HuffPo shows its cards

Here’s the latest leftwing click-bait from the Huffington Post on offer today,

Stephen Harper’s Wireless Petition Probably Just Trolling For Your Personal Data

Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants you to know he’s on your side in the epic battle of consumers against Big Telecom’s big wireless bills.
Or maybe it’s the Conservative Party trying to get your name and email address, so they can spam you with political ads.
Either way, a post appeared on Harper’s Facebook page Wednesday linking to a Conservative Party petition called “Standing Up For Wireless Consumers.”
The Facebook post urges people to “sign the petition if you believe Canadians will benefit from more choice and greater competition among wireless providers.”

Oh, is that so? Here’s Marc Garneau’s Liberal Party data-collection petition on Usage Based Billing. Huffington Post stories about the Liberal Party’s creepy data collection efforts? 0.

And here’s an NDP petition (data collection website) against extra fees on cellphone bills. Huffington Post cynicism about political outreach by the NDP? Non-existent.

I tried to find a Green Party petition on wireless usage, but my wifi signal gave out.

Here, Huffington Post writes about Avaaz’s data-collection website for collecting the email addresses of Sun News haters. As a cynical news story about the political process of issue identification and data collection? No! It was written as a news story about the critiques of Sun News.

There is a trend among Ottawa journalists to write about the political processes as if they were recently unearthed from some dank pit from behind Karl Rove’s creepy house (the one with the unhinged screen door that has the tear). These tried-and-true political tactics are repackaged to ignorant readers in an alarm-raising tone.

BREAKING NEWS! Did you know that Conservatives do GOTV?

BREAKING NEWS! Did you know that Conservatives keep a database of their supporters?

BREAKING NEWS! Did you know that Conservatives call people to identify their levels of support?

BREAKING NEWS! Conservatives use American-style robocalls!

BREAKING NEWS! Did you know that Conservatives use social advertising on segments to test messaging?

BREAKING NEWS! Did you know that Conservatives use petitions to do issue identification?

BREAKING NEWS! Any political party that hopes to win an election in the modern era will do all of the above.

BREAKING NEWS! Obama does it too? Well, nevermind then. He’s doing the best he can.

Rogers iPhone plan: a rip-off

Today, Rogers released its data plans for the Apple iPhone in Canada. Consumers will remember that the iPhone was released over a year ago in California and only is now available in Canada with the second-generation version of the iPod/Safari/phone device that now works on the faster 3G network.

The phone is able to connect to the Apple iTunes store and download music, movies, television shows and podcasts over the Rogers network. A fully-functional mobile version of Apple’s Safari web browser also allows users to connect to any website and one can even access flash video via Youtube. AT&T is the official US carrier of the iPhone while Rogers has the exclusive distinction in this country.

Here are the details of the Rogers plan in Canada:

Courtesy: Globe and Mail

If you access the Rogers website, you can see that a blackberry plan that includes 150 minutes and unlimited evenings and weekends costs $45 per month (with 4MB data). The base iPhone plan includes the same voice minutes and 400MB for $60.

However, let’s look at the AT&T website. Adding data to any voice plan costs $30 (or just $35 on its own). Plus data is unlimited (it’s not even capped at the highest Rogers allowance at 2GB).

If I wanted to download five movies a month to my iPhone (2.5 GB data), in the US this would cost me $35 per month in data transfer and I’d still have unlimited data to download 5,10 or 50 more movies if I wanted to get more. In Canada, I’d have to buy the hardly unlimited plan of 2GB for $115 and I’d pay overages on the extra 500MB. Most US customers will pay $40 voice and $30 data per month, still $45 per month shy of the capped maximum Canadian iPhone plan from Rogers.

When the iPhone was to be released in Canada, we had hope that Rogers would finally offer an unlimited data plan to smartphone and Blackberry users. Rogers has fallen far short of these expectations.

Note to Industry Canada: the panel on competitiveness released their recommendations to the Minister yesterday. In Canada, further deregulation, greater spectrum access, Bell and Telus accessing GSM streams, easier access for mobile startups, and greater foreign investment would decrease the iPhone competitive gap that currently rests at (by my calculations above) at $80 at most and $45 at least per month between Canadian and American carriers of the same product.

Note to Rogers: Stop gouging customers. The borders are opening to competition, especially on a product that is part of the new economy (data transfer and products see no borders). Canada’s government is open to leveling the playing filed and fostering increased competition and this lack of market agility on your part shows lawmakers what’s wrong with the system. Consider too that AT&T is also subsidizing $325 per iPhone for their customers because they know this will increase ARPU (average revenue per user) through product loyalty and use. Rogers may be in fact offering the same subsidy for customers since the phone unit is competitively priced. Despite this, AT&T is showing that in the American market they are offering competitive prices in order to offer this product to new customers. Rogers needs to catch up and close this gap or the government should increase our country’s competitiveness in the wireless market.