We Listened: Rogers Unveils Smartphone Tethering Policy

blackberry usb cableYou can be passionate about our products, services and policies. And you’ve let us know loud and clear that you’re passionate about tethering.

We’ve listened and have some news to share.

Effective immediately, tethering will continue to be included at no additional charge for Rogers and Fido customers who subscribe to data plans of 1 GB and above (excluding those listed below). This effectively makes our current promotion (which was set to expire on May 3) our ongoing policy.

Since we announced the tethering promotion last summer, many of you have told us that tethering is an important service. We’ve heard that you want the freedom to choose how you use your data buckets – directly on your device or tethered to a computer.

We want to help you get the most out of innovative new technologies like tethering. And we’ll continue to examine our customer needs and evolve to stay ahead of the curve.

For those who don’t know what tethering is, here’s some more background.

What is Tethering?
Tethering allows you to connect a computer to the Internet by using a smartphone like a BlackBerry or iPhone. Computers typically use a lot more data when connected to the Internet than smartphones do, so make sure you’re set up with a data plan of 1 GB or above.

Why Tether?
If you’re reading this blog, I probably don’t need to tell you. It’s all about anywhere, anytime communications. There’s no need to find and pay for a Wi-Fi connection – you can browse from the comfort of your laptop, rather than the small screen of your device by tethering.

Excluded Plans
Tethering cannot be used with data plans of less than 1 GB. Also, it cannot be used with the new 1 GB+ One Rate Roaming plans (except Rocket stick plans), Family Shared Data & Voice Plans and Smartphone & Rocket stick shared data plans.

What other Mobile Internet options are available from Rogers?
In addition to tethering, Rogers also offers the popular Rocket stick and Laptops with Rocket built-in, which can be used with a wider range of data plans.

Where can I find more information on tethering?
Rogers tethering policy and FAQ can be found at www.rogers.com/tethering. Fido.ca will be updated with the new information in the next few days.

So tell us – do you tether with your mobile device? Why do you find tethering useful?

Rob Manne is a regular contributor to RedBoard.

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  1. This is very very good news indeed. Thanks!

  2. Woooohoooo thx Rob

  3. Shawn Altorio says: March 24th, 2010 a 9:05am

    Great news guys.

    Sounds like you listened to we customers and that we don’t think we should be paying extra to use the data we already pay for. Good on you.

  4. if you were “listening” there would be an unlimited mobile data plan

    • What Sean said. ^

    • I can’t use up my 6GB at all with extensive tethering. There are only a small amount of people that use more than 6GB…

      Don’t forget Rogers also sell internet services. If unlimited mobile tethering is being offered, the single computer household would probably cancel their internet service and cause a much un-needed network congestion.

  5. So Rogers/Fido will be charging extra for tethering if you’re on the 500MB data plan?

    • RogersMiranda says: March 24th, 2010 a 11:10am

      Hi, just to clarify: there is no extra charge for tethering on 1GB+ data plans. Unfortunatley, those with 500MB data plans are not able to tether.

      • “We’ve heard that you want the freedom to choose how you use your data buckets – directly on your device or tethered to a computer.”

        • Well played, well played… I have to agree with you. Even is I have a 5MB plan or a pay as you go plan I should be able to use the data I pay for however I want as long as it’s not for illegal activities. I also think it’s not up to the data provider to police those activities.. But I guess thats what the whole net neutrality argument is all about.

      • Savio Rodrigues says: March 24th, 2010 a 12:14pm

        Hi RogersMiranda, can you provide justification for limiting how customers with 500MB data plans (or 5MB plans for that matter) are able to use the data that they have paid for?

        Rogers is making my decision to move my second blackberry to Bell look more appealing…

        Saivio
        10yr+ Rogers Wireless customer

        • RogersMiranda says: March 24th, 2010 a 1:38pm

          Hi Savio. Thanks for the comment and thanks for your 10+ years of service!

          See my response to Brock below.

        • I have to a agree. I have a family plan and thinking I should switch to Bell.
          I have been a long time Rogers customer.
          And why is my last post not here?
          Rogers is really starting to get on my nerves.

      • As a 15+ yrs customer who uses you Cable, Internet, Home phone and Wireless services – having my 1GB shared plan excluded from tethering just gave us the incentive to move to the competition not only our wireless but all our family services currently with Rogers. Specially when I specifically called your customer service to inquiry about tethering and potential charges and was advised that my plan covered tethering and that I would be charged overage if I went over the plan limit – which we never do.

        As for your answer… “the reason is that shared data & voice plans can be shared by 2 to 5 people, the 1 GB minimum is not guaranteed” I agree 100% with Julie… “I do not see how a notion of per user minimum is relevant here. Whether it is one or two (or more) people sharing the data usage, we pay for 1 GB. And get charged for whatever usage is over that limit.”

        I know you promised to pass it on to the team. With this, we expect the following:

        A) A valid, well documented response outlining the rationale as to why family plans do not qualify; or
        B) Announcing that Family plans with 1GB+ shared data do in fact can tether without additional cost.

