It looks like Rogers' Next program – allowing for early upgrades – made it about 7 months before they shut it down yesterday…as seen in the screenshot from our source. These early upgrade plans seemed like a dream come true for a techie that wanted to purchase a new device more than every two years – T-Mobile started the program in the U.S. with their 'JUMP!' program, soon followed by Verizon, AT&T and even Sprint…Canada's Rogers' even called their program the same as AT&T…Next. Customers already in the program will be allowed to continue their monthly Next payment until they hit 12 payments and then they can upgrade at $0 with a two-year contract. According to an internal doc (screenshot) that our source received, Rogers says that "We continually review our products and services to make sure we provide the best solutions for our customers. At this time we have decided to no longer carry this option for our customers."
Rogers Next program required no money done for smartphones whose subsidized pricings was $250, and anything above that the customer has to pay the difference…for example, if you wanted to purchase a subsidized smartphone for $329.99 on a two-year contract, the customer would have to pay the additional $79.99 at the time on the upgrade. Rogers Next program would cost you either $24.99 or $29.99 per month depending on whether you opted for the Rogers Device Protection Premium program (say that fast three times) that would protect your lost or damaged device. Then after 12-months, you could trade in your device (in good working order) for a new smartphone of your choice with a subsidized price of up to $250. Because they waived the remaining FLEXtab balance of $250, the $15 connection fee and the $250 new device cost, they claimed you could save a lot of money enrolling in their Next plan.
There could be a variety of reasons that Rogers debunked the Next program – customers may not have been buying into the program, or were upset because they had to turn the device back over to Rogers that they had just paid $300 for over the 12 payments that they could have sold themselves for possibly more than that. But more likely it was the old nemesis of the Canadian carriers – the Government getting involved. According to Twitter Ben Klass, there was a joint application filed by the watch groups, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and the Consumer's Association of Canada.
These groups filed a petition against Rogers Next and TELUS's T-Up programs because they violated the CRTC's Wireless Code by not allowing a refund if the customer wanted to leave the program. Indeed, there were no provisions for getting out of the program. Bruce Cran, President of CAC said at the time of the filing, "These programs convince people to throw good money after bad, and lock customers into a perpetual cycle of contract renewals with their current service provider, which lessens wireless competition and consumer choice." They wanted the contracts to be fully refundable with interest if a customer wanted to leave the program.
Whether Rogers decided it was too much hassle and just dumped the program or if it was for some other reason remains to be seen…so far TELUS still has their T-Up program in force. Please hook up with us on our Google+ Page and let us know what you think about Rogers Next program, if you were on the program, and what do you think about them abruptly disbanding Next…as always, we would love to hear from you.