Rogers, Bell, and Telus iPhone Data vs iPad Data Plans: What Gives?


When the iPhone 3G first arrived in Canada, Rogers had some really questionable iPhone voice/data plans. People were not happy and with your support was able to help bring a voice and push Rogers to change their data plans. They eventually succumbed to media pressure and introduced their 6GB/$30 data plan. It’s amazing how the prices for data have changed in Canada. Are we better or worse compared to a couple years ago?

iPad Data Plans vs iPhone Data Plans from Rogers, Bell and Telus–Do they make sense?

iPhone owners that want to receive a subsidy on their handsets come at a cost–they must sign 3 year voice/data plans. It is possible to get data plans without contract, but that would require you to pay full price for the phone. What we want to ask you is about the latest iPad data plan offerings from the “Big 3”. They have offered Pay As You Go data plans for the iPad–why can’t we have these on the iPhone? Take a gander below…

Rogers and Bell are offering the following iPad data plans:

$15 for 250MB
$35 for 5GB

Telus is offering the following iPad data plan:

$20 for 500MB
– overages are $0.05/MB; overage charge capped at $30; data capped at 5GB
– so essentially $50 for 5GB

Now here are the iPhone data plans from the “Big 3” to get 500MB/1GB of data:

Rogers: $25/500MB; $30/1GB
Telus: $25/500MB; $30/1GB
Bell: $50/500MB; $65/1GB (these are bundle prices; it’s not possible to add standalone data plans to iPhones on Bell; you must select some sort of combo plan; if you know otherwise, please let me know).

New iPhone owners that want light data usage would love to have the iPad data prices (contract or not). To cancel your data plans now, you will incur cancellation fees. Imagine being able to add on these PAYG data options to your iPhone plan. Wouldn’t that be great?

So the question I pose to you all is: Should Rogers/Bell/Telus offer their iPad data plans to iPhone owners or at least match them? Does it really cost THAT much more for iPhone data versus iPad data? Isn’t data just data no matter what device you’re using? 😉


  • Carlos

    Personally, I wish the iPhone can tether to the iPad wirelessly. My brother (who works for Apple) lost the will battle and ended up buying a 32gb WiFi iPad when it came out lol. I won't buy one until I can tether. If thst never comes, it'll be a good reason to save up for the new iPhone and buy it at full price.

  • Half_Pint

    Sure, “data is data no matter what device you’re using”, unless you're using an iPhone or iPad. The telcoms know there is higher demand for these devices, and have raised prices accordingly.

  • Half_Pint

    I believe tethering is possible with a jailbroken iPhone sharing the connection over WiFi.

  • Carlos

    So i'll need a jailbroken iPhone, not a jailbroken iPad? Just curious.

  • That was referring to the iPad and iPhone. It appears it's easier to nab people to add data plans on their iPhones since there are more sales, versus 3G iPad users. That could change soon though.

  • The app is called MyWi. Here is our tutorial on how to install it:

  • Yes, jailbroken iPhone.

  • Aslam Nathoo

    I agree that data is data and longer term data packages from device to device should be priced the same. Having said that, I honestly believe that the current price differences between the iPad data packages and the iPhone data packages are the result of the wireless carriers “experimenting” with lower prices (and the associated lower margins).

    They see the iPad as a new product that has no current subscriber base who would be affected by a price experiment and they probably view this as an opportunity to test the waters out on lower pricing. They want to see how many customers purchase, what the usage is and what the costs and margins are with a pure data plan device (i.e. no cellular voice functions or bandwidth being used). I think we should give them some latitude to experiment. Especially considering that their experiment has resulted in lower iPad data prices. I know that if I were in their situation, I would see this new product launch as an opportunity to do some pricing experiments.

    Movie studios often will release a film early in a test market (some small town that they believe represents their target market) to see how it does. The wireless companies are doing just that with the iPad. If they were to try this experiment with the iPhone, say by lowering the prices in Calgary but not lowering them in Toronto or Vancouver, those of us in Toronto and Vancouver would all be creaming bloody murder, myself included. At least this way they can experiment, keep their potential risk/opportunity cost/lost profit limited and hopefully realize that lower data plan prices can still make them a nice profit.

    So sure we should have the conversation, but let's make sure not to roast them too much. Let's focus on the positive that they actually lowered the data plan prices in this experiment instead of raising them (which they could have very easily done). We shouldn't be ungracious by looking this gift horse in the mouth. Let's give them a bit of positive re-inforcement, thank them for lowering their prices on the iPad data plans and encourage them (through positive reinforcement) to do the same with iPhone data plans. Let's give them a few months to experiment and encourage them to come to the conclusion that lower data plan prices can work. As far as I know, such experiments typically last 1 or 2 quarters so that they can get a good representative sample.

