Rogers Eliminates System Access Fee–Uh, Sort Of

We have some fantastic news folks! Some of you maybe have already heard about this, but for those who haven’t, we have some more incredible news from our friends at Rogers. Okay, it’s not incredible news, I lied. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Maybe this post could be known as the big #17? Four things to address today:

1. Rogers Will Be Removing the Dreaded System Access Fee!

For those on monthly voice plans, you’ve been paying an extra $6.95 (plus tax) every month since the day you were born. The system access fee (SAF) started out as a government fee that consumers paid to help finance the start up of wireless carriers in Canada.

Well, after years of consistent millions of dollars in yearly profits, it’s safe to say the SAF is pretty much useless. It’s now considered a blatant money-grab, and so much that there’s a massive class-action lawsuit over it (up to $20 billion is at stake!).

Rogers-Government-Fee1

2. Good-Bye System Access Fee; Hello Government Regulatory Recovery Fee!

The SAF will be eliminated on October 5th. That’s awesome right? Nope! Why? Because now Rogers is replacing it with a “government regulatory recovery fee” (GRRF). WTF? That was my exact thought when I read about this. The GRRF will range from $2.58 to $3.46 depending on your province. I love how they added “Government” to the fee even though it’s NOT. It just makes us believe our government is behind all of this.

Here’s the GRRF breakdown:

$2.58/month: AB, BC, MB, ON, QC
$3.11/month: NB
$3.46/month: NL
$3.08/month: PEI
$2.96/month: SK

Not sure how they calculated these random numbers, but according to Rogers they “did not remove the SAF and replace it with the GRRF”.

What did they do then? According to Rogers they have “applied a new simplified billing model and responded to customers’ preferences to include higher value in new price plans.” I get it now…oh wait, no I don’t. This random Rogers white noise makes absolutely no sense. More random PR dribble, that just continues to confuse Canadian wireless customers.

So instead of $6.95 I’ll now be paying $2.58 in BC if I choose to opt into these new plans! That means $4.37 in savings right? But wait, there’s one more thing…

3. Rogers Is Increasing Monthly Voice Plans by $5

You didn’t think Rogers would be trying to SAVE you money right? Think again! Rogers is increasing ALL of their monthly voice plans by $5 for new users! Rogers is declaring this $5 increase for new subscribers as “revenue neutral”. πŸ™‚

So let’s get this straight: the SAF is eliminated, the GRRF is introduced, then monthly plans are increased by $5. So a $25 monthly plan would look like this…

Before: $25 + $6.95 SAF + $0.50 (911) = $32.45
After: $25 + $5 (monthly increase) + $2.58 (GRRF) = $32.58

So how much money will you be saving with the removal of the SAF?
$32.45 (before price) – $32.58 (after price) = -$0.13

You actually won’t be saving–you’ll be PAYING $0.13 more! That’s nothing, but it’s the principle here. Why pay more? But wait…Rogers had decided to throw in a BONUS.

4. Rogers is Including Call Forwarding, WhoCalled, and Call Manager for FREE!

What? Free you say? Yes, that’s right. Call forwarding ($3 value), WhoCalled ($3 value) and Call Manager ($5 value) will be included for free if you choose to opt them in on these new “non-SAF” plans. Rogers claims this added $11 value more than compensates for the removal of the SAF and added GRRF–giving extra “value” to consumers.

I received an email from a Rogers’ Manager of Social Media and Digital Communications via email, detailing the added changes above. I asked him what was Rogers thinking to remove the SAF, only to replace it with the GRRF and $5 monthly voice plan increases?

His response? He just mentioned the plans work out to be “about the same”. My question: if it’s the same, why go to all this trouble to remove the SAF and implement the GRRF?

I also remarked the following about the $11 worth of bundled services: “As for these three new “offerings”, they are not worth $11 to consumers.” His response to this was “why do you say this about the $11 services?”

Why? Well because you have to be out of your mind to pay $11 for those services. They are not worth $11 at all as they should be included in the first place at best, considering how expensive it is to own a monthly plan with Rogers. It’s clear these $11 services are being used to blind people from the truth.

I remember when Caller ID was a petty $3-5 add on. Now it will cost you an expensive “value pack bundle” to get it. Is anyone out there actually happy with any of these three services above (and you are paying for them)?

Summary Of These Rogers Changes to the System Access Fee, Etc.

If you were too lazy to read my ramblings above, here’s what you need to know:

Rogers removed the government initiated System Access Fee…
…only to replace it with the Government Regulated Recovery Fee…
…and then increase all monthly plans by $5…
…and throw in Who Called, Call Forwarding, and Call Manager, free of charge for new monthly subscribers–and market it as $11 worth of free services.

These new Rogers changes DO NOT apply to Fido customers. I believe the following sums up what Rogers is trying to do quite accurately:

Carmi Levy, an independent technology analyst, said Rogers’ decision to replace an opaque fee with a more specific one is likely based on the notion that it will be easier for subscribers to swallow.

“The more clear you can make it to customers what goes into a monthly fee, the greater the chance they will accept the fee,” he said, noting that gas stations and airlines have broken out government charges in their pricing for years.

