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Update on the cell phone wars

Responding to massive public pressure, including an online petition that garnered over 57,000 signatures, Rogers has announced a $30 data plan for the iPhone.

It’s not the unlimited flat plan that people had hoped for, but at 6 gigabytes, it’s pretty close. And so far, it’s only available to people who purchase their iPhone before August 31st. But it’s a whole lot better than the previously-announced plans, which start at $60 and range to $115 per month – gouge-worthy levels.

The problem is, Rogers holds all the cards. Once people rush out to take advantage of this pricing and sign three-year contracts, they’re locked in. And Rogers’ regular rates for data plans are outrageously high.

Meanwhile, Bell and Telus are coming under fire for their decisions to charge for incoming text messages… by the government:

Industry Minister Jim Prentice publicly demanded an explanation from two of the country’s telecommunications giants yesterday about their “ill-thought-out” decision to start charging cellphone customers for incoming text messages.

Here’s a thought: Rather than summoning them in front of a government committee to try to justify their pricing, as these telecom giants are accustomed to doing from their monopoly days, why not open up the market to real competition instead of our current oligopoly-style imitation? That would take care of their cash-grab collusion pricing in a hurry.

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