Apple Inc. started taking online orders for the iPad through the Canadian Apple Store today and Rogers Communications Inc. followed up by announcing iPad data plans that go into effect when the iPad starts shipping on May 28.
The good news is the month-to-month plans do not require a contact. The bad news is that none of the plans offer unlimited data usage.
Two plans were announced on the Rogers RedBoard blog: $15 per month for 250MB and $35 per month for 5GB. Both plans include unlimited, free access to all Rogers WiFi Hot Spots.
The plans do not apply to Rogers Wireless subsidiary, Fido Solutions Inc. The iPad will not available through Fido at the launch, states the post.
Rogers says the tablets are a new category of product and “it’s too early to say if customers will use more or less data than they do for the iPhone,” but the company remains optimistic that the 250MB/5GB plans “will be more than enough for virtually all of our customers.”
99.8 per cent of iPhone customers and 95.6 per cent of rocket stick/embedded laptop customers use less than 5GB of data each month, states the post.
But if a customer does run over their data bucket, they won’t get penalized with higher rates or additional fees.
“We have also structured our plans so customers never have to pay overage charges. If a customer runs through their data bucket before their month is up, they have the option of signing up for a new bucket and the month starts anew,” stated a Rogers spokesperson in an e-mail interview.
Apple noted on its Web site that a $20 shared plan was also available from Rogers, but the note was made in error and removed earlier today. “The reference to the $20 iPad sharing plan is false and was incorrectly posted on Apple's web site,” stated the Rogers spokesperson.
The data plans have stirred up significant backlash from Canadian consumers. A Twitter search using the keywords “Rogers” and “iPad” provided a continual stream of Tweets, mostly negative, throughout the day.
One key complaint was the lack of a shared plan that would allow customers to add the iPad to their existing iPhone data plan. Another was the lack of an unlimited data plan similar to the US$30 unlimited package offered by AT&T Inc. to iPad users in the States.
But Mark Tauschek, director of IT research at Info-Tech Research Group Ltd., wasn’t surprised by the lack of an unlimited plan. “Rogers has pretty emphatically said they will never do unlimited data plans,” he said.
Tauschek expects higher data consumption from the iPad than the iPhone, but said the 5GB data plan should still suffice for the majority of users. Less than five per cent might roll over their iPad data buckets in less than one month, he said.