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Rogers/Fido Updated Hardware Upgrade Policy Brings New Tricks

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Happy Monday morning!…Get ready to cry.

Effective August 21 2009, Rogers/Fido are once again amending their Hardware Upgrade policies.

rogers-iphoneFido1

The new policy now states that you can only get a hardware upgrade after 24 months (used to be 12 months). The new policy affects all consumer accounts (business accounts seem unaffected) and all devices (smartphones and regular phones).

For those following, this is number 11 on the Rogers hates-its-customers list (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10).

To make sure everyone understands the pain Rogers is about to deliver, I am going to break this post down into five sections:

1.) The Background Info

2.) Rogers/Fido Hardware Upgrade Policy Before March 17 2009 (Old Policy)

3.) Rogers/Fido Hardware Upgrade Policy On Or After March 17 2009 (New Policy)

4.) The Rogers/Fido 2009 Amended iPhone 3G/3GS Policy

5.) Rogers/Fido Hardware Upgrade Policy On Or After August 21 2009 (Another New Policy) (The New Change)

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1.) The Background Info

With Rogers/Fido, you will need to sign up on a 3-year contract to be eligible to upgrade or activate an iPhone 3G/3GS and then choose an available voice or voice and data plan.

To be eligible for the contract promotional pricing for the iPhone 3G/3GS, you must have a 3 year voice and data plan (data plan not required for non-smartphones). If you choose to not opt for a data plan for the iPhone 3G/3GS, you pay a hefty $200 premium on top of the would-be promotional price.

2.) Rogers/Fido Hardware Upgrade Policy Before March 17 2009 (Old Policy)

Before March 17 2009, the hardware upgrade policy was that you could upgrade to ANY phone as soon as you have reached the 12 month (1 year) mark in your contract since your last upgrade/activation. If you opted for that, you pay a premium for the device because you would be only one year into the contract term. So for example, the price of upgrading to the iPhone 3G under the old policy would look like this after 1 year into your contract term since your last upgrade/activation (prices assume 3 year voice/data plan).

  • 8GB iPhone 3G in Black – $299 or more (promo price $199)
  • 16GB iPhone 3G in Black or White – $399 or more (promo price $299)

The reason you pay $100 or more is because you are only 1 year into your contract term and your accumulated discounts are not high enough to enable promotional pricing.

Once you reached the 2 year mark in your contract since your last upgrade/activation, under the old policy, promotional pricing is usually granted and looks like this (prices assume 3 year voice/data plan):

  • 8GB iPhone 3G in Black – $199 or less
  • 16GB iPhone 3G in Black or White – $299 or less

3.) Rogers/Fido Hardware Upgrade Policy On Or After March 17 2009 (New Policy)

On March 17 2009 Rogers and Fido brought in a new policy that essentially said that if you have a Smartphone (Blackberry, iPhone, etc) on your account, you will not be able to upgrade to another Smartphone until you reach the 24 month (2 years) mark in your contract from your last upgrade/activation.

However, after 12 months in your contract from your last upgrade/activation, you may upgrade to a REGULAR CONSUMER phone (Nokia 5310, Nokia 6086, etc).

In summary, dumbphones are every 12 months, smartphones every 24 months.

At the time, this changed absolutely everything for Rogers/Fido customers.

Eligibility
New Rogers/Fido Customers

If you are a TOTALLY brand new customer to Rogers or Fido, once you have your 3 year contract plan chosen, the prices below are for NEW customers (prices assume 3 year voice/data plan):

  • 16GB iPhone 3GS in Black or White – $199 ($699 outright)
  • 32GB iPhone 3GS in Black or White – $299 ($799 outright)
  • 8GB iPhone 3G in Black – $99 ($599 outright)
  • 16GB iPhone 3G in Black or White – $149 ($649 outright)

The next part is going to be confusing, so read carefully.

Current Rogers/Fido Customers using Smartphone Devices

If you are an existing Rogers/Fido customer and are going to be less than two years into your contract by the time you want a hardware upgrade, then a few things happen here.

According to the new upgrade policy (March 17 2009 and onward), if you currently have a Smartphone (iPhone, Blackberry, etc) registered on your account, even if you did not buy it from Rogers/Fido but it is registered on your account, then you will NOT be able to upgrade to another Smartphone (iPhone 3GS) until you have reached the 24 month (2 year) mark in your contract since your last upgrade/activation.

At that time, 2 years in, your pricing will look like this (prices assume 3 year voice/data plan):

  • 16GB iPhone 3GS in Black or White – $199 or less ($699 outright)
  • 32GB iPhone 3GS in Black or White – $299 or less ($799 outright)
  • 8GB iPhone 3G in Black – $99 or less ($599 outright)
  • 16GB iPhone 3G in Black or White – $149 or less ($649 outright)

In other words, everyone that got the iPhone 3G on July 11, 2008, your next Smartphone upgrade will be available July 11, 2010, according to this upgrade policy.