    Where I think we should be spending more of our time and attention is on the lack of data sharing from all three wireless operators. That is, the inability to share the data quota that I am already paying for and using on my iPhone with my iPad. This is a more sinister move and has the potential to have a greater effect in the long run. Just from having my iPad for the last few days I already realize that while I love it, it will not replace my iPhone. They both have separate purposes and so I will continue to need both. That means that not being able to share one data package across both of them will cost me significantly more over the long run. Again I suggest that we try and bring their attention to this using more honey than vinegar, but still I think we should bring sustained attention to this issue. Let's use positive re-inforcement and our best Dale Carnegie principles to get them to do what we want them to – that is provide the ability to share our cellular data quota across multiple devices while lowering cellular data rates so as to make a data plan more appealing to a wider audience thus netting the carrier more revenue in the long run. I don't mind then making money as long as I get a reasonably priced service that I can use wherever and whenever I want.

    Who's with me on being reasonable and using positive re-inforcement to get what we want?

  • chantellejoy

    Aslam makes a fantastic point about the pricing for the iPad data possibly being some sort of 'test market' maybe. However, I do think that since the devices are so similar, and that the user-base for iPhones/iPads is going to have much more overlap, that a lot of people are going to be aware of these package options, and upset by them.

    In regards to that overlap user-base, I again agree with Aslam is being ENTIRELY MORE UPSET about the fact that there isn't an option to share data between devices. *Redonk, Redonk, Redonk.* Especially for those poor 6Gb/$30 users… My heart goes out to you. I'd be FURIOUS.

    One last thing too… it seems backwards to me that iPhone data plans cost more than the iPad data plans. There's no good reason for it (IMHO), but if they're going to make one cost more than the other I don't know why but it would feel more reasonable the other way around.

  • Garafraxa

    Great article, Gary. It pretty much sums up how I've been feeling since the iPad plans were revealed.

    I would gladly pay $800 outright to buy a new iPhone HD if I could have the $35-for-5GB pay-as-you-go plan to go with it.

  • digiital

    I do it all the time with my daughter in the back seat while Im driving and she's using the itouch. Works wonders and even gave some wifi access to some friends while we were at a cottage in quebec.

  • mackman6151

    While I agree data pricing in Canada is absolutely rediclous compared to the USA, Rogers doesn't direclty make a profit from iPad sales, whereas they do on iPhone handsets…and as per your question, yes the iPad is bigger but you'd only be using data sporatically throughout the day, but the iPhone you'd use as a cellphone and generally keep on you all day.

    with price reductions all over the USA in data they better do better than $30/6gb…..although im most likely gonna get that since i missed out the first 2 times lol 😛

  • Peter

    I would like to see data sharing between Iphone and Ipad. Charge us a one time charge (like $20 originally advertised on the Apple site, then pulled off by Rogers) and let us share the data between the two. Otherwise same data plan for Ipad available to Iphone would be the next preferable option.

  • roadcarver

    If I undetstood Carlos' question correctly, the IPAD does not have a USB port to tetther an iphone to it correct? But then again, the iPhone can be used as a hotspot device, a clever round about way to indirectly tether it.

    And I do agree with Aslam. Rogers should allow iPhone data plans to be used with the iPAD. I think its more of a cash grab than anything else.

  • DAvid

    Can you buy “data only” for an iPhone from telus? My understanding was that like Bell, it is bundled, and not available separately. Pricing matches Bell $50 = 200 mins+500mb; $65 = 300 mins+1GB. If you subtract the cost of a voice plan ($30 for 150mins; $40 for 250mins) the data costs are $20 & $15 respectively. Unfortunately, there is no possibility to mix & match, so you can't have a small number of minutes & a large data plan.

    Why would anyone expect to obtain a subsidized device, and pay the same for voice & data as with an unsubsidized device?

    Finally, don't forget that the big telcos are restricted as to their offerings by the CRTC. To be free of those restrictions, you'd have to switch to the new startups such as Wind, who do not have these CRTC restrictions placed on them.

  • I really wish we could get skypein numbers in canada then I would buy my next iPhone outright and only have a data plan. As is I only ever use minutes on incoming.

  • BudColby

    I agree with the fact that not letting us use our data bucket is with-holding our rights to use what we are paying for.
    I made a phone call to Rogers yesturday to see if I could talk some sence to someone that could at least bring my thoughts to someone who might think about it. I told a person that I believed that not allowing a two sims to share the same data bucket, two from the same client, is just wrong. I likened it to a company that would sell you an portable toilet that you would use when out hunting, and you contract with them to sell you the reqired tissue. But finding that you like to hunt in another location as well, you buy another portable unit from another vender, and when you try to bring some of your purchase tissue to the second location, you find that the first company will not allow you to use any of the tissue at your second location. But, they will allow you to buy another amount of tissue that you can use at the second.

    I was told the the technology is not there to allow for this kind of shareing. At which time I informed this person the what they were trying to get me to swallow was the same as pissing on my legs and then tell me that it's raining.

    At that point I reqested that it be noted on my file or account, and that it be noted to a higher authority that it would be a cold day in hell that I would ever pay for more data when I am not useing what I already pay for, and that I first would go to another provider, any other, before I would give them another penny. And let me tell you, of that, I am not just threatening, I say that meaning every word.

