Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Did Rogers' Blink?

Seems what the sales clerk said to me last week was true, Rogers did have some alternative pricing plan ready just in case. It is true, the price for the data plan is going down and what you can do goes up.

The article in Yahoo, Rogers lowers cost of data plan points out a few things about the plan, and also gives some suggestion that all this was a ploy to inspire some 'spin' on the whole iPhone to Canada thing.

One expert states:
While it's seen as a victory for consumers, some analysts called the price change a marketing tactic intended to create buzz about the iPhone, which is coming to Canada a year after it has been available in the United States and six months after being introduced in Europe.

"This is all about buzz development," said McMaster University's Nick Bontis. "What does buzz do? It creates lineups outside the door, which is exactly what Rogers wanted."

Analyst Carmi Levy said Rogers didn't do a "knee jerk reaction" in response to consumer outrage.

"Carriers of this magnitude do not change course on a dime and you don't simply introduce a half-baked plan into the market without weeks and-or months of study," said Levy, of Toronto AR Communications Inc.

Let's just think about it. It wasn't just the last week that there was all this negative reaction, it was building up because the date was getting close, but people were angry the moment they heard about the plan. This is the age of the Internet, people know what's happening in other nations, Canadians know AT&T was offering an unlimited data plan. They also could compare the two plans and do the math and what the conclusion of the mathematics? We were getting hosed and hosed badly. With this knowledge and the fact that information was being sent out as fast as people could blog, it means people could hear, learn and get angry. Also, let's remember, we live at a time when critical mass can be achieved with greater ease.

This leads to the question, did Rogers do all this at the last moment, probably not it was in their back pocket, but I think they totally misjudged the anger of the consumer towards their plans. As well, if the rumours of Apple's anger are true, then Rogers totally messed it up. If this is an effort to put spin then it is bizarre. I know people think it doesn't matter what they say as long as their name is in the papers, well, that's the old thinking. The new thinking has to be, think of the consumer because they will quickly decide whether or not they want to deal with you any more.

As well, there was no need for spin as far as the iPhone is concerned, those who knew of it, wanted it. There was no need to inspire them, or get the noise going, they were the noise. It's as if Rogers had no clue about the online community of iPhone fanatics.

If this proves anything, it proves that data and voice plans are based up absolutely nothing. If Rogers can give a plan that is half the price and 15 times the data, it means the only way to determine the price of any rate plan is the bottom line of the company, it doesn't cost them that much to provide. As for Apple not being happy, one person suggested that with the growth of iTunes as a future source for television and movies, they wanted nothing to force people to not take advantage of the itunes store.

If Ican quote more from the article:
The Rogers spokeswoman said an online petition protesting the costs of its plans to run the iPhone didn't have any impact.

"In the last few days, we have been looking at our customer feedback and had real thoughtful insight from them," Hamilton said.

The same promotional data plan will apply to other smartphones that run on a 3G network, such as the BlackBerry Bold, Hamilton said.

"We've expanded this promotion for all 3G smartphones. It's not just the iPhone."

In other words, you want to believe the protest had an impact, Rogers knows competition is coming and they had better not make for those future carriers a mass of future customers. The insight is this, customers are fed up and they are not taking it any longer.

This is not Rogers' finest moment. I still say, 'don't buy the iPhone on July 11th'. Wait a couple of days, or even weeks, make them do a bit of sweating perhaps there's another plan in their back pocket.

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