Rogers roaming rate slash a welcome move

09 May

rogers-communications-2It’s not every day that Canadian wireless customers get good news, but today happens to be one of those with Rogers announcing that it is cutting its U.S. roaming rates. Customers can now buy roaming packages that supply 50 megabytes of data per day for $7.99, which is a 20-per-cent cut from the previous $10.

The company says the 50 MB is double what the typical subscriber uses per day in Canada. That’s likely true, although it’s a bit of a misnomer in that people usually need their phone’s data more when they’re not at home and therefore able to access email and other info over wired connections. Ultimately, it’s not that hard to crack 50 MB while traveling.

Nevertheless, it’s still a welcome move because roaming is quickly approaching affordability – with a little planning and forethought, Rogers customers can now visit the U.S. without breaking the bank.

It’s also better than what rivals are offering. Bell has U.S. data packs of 100 MB for $40, with 50 MB on Telus costing the same (the company sells 25 MB blocks for $20 each). With the companies’ tendencies to follow each other in lockstep on pricing, Bell and Telus customers will hopefully see better roaming rates soon.

Rogers also conducted a survey of travelers to go with its rate cut, finding that: “Canadians’ preferred activities include using maps (71%), looking up restaurants and local activities (61%), checking the weather (57%), and reviewing their travel or flight status on their device (58%).”

The rate cut also comes in the face of growing scrutiny of the wireless industry from both the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and the government, who have both received an earful from Canadians over the past few months. The government is currently reviewing how wireless spectrum – the lifeblood of all carriers – can be transferred between players, while the CRTC is in the process of finalizing a code to govern the industry. Roaming rates ranked highly among complaints the two authorities have been receiving.

Coincidentally, a J.D. Power report also issued on Thursday reveals that despite the supposedly hot competition that the big incumbent wireless carriers say exists, the average Canadians’ bill has climbed by 13 per cent to $77, from $68 in 2012. That’s not good, but on the plus side smartphone use and customer satisfaction is also on the rise, with penetration climbing nine per cent to 63 and the satisfaction index climbing to 691 from 685.

It’s important to note that the smartphone measure counts the number of total cellphone users who are using advanced devices, and is not a per capita measure. On that front, Canada is still well behind most of the world overall.


Posted by on May 9, 2013 in mobile, rogers


2 responses to “Rogers roaming rate slash a welcome move

  1. Highway to Hell

    May 9, 2013 at 9:40 am

    I’m not going to thank a company for pulling the knife out by 20%. The prices still result is massive profits for Rogers,

    When your phone is in Canada or the U.S., the bytes travelling to and from your phone and cell tower occupy the same bandwidth and therefore should be charged the same regardless if you’re a Canadian travelling in the U.S. or vice versa. The hardware doesn’t care if you’re a phone attached to a Canadian or U.S. carrier. It only matters in billing.

    Once those bytes reach the cell tower, they go over a high speed network that is dirt cheap to operate without bandwidth constraints. The phone to cell tower is the bottleneck.

    If I can pay $46 for 300 GB (2¢/100 MB) to TekSavvy and they and the global Internet ISPs can send those bytes anywhere in the world, you know the cost approaches zero. So the cost of transporting wireless data over the backbone can be removed from the equation.

    Now let’s consider the wireless costs. Rogers charges me $30 for 6 GB of data (50¢/100 MB). Rogers is saying at that rate that they can still make a profit. Charging 16 times that amount just because we’re roaming is highway robbery (pun intended). It doesn’t cost U.S. carriers any more to handle those bytes. With cross-billing agreements, there should only be a small administrative charge for roaming.

    The global carriers have all conspired to charge people on roaming inflated prices to pad their bottom line. I will not congratulate them just because they chose to steal less from me this month than last month.

  2. redneckonthetrain

    May 12, 2013 at 5:10 am

    I’ve read that our cell companies pay roaming agreement fees to third party cell companies at around 2 cents a user per month plus a similarly low rate for the actual air time used. Can anyone confirm?

    What I do know for sure is an unlocked nexus smartphone, which has comparable hardware specs to an iPhone 5, is only 300 bucks and gives you the ability to dodge the contract scam and “roam” on a local provider almost anywhere in the world.

    With carrier mobility roaming issues are almost none existent. You can use services like Roam mobility, or you can just use a local pay as you go provider such as T-mobile’s 3 dollar a per diem unlimited everything plan.

    Travel out of North America doing this and your jaw will be locked up from talking on the phone because the novelty of affordability has compelled you.

%d bloggers like this: