Unexpected, but smart: Canadian mobile carrier Rogers has caved to massive pressure and will offer a cheaper mobile Internet access plan for Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone 3G, which goes on sale Friday morning.
The telco said today that Canadians signing up for a 3-year Rogers contract will be able to purchase a $30/month (CAN) data plan, which will include including 6 gigabytes of usage. That’s roughly comparable to the $30/month, all-you-can-eat data package that AT&T (T) will force U.S. iPhone customers to buy.
But it’s a lot cheaper than what Rogers was offering before. A reasonable monthly plan (300 minutes) only included 750 megabytes of data access. Beyond that, Rogers was proposing asinine overage charges — 50 cents per MB for the first 60MB used up — a quick $30 down the toilet — and then 3 cents per MB onward — roughly $30 per GB. If you tried, you could easily book hundreds of dollars per month in overage charges.
Meanwhile, AT&T’s changes to iPhone service plans haven’t won any fans in the States. Early reviews from the Wall Street Journal and New York Times complain about AT&T’s jacked-up pricing: $10/month extra (mandatory) for all-you-can-eat Internet access and $5/month extra (optional) for 200 text messages; previously gratis.
We don’t have a particular problem with this: Charging subscribers a minimum $70/month could affect adoption — bad for Apple and AT&T — but they could always ratchet prices down if they want to sell more phones. (It worked last year.) Anyway, it’s much faster Internet access (where available) and consistent with what AT&T charges for other smartphones.
However: We still think it’s dumb that AT&T doesn’t offer a text message plan between $5/month (200 messages, only enough for casual users) and $15/month (1,500 messages, too expensive). We’d love a middle ground — Sprint Nextel’s (S) $10/month, 1000 message plan — $60/year cheaper — is more reasonable, and we’d like to see AT&T offer something similar.