Rogers Wireless Data Rates

Okay, so I’ve managed, through the process of trial and error, to figure out how much Rogers Wireless charges for data access with a “Pay As You Go” account.

There is an air of confusion over the entire issue because their rates page says only that they charge 2 cents per page for “Surfing on your mobile Internet browser.” They don’t list any rates for data that isn’t “surfing” and therefor doesn’t involve “pages.”

To deduce what they do charge, then, I did a test with my Nokia N70, which has a byte counter (look under Log \| Packet Data) and an IMAP client. I reset the counters, checked my account balance on the Rogers website, checked my email, noted the total of the “data sent” and “data received” counters, and then checked my account balance again.

Total data transferred during the IMAP mail check was 9.92kb, or 10158 bytes. Total charge was 50 cents. So it looks like the data charge is 5 cents per kilobyte.

This is tantamount to “so expensive as to be completely useless.” To give you an idea of how expensive: uploading this photo would have cost me $6.60 and downloading today’s episode of the Daily Source Code would cost $2856.

It turns out that, buried deep within their website Rogers does, indeed, reveal this rate:

Data usage with data devices or integrated phone and data devices on Pay As You Go service will be charged at 5 cents / kb. A minimum account balance of $5.00 is required to access the navigate mobile Internet. Balance is held for the duration of the navigate session and credited back to the Pay As You Go account at the end of the browsing session.

Things get somewhat cheaper if you’re not a “Pay As You Go” customer — Rogers’ consumer plans include one that provide 1MB of data transfer for $7/month, or 0.7 cents per kilobyte, with a 2 cents/kb rate over the 1MB amount. That would lower my Daily Source Code download to the $1000 range.

Obviously Rogers is positioning wireless data as a tool for millionaires and insane people.


Jevon's picture
Jevon on April 27, 2006 - 22:01 Permalink

When in the US working, I find it hard to hide my envy at their mobile data rates and availability.

In Canada, Bell seems to have the most reasonable rates, and their unlimited plan has a 500mb cap, instead of Roger’s 250mb (why they can call them unlimited, but have a limit continues to torture me). Aliant does have a 5$/month option for cellphones that provides unlimited web and email inbox access (not supposed to be used on a PDA — but I know of a few people who bought Treos, activated them as cellphones only, but continue to use the WAP browser)

70$/month in the US will cover your blackberry use and give you unlimited cellphone-as-EVDO-modem data for your laptop. Mmmm

Paul's picture
Paul on April 28, 2006 - 15:48 Permalink

Rogers didn’t design Pay-As-You-Go to be used that way. It is for light / emergency use voice calls and the occasional light web browsing. If you are stupid enough to use Pay-As-You-Go for heavy data use then you deserve to buy a $40 card every few hours.

The uses you describe would put you in the class of “power-user” and you could and should get a proper data plan like 100MB for $100.

Wireless data is expensive, and people who actually need it are willing to pay for it. Plus, Rogers lets you use it anywhere in the world.

It sounds like you consider it to be more of a novelty and that’s why it seems like a rip-off TO YOU.

IAn's picture
IAn on May 12, 2006 - 20:56 Permalink

I tried to access my email from my Rogers phone — got frustrated and gave up. Only used it for a 3 or 4 minutes… cost me over $10 bucks for nothing.

I then disabled the button so that I wouldn’t hit is again by accident.

Rogers Data is a RIP OFF TO ME TOO

jason's picture
jason on October 11, 2006 - 22:00 Permalink

PAUL: can you explain how talking on the phone is so fundamentally different than sending TCP/IP packets? They both use the wireless network, both are digital, yet i transfer hundreds of kb on the voice network for a few cents, and pay 3-5 cents/kb for the internet. Whatever you want to use it for — that is a RIP OFF.

Honestly, hooking up a 300 baud modem to the cell phone would be cheaper. How can you find these prices realistic?

btw, if you buy a 2MB/month plan from Rogers, it costs $5. which pushes the rate down to a still expensive, but realistic 0.25cents/kb.

Terra's picture
Terra on February 23, 2007 - 20:07 Permalink

I recently made a trip to South Africa, where I purchased a Vodacom SIM starter pack so that I had a local phone number. What surprised me was how cheap data rates were. For 2 Rand (converting the local currency to Canadian dollars, you get R2 = $0.328) you get 1MB of data. That works out to about 0.032 cents/kb.
It really shocks me when I realize how we are being ripped off with data rates in North America. When are we going to see data rates that cheap over here?

