Rogers Wireless Free Data Usage?

We who are Rogers Wireless customers do a lot of complaining about their crazy data rates. But maybe I’ve found a loophole?

I was doing some experimenting this afternoon with my Nokia N70, my RoyalTek RBT-1000 GPS and some of the excellent Python scripts for Series 60 phones from Nick Burch. This included setting up the S60 Python Lat/Long URL Loader to take my current GPS location and send it to a URL.

The URL I set up to receive the data doesn’t actually return anything, it just sends back a “202 Accepted” HTTP header. So the total data used, including the original HTTP request and the resulting response, is probably less the 1KB.

Rogers’ standard charge for pre-paid wireless data is advertised “5 cents a page” (which seems like a lot like selling gasoline in units of “number of drives to work”). If you thrash through their thicket of a website for a while you find this translates to “$0.05 per kb”. So the charge to transfer, 300 bytes should be about 1.4 cents. And yet, somehow, it is not, as the following screen snip from my online bill shows a charge of $0 for my two tests, spaced 13 minutes apart:

Have I found some sort of “less than some threshold” level that causes Rogers not to bill for data?

Update: Oh how naive I was to think that Rogers would let anything slip through. After a delay of 10 minutes a 5 cent charge finally showed up on my bill:

This explains why their data billing system uses the weird “debit $2 then credit $2” method: it can’t keep track of data usage in real time. It also suggests, alas, that the minimum charge is 5 cents, even if you use less than 1KB of data.

I knew it was too good to be true.


oliver's picture
oliver on March 9, 2008 - 07:28 Permalink

In fact, I bet it’s another five cents each time just for thinking it could be free.