Fido, Rogers to offer iPhone with 3-year contracts
Fido joined parent carrier Rogers Communications on Thursday in offering the iPhone in Canada in July, but was equally silent on pricing and availability details.
As with Rogers, Fido did reveal that it will offer the latest version of Apple Inc.'s iPhone at $199 for the 8GB model and $299 for the 16GB model, provided customers sign a three-year contract for the device.
Liz Hamilton, a spokeswoman for both brands, declined to provide monthly pricing and rate plans, but said further information will be released in advance of the July 11 launch.
On Monday, Apple and Rogers announced the faster and cheaper iPhone — with new capabilities, including GPS tracking — will be sold in 70 countries this year, including Canada. The device will run on Rogers Communications Inc.'s third-generation (3G) network, and be sold in Apple and Rogers stores.
Iain Grant, an analyst with telecom consultancy group Solutions Group, said the inclusion of a requirement to sign a three-year deal is an effort by Apple and Rogers to not duplicate the mistake Apple and AT&T made in the U.S. when the first iPhone was released last summer. Many users bought the phone and then — rather than sign with AT&T — unlocked the phone and used it with another carrier.
AT&T's new agreement with Apple called for a mandatory two-year plan.
Grant said Rogers and Fido's three-year plan requirement, while relatively long, isn't necessarily a deal-breaker for consumers. "I wouldn't be troubled by a three-year plan, as long as Apple or Rogers allow me to upgrade my phone if a newer, better version comes out," he said.
Whether consumers embrace the new device will ultimately depend on how Rogers and Fido choose to price their plans. "The proof in the pudding will be how much the data charges are," Grant said.
A Rogers spokesperson on Tuesday was not able to confirm whether the company had an exclusive deal with Apple. Rogers is currently the only Canadian carrier with a network that is compatible with the iPhone, but that field could expand early next year as new cellphone carriers are expected to begin operations.