However, do understand that when Rogers/Fido say you are “eligible” to upgrade, upgrading to a new smartphone (iPhone 3GS) may not actually be the case. You may be “eligible” to upgrade, but you may be only eligible for a non-smartphone, for example.

Also, Fido customers may use their FidoDollars towards an upgrade.

Current Rogers/Fido Customers using non-Smartphone Devices

If you are an existing Rogers/Fido customer and are going to be more than one year but less two years into your contract by the time you want a hardware upgrade, then a few things happen here.

If you are an existing Rogers/Fido customer and are not using a smartphone device or a smartphone device is not registered on your account, you may upgrade to the iPhone 3GS (or other device) so long as your account has reached atleast its 12 month mark since your last activation/upgrade.

At that time, 1 year in, your pricing will look like this:

  • 16GB iPhone 3GS in Black or White – $299 or less ($699 outright)
  • 32GB iPhone 3GS in Black or White – $399 or less ($799 outright)
  • 8GB iPhone 3G in Black  – $199 or less ($599 outright)
  • 16GB iPhone 3G in Black or White – $249 or less ($649 outright)

Note that the longer you wait and hold off on the upgrade, the better your price will become. So waiting until 2 years into the contract instead of 1 year will likely lower the price to promotional pricing of $199/$299 for the iPhone 3GS 16GB/32GB and $99/$149 for the iPhone 3G 8GB/16GB.

Also, Fido customers may use their FidoDollars towards an upgrade.

Summary Of Rogers/Fido Hardware Upgrade Policy On Or After March 17 2009 (New Policy)

Technicalities aside, this hardware upgrade policy essentially only affected current customers that were using any type of Smartphone device.

You used to be able to get any device every 12 months, but on March 17 2009, it changed to every 24 months for smartphones.

The policy stayed the same at 12 months for regular, non-smartphone devices.

4.) The Rogers/Fido 2009 Amended iPhone 3GS Upgrade Policy

On June 18, 2009, Rogers/Fido amended their hardware upgrade policies for a limited time for current iPhone 3G owners. Since this change, this policy for iPhone 3G owners has been extended until September 15 2009. This temporary policy is detailed below:

Fido1

Fido Amended iPhone 3GS Upgrade Policy

Existing iPhone 3G Fido customers:

  • Use FidoDollars towards the purchase of a no-term iPhone 3GS
  • Fido will top up the FidoDollars amount by $100
  • This promotion does not include an extension or renewal of your service agreement or the need to get a data plan
  • Must have an iPhone 3G on a 3-year contract activated on or after July 11, 2008

Price:

  • 16GB iPhone 3GS in Black or White – $699 minus your FidoDollars minus Fidos Bonus 100 FidoDollars ($699 outright)
  • 32GB iPhone 3GS in Black or White – $799 minus your FidoDollars minus Fidos Bonus 100 FidoDollars ($799 outright)

Existing non-iPhone 3G Fido customers:

If you are NOT currently an existing iPhone 3G Fido customer, you can still use your FidoDollars towards the no-term cost of the iPhone 3GS by subscribing to a data add-on with term.

Price:

  • 16GB iPhone 3GS in Black or White with data add-on – $699 minus your FidoDollars ($699 outright)
  • 32GB iPhone 3GS in Black or White with data add-on – $799 minus your FidoDollars ($799 outright)

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rogers_wireless

Rogers Amended iPhone 3GS Upgrade Policy

Existing iPhone 3G Rogers customers:

Option #1

Existing Rogers iPhone 3G customers with a minimum tenure of 6 months since the launch of the iPhone 3GS on June 19, 2009 will be able to upgrade to an iPhone 3GS with a $250 discount towards the no-term price. You will be required to add 1 year onto your existing contract and have an attached data plan.

  • 16GB iPhone 3GS in Black or White – $449 ($699 outright)
  • 32GB iPhone 3GS in Black or White – $549 ($799 outright)
  • All administration fees will be waived for the customers who are taking advantage of this offer.

Option #2

Existing Rogers iPhone 3G customers who activated or upgraded from July 11, 2008 to September 30, 2008 and have consistently spent on average of $100 or more each month (before taxes) will be able to take advantage of the promotional pricing. You will be required to add 1 year onto your existing contract and have an attached data plan.

  • 16GB iPhone 3GS in Black or White – $199 ($699 outright)
  • 32GB iPhone 3GS in Black or White – $299 ($799 outright)
  • All administration fees will be waived for the customers who are taking advantage of this offer.

Existing non-iPhone 3G Rogers customers:

Your pricing will vary from promotional pricing to near-outright pricing.

  • 16GB iPhone 3GS in Black or White – $199 to $499 (outright $699)
  • 32GB iPhone 3GS in Black or White – $299 to $599 (outright $799)

For exact pricing, see your local Rogers dealer or contact 1-888-ROGERS1.

5.) Rogers/Fido Hardware Upgrade Policy On Or After August 21 2009 (Another New Policy) (The New Change)

Now comes the new change effective August 21 2009.