        We look forward to your prompt response,

  6. Glad to see because otherwise I would have been calling to cancel.

  7. Sounds good!

  8. Any way to use tethering between my iPhone and my son iPod Touch when no WiFi is available for him?

    • RogersMiranda says: March 24th, 2010 a 3:15pm

      Hi Stephane,

      I’m not sure as the iPod Touch is not a product that we support. I’d suggest checking Apple’s website for info.

    • Hi Stephane,

      If you tether your iPhone to your laptop with the USB cord and then on your laptop you need to create an AD-HOC WIFI network and then enable Internet Connection Sharing between the wired iPhone network and the AD-HOC WIFI network and then that would create a WIFI hotspot for your son to connect to with his iPod touch.

      This tells you what you need to do, you can have a local computer tech set this scenario up for you, based on the information I supplied said any good computer tech should be able to set up the rest for you. It would be too lengthy for me to type out an entire how to guide.

      If you are confident with computers just google how to make an ADHOC network, otherwise, like I said, just bring it to a tech.

      Thanks,
      Thomas
      (Rogers Sales Consultant – Barrie, ON)

  9. Thanks for the update Rob. As a fairly regular user of tethering when I’m away from the office I really appreciate that Rogers has made this decision going forward. Thanks to everyone at Rogers.

  10. @digitaterry says: March 24th, 2010 a 9:26am

    Hmmm. So because both my wife and I have iPhones and have a family plan, we are not allowed to Tether, no matter how large our data plan is. How is that fair? If we both have 1GB of data each, why should we not be able to use the tethering option?

    • RogersMiranda says: March 24th, 2010 a 11:13am

      the reason is that shared data & voice plans can be shared by 2 to 5 people, the 1 GB minimum is not guaranteed.

      Thanks for the feedback though. I will pass it on to our team.

      • I do not see how a notion of per user minimum is relevant here. Whether it is one or two (or more) people sharing the data usage, we pay for 1 GB. And get charged for whatever usage is over that limit.

  11. This is good news. I could never understand why tethering wasn’t allowed by default in the first place. I still don’t understand why you would exclude some plans. Sure exclude anything under 1GB since people will probably go and try it and then end up owing millions (or I think the record in Canada is $37,000) in data overage charges.

    I’ve always been a firm believer in buying a connection to the internet and being able to use it as I see fit as long as I’m not breaking any laws. If I have a 6GB plan I should be able to use those 6GB us as fast as I want however I want.

  12. Does this mean Rogers is going to release an official Android app for tethering?

    • RogersMiranda says: March 24th, 2010 a 11:15am

      Hi Anthony. Unfortunatley, we can’t comment on apps that may or may not be developed in the future.

  13. @Anthony

    Use PDANet

    • @Arvin

      I’m aware of PDANet, but a $30 pricetag is a bit much, when it should be free. I actually use CyanogenMod with a Wifi tether app (for root), but I’m asking for others who may not realize there is no official tethering solution for Android (maybe in 2.1 there is though?)

      • @Anthony: There is a free version of PDAnet however you can not use it for HTTPS (secure) sites.

        Go here for more: http://www.androlib.com/android.application.com-pdanet-zEij.aspx

        • PDANet is not a good solution. I hope you agree that free (and where possible, standards based) solutions are much preferable to proprietary, single vendor, costly solutions that will have limitations and lesser support on some platforms subject to the whims of one company.

        • @David: Do you know another FREE tethering app for Android? One that works with 1.5? Please share.

          PDAnet might not be perfect, but it’s available, and it has a free version.

          If no one is making the app you want, maybe it’s time to learn Java and then spend your time making that app. It will be an investment on your part for sure. Will you give it away for free after with no strings attached?

          Just asking.

        • @mjschmidt , part of my point is that we need a way to upgrade past 1.5. We should be petitioning for our less than one year old devices to be able to run the newer OS with the same control we’d have over a computer.

          There is free, as in free beer, and Free, as in unencumbered by constraints [such as those imposed by a single vendor), and a good solution will be both.

          I would not need to learn Java or reinvent this functionality is it is already available at the Android’s Linux level.

          PDANet is a workaround some people can use today, but we shouldn’t accept a collection of payware hacks to provide standard functionality that is supported without hacks on other devices. We’re already getting punished enough for our choice in buying the Rogers Dream.

          The point of my post in response to yours is that people should not be accepting PDANet as a long or even medium term solution when better solutions exist.

          I’d also like to mention there is a completely free tether-like solution — it uses the Android dev kit to provide a computer browser proxy, so only works with http, not https or other protocols) — called Proxoid.

        • @David: I agree with you completely about the OS updates (perhaps you’ve never seen my blog? http://www.iwantmyonepointsix.com), however in this instance I was just pointing out that the particular user above needs a solution _now_ and that PDANet is a perfectly good, free, solution for those who need it _now_ and who aren’t necessarily tech-savvy.