“But let’s not make any bones about it, you’re not going to end up paying less at the end of the day if you are a Rogers customer.”

Phew. That was fun. Have fun voicing your thoughts on this in the comments! Anyone here going to switch to the new “non-SAF” plans to get three free services? πŸ˜‰

Thanks Jason T. for the early heads up!

[The Star, CBC, Mobile Ninjas Forum]

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • xaroc

    So this applys to New customers only? us already in a contract will have to continue to pay SAF for the duration of our Contract or if we decide we feel like paying more for less lol?
    thats what i understood anyways , so in a nutshell , this means nothing to existing customers that have the old 17.50 EPP plans am i right? or did i miss somthing?

  • Dusty

    This is #17 on my list! It sounded good at start, then bombed! At least in my province the cost fee is low.

  • Yep, you said it. Make the switch, pay more for less! love it! haha

  • This is just one big propaganda campaign by Rogers to make themselves seem “better”. Calling it a Government Regulatory Recovery Fee…holy cow, it's like who did they hire to come up with these terms?!

  • GC

    Does Rogers really think their average customer can't figure out $5 + (at least) $2.58 would be a better deal than $6.95?

    The new “free” features mean nothing, unless they readjust the features or prices of the “value” packs accordingly. Until then, it just makes those value packs seem less worthwhile, and some people potentially forced to pay more for features they might not need nor want.

    The few people who might benefit out of all this are $2.58 provinces people paying for a simple voice plan, with no value packs and add-ons, and would love to have the new features.

  • caitlinreynolds

    Well it sounds great at first. That system access fee is just a joke. I've been with Rogers forever.

    Caitlin πŸ™‚

  • Thanks for chiming in. πŸ™‚ New wireless carriers are not going to have the SAF…let's see how much pressure they can put on Rogers/Telus/Bell…

  • Ian

    So is this for new customers only? A price hike by any other name is still a price hike. So what if you do not want the Who Called feature? It's annoying.

  • Rpi

    What about NS? No GRRF there?

  • ML

    “So how much money will you be saving with the removal of the SAF?
    $32.58 (after price) Γ’β‚¬β€œ $32.45 (before price) = $0.13″

    You should reverse your addition IF you are trying to illustrate “savings”. That is, 32.45 – 32.58 = -0.13 The minus sign denotes that you will be owing that amount. Otherwise, without your second like saying that “you actually wonÒ€ℒt be saving”, the formula looks like you ARE actually saving.

  • CMfly

    Call Forwarding: Um I have my cell phone on me why would I want a call forwarded?
    WhoCalled: I already pay an arm and a leg for caller ID.. Plus I already seem to get these annoying messages. This is what voicemail is for (oh which I already pay and arm and a leg for)
    Call Manager: what am I a business?? When would I ever use this? Set rules for usage and call times? This service is of no use for a regular user… Umm can I just have the $11 discount applied to my account and not get these services?

  • Laserheart

    If the $5 increase in fees is for new plans, doesn't that mean that for people currently on plans that we will be saving $5 every month until our plans expire (I'm assuming they will also renew at the same rate as current).

  • markoz

    So if you're Rogers, and you're looking at a class action lawsuit over the despicable SAF, but you still want oodles of cash – what do you do? Get rid of the SAF and replace it with GRRF plus a $5 price hike! That way, even if the lawsuit is successful, you get to keep collecting all the cash you used to plus an extra 13 cents to make up for the aggravation of the little people and their little lawsuit.

  • Flaxx

    These were my thoughts exactly! The bright side though is if new carriers without a SAF introduce competitive prices, it's not as easy for Rogers to match the price and still be charging a lot more in “hidden fees” because the GRRF is lower than the SAF.

    It's always nice to know that Rogers thinks of us as idiots and uses the equivalent revenue of every comment'er in here to pay some lawyer to write up all the changes… nevermind the cost to implement the changes in the billing system.

  • New customers, and existing customers that want to “make the switch”

  • Excellent suggestion! πŸ˜‰

  • Garry

    I am on a family plan and have call manager included and find it useless. I also HAD whocalled and had Rogers turn it off cause it was annoying. Call forwarding would be the only item I may use now and then. Instead it would be nicer to see Rogers fix issues where you have a value pack with text messaging you can't use if it is in your standard plan or vica versa.

  • artikas

    Question, dose anybody know what the name of the new wireless carriers are? I hear a lot of ppl talking about them but I've never seen any ads, rates, or sign of life.

  • It's been confirmed that Rogers does indeed read the comments on this blog. I think they read, then do the exact opposite. It's their version of “fun” at our expense!

  • Flaxx

    haha, yeah… that and taking a “running a business 101” book and doing the complete opposite and laughing their way to the bank… ahh, must be nice to have a monopoly in a country with no real antitrust laws.

  • eason

    seems like Rogers is getting more and more expensive in many ways, and Fido is the new cheap home, why would people just go for Fido?

  • Augh. Why. I can't STAND WhoCalled. I've blacklisted the number on my iPhone.

