Thinking of data sharing that 3G Tablet? Think again..

It looks like 2011 is the year of the tablet. And while you may have noticed some heavy advertising offering $10 data sharing plans, you may want to do some research before picking up that 3G enabled tablet.

When Apple brought the iPhone 3 to Canada, Rogers took a lot of heat when they introduced  ludicrous data plans. It was not long until they decided to listen to the people, and introduced a limited time 6GB Data Plan for $30 per month. Yes, this was more expensive than what our neighbours to the south were paying, but it gave us comfort knowing we would not be over charged thousands of dollars (yes data apparently is that expensive when not packaged). Kind of similar to the Usage Based Billing rule the CRTC introduced and delayed this year, isnt it?

Now this is where it gets tricky. The $30/6GB data plan that was offered is no longer available, however has been grandfathered  to those who enrolled.

The current $10 (per device) data sharing promotion being offered by Rogers, advises that any customer who has at least 1GB of data and is paying $30 or more, is eligble to share data to other devices for $10 per month, oh wait…. excluding any customers currently in the $30/6GB data plan. Misleading? Yes.

$30/ 6 GB Customers…

Our 6GB customers are very important to us. That’s why we created a special limited time offer when we launched iPhone 4 last summer that allowed them to share data on an iPad for an additional $20 per month plus GRRF.

If you missed out on this offer, you can still share smartphone data on an additional device for $30 per month plus GRRF. This works out to just $10 per shared GB – less than our other wireless customers on sharing plans.

What does this mean?

Any IMPORTANT customers who are currently enrolled in the $30 for 6GB data plan, are able to share this data to another device for $30 (plus GRRF) extra per device. ($60 in total)

Notice anything mind boggling yet? It would appear that if you want to share the data you are already paying $30 for, it will now cost $60 in total (plus GRRF) to share it to another device. Since when is paying double considered sharing?

Again, this is not about abusing mobile data as most Canadians do not use even half of the allotted 6GB, this is more about a security blanket. When I first obtained my iPhone, there was a billing error as someone at Rogers accidentally removed my data plan. I was on vacation, and my iPhone stopped receiving email but I could continue to make phone calls. Immediately upon contacting Rogers, I was informed that my data plan had been terminated because I owed $1100 for data overage. Rogers was great and had the charges reversed within minutes, and data services restored, but that experience could have turned out much differently.  This is very similar to the Usage Based Billing as Canadians are not looking to take advantage of unlimited data, but instead would like the freedom to not have to second guess every email, text message, or youtube video streamed, as it could lead to overage charges. Rogers charges $0.05 per MB over the agreed data plan. So if a customer exceeds the 1GB data plan they have agreed to, they would be charged $50 per GB of data usage.

Currently AT&T customers in the USA are paying $25 for 2GB of data, and for an additional $20 they are able to data share to a second device. The difference here is that the extra $20 also provides an additional 2GB of data for that second device. So for $45,  4GB of data can be shared between the two devices each month. And,  if a customer exceeds the allotted limits, an additional 1GB  can be purchased for $10 per month.

So if you are a Rogers customer, and thought that data sharing would only be $10 per month extra, you may wish to reconsider that 3G tablet, and stick to the WiFi only model.

On March 11, Apple will be rolling out iOS 4.3 for iOS devices which introduces the ability to create hot spots. This would allow customers with an iPhone 4  to create up to 5 hot spots, and share data to their WiFi tablet. Customers with Android devices are taking advantage of this technology already. It is not yet known if Rogers will charge for this feature or simply continue to allow the hot spots. The main disadvantage to creating a wifi hot spot, is the battery life. Within hours, an iPhone can go from fully charged to dead, so keep this in mind when making your decision.

So, what’s it going to be? WiFi or 3G?

UpdateEngadget is reporting AT&T customers in the USA that were able to snag unlimited 3G data plans for the original iPad, are able to grandfather the plan to their iPad 2. Unlimited Data? Promotion Extension? Envy ensues.

About Jamie Forestell

Jamie Forestell is the Editor-in-chief and also the founder of Tek Tok Canada. His knowledge and aptitude for Technology led him to create a central website for all Canadians. His strong passion for the Technology world helps keep him to stay abreast of leading-edge technologies and his desire to spread this information was the driving factor behind the creation of Tek Tok Canada.

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9 comments

  1. I am also a $30/6GB customer and the day they remove that plan is the day I leave Rogers. They better allow me to keep this plan forever. Coupled with my Android devices acting as hotspots, I have no need for their foolish data-share plans. Battery life is only an issue when on the move, if I’m in a car or a building, I can plug in the Android phone and surf freely on my laptop or tablet or other 5 devices. I am used to this from my Windows Mobile days.

  2. Hi Jamie,

    This is Chris at Rogers. I’m part of the social media team.

    I just wanted to clear up some of the issues you raised about our data sharing plans.

    First off, the 6GB/$30 data plan was promotional and has expired. Promotions cannot be combined with other offers but we decided to make a special exception for our 6GB customers.

    Second, sharing 6GB of data with a second device allows customers to share a large amount of data between two devices for only 10$/GB. Per gigabyte, this is lower than our current in-market data plans.

    Third, customers on the 6GB/$30 plan are welcome to share their data through other means than signing up for a data sharing plan, like tethering (which is available at no charge to all Rogers customers with data plans of 1GB or more) or through features like the upcoming iPhone WiFi Hotspot, or the same feature that exists on Android and Palm devices.

    The numbers you referenced above from US providers appear to be higher than ours per gigabyte. Also, you made reference to overage fees. There are many tools available for our customers to monitor their usage on Rogers.com

    Hope this helps,
    Rogers_Chris

  3. Hi Chris, I really appreciate you clarifying some facts. Great to see Rogers so active online. Kudos!

  4. Hi Jamie,

    Great post – I have been trying to decide between the 3G and WiFi version since the announcement. I also think it’s great that Chris from Rogers replied to your post. That being said, I am a little confused – he stated on his reply that “sharing 6GB of data with a second device allows customers to share a large amount of data between two devices for only 10$/GB”. Does that mean we do not need to pay an extra $30 to have it on our iPad 2? Will it only require $10 extra?

    Also – What are your thoughts on just sticking with the WiFi and using the hotspot from my iphone? Is there a big loss in performance compared to using 3G directly from the ipad and the Rogers network?

    Lastly – I just upgraded to iOS 4.3 on my iphone 4 and there is no option for the hotspot. Why is that?

    Thanks for all of your help. I hope to hear back from you soon.

    Danny

  5. I think that is kind of misleading math because
    1) NO ever uses 6gb of data. i have the plan but I am not sure if i even get to 1 gb data use EVER.
    2) You are paying DOUBLE for no extra data technically. Just to use it on another device. So it’s pretty much a cash cow for Rogers.

    So in essense you have to pay twice as much to theoretically use the same amount of data (of which i probably only use 15% of my 6 gb allottment)

    It would be cheaper for me to drop down to a crappier more expensive plan and only add the $10 extra device fee.

  6. Jamie, just found your blog. Fantastic. Thanks for bringing up this topic. I’ve commented about this topic on Rogers’ “redboard” http://redboard.rogers.com/2011/rogers-to-offer-plans-for-ipad-2/

    I agree with poster Calvin’s comments.

    Kudos to the Rogers folks who are participating in these discussions, but I wonder how long before they continue to hold their company position on how great their plans are, when more innovative and value oriented plans become available from other providers.

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