Japan strongly believes in "If you build it, they will come" principle when dealing with technological gadgets and technology in general. What am I talking about? Let me explain.
In Japan, if someone says, hey lets make it easy to use video chat on most cell phones and have it at 3G or beyond speeds, Japan goes and does it. In Japan if you someone says, hey why not let us use our cellphones to pay for groceries and other items while at a grocery store or retail place, Japan goes and does it. I am blown away at all the technology that Japan produces and has produced in just the cellphone industry itself. I can't even begin to go into detail on their watches, vending machines and all other technological advancements. If Japan sees away, they build it or just do it. I can't see the iPhone being a huge hit there, as most people in Japan are well ahead of us and using other technology in their cell phones that we can only dream of having one day in Canada.
Which brings me to this next question, Canada used to have the best Telecommunications system in the world. Why have we fallen so far behind? Canada is now known to have the highest rates when it comes to the cellphone industry in the world. Canada is known for users having to pay system fees for everything these days. Even your home phone has system access fees added which at one time never existed. We have Bell Canada hosting the Winter Olympics in 2010 with CDMA technology for all foreign visitors who will bring their cellphones to use for texting and e-mailing updates on events. I noticed this to be a huge impact at the last Winter Olympics 2006 in Italy where many thousands of visitors from Canada and the US were using e-mail and text messaging on their Blackberry's or cellphones. But in Europe you have GSM networks, here Bell is going to be sponsoring with CDMA networks. Should be interesting for those visiting from Europe as spectators.
Lets look at Rogers. If you had to pick who their number one customer base were who would that be? I would have to say that RIM devices makes up quite a huge customer base for Rogers. Lets face it, RIM has been around for quite some time with their devices. RIM is also based in my home town, which of course is situated in Rogers main province of Ontario. So of course Rogers really doesn't have any clue as to who this new player is called Apple and their cellphone device called the iPhone. To Rogers the iPhone could easily be just another Motorola cellphone. The people who make the decisions on marketing and prices of devices may not be aware of who Apple is and what Apple's future holds for such a device like the iPhone. Rogers personel may have heard of it and might smile and pretend to know a lot about it and Apple, but the majority of Rogers employees have been using RIM devices and other cellphones for years and years. They don't see the big picture or the future, they only see the now and the $$$ signs.
Rogers has never needed to look into the future or had a reason to be concerned with advancement of technology in the cellphone industry. There has never been a push so strong until Apple came into the picture and developed a device like the iPhone. Pushing 3G on the US and in Canada, getting data rates to be lower then ever before on such a device. Yet there is Rogers, wondering what all this means? Why should they care so much? It's just another cellphone, big deal right? And that's where it ends with Rogers. Rogers only concern is to make money, how fast can they make it, and how many more extra service charges can they come up with for the consumer to pay. Where is the innovation? It seems that Bell is innovating more these days bringing video cellphone calling and advancing into other cool ideas like they have done in Japan. Only problem is, Bell is not on the GSM network.
A lot of people here have commented that the iPhone is just a phone, and they don't see what all the complaining is about? Did you all forget that the iPhone is also an iPod? Did you forget that you can also buy your music straight off your iPhone from iTunes? (Start your data rate countdown) Did you know that you can store your photos on the iPhone? Take pictures with the iPhone? Share those images in E-mail or via MobileMe? (Start your data rate countdown - usage will increase here for sure) Did you know that the iPhone can be used to view videos? Or how about use the internet? So, who ever calls the iPhone just a phone? Should really revisit Apple's site and read all about the iPhone. It is way beyond any ordinary cellphone. Add in MobileMe, internet, photos, music and soon the Apps Store and you're looking at a device that will be using data rates of a lot more then your average cellphone user today with their RIM devices.
Do you all remember when Apple brought us the first iPod? Black and white screen. They then moved to colour screens and more storage. Then added video and wide screens. Developed a little more choices in the iPod. The iPod evolved from the very first one to the iPod Touch which now includes WiFi internet, E-mail, stocks, weather, and a ton of other things, and with the Apps Store coming, it will open up the iPod Touch into something that we can only start to begin to comprehend. Do you see the above pattern here from Apple? I don't think most do here..... in my opinion of course. Most are hung up on the iPhone being "just" a phone.
Trust me when I say Apple's iPhone 1.0 and now 2.0 is just the beginning of something so totally radical in the near future that we can't even begin to understand where Apple is headed with the iPhone. The iPhone will go the route of the iPod. It will grow and change over the next few years at a rapid pace. Remember Apple loves to "innovate" and delivers. Rogers doesn't get that period! They look at $$ and how much they can get in a short term period. They don't understand the device like the iPhone and what it will do to the cellphone market in the near future for Canadians. AT&T is not stupid in comparison, they want everyone to have an iPhone and they want to move forward rapidly. The key here is to get as many customers using the iPhone to keep up with innovating technology into the future. Having more data usage allowance over Rogers makes it easy for AT&T and Apple to see where they can both innovate as customers demand more and use more. AT&T and Apple understand that if you give the customer what they want at a decent price or take a risk by losing a few $$ you will gain so much more in the near future. Rogers has this ass backwards and will not gain the momentum here in Canada for future technological movement with whatever Apple decides to make of the iPhone. Why is that? RIM has not done much on the movement of technological advancement of their devices and so Rogers has no experience being as they are the largest carrier of RIM devices in Canada.
Rogers needs to take risks and look at the bigger picture, do their homework and really look hard at what Apple is doing in the "innovation" department. If Rogers doesn't and hopes to keep being the only GSM carrier in Canada, we Canadians could fall quickly behind the US in any hopes of using whatever Apple decides to make of the iPhone in the next few years. If Rogers continues to follow RIM's lead, the iPhone is already doomed after its initial 3 year contracts run out.
Rogers needs to revamp their business and sales strategies. Why does something like Caller ID increase in price almost each year? What changes does Rogers make that justifies the cost to be one of the highest in the world? That would mean AT&T must be in the MILLIONS in the RED for not charging for Caller ID in the US eh? We all know that is not true. AT&T is doing well in the US with all their services and cellphone plans, and not just with the iPhone. Like I said above, companies like AT&T know how to get customers, what it takes in today's time, be able to take risks and charge a little less and give more in return for advancement in technology and larger user base of customers. They may not have the perfect formula, but they are years ahead of what Rogers uses for their formula in business.
I think it would be fun if Rogers looked at AT&T and said hey, we can do better then that for our Canadian customers up here or at least match what they're doing. I mean why not? What does Rogers have to lose? Absolutely nothing! We Canadians are lucky to finally have the iPhone come to Canada via Rogers. Like I said earlier, the iPhone is just a stepping stone for something much larger ahead that will require wireless data or who knows something else? If Rogers wants to benefit and reap the rewards in the near future, they need to start off on the right foot and try to grab everyone they can to switch over. Eliminate system fees, or only charge a low monthly fee under $5. Eliminate activation fees. Reduce contracts to 2 years. Push technology to bring us higher data usage starting at base price of 1GB versus 400MB. Who cares if the average person doesn't use 400MB, at least you will have that flexibility. Kind of what Rogers does with their internet service. I get up to 60GB of usage allowance per month, I use about half of that, but luckily Rogers doesn't cap me at 30GB or else I would probably use less internet time worrying I might go over each month. So, I have that extra space just in case. Point is, it can be done.
I will wait and see if Rogers will make changes in their plans, if they don't, then I guess I won't be buying right away. In the meantime I can't wait to see what Apple does with the iPhone in the next 2 years. For those people who live in Japan, you guys are lucky to be able to have so many fun gadgets and awesome cellular technology in your hands and pockets