To all you Canadian BlackBerry users out there, many of you are subject to the wills of Rogers Wireless and their iron clad 3 year contracts. Canadians have always been the victims of outrageous cell phone contracts and plans, but, the tide seems to be turning in our favour with all the new competition coming from players such as Koodoo, Public Mobile, Mobilicity and Wind.
With this new competition comes better prices and in this case, better upgrade policies. Rogers Wireless quietly announced on May 6, 2011, a big change to their Hardware Upgrade Policy. Now this is going to get lengthy and might be complicated, but, I will try to break it down.
Lets start with the old system.
- All users were eligible for the Hardware Upgrade Program, HUP, after 24 months from their last use of the HUP or 24 months after a new activation.
- This means that if you newly activated with Rogers or last used the HUP at least 24 months previous, you were eligible for the HUP again
- The old HUP basically allowed you to pay the “3 year activation price” for any device. For example if you had a Bold 9700 and wanted to upgrade to a Torch 9800, you would only have to pay the $99.99 list on the website as the only available on “select 3 year plans”
- The price you pay for the using the HUP is that you renew your contract for an additional 3 years
- In the old system, if it was under 24 months from your last use of the HUP or new activation, you were up the creek without a paddle
- If you wanted a new cell phone you were forced to pay for it at the off contract price
- In Canada through Rogers the price of a new Bold 9780 is $574.99 and a Torch 9800 is $624.99
- Quite the hefty hit to the wallet.
- First off. They have changed the length of time you have to wait to access the HUP depending on the last phone you purchased from Rogers:
- Premium Device Wait Time
- Currently they list the Iphone 4 and Torch 9800 as “premium devices”
- You must now wait 30 months from new activation or last use of the HUP to be eligible to use the HUP program again
- This sucks because you have to wait 6 months longer now to get the HUP, from 24 months to 30 months
- All other Smartphones
- This includes the 9780, 9700, 9300 and 9100 and all other blackberries other than 9800
- The wait time remains 24 months, as in old system
- Any non smartphone, ie regular cell phone
- The wait time is 18 months
- This has now improved the system for people who were using regular cellphones before and now want to venture into the Smartphone world
- With the growing market of Smartphone users, this is good offer from Rogers
- Secondly, now that we have established the new wait times, we move on to the second change to the HUP. That is the application of a new Early Upgrade Fee, EUP
- In the old system as I noted above, if it was under 24 months from your last use of the HUP or new activation, you had no access to any discounted prices on phones
- The new EUP is outlined as follows and depends on your current device
- If you own a “premium device” (9800 or Iphone 4)
- If you want to upgrade before the new “30 month wait time” you can pay a fee of $20 per month you are away from the 30 month date
- Ie. If it has been 22 months from your last use of the HUP or new activation, you are 8 months away from 30 months
- 8 months x $20.00 = $160.00
- You would be able to have access to the “new 3 year activation” prices for phones by paying this $160.00
- Not that you would, but, if you had a Torch now and wanted another Torch, in the example above you would pay $160.00(EUP) + $99.00 (HUP) = $259.99
- This is a big difference from the $624.99 off contract price
- If you own any other blackberry (9780, 9300, 9100, 9700)
- The fee per month has been deceased to $15.00/month for every month you are away from the “24 month wait period”
- Lets say you have a 9780 and want to upgrade to a 9800
- It has been 18 months since your last use of the HUP or new activation, which puts you 6 months away from 24 months
- 6 months x $15.00 = $90.00
- So by paying the $90.00 EUP you would have access to the “new 3 year activation) price of the Torch 9800 of $99.99
- So in total you would pay $90(EUP) + $99.99(HUP) = $199.99 for a new Torch 9800
- Again, very good discount from the $624.99 off contract price
So as you can see above. The system has become a more complicated and has some pros and cons. The big improvement is in the regular smartphone category.
The increase from 24 months to 30 months if you own a “premium device” is a little hard to swallow and hopefully Rogers just changes it to 24 months like all other Smartphones. There is a precedent for quick changes to the HUP as just several months ago Rogers tried to apply a 30 month wait time to ALL ACTIVATIONS. There was such a uproar in the community they withdraw the new program and took a couple months to revise it into this one listed above
Of course there are the pros and cons of using program such as this, but, I won’t get into that now. The bottom line is, there are many people out there who love gadgets and always want the new product, but, aren’t able to pay the “no contract price.”
The other big question is what will Rogers classify the new Bold Touch 9900 that is coming out. I called Rogers today and posed that question and the rep I talked to wasn’t able to comment on that, but, indicated it would likely fall into the same category as the previous Bold. The Torch 2 will likely be the new Blackberry “premium device”