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In a week, when Apple FanBoys are lined up outside the Rogers and Fido stores to purchase their iPhones and get locked into Rogers’ draconian service plan for the next three years, yours truly wil be cooling his heels waiting for a shipment from the UK to arrive at his door. In this package, likely a week after the launch, will be contained a couple of 3G iPhones from a friend in London.

This is a critical opportunity for you to vote against Rogers with the only ballot that counts: your wallet. You too will be able to purchase unlocked 3G iPhones from him on eBay about a week later.


Why go to the trouble? Well, let’s just say I’m conflicted. I want the new iPhone (love my old one) but I don’t want Uncle Ted taking my purchase of one as an endorsement of his brutal pricing plan. The Globe & Mail makes the following comparison:

“For example, for $75 a month, Rogers provides 300 weekday voice minutes, 750 megabytes of data and 100 text messages. In the United States, a customer gets 450 weekday voice minutes, unlimited data and 200 text messages for the same price.”

750MB for a frequent iPhone user, particularly one who uses the navigation and web browsing tools, is nothing. But in particular it’s the three-year lock-in that requires the greatest consideration. At that end of the deal, Rogers has you by the short-and-curlies. And your obligation to them will almost certainly outlast your 3G iPhone. Needless to say, many of us are pissed.

So how does it work? Well, let’s just say that you can finally thank the French for something.

Thanks to French law, it is illegal for Apple (or any mobile phone handset maker or carrier) to sell a locked phone in the French marketplace without also making the same device available in the popular pay-as-you-go mode, fully unlocked and portable to any carrier.

This puts a stick in the mud for Apple’s lock-in plan and means that France will likely be selling a substantial number of 3G iPhones, until ZiPhone learns how to software unlock them, to eBay resellers like my friend.

So yes, please go and sign the petition at RuinediPhone.com but, since I know you’re going to buy one anyway, get the French iPhone instead of buckling under peer pressure to lock into Rogers’ data plan. It might cost you more in the short run (ironic) but in the long run you will force things to change.

Software unlocking has already forced several key changes in Apple’s strategy that favour the consumer. But a flop of Rogers’ package pricing on the Canadian market can send a clear signal to both companies, and their shareholders. Industry Canada, which should be paying attention, can and most definitely should censure Rogers, and its wireless competitors for a long history of market-limiting pricing (not limited to the iPhone launch in Canada) that has rendered our country a wireless backwater.

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