Rogers Canada: how NOT to sell Android

I love Android (the platform, as a colleague put it).

But I hate my cellphone provider, Rogers Canada. I hope that’s clear. Rogers CANADA.

Being a community, people-oriented person, free software activist and open source enthusiast, and on top of that a full time technical trainer and support analyst, last summer when I heard that Rogers Canada would be the first company to sell & support the mighty HTC Dream (known as G1 to T-Mobile customers), I decided I would trust them. In fact I got my HTC Dream the day it came out, on June 2nd. If Google trusted Rogers with their first Android deployment in Canada, I would be OK. Big mistake!

I’ve posted before that Rogers Canada sucks. I’ve thought about documenting my own problems, but it’s getting easier to just gather other similar experiences Android customers have at Rogers:

That’s right, there is a whole blog dedicated to document and share all the mistakes Rogers Canada has made and all the problems they have caused.

When I saw that I started my own group: RogersSucks (or !rs)

As I write this I am waiting for a replacement HTC Magic which was promised once, order « lost », promotion postponed, then secretly available again, then finally ordered on Sunday. I know, it’s Wednesday and we’re only a province away, but the phone hasn’t even shipped. Nevermind it’s only a slightly less outdated phone, I am waiting again to get the Rogers Canada Android Revolution.

Rogers Canada thinks it’s good business practice to suspend data service in order to force customers into upgrading to a firmware that basically locks down my phone. Why is it important it’s unlocked and rootable ? Because otherwise it’s very much useless, or should I say even less useful than a regular cell phone. At least regular cell phones behave well with BT headsets, don’t crash or reboot spontaneously, and don’t lag for >30 seconds when going from one application to the other. Among other things. It used to be possible to use Cyanogen Mod and other custom firmwares to make these phones somewhat usable. Not anymore.

How did Google let this happen ? I have no clue.

A lot of similar mistakes can be made by any company selling devices based on free, open-source software (and yes I know Android devices don’t come with 100% free software). I secretly hope some anonymous person inside such companies learns something from Rogers Canada mistakes. This is truly an example on how NOT to launch and service such a product.

Meanwhile I am gathering details on my own problems and getting all my services with Rogers cancelled without penalty for breach of contract. If that doesn’t happen, small claims court in Quebec should help, and I’ll document this in true free, open fashion so I can help as many people as I can do the same: vote with their money. I am angry such a great platform got such a bad start in Canada.

I guess the Revolution is not going to be available in Canada for some time.

How Rogers Ruined My HTC Dream


9 réflexions sur « Rogers Canada: how NOT to sell Android »

  1. Navigue avec Google Chrome Google Chrome sur Windows 7 Windows 7

    Glad to have come across this blog and a lot of us share in your pain of having a bad (err worse) android experience with Rogers.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on how this experience could’ve been made better.

    Email me and we can share some ideas about how the experience could’ve been made better.


  2. Navigue avec Google Chrome Google Chrome sur Windows 7 Windows 7

    Thanks for the link, I’ve linked back to you as well. Best of luck to you in dealing with Robbers. If they take too long they’ll have to buy back their HTC Dream as well as waiving my contract cancellation fees.

  3. Navigue avec Google Chrome 5.0.324.0 Google Chrome 5.0.324.0 sur GNU/Linux GNU/Linux

    Great to see you acting on Rogers. What a dreadful company. I blame the regulators though. I moved to Canada from Ireland, where I thought the situation was bad, but while Ireland is getting its act together, the same can’t be said here in Canada.

    I’d like an N900 — but Canada uses weird frequencies, so that doesn’t work so well. Ditto the google Nexus phone.

    Oh, and when are we going to get reasonably priced data plans in Canada? I recently got a flyer from Rogers offering data on my wireless phone for $1 per day — not too bad deal I thought as it allowed me to test the waters day-by-day. However, it turned out it was 2.99 a day if my ‘wireless phone’ turned out to be a smart phone + there was a 24Meg cap — wtf?

