Rogers caves, confusion remains over iPhone sales in Canada

The Canadian cellular provider is now offering a data-only plan for the iPhone which can be attached to any of the company's voice plans, while Apple may or may not be yanking its phone from its own stores in the country.

Customers who activate by August 31 on a three-year contract would be able to select a CAD $30 6 GB data plan for the iPhone, which then can be attached to a standard voice plan.

Rogers claims that the 6 GB data should be enough for the average user to 35,952 Web pages or send and receive 157,286 e-mails or watch 6,292 minutes of YouTube videos every month.

The move is likely in response to criticism over the company's plans that were announced in late June. Over 56,000 have signed an online petition at RuinediPhone.com, demanding that the carrier offer better plans and in some cases threatening to cancel altogether.

Users of other 3G-enabled devices would also benefit: the data-only plan could be used with those phones as well.

Besides the news on new plans, there seems to be confusion regarding whether the iPhone was ever meant to be sold in Apple retail outlets outside of the US. A report on AppleInsider indicated that Apple's displeasure led to its pulling the device from its own stores. The publication claimed Apple's decision was announced during a conference call on Monday evening.

BetaNews placed one call today to an Apple Store in Toronto. What we were told, coupled with the news from several other calls to Canadian Apple stores reported elsewhere, indicate that Apple Store employees are unsure whether the 3G iPhone would be sold in company-owned stores in the country.

AppleInsider reported it spoke with a representative of one Apple Store, who said Rogers retail locations would be the only spots where consumers would be able to pick up the 3G iPhone.

Given its apparent sales strategy elsewhere in the world, it's actually uncertain whether Apple had any intention of selling its iPhone in Apple Stores, in Canada or anywhere else besides the US. Apple has never announced plans to sell the phones in any of its international locations, which include stores in Australia, Japan, Italy, and UK, as well as Canada.

This seems to be verified by checks of Apple's store locator map, which list no company retail locations internationally as places where the iPhone 3G can be purchased.

A request sent to Apple for confirmation of its retail plans in Canada went unanswered as of press time.

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