    I have visual voicemail. That's all I want. However, I can't get just visual voicemail, I have to get the whole “Value Pack” which includes WhoCalled. What the hell do I need to be texted with the phone numbers of missed calls, when my phone shows me in Recents, as well as in my voicemail? It's entirely redundant.

    Yeah… Rogers gives us a great deal with these features that nobody wants but everyone has to pay for.

    “Value Packs” my ass. Let me pick the specific features I want, and only pay for those.

    I'm with Fido now (yes, I realize rogers owns them), but payment plans/options are pretty much identical (though a bit cheaper with no SAF… wonder if we'll get shafted by paying a new “GRRF” but not having an SAF to lose?). The moment – the very moment – another carrier is available for my iphone, I'll ditch rogers/fido.

    I loathe rogers with an unbridled passion. A lack of competition does bad, bad things to a company.

  • MZLweasel

    Don't worry, WIND Mobile (formerly Globalive Wireless) is launching in December. πŸ™‚

  • loneytoon

    Question: What if your a rogers customer for over 10 years and have a plan that includes at value customer, will you be saving $5.00?

  • Pingback: Rogers: new and improved deceit & acronyms (GRRF) « This Too Shall Pass()

  • Grumbeler

    The existing System Access Fee had confusion around it, and sounded like it was a government mandated thing. Now they're changing it to something that actually has the word “Government” in the title.

    Methinks they're hoping everyone's all stupid.

    And with all of this they want at least another $0.13? Wow. Multiply that times the number of months times the number of customers. Maybe Rogers is pretty smart after all.

    Me, I'm calculating how many months I've been paying $6.95 SAF so that when they lose the class-action suit I'll know how much I'm getting back off them.

  • Grumbeler

    Actually, I just checked. Rogers corporate site claims they have 8.2 million wireless subscribers. If all 8.2 million customers started paying the new “government” fee instead of the SAF, that would be:
    8,200,000 x $0.13 x 12 months = $12,792,000 per year additional for Rogers.

    Someone probably got a raise for thinking that one up.

  • Haha, well done man! 12.7m additional revenue…but that is only if everyone switched to their Non-SAF model. But still…so ridiculous. Imagine if the increase was a quarter, that would be almost double…

  • Dusty

    Heard this talked about on the news last night.

  • Dennis

    Hey iphone fan! Thanks for the story. Was wondering if for existing users the $5 increase applies to existing contracts as well as teh removal of teh SAF?

  • jimboslice

    Rogers, the world's greatest blatant money grabbers. I'm switching as soon as a new GSM carrier enters the market

  • someone

    In my eyes, all that really changed was the $11 dollars worth of free services. It seems like you are talking about it as bad news, but Rogers changed their plans so these features that should be free, are free. And that is a good thing.

    But I use Fido, so this dosn't affect me.

  • someone

    In my eyes, all that really changed was the $11 dollars worth of free services. It seems like you are talking about it as bad news, but Rogers changed their plans so these features that should be free, are free. And that is a good thing.

    But I use Fido, so this dosn't affect me.

  • This negativity is not about these free features. These features are
    redundant if you have an iPhone.

    What people are angry about is how Rogers thinks we are all stupid.
    Remove the SAF and then add a “govt” fee and increase plans by $5??
    Give us a break! What's the point? Why not just give free features?

  • lisa29

    I was wondering the same thing, I'm sure that Nova Scotia must have some kind of fee but maybe we were inadvertently left off of the list? It would be nice if this could be updated.

  • lisa29

    Just took a look on the Rogers website, and the Nova Scotia's GRRF is $3.01 per month.

  • lisa29

    They should just call it what it really is: a “Bend Over Fee” because they're just using it as an excuse to screw us.

  • sledgesingh

    Canada definately needs a new carrier.. Would it happen in our life-span?

  • haha. I'm hoping my grandchildren experience a few GSM carriers in Canada. Until then, we are all living in a Rogers world. πŸ™‚

  • jondoh

    WIND Mobile (aka Globalive Wireless), DAVE Wireless and Public Mobile. WIND will be the only one in Atlantic Canada any time soon… as far as I know.

    Bragg Communications also purchased wireless spectrum so Eastlink could provide wireless coverage in a some of it's service areas.

  • jondoh

    WIND Mobile (aka Globalive Wireless), DAVE Wireless and Public Mobile. WIND will be the only one in Atlantic Canada any time soon… as far as I know.

    Bragg Communications also purchased wireless spectrum so Eastlink could provide wireless coverage in a some of it's service areas.

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  • guest1230958s

    kinda sounds like the writer just has a stick up his ass about rogers, when actually every cellphone company is doing something exactly the same. i dont agree with the shady way that rogers is doing there business. but thats how sales works and its also the reason why there still around and are doing better then there competitors.

  • Augerpierre

    does rogers think people are that gullible thinking they can switch saf to these other charges I hope they settle what they illegally collected with SAF Pay back the people in the lawsuit and appoligises for their greed That is the only answer I want to hear from Rogers There are lots of other cell companies out there and more coming .