On 2010.02.04, Rogers Wireless announced new data plans for the iPhone. Special data plans, because they eliminated data roaming charges in the US.
A wonderful thing if you cross the border regularly -- as I do. So far as I know, these are the first cross-border data plans available, not only in Canada, but anywhere!
Can you imagine my delight?
We switched immediately, giving up the 6GB plan ($30/month) we'd signed up for when we got the iPhones on launch day -- knowing we'd never get them back at that price. But frankly, Sara rarely uses even 200MB and I usually use about 500MB, so I signed her up at 500MB ($35) and me at 1GB ($40). For $5 a month (and reduced data headroom that we don't seem to need), we got free data roaming in the US!
And it was sweet. No more lobotomy at Lynden. No more checking anxiously to see when the Rogers 3G came back on the way north (sometimes not until we're north of the border, actually). Free data! Data wants to be free!
Being a geek, I had to see what would happen if I tried tethering my MacBook Pro while I was in the US. A good friend suggested it would not work because tethering had to be enabled at the cell tower level via provisioning. I figured that, since I'd had to modify the phone (Rogers downloaded an additional/alternate firmware or carrier provisioning bundle when I asked them to turn tethering on), it should work.
At least it was worth a try.
But when I attempted it, I got this message:
OK, no big deal. No tethering in the US -- that makes me just like any other poor iPhone user attached to the AT&T network (which, BTW, I agree sucks compared to Rogers -- data transfers are slower, tend to drop out more, and it generally doesn't achieve the level of "service" I'm used to getting).
Unfortunately, I got that very same message the next time I tried to tether while over town. Dang.
I assumed (dangerous word) that Rogers had accidentally turned off my tethering while changing my data plan. So I called support.
After three calls, I've discovered that it wasn't an accident. On my first call, customer service told me that they couldn't enable tethering on my plan so I'd have to call technical support. On my second call, tech support told me that tethering wasn't available on my plan and then out-waited me when I asked for a manager to explain the discrepancy between what they were telling me and the web site. On my third call, customer support told me that I'd have to upgrade from the 1GB on Smartphones, Canada & US One Rate Data Plan for $40/month to the Mobile Internet Flex-Rate, Canada & US One Rate Data Plan at $60/month.
After some back and forth, she offered to "open a ticket" to find out why my plan doesn't offer tethering. She said that I'd get a callback in 3-5 business days with either: a solution to adding tethering to my existing plan; or "other options".
I'm betting those "other options" are limited to "pay us $20 more a month".
Despite Rogers' web site claiming:
Tethering is the use of your phone as a wireless modem to connect to the Internet from your computer. For a limited time, if you subscribe to a data plan which includes at least 1GB of data transmission, and if you have a compatible device, you may use tethering as part of the volume of data included in your plan at no additional charge. Tethering cannot be used with data plans of less than 1GB.
I can't tether.