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Rogers to Launch Apple iPhone in Canada Better Late Than Never

Date: 5/1/2008 5:43:27 PM

Canada’s leading mobile phone carrier, Rogers Communications Inc., announced yesterday that it had reached an agreement to bring the popular Apple iPhone device to Canada later this year, but declined to give any specific details.

“We’re thrilled to announce that we have a deal with Apple to bring the iPhone to Canada later this year,” Rogers president, Ted Rogers, said in a brief statement. “We can’t tell you any more about it right now, but stay tuned.”

For months now, Rogers has been rumoured and even assumed to be Apple’s carrier of choice in Canada, given that it is the only carrier in the country to use the same GSM wireless technology that the iPhone is based on.

Most analysts believe that the delay of the iPhone’s launch in Canada is due to pricing disputes between Apple and Rogers, as well as Apple’s trademark dispute with Toronto-based Comwave Telecom Inc. over legal rights to the name “iPhone.”

Although the long-awaited announcement of Rogers’ iPhone launch is causing some excitement in the short term, telecom consultant, Eamon Hoey, of Hoey Associates believes that it’s “too little too late.”

“It is just an indication of how far behind we are on the world markets this should not be a day of celebration, there should be full recognition that Canada is very far behind our competitors on world markets,” Hoey said. “There was no reason for us not to have the iPhone last year other than the slowness with which wireless companies in general bring new services and products to Canada.”

Nevertheless, late is better than never, and Canadian consumers continue to hunger for the iPhone device. The real test of Canada’s caliber as a wireless market will likely be the handset’s price tag. Will iPhones be offered at a reasonable cost, or will Canadian consumers have to keep heading south, then unlocking them at the border, as many have done already?

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