    I think we all must do as much as we can to get things done.

  • dangersnert

    has one tried using there Iphone sim card in the Ipad? I heard it works just have to cut it. Then use a adapter to use in Iphone again

  • Maverick

    On top, why we still haven't got unlimited data plan like out south neighbour???

  • chris

    My understanding is that is is Apple that doesn't allow the sharing between devices. I remember a semi-old Steve Jobs e-mail to that extent. Might just be out of the hands of the telecoms.

    Good points all round though and many great work-arounds

    keep it up 🙂

  • Ben Senise

    I never considered jail breaking my iPhone until now. I pay for 500MB/month and never exceed 60MB/month and they expect me to pay for another 250 that i won't use? That is simply ludicrous.

    So i finally decided it was time to jailbreak and use MyFi. It was incredibly simple and too a few minutes. Now my iPhone acts as a wifi hotspot and my iPad sees it as so. Works perfectly.

    After living most of my life in europe, I am flabbergasted at the deceitful tactics used by N. American telcos. They are simply conniving thieves, nothing less.

  • maniac

    As someone who has never needed to jailbreak my iPhone, this is a very compelling reason. What are the risks, how difficult is it and what are the costs? Does syncing have any issues with a jailbroken iPhone? Thanks!

  • Jeremy

    Don't bother buying a ipad 3G if your a current iPhone user. Why? Because if you have a good data plan and jailbroke your iPhone you can use a app called MyWi from cydia and tether your iPhone to your wifi ipad and use your 3G network for the Internet on your ipad.

    Way smarter and saves you $130 on the cost of the ipad and the extra savings on data plan!

  • Jeremy

    Don't bother buying a ipad 3G if your a current iPhone user. Why? Because if you have a good data plan and jailbroke your iPhone you can use a app called MyWi from cydia and tether your iPhone to your wifi ipad and use your 3G network for the Internet on your ipad.

    Way smarter and saves you $130 on the cost of the ipad and the extra savings on data plan!

  • xxJDxx

    Wouldnt' this be text book price gouging?

  • Half_Pint

    But the usual shenanigans still apply. My friend was just told by Rogers that they would enable tethering for her iPhone/iPad, but she didn't have a big enough data plan and needed to upgrade it first. Unbelievable.

  • Garafraxa


  • Alex

    It seems that people tend to view information from their own perspective only and so they are unable to do some critical thinking. Everyone is upset over the fact that they can't buy one data account for use with multiple data hardware such as their iPhone and their iPad. Isn't it obvious why Rogers won't do this? What is there to prevent multiple owners from connecting to a single person's data plan. For example. A husband with his wife? Or heck, a whole family with the one data account. As with WiMi, I can have an entire coffee shop connect to my iPhone's data plan.

  • GTK

    South JUST lost their Unlimted and now are getting bent over (so we can't use that now)….thinking our pricing is not that bad potentially (although I wish we could still share between the two devices) Plus I don't believe we have anywhere near the issues with dropped calls like our South does too, so not too too bad. Cuold be way worse.

  • jacob

    mywi only kills the phones battery really quick, no solution for 3G

  • Well, sink me ! It's clear to me and it should be clear to the sleepy CRTC: iPhone users in Canada are SUBSIDIZING the purchase prices and data prices of iPAD users. This is completely devoid of any morality and should be stopped immediately by the federal government of Canada. It is the same problem here in the UK.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    Do you honestly think any one of the “BIG 3” gives a crap about what they choose or choose not to offer consumers relating to plans/devices and what plan is offered with what device? All you have to do is compare their prices on said plans (or phones for that matter which ,by the way, the selection offered sucks donkey's balls)…….not one of them is trying to outprice the competition in an attempt to lure customers away from each other. It's status quo for the most part and every now & again they announce the old “dog and pony show” promotions like it's the second coming. It's just like big oil……….bend over and take it! The term we're looking for here people is “collusion”…….now repeat after me…….”COLLUSION!”

  • Voltguy

    What about copying the iPhone sim card to the iPad micro sim?

  • Jailbreak your iPhone and you got wireless ipad tethering

  • If you have no term on the iPhone, you can mix and match. For example,
    a $15 voice plan and $30 data plan (Fido).

  • pcoop

    people have their iphones with them constantly, so are more likely to incur more data usage than with iPads.
    (I would think)

  • pcoop

    people have their iphones with them constantly, so are more likely to incur more data usage than with iPads.
    (I would think)

  • either wait to see if Rogers gives a shared bucket across two devices, ….. But for my ipad I will try to get a plan from telus or bell as

  • It’s amazing how the prices for data have changed in Canada.

  • Omar

    Come on Rogers – give me data only. I cancelled one of my cell phones today because I am waiting for your data only iPhone plan.

  • Bla

    I have been with Rogers for over 15 yrs and have never been on a contract. Do that being said, I get unlimited voice/text/data and advanced voicemail caller id, 1000 long distance minutes for $65 a month.