Terra's picture
Terra on February 23, 2007 - 20:08 Permalink

Forgot to mention that I was using a Prepaid plan in South Africa!

kristine's picture
kristine on March 23, 2007 - 03:16 Permalink

My brother is 22 years old and has a lot of down time at work last month so he has been surfing on his phone. He, being young and naive (no offense to you other 22 year olds out there) didn’t even consider the cost and just received his first phone bill today for $4590.91. The kicker is that the bill only covered until the end of February so he has another similar bill to look forward to, since Rogers kindly waited 3 weeks to send a bill that was printed on Feb 28th. I’m not sure how/why they even offer this service…talk about giving someone just enough rope… My brother is beside himself because he has nothing, and will probably have to take out a loan to cover it. I find it funny that Rogers text messaged him twice two weeks ago to remind him that his previous $189 bill was overdue but weren’t concerned enough to mention that he was racking up about $300 in internet charges a day. Anybody gone through a similar situation? I’m not sure how to help my bro now. I’m so pissed that Rogers is allowed to lawfully rob people in such a manner. Yes, he signed a contract for the 5 cents per kb but this is such an abstract concept to most people, including him, so he had no idea what surfing cost in real terms, at least he didn’t until today.

atchik's picture
atchik on July 10, 2008 - 23:39 Permalink

another 2 cents how Rogers rip off canadians:
- Rogers ~$50 to send 1MG of data (5c/1KB
- just to compare MTS, one of leading providers in Moscow, and this is not the best plan:… :
from 08:00 to 00:00 from 00:00 to 08:00

Price for 1 MB send/receive data over GPRS-Internet 8,45 RUR or 0.36 CAD3,45 RUR or 0.15 CAD
Price for 10 KB send/receive data over GPRS-WAP 2,75 RUR or 0.12 CAD2,75 RUR or 0.12 CAD

Rogers is over 400!!! times expensive

Samantha's picture
Samantha on January 26, 2009 - 21:57 Permalink

Yeah, Rogers will totally screw you over. I’ve paid approx 3,000 dollars on hidden fees like that, and I’m frustrated and angry and scared shitless on how to pay these bills. I hope these companies get their karma someday but I don’t think they will because the dollar always wins, doesn’t it?

cellguy's picture
cellguy on February 1, 2009 - 13:02 Permalink

The key here is young and naive. Anyone who purchases a cellphone and takes a contract with a provider (Rogers, Bell, Telus, whomever) and does NOT read any of the fine print, deserves to be screwed. I meet lots of guys who claim to be adults and mature and want to be recognized as such, but they can’t read, write, or properly spell. How the hell can they expect to function in today’s literacy-competitive world? Getting a humongous data bill for cell surfing is typical, because cellphones are not ideal for data manipulation — and the compression software and necessary servers to provide this demand service cost big bucks. Rogers ain’t givin’ it away for free, since no one else will either. Suck it up!

Kevin's picture
Kevin on May 17, 2009 - 01:06 Permalink

It seems, or more to the point,it is that being a Canaidian means you are going to get screwed. Rogers gouging and unfair rates stop us from enjoying our rightfull enjoyment of the technological 21st century. It also stimies our quality of life and our ability to grow and learn. We need competition in the market!!We should be asking ourselves why dont we have what other countries have and how can we get it?

Adam G's picture
Adam G on September 12, 2009 - 22:24 Permalink

Wireless data is expensive”, you say. I would enjoy a thorough breakdown on what you think a kilobyte of information costs these companies.

Rogers and Bell have both used their pre-existing infrastucture and added on technologies as they became available. Technology costs have come down over the years and efficiency has gone up. Strange that internet bandwidth has come down and prices have gone up over the years.

Finding true unlimited bandwidth internet is possible, but not according to Rogers or Bell. I use Acanac for true unlimited household internet for 30 dollars a month, and they just resell Bell.

I’m hoping for some alternative cell phone resellers to come out along these same lines because 15 cents for a text message is a little strange in this day and age.

SC's picture
SC on October 21, 2009 - 17:34 Permalink

i just got misled and lost half of my pay as u go credits!!
the call center rep told me because i am using a SMARTPHONE (htc touch)….. i will be charged per kb.
if i used a regular phone…. it will be charged 5cents per page.

she couldnt told me how much $/kb. i did the math myself, $0.05/kb!!

mike's picture
mike on January 7, 2010 - 18:39 Permalink

I have rogers cellular smartphone and lastnight I realized while at the movies I had accidently pressed the touchscreen for facebook, i didn’t even know I had done that. It had been on the facebook page for over 2 hours and as soon as I found out, I exited. I didn’t log into my facebook account and didn’t send or receive any files. My cellular was simply on facebook for over 2 hours. Am I going to be charged a lot for this? anybody knows?