Adventures in Technology: Buying an iPhone in Canada

by James Bain Sep 21, 2007

Well, I started writing an article for this week describing how there was no freaking way I’d buy a hacked iPhone. At the outset, it seemed a risky venture. The hardware hack, though definitely an elegant piece of work, was just a bit too much for me. When I started stirring pixels last week for my article, the software hacks seemed too much as well. But then, this morning, while I was reviewing what I’d written, a coworker told me that one of his clients had unlocked an iPhone yesterday, and was now happily using it. That was my reality check. It was doable, feasible, and I definitely could consider it now.

I hit eBay immediately and found that iPhones, 8Gb ones, unlocked, were going for about $475. Wow. With the US and Canadian dollars being on near par these days, that was a good price indeed.

There are two GSM carriers in Canada, or at least my area, Rogers and Fido. I presently have a phone with Fido. With the promise that I’ll be able to pop my existing SIM card into my (possible) iPhone, I’ll yet again be the first person in my tech group to the post.

I was the first person I knew to own a Newton. And the first to own an iPod (having bought one of the first five 1Gs to hit Ottawa). And the first to own a Video iPod (I walked into a local big box store the first day they showed stock). And the first to own a MacBook Pro (same big box store, same procedure as the Video). And then the first to run Windows XP, then Vista on it, and now, if luck and the vagaries of auction space work out for me, I’ll be the first with an iPhone as well. Neat.

Apple made me do it.

I was planning on buying an iPod Touch. It looked like a great piece of kit. The iPhone interface, more or less, with WiFi and all. But two things stayed my hand. Firstly, the price. With the 8 Gb iPod Touch being about the price of an iPhone anyway, $329 Canadian, buying one seemed a pointless venture.

I’ve got a hot-rodded iPod Video anyway that I really don’t have to give up at all. First rev, but with an updated, brighter screen, a much better battery, and the signature U2 click wheel and case, without the overhead of everything Bono and Company ever released. Only a 60 Gb drive, but with the possibility, eventually, of upping it to a 120 Gb drive if I want/need to. And I have so danged many peripherals for it already, cases, adapters, audio recording gear, and so forth. Buying a completely new primary device was going to set me back far more than I really wanted.

Buying an iPhone instead of a Touch made sense then.

What’s the process? First, get the phone. The one I’m bidding on is already unlocked, so the second step is moving the SIM card from my existing phone, a RAZR, and the third is buying a data plan. With Fido, that’s pretty cheap. My plan comes up in March, so I can revisit things then, but without the roaming charges and the issue of looking forward to paying about as much as another iPhone a month for the privilege of using one, I was convinced.

As I said, Apple made me do it.

Rumours have abounded in Canada about Rogers picking up the iPhone. It’s not confirmed, then it’s confirmed, then it’s unconfirmed again. Announcements recently of England, then Germany, getting iPhones convinced me that though we’ll see them eventually here, Apple and Rogers are probably stuck in some sort of stupid marketing thing and I don’t think it’s going to be possible before Christmas here.

I can wait. Really I can. But I don’t have to now.

Hey, best case scenario will be my getting the phone, using it for a while, having Rogers or Fido releasing coverage, and, when my plan expires, renewing with an iPhone plan. It’s a win-win really.

Techno-lust has gotten the best of me, as it has before.

So, keep your fingers crossed and maybe, just maybe, by the time you read this, I’ll be checking AppleMatters on my new iPhone, or at least waiting for the device to be couriered to me.

Hey, and if I don’t win this bid, there looks to be a tonne more coming down the pipe I can try for as well.

I’m bound to get one soon.

News to follow.


  • James,

    I tried to email you but it bounced back as a bad address twice.


    Email me, iceDOTspinner at gmail dot com.


    Genevieve had this to say on Sep 21, 2007 Posts: 1
  • Why do you need a new data plan?  Can’t you just pull your SIM from the RAZR, pop it in the iPhone and be good to go?  (I ask because I want to do the same thing you’re planning to do, and we have the same phone and carrier.)

    Metta had this to say on Sep 22, 2007 Posts: 1
  • Because I DON’T have a data plan. Ad hoc expenses are quite high with Fido. Will need to unlock phone, of course.

    James Bain had this to say on Sep 22, 2007 Posts: 33
  • I’m getting an iPhone next week in Canada. My brother has had for a week now and it works great on Rogers, except for the Visual VoiceMail option. I can’t wait either and knowing that it will take only an hour or less to set up the software patch is a great incentive smile

    Insane Seb

    macgomez had this to say on Sep 22, 2007 Posts: 3
  • Just don’t update the software.  You’ll have a very, expensicve, even if pretty, brick.

    vb_baysider had this to say on Sep 25, 2007 Posts: 243
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