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Rogers Responds to $20 iPad Shared Data–500+ Comments Later

by on May 16th, 2010

The date for Canadian iPad preorders started on May 10th. On the Apple order page at the time, Rogers iPad data plans were revealed plus an extra line about a $20/month shared iPhone data option. Many customers decided to purchase their iPad 3G models based on this option, but Rogers soon declared that it was all a “mistake”.

Rightly so, people were miffed at how this could happen and voiced their concerns on iPadinCanada.ca and on the Rogers Redboard. The Redboard post that announced the Rogers iPad data plans never did include an explanation why the $20 option was removed. Even though customers angrily demanded answers from Rogers–they got nothing in return.

It wasn’t until four comment pages deep into the 500+ vehemently worded comments did Rogers Keith respond. I don’t know why they didn’t link to this apology on the front page so everybody could read it. Maybe they’re trying to keep the noise about this issue to a minimum since Canadians have short term memories when it comes to getting gouged by our wireless carriers.

Even if this whole thing was a grave “error”, to even assume that Canadians would consider forking out $20/month for a data plan we are already paying for is pure robbery, plain and simple. It should be free to share the data plans with another device. Or maybe even something reasonable like an extra $5/month. But $20?! That is ridiculous. This is why people were so angry–this extra charge would in essence make the cost of your 6GB data plan $50/month.

Here’s what Rogers Keith finally had to say, 3 days later:

We’re getting lots of questions about why the Apple website listed a data-sharing option for Rogers plans earlier this week. Here are some answers.

Internationally, data sharing plans are not widely available for the iPad. However, we have been examining this option for our customers and were preparing to be among the first carriers in the world to introduce data sharing.

Unfortunately, that notion ended up on Apple’s website before we were ready to talk about it. We weren’t ready to announce it for a bunch of reasons. First, it’s something that takes time to build into our systems. Second, we’ve been looking at options of how to structure it. For example, should it only be available to customers with larger data buckets who could best take advantage of sharing? Finally, we need to ensure that we protect the network quality you have come to expect from Rogers.

We’ve always been big believers in sharing plans at Rogers. We offer sharing plans for family members, for co-workers and even allow customers on data plans of 1GB and above to share data with another device through tethering at no extra charge. We’ve heard loud and clear that many of you are interested in the data sharing options Rogers has been considering. Sharing data between plans requires an investment in our systems and draws on our network in different ways. If Rogers were to introduce a sharing plan for some customers – one that allowed them to use data purchased for a smartphone on their iPad – there would be an additional monthly fee of approximately $20.

We regret that this discussion of sharing plans has taken away from what some of you have noticed: That Rogers iPad data plans stack up quite favourably with those announced by carriers around the world. We’ve tried to structure the plans in a customer friendly way, with no term commitment, no overage fees and the ability for customers to only pay for the months they need data.

On behalf of Rogers, I want to apologize for the confusion that was caused when the proposed shared data plans were published on another website.

Many customers were also asking about why iPad pricing was better value than iPhone/smartphone data plans. Keith responded with this:

Hey all – I wanted to weigh in on one of the questions that has surfaced in this discussion. Some of you are asking why we’re offering iPad plans with better value than for other wireless devices. The answer is that we’re experimenting with lower data pricing for iPad because the economic model is different from the traditional carrier arrangement in North America, where the carrier sells the device at a subsidized price and provides technical support for the device. We’re excited about the tablet category and wanted to introduce some great pricing at launch.

…and Rogers Redboard reader John responded with the following:

Keith….

I think I speak for the vast majority regarding your entry about “why we’re offering iPad plans with better value than for other wireless devices”……Keith …..WE DON’T CARE. Please have someone with real authority at Rogers tell us why we can’t have a shared data plan. That’s all we’re asking….period.

Did you recently preorder an iPad? What do you think about the Rogers’ explanation above regarding their iPad SNAFU?

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Posted under: iPad News, Rogers