promotion of 6 months and then I would be charged per tether detected. I was skeptical, but asked to be put through to the Technical Department to see if I could get my tethering activated. That rep told me that tethering on iPhone accounts was not to be activated until June 17th, when OS 3 officially launches. The rep honestly admitted he knew nothing about price plans and didn't want to speculate, but offered to transfer me back to Sales. I declined and hung up.

So started the emails. I wrote an email to Rogers customer service explaining I had gotten mixed results from two reps and wanted to clear up the simple question: Is tethering included in my 6GB / $30 / month data plan or if I would be charged if I tethered my phone.

The first email I got, confused me. Besides the usual "thanks for being our customer"-cheese here's the guts of the message:

At Rogers, we are offering 6 months of free tethering for any customer
with compatible Smart phone who has subscribed to 1GB or more data plan.
This is limited time offer of no additional fee for tethering this
promotion will end December 31 2009, at which point you will have the
option to subscribe to tethering plans.

Tethering data usage will come out of your existing data bucket.
Overage charges may apply if data usage exceeds amount included in your
data bucket.

The way I understand the above email is that there will be a 6 month promotion on tethering for customers that have a 1GB+ data plan. Ding - I qualify for that. It also reads that during this time no additional cost for tethering will be incurred. Once the promotion is over I have the option to subscribe to a tethering plan. *sigh* "That sounds like what the second guy was talking about", I thought.

I wrote back asking for clarification on the topic of "option" of tethering plans. I got the following response and am now back at square 1.

After reviewing the documentation concerning the $30 for 6GB data access plan, tethering is allowed (and will always be allowed on this plan) as it is not the same as our $10 Unlimited On-device Mobile Browsing plan which tethering is a pay per use charge. When you are tethering it will deduct the usage from the 6GB data pool. If you go over the 6GB per month allotment there is a charge of $0.05 for the first 60MB and $0.03 per MB thereafter up to a maximum of $100 minus your monthly data service plan cost therefore the maximum overage charge you could possibly incur would be $70.

This explanation makes sense and matches what the first rep was getting at.

My results are now 2 for "tethering is included in your data plan" and 2 for "it may/could/will be extra after 6 months".

What have your results been?


  1. This is about what I expected from pretty much every Canadian carrier. Be sure to get the rep names and employee numbers on each call; otherwise you'll end up like me and have to pay someone (*cough* Bell) $400 in stupid service fees.

    It's times like this that I am extremely happy that I have a Blackberry, which tethers right out of the box with little setup. GTD my friend, GTD.

  2. I called the other day asking the same thing...I got told the "after 6 months you'll be charged" story. *sigh* If I'm already paying for 6GB of data I couldn't possibly use per month on a phone alone (unless I jailbreak and tether), how can they justify charging more to make full use of it? That's just my 2 cents.