iPhone in Canada

So how much does it cost to own an iPhone in Canada? $861 plus tax ($904 including GST) per annum including upfront costs and one-time charges annualized over a three-year contract period, since you can’t buy an iPhone without a three-year contract and the phone is locked to the carrier.

Fido costs $27.45 per month with the minimum 200 minutes voice plan with per second billing and additional fees for inadvertently using your phone on the Rogers extended network. Rogers costs $32.45 per month and is a better and less worry-some plan that gets you 100 to 200 minutes with no per second billing, but no additional charges for access to the extended network and a choice of either (a) free incoming calls, (b) unlimited calls, texts and picture messaging to either (i) 5 designated local numbers or (ii) any Rogers subscriber.

A data plan is optional, but it is also what makes the iPhone a life-changing device. Moreover, with data charged at 5¢ per KB without a data plan, a data plan of any size is an essential insurance against automatic or accidental use, unless you call the data department of your carrier to ensure that they put in a data block. Just turning the phone on could cost 20¢ each time as the phone automatically connects to the data network. A day’s usage could be $1.00 for 20 KB of trickle data, which is $30.00 per month. The no-brainer data plan costs $30.00 for 6 GB per month, but is being offered as a promotion only until 31 August 2008 on a similar 3-year contract. Cynics might argue that the data is not unlimited, but even unlimited data in the U.S. I believe is capped at 5 GB. Plus, how much can one eat unless one is abusing the service by running one’s home or office Internet off the cellular data? I believe that might be a reason for the cap. The regular rates are $30.00 for 300 MB or $100 for 6 GB per month, but we don’t have to worry about that for 3 years, as in 3 years data rates would inevitably be much lower with the 2008 spectrum auction bringing in competition.

None of the voice plans at those rates including visual voicemail ($8.00), text messaging (except to your choice of 5 local numbers or Rogers subscribers) or free unlimited access to Rogers and Fido hotspots. The minimum plan that includes these comes with 150 minutes, 75 text messages and 400 MB data for $67.45. Call display ($7.00) is never included, but can be purchased in a bundle that includes 2,500 sent text messages, missed call text notification, caller ring tunes and 2,500 call forwarding minutes for $15.00.

I make no mention of evening/weekend minutes on any plan, which could vary from 1,000 minutes to unlimited, since 9 PM to 7 AM weekends are of no consequence unless one works nights. The voice plans include the mandatory $6.95 system access fee (or whatever name the rip-off goes by) and 50¢ 911 service fee.


I am writing this post on my iPhone twelve days after I got it. I am “one of those” who got it on day one, but only after eight hours of waiting to get the white and only the white one.

For me it is probably the single most life-changing gizmo ever. The experience has been so dramatic that I immediately realized an improvement in the quality of my life. To say it is a liberating experience is to say the least.

It is not a great phone compared to my Nokia N73. The bluetooth is for headset-like devices only. It can’t sync or transfer files over bluetooth or WiFi, nor can it beam data over bluetooth with another phone. I can’t upload my MP3s or AACs for use as ring tones without some effort. It can’t do a lot of things a phone circa 2005 can.

It is more useful as a PDA except for the lower resolution as compared to my Dell Axim X50v’s VGA (640×480) resolution. The Dell Axim with the PocketPC 2003 OS has a lot more Windows desktop equivalent applications, but I find that for the two critical things I need – opening WAV and PDF attachments in e-mail – the iPhone can do it whereas the PocketPC can’t. The iPhone shines in its data features with the 3G data connection as the cellular data connection is omnipresent compared to WiFi.

The iPhone is locked to operate with a certain carrier or country as sold in most countries, so it is generally (without hacking) not usable with a cellular network when traveling overseas, which paradoxically is when a cellular data network would be most needed. Prepaid cards that combine voice and data usage would be excellent when travelling with an unlocked iPhone.