      • And by the way, on CyanogenMod, tethering works with only a 500MB Plan, using either “PDANet” and “Wireless Tether for Root”. I imagine PDANet Lite (free) would work on an unmodded Android as well regardless of the data plan you have.
        I agree, it is a workaround, it is ridiculous, and it should not be up to us users to have to circumvent the system. This is not the same as “Officially” supported, and Rogers should still act responsibly and “officially” allow this for all smart phones. But, where there is a will there is a way

  14. This is a great initiative, but Canada has a long way to go in bringing down mobile data costs. The country can really benefit from the added productivity of smartphones and mobile data rates are holding back the whole country.

  15. This is great news. However, users of the less than 1 year old Rogers Dream are stuck with a outdated operating system that cannot tether. Meanwhile, people around the world with the same phone have upgrade options and can tether.

  16. Thanks Rob. Glad I stuck with my 6GB data plan. ;)

  17. Why are plans less than 1GB excluded?

    • RogersMiranda says: March 24th, 2010 a 11:31am

      Hi Brock.

      Valid question.

      The original tethering promotion never included plans below 1GB and we really didn’t hear many concerns from our customers about this. I think that’s because our customers understand that to benefit from tethering, it is necessary to have a sufficiently large data bucket.

      However, I’d suggest customers call Rogers Customer Care if they have specific questions about plans. Reps are trained to help identify which products and plans are best suited to meet their needs.

      • If I’m paying for 500mb of data, shouldn’t I be able to use it however I see fit?

      • I don’t tether very often, and have a 500MB plan. I have yet to use over 400MB when tethering. Rogers should have the option for people with 500MB to tether. Maybe call in and add a SOC so that you can tether?

      • Savio Rodrigues says: March 24th, 2010 a 12:26pm

        I have a 500mb plan and have used tethering in the past. It is not necessary to have a sufficiently large data bucket when tethering. There is no technical reason for that statement.

        If Rogers is worried that users will go over their 500mb limit, then make it clear that the overages will be billed at the standard rate. Frankly, there is no reason this shouldn’t be clear to a customer. I’ve used tethering for weeks at a time to work while away from the office, and never gone over 100MB of data. But I fully knew that if I did go over 500mb I’d be paying $0.03/MB (which is quite reasonable).

        Savio
        10yr+ Rogers Wireless customer

      • A great question, but a muddled response.

        I don’t use tethering with my 500MB current plan, because I can’t and wasn’t aware that Rogers was even considering this. Offering this service only for certain plans is bizarre. Why should you care how I use my data? It can’t be congestion; If I go over, I just pay the overage fees.

        Confusing policies like this are are one of the reasons Rogers can be such a hassle to deal with (wait, what? I can’t do that?). Simple rate plans are always better than complicated ones.

        • It’s all about business marketing. If they get people to sign up for the 1Gig plans under the premise they can now tether, then Rogers is ensuring more money in their pockets!

          • marketing plus being b.s. people….

            “it is necessary to have a sufficiently large data bucket.”

            like why do you b.s…if i pay for 500MB it’s my OWN business how to spend it….Do you understand Rogers?

      • I am also firmly behind allowing customers to use whichever plan they have to tether and firmly against Rogers/Fido deciding to make tethering available only to 1GB+ plans.

        This is not new. I have voiced my opinion about this several times at NorthGeek.com: http://northgeek.com/2009/09/how-to-tether-fido-iphone/

        There is no technical nor billing nor any other good justification for the current cutoff.

        PLEASE ALLOW ME TO TETHER WITH MY 500MB PLAN.

        Thanks for listening RogersMiranda!

        • PLEASE ALLOW ME TO TETHER WITH MY 150 MB PLAN.

          Seriously, If I can use that much (or little?) data on my phone, why would you care if I use it while tethered to my PC?

          What is the _real_ reason Rogers doesn’t allow tethering below 1GB?

      • @RogersMiranda:

        I’ll throw my name to the heap asking for tethering to be allowed to 500MB plans. I’m paying for 500MB of data and I have a hack on my iPhone which allows me to tether and I never come close to using up 500MB, actually because of my access to WiFi, I don’t even use up 100MB.

        IT’S MY DATA. I SHOULD DECIDE HOW I USE IT.

  18. Awesome! Thanks for listening and now I don’t have to switch carriers when my bold contract is up in August.

    Thank you thank you thank you!

  19. As usual, exclusions and limitations.

    Have you really “listened”?

    • Frankly, I don’t think you should use a 400 series highways if you have a small car. Those damn fireflys, echos, and smart cars only get in the way…

      Thanks Rogers! I’ll keep my 6GB plan and maybe start getting my moneys worth….

  20. I just don’t get the logic for excluding the plans below 1gb. There are times when I want to tether but I will still not exceed the data usage I already pay for. It is like telling me I cannot use a 400 series highway because I drive a small car.

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