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iPhone for Canadians

By Sarawanan Ravindran     Jun 29, 2007 in Technology
Many Canadians are envious over their American neighbours due to the iPhone. Apple has been extremely quite about iPhone plans internationally and their are options for Canadians looking for an iPhone.
It's no secret that many people around the world are anxious for the iPhone, which is set to revolutionize the cell phone industry. The internet and media has been covering the iPhone like wildfire with the only negative reviews of the iPhone is the network that it is on (AT&T). So now, what are we as Canadians suppose to do?
Option 1
An option that many have pondered is unlocking the phone and using it on the Rogers network that is technically the same as AT&T. This would require people to purchase the iPhone in the US with a 2 year contract, likely pay the 1st month's charges (min. $60USD) and then terminate the contract (for $175USD). This would cost $735USD for the 4GB version and $100 more for the 8GB version excluding travel costs. Or you could purchase the iPhone off Ebay, which would likely cost you even more.
Once you have done this you have the pain of unlocking the phone, which is legal in some countries and illegal in others. The process of unlocking an iPhone will likely be a lot of trouble because Apple has done an excellent job locking the phone to AT&T. Also Rogers policy states that they will not unlock phones for it's customers, however they do not state whether they will accept customers that have taken it upon themselves to unlock it.
In Canada, Rogers and Fido (which is owned by Rogers) are the only options to unlock the iPhone to and if Rogers doesn't accept them they could have a purchased an iPhone that won't work as a phone. Although it has the iPod functionality and WiFi, without a network provider the iPhone isn't worth spending the time and money for. Even if Rogers accepts them, they will still operate with less functionality than AT&T customers experience.
Option 2
An easier option, if you are patient, is to wait it out for the iPhone to officially launch and sell through Rogers. Although Apple has been tight-lipped about this, Rogers on the other hand has let things leak. Awhile after the announcement of the iPhone, Rogers told customers informally that they are working with Apple to get the phone to Canada (which they later denied).
I received an email earlier this week from Rogers with information on the iPhone, which I expect is the default response. It outlines information of the iPhone and Rogers followed by a response to my feedback (complaints) of the data plans provided by Rogers.
The following are points from the email provided by Rogers online customer service:
- The iPhone will first be introduced in North America
- Cingular is the only wireless carrier to launch the iPhone in the United States
- Rogers is actively working with Apple to launch the iPhone in Canada as soon as possible and will be the exclusive provider of the iPhone in Canada
- Apple is planning to introduce the iPhone in Europe (Q4 2007) and Asia(2008)
- Please be advised that Rogers will be offering the iPhone exclusively in Canada
- Launch date and pricing for Canada are not yet available
- Other Canadian wireless carriers will not launch the iPhone, Rogers will be the only Canadian wireless carrier to offer the iPhone
The email does not confirm much except that they will exclusively carry the iPhone. I am hoping that they are not just assuming this because they use the same technology as the US iPhones. Also for another confirmation for Europeans and Asians of expected release time frames.
Option 2 looks like a safer bet for Canadians looking for the iPhone because it will end up being cheaper, fully functional and you won't end up with a expensive paperweight if something goes wrong. Another option would be to move to the US, however chances are only a few people would move for a phone regardless of how "revolutionary" it is.
More about iPhone, Canada, Rogers wireless