Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Canadians at BlogHer09 - cellphone issues

*Updated below, with pathetic update from Rogers*

I have a more personal post coming, but this one is strictly techie.....

I mentioned this on a BlogHer post about wifi access in the hotel, but honestly, I'm not sure anyone read it or believed me! Please please please, if you are from Canada and taking a cellphone with you and expecting to use ANY DATA at all internationally, that's email, web, twitter, facebook mobile or chat, please call your cellphone provider and ask what to do about this.

I know for sure it is still an issue with Rogers, and they deal with almost half of cells and all iPhones in Canada, and most 3G blackberries in Canada.

"Canadians with web-enabled phones or blackberries/iphones have a slight problem. Our cell companies do not offer international data plans or unlimited data plans, because----they're idiots is the short answer, and the long answer I can explain at BlogHer if my head doesn't explode just thinking about it. We have plans for in country data, or international text and phone, but not this.

So whenever we go out of the country at all and use our phones for anything, we get slammed for charges. Rogers Wireless, my provider, charges me 25 cents per kilobyte.

Yes, you read that right. PER KILOBYTE.

I either have to turn my phone completely off, or only turn it on in areas that have Wifi. I can't plug it in like a laptop.

So can all the Canadians please, pretty please be given rooms on the wireless side of the hotel?

My wireless bill is already going to be in the hundreds. I'd like to avoid it being in the thousands.

I am trying to get the word out, but if you could pass this on to any Canadians coming, most have no idea they should call their cell companies and ask what to do. Some can turn off data, others can't."

We can't use our phones as modems or else all hell breaks loose with our bills as well.

We have very very shitty cellphone companies ok?

For me, I'm going to be keeping my phone on, but changing my settings to block all html emails and no surfing, tweeting or facebooking unless I am inside the wifi area and have a guaranteed signal.

I will also being doing a lot of texting to cell phone numbers. That I can do reasonably!

Then again, I can afford it if the bill gets a little high, I know some of you can't!


*Updated to Add*

I've called Rogers and in a very amusing turn of events, they have something called a "US data plan" that I could use---but only if I sign up for a monthly plan, and umm, I'm only going for 4 days. More bizarre---based on my current pattern of data usage, my bill for 4 days is going to be in excess of $500.00. That's if I can use wifi a lot. If I can't---it will be much higher. And I get a great deal already due to my phone being hitched on my husband's corporate account.

On the website, they give some very out to lunch examples, of say, sending and receiving 514 emails for each MB. Slight problem. They assume that each email is text only and is 1-2 KB. I never get emails that size, and many with html are much much larger, some 620kb. I get dozens of those every day. They also assume that each webpage loads as only 100 kb per click. Websites like my blog, with simple html and no graphics etc, are last time I clicked, 106 kb. BlogHer loaded on mine as over 250K, and Facebook loads as close to 1 MB. That's for every click.

So if you are looking for me, I'll be the one hugging the wifi transmitter....cause in Canada, our health care rocks, but our cellphone companies suck ass.


  1. Yup, the cellphone companies suck ass, and municipal garbage collection is nonexsistent ;-P

    Have a great time at BlogHer. Can we have a playdate when you get back?


  2. I'm not sure when your billing date is, but they may be able to pro-rate the US data plan. I had to add the US phone plan to my manager's BB when he was in the US for a week. Ours is a corporate account as well. They told me that it was based on billing cycle, so if I called today and our billing cycle was the 30th of the month, we would be billed for 7 days and then a new month would start on the 30th. They told me as long as we cancelled before the start of the billing period we'd only pay the pro-rated amount. Check it out. But meanwhile, try and have fun. :)

  3. Oh crap...wish I'd read this before I left. Or maybe I don't. I relied on twitter from my Rogers blackberry to find people all weekend. Don't think I could have done without it and at least this way I didn't spend the weekend stressing about it. We'll see what the bill says...

    Great meeting you!

  4. Cheaper to go buy a netbook and use only that, seriously.

  5. Saskboy,

    You would be completely right, except that the promised wifi at the hotel was awful, and there were no ethernet connections except in the rooms. (Yes, the organizers were angry and should be asking for a refund.) Lots of people had netbooks, and I had my laptop, but without good consistent wifi, it was pretty slow.

    Which is why access to a 3G phone was needed so badly. Sigh...

  6. Not surprising it's slow, it's no doubt swamped.