The One About the iPhone 4 in Saskatchewan

— 3 minute read

Here's my problem:

The iPhone 4 is out.

I want to get one. (I've never owned an iPhone, despite being 'the Mac guy' people point to in any group of people.)

Rogers, a national cellular provider in Canada, has them. Or at least has the ability to "has" them. They currently don't "has" any in stock and "expect to receive regular shipments of iPhone 4 from Apple over the coming weeks" which translate into "we're just another company in the queue, begging at Apple's doorstep for a piece of the iPhone 4 pie and we really have no idea when we're getting more stock."

So Rogers should, theoretically, get them at some point. +1 for Rogers. The problem with Rogers is that they have terrible coverage outside the major cities/centres in Saskatchewan and that's not likely to change anytime soon.

-1 for Rogers.

The provincial cellular provider, Sasktel's, current CDMA network covers most of the province, it wouldn't support the iPhone.

-1 for Sasktel.

Sasktel is, however, in the process of launching a 3G+ network which should be able to support the iPhone.

+1 for Sasktel.

But all they can tell us is that negotiations are under way and that they have nothing to announce regarding the iPhone. And the 3G+ network will "initially provide coverage in Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Weyburn, Yorkton, Swift Current, Prince Albert, North Battleford and most of the connecting highways."

I've lost track of the score already. Never mind.

So Sasktel's initial coverage will be just as bad/good as Roger's network. But, and this is a big but, they will be adding coverage, " similar to that provided by the CDMA network, which is scheduled to be available by the end of 2010 or possibly early 2011." So by mid-2011 the coverage should be over most of the province, technical difficulties aside.

I've waited this long, I can afford to wait a little while longer. The issue is that we have no idea if Sasktel will actually offer the iPhone. And if they do, what will their data plans look like?

And that's where the time crunch comes in.

Rogers is offering a 6GB/$30 per month plan which goes away at the end of September. After that it's 500MB/$25 per month (I believe? Roger's site is down as I'm writing this.) The data costs per month is the important question because that's where you're going to end up paying. And as much as I want to be on Sasktel's network with better coverage, I don't trust that Sasktel is going to offer a decent data plan rate to compete with Rogers - simply because they don't really have to. If you don't like Sasktel's rates, well go ahead and sign up with Rogers then. And good luck making a phone call from the highway to Waskesiu when your car breaks down.

Or maybe Sasktel won't be able to negotiate a deal for the iPhone:

Sasktel GSM and iPhone

Here's hoping we have a few more details before September 30th.

p.s. If you are someone from Sasktel who'd like to spill a few beans, under complete anonymity of course, send me an email. :)