    You’ll have to come to the Ottawa Ubuntu hour so we can plot the downfall of Rogers.

  4. Navigue avec Firefox 3.5.3 Firefox 3.5.3 sur Windows XP Windows XP


    This is Mary with Rogers. I want clarify and add that customer safety has been our number one priority and we are taking these precautions to ensure their safety. All Rogers HTC Dream and Magic customers need to update to the version of OS 1.5 that includes this important safety feature.

    This can be done at or

    In terms of unlocked/rooted devices, we cannot support them because we can’t guarantee how that will impact the device on our network.

    However, if you have a specific issue with your upgrade I can definitely help you there. Please send me an email with the details and I’ll see what I can do.


    1. Navigue avec Google Chrome Google Chrome sur Windows XP Windows XP

      A specific problem? You mean like being pushed from 1.6 BACK to 1.5 for this safety feature? Being stuck at 1.5 now because Rogers will no longer push updates to these phones and wont allow us to update them manually? Likely to soon find applications made for Android wont work with your phone due to the lack of updates? Or maybe just the fact that it crashes constantly but in wonderfully creative ways like telling you it has signal and everything is OK but sending all calls directly to voicemail or simply not actually displaying text messages which are sent to you, while leaving the sender believing the message was received without incident?

      Or more esoterically, being forced to downgrade to an older version of software yet having this called an ‘upgrade’?

      Heck, I could write a lengthy blog of my own just to list all the specific issues this ‘upgrade’ brings to mind.

      Being sold a product that is then not properly kept upto date with new versions of the software it is using, being unable to effectively use this phone because the software is not being updated to resolve issues, then being told I should be happy I am being given the opportunity to spend more money to get a replacement phone which might work while receiving no renumeration for the fact that the product sold by Rogers doesn’t perform to standards, let alone expectations.

  5. Navigue avec Google Chrome Google Chrome sur Windows XP Windows XP

    Well I agree with the author in most that he says, but I want to point that Google has no control over Android at all. It did initially develop it, but then its source was released. Currently, Android’s official « owner » is the open-handset alliance. So anyways, back to topic, being an open-source platform, Android can be taken and used by any manufacturer. Or anyone, even you :_} The beauty of open-source

  6. Navigue avec Google Chrome Google Chrome sur Windows 7 Windows 7

    Thanks for the link to my post. I’ve linked back to yours. I think it’s nice that @RogersMary has been given the task of trying to calm us poor Canadians down, but truly, I’d much rather have my personal freedoms than have Rogers looking out for my personal safety. It’s not their job to be my keeper. I’ve never dialed 911 in my life and I hope I never have to. But, the 911 bug was fixed many months ago without your upgrade. At the very least, I hope Rogers does follow through with their plans to upgrade Magic devices to Android 2.1. We want the progress to continue, not be stifled!



  7. Navigue avec Google Chrome Google Chrome sur Windows XP Windows XP

    I share your pain. I finally received a « free » htc magic which is not really free because I learned as I opened the box that my contract was extended for a full 3 years. Rogers won’t admit they have problem besides the 911 issue. I also have bluetooth issues and many many many small issues that makes the HCT dream a nightmare. If you managed to get your contract cancelled without additional fees let me know I WILL CANCEL MY 3 YEARS CONTRACT IMMEDIATELY!!!

  8. Navigue avec Google Chrome Google Chrome sur Windows 7 Windows 7

    Rogers agreed to swap my HTC Dream for an HTC Magic. I received the Magic without a battery. Then, Rogers sent me a Magic with all of the accessories, battery included. I’ve been mostly satisfied with it because it includes the HTC Sense UI, which is quite nice actually. I’m looking forward to seeing if Rogers follows through with their promises to upgrade the HTC Magic to Android 1.6 or higher, but I’m not holding my breath.


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