3g data plans in Canada. What they don’t want you to know.

I have an iPhone with a pretty good data plan through Rogers (6 gigs/mo for $30). No complaints. I generally use under 100 megs per month. I recently bought an iPad but didn’t want to spring for the 3G version because they are trying to make us spend an additional $35/mo for a separate data plan for that unit. My original hope was that I could tether from my iPhone to my iPad so that I could make use of my existing data plan. Well…. they thought of that and disabled tethering intentionally on the iPad. They want to squeeze that additional $35/mo out of us.

No worries, though. For now I’m happy to just use the iPad at home on WiFi.

A second scenario came up this past weekend. I was traveling in the states with friends and I need to have internet access at all times due to my online businesses so I looked into the options that Rogers has for me to be able to use my 3G in the US. For $30 you can get 10 megs!! That means that if I used 100 megs in 5 days (which is entirely likely) it would cost me $300 for 5 days. Get real!

My next idea was to see about getting a sim card from AT&T to use my iPhone on AT&T’s network while I was in the states. AT&T seems to be drinking the same cool-aid as Rogers, however because in order to get 3G with tethering support I needed to sign a 2 year contract at $60/mo with them. Not really worth it for 5 days.

So I walked into Best Buy to see if there were any other solutions available to me. There I discovered the flourishing pay-as-you-go market in the states (that is non-existent in Canada). I was able to buy a Virgin Mobile Hotspot for $150 that generates a WiFi network wherever I am that I can use to access the internet on all of my devices (my 3 friends and I were all able to work online while we travelled down the I5). All I had to do was buy a $20 access card for Virgin which gave me 300 megs of 3G data (more than we needed). And if I ran out I could have just paid another $20 for another 300 megs. If I’m ever traveling in the US now I can just throw $20 on my account and have full internet access wherever I go.

This was an awesome solution so I decided to see if we have anything comparable in Canada.

Lucky me! Rogers sells a MiFi device that is very similar to the Virgin one for only $249. The only thing is that they don’t have any form of pay-as-you go packages. Their cheapest package is $35/mo for 500 megs. Remember that I’m already getting 6 gigs on my iPhone for $30/mo. So for more around twice as much money, I can get less than 10% more usage (when I’m currently only using under 10% of my existing 6 gigs per month).

This is just greed. They offer no solution for me.

So I guess we’re out of luck in Canada. Guess again. A quick search on Google brings up an iPhone app called MyWi which will transform your iPhone in to a wifi hotspot. That way you can run your computer, your iPad, your iPhone, and whatever else you want off of your iPhone’s data package.

Of course Apple doesn’t want you to use this (so it’s not in the App store), and Rogers doesn’t want you to use this. They to milk you for everything you have. No thanks.

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