Apple to Rogers on iPhone: you're on your own
Apple Inc. will not be selling the hotly awaited iPhone in its six Canadian stores when it is released this Friday, leaving Rogers Communications Inc. and its Fido subsidiary to sell the device on their own.
"The iPhone 3G will be available in Canada from Rogers and Fido," said Simon Atkins, spokesperson for Apple. He declined to elaborate.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company broke the news during a private conference call on Monday evening, according to AppleInsider.com. The website said Apple was "disgusted" with the rates Rogers is charging on the iPhone, which has prompted nearly 50,000 people to join a protest at ruinediphone.com. An Apple store manager last week confirmed to CBCNews.ca that staff were "very disappointed" by the cellphone company's rates and that Apple was keeping a tally of complaints.
Representatives at two Apple stores on Tuesday said the decision to yank the phones was made because Rogers has many more outlets and that the carrier is better suited to handle the multiple plans it is offering.
Apple has a number of stores in the United Kingdom, seven in Japan and one each in Italy and Australia. It is unclear whether they will be selling the iPhone. Apple stores in the United States, however, do sell the device, which comes with multiple plans from AT&T Inc., its carrier there.
A spokesperson for Rogers did not immediately return a request for comment.
Rogers and Fido will be offering the iPhone at $199 on a three-year contract with monthly plans starting at $60 plus a system access fee of $6.95. The basic plan offers 150 anytime voice minutes and 400 megabytes of internet usage. Many of the people who signed the petition are upset about the low data cap and the lack of an unlimited option, since the iPhone is designed to surf the web. In the United States, for example, AT&T Inc. will be offering the device at about the same monthly cost, but with triple the voice minutes and unlimited internet usage.
Several other carriers in the world are offering the iPhone with even less data usage on a basic plan than Rogers, but many either have unlimited premium plans or are charging less per month.
Rogers' three-year contract is the longest announced so far by 23 carriers that will be launching the new, faster iPhone, which runs on third-generation cellphone networks, on Friday. Because of the contract's length, Canadians will also be paying the largest minimum commitment in the world, at about $2,600.
Elizabeth Hamilton, spokesperson for Rogers, last week said the contract length was the result of the high subsidy the company must pay Apple for the device. She also said Rogers was not offering an unlimited internet plan because that would raise the cost for people who don't need that much usage.
"Unlimited plans could end up costing customers more for what they don't use," she said. "Our iPhone plans more than accommodate the vast majority of customers."
The report about the yanking of the iPhone from stores comes a day after another website said Apple, frustrated by Rogers' rates, had redirected Canadian shipments to Europe, leaving the cellphone carrier with only 10 to 20 devices per store.
Hamilton on Monday denied the report and said planned inventory levels at Rogers and Fido stores had not changed.