The new policy now states that you can only get a hardware upgrade after 24 months. The new policy affects all consumer accounts (business accounts seem unaffected) and all devices (smartphones and regular phones).

If you read above, the original upgrade policy (before March 17 2009) stated that you could get any device as long as you were at or past the 12 month mark into your contract.

The next policy revision (on March 17 2009) indicated that you could still get any device as long as you were at or past the 12 month mark into your contract. However if you had a smartphone on your account, you must wait until the 24 month mark (instead of 12) in your contract in order to upgrade to another smartphone. Consumer (dumbphone) devices were still available on or after the 12 month mark in your contract.

The latest policy revision (August 21 2009) indicates that ALL consumer accounts must wait until the 24 month mark in your contract in order to get ANY device (consumer or data device).

Things Have Not Changed For Current iPhone Owners

This new policy is not news to current smartphone owners (iPhone 3G/3GS), as current smartphone owners must still wait 24 months before upgrading to a new smartphone ever since the original March 17 2009 policy revision (except for those temporary iPhone 3GS upgrade promotions).

In other words, people who got the iPhone 3GS on June 17 2009, your next upgrade is June 17 2011. But don’t freak out. This is the same policy that iPhone 3G (and all other data devices) owners were under. The only reason current iPhone 3G owners were able to upgrade to the iPhone 3GS after one year for example is because of the amended iPhone 3GS upgrade policy for current iPhone 3G owners.

So what does this mean for a new iPhone that is released in Summer 2010? Well, in short, it means you cannot upgrade to it until 2011 (by then the next next iPhone will be out). However, it is practically guaranteed that Rogers/Fido will again amend the upgrade policy for current iPhone 3G/3GS owners if a new iPhone is released in Summer 2010.

News To Prospective and Non-Smartphone Owners

This new policy however is news to everyone else that either does not own a smartphone or is planning on getting a smartphone.

The people this is going to affect most are the people that are not able to upgrade yet or are almost at their upgrade date. Now these people cannot upgrade and must wait until the 24 month mark is reached in their contract since their last upgrade/activation.

So if you have a consumer (dumbphone) device right now, your eligible upgrade date (whatever you thought it was), effective August 21 2009, just turned into 2 years from your last upgrade/activation. If you have a data (smartphone) device and wanted to switch to a consumer (dumbphone) device for whatever reason, you must also now wait 24 months instead of the 12 months that was originally required for current smartphone owners.

Summary Of Rogers/Fido Hardware Upgrade Policy On Or After August 21 2009 (New Policy)

In summary, it is now a requirement to have a minimum of 24 months tenure since your last upgrade/activation to get any device (smartphone or dumbphone) in a hardware upgrade.

The original upgrade policy (before March 17 2009) required a minimum of 12 months of tenure since your last upgrade/activation to get any device (smartphone or dumbphone) in a hardware upgrade.

The next policy revision (on March 17 2009) required a minimum of 12 months of tenure since your last upgrade/activation to get any consumer (dumbphone) device in a hardware upgrade. For data (smartphone) devices in a hardware upgrade, a minimum of 24 months of tenure since your last upgrade/activation was required.

Now, effective August 21 2009, ALL consumer accounts must wait until the 24 month mark in their contract in order to get ANY device (consumer or data device). As I mentioned earlier, this does not affect current smartphone owners much (you just have to wait 24 months to upgrade to consumer devices as well if you were planning to switch from smartphone to dumbphone), but it sure does affect prospective smartphone and non-smartphone owners, as they now must wait two years to upgrade instead of 1 year.

The bottom line is, whatever your eligible upgrade date was (or whatever you thought it was), has now become an eligible upgrade date two years since your last activation or upgrade effective August 21 2009. As a harsh example, if you have been waiting until your 1 year mark to upgrade your device, that 1 year mark just became 2 years effective August 21 2009 (that is, if your 1 year mark is after August 21 2009).

Final Thoughts

As a little trivia, did you know that Rogers once prided itself on having the best hardware upgrade policy among the wireless carriers Canada? They believed this was a competitive advantage because Rogers only required a 12 month tenure where the other companies (Telus, Bell, etc) required two or more years. It is funny how a company changes so quickly, as this is clearly no longer a competitive advantage for Rogers Wireless.

I promise you, Rogers (along with Fido) is going to dig itself into a grave. The company is slowly but surely losing what makes it competitive. All of Rogers’ once competitive advantages are being destroyed or absorbed by the other wireless carriers in Canada, including the GSM cellular technology.

If Rogers does not wake up and improve their business practices, services and prices, there will be a mass exodus of customers to new competitive carriers offering similar services. People will have no problem paying $500 for a cancellation fee if they will save that much or more per year with another carrier.

The one thing that I have noticed however is that ever since Nadir came into power at Rogers, the company has made one bad decision after another.

I think it is time for some corporate reorganization.

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Update: For the non-believers (may you feel the wrath of Rogers):

HUPNEW

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