Archive for Rogers

BREAKING: Federal Court Dismisses Rogers/Shaw Appeal

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on January 24, 2023 by itnerd

In a blow to consumers, the Federal Court of Appeal has shot down the Competition Bureau’s request to blog the merger of Rogers and Shaw. That leaves this whole thing up to federal Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne. And he Tweeted this:

At this point, the Federal Government hasn’t shown any interest in shooting what is clearly a merger that harms consumers out of the sky. Thus I do not have high hopes that Champagne will do anything but allow this merger to go through. And consumers will literally pay the price at the end of the day.

It’s truly too bad that Canada doesn’t have a federal government who recognizes that Canada pays far too much money for their telco services and is prepared to address the issue. While I am free to be surprised on that front, I don’t think I will be.

Good News! Canada’s Competition Bureau Will Appeal Today’s Rogers – Shaw Decision

Posted in Commentary with tags , on December 30, 2022 by itnerd

This morning I was not hopeful about the chances of Canadians getting a positive outcome in terms of the Rogers – Shaw merger decision from last night. But there’s hope as news is out that the Competition Bureau is appealing the decision:

The Competition Bureau is appealing the Competition Tribunal’s dismissal of its case against Rogers Communications Inc.’s $26-billion takeover of Shaw Communications Inc., the companies said as they expressed their disappointment in the move.

The telecommunications companies said Friday that they were informed of the bureau’s intent to appeal the tribunal’s decision, released late Thursday. They said they were alsot told that the bureau will apply for an injunction to block the deal from closing until an appeal is heard.

“We are deeply disappointed that the Commissioner continues to attempt to deny Canada and Canadians the advantages that will come from these proposed transactions,” the companies said in a joint statement.

The Competition Bureau did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell said in a statement late Thursday that he was very disappointed by the tribunal’s dismissal and was carefully considering next steps.

It’s bad news for Rogers and Shaw. But it’s good news for Canadians as this is a bad deal for Canada and must be stopped. Thus I am hopeful that this deal will be stopped so that Canadians don’t end up getting shafted as a result.

Rogers – Shaw Merger Approved By Competition Tribunal… Which Means That Canadian Consumers Are One Step Closer To Being Screwed

Posted in Commentary with tags , on December 30, 2022 by itnerd

Canadian telco consumers should prepare to have less competition in the telco space because late last night the merger of Rogers and Shaw which has been fought by Canada’s competition watchdog have been approved. CBC has the details:

In a summary of its decision released Thursday, the tribunal says the merger of the two telecommunications companies would not result in materially higher prices.

The decision says the deal, which includes the sale of Shaw-owned Freedom Mobile to Quebecor-owned Videotron, would not likely prevent or lessen competition substantially.

Quebecor agreed to buy Freedom Mobile in a $2.85-billion deal earlier this year.

Concerns that Bell and Telus — the closest competitors to Rogers in Canada’s telecom market — would be unable to compete with the combined company were also dismissed.

“The tribunal has also determined that the strengthening of Rogers’ position in Alberta and British Columbia, combined with the very significant competitive initiatives that Telus and Bell have been pursuing since the merger was announced, will also likely contribute to an increased intensity of competition in those markets,” the decision reads.

It says a more detailed decision will be released in the next two days.

I’m sorry, but this decision is horrible for Canadians because the exact opposite is going to happen as there’s going to be one less player in the marketplace. While this still has to be approved by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, I expect that to be a rubber stamp as the current federal government in Canada pays lip service to having an affordable and competitive telco space. Canadian consumers might want to remember that when the next election comes and vote accordingly.

Rogers Wireless Customers Report That They Are Having Issues With 5G And LTE Today

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 19, 2022 by itnerd

The last thing that Canadian telco Rogers needs is another major outage. However it is possible that we’re seeing that right now. A visit to Down Detector shows this:

That’s not good as a graph like that indicates that something happened around 10AM EST today. I personally have received reports that Rogers customers are being bumped down to 3G service when they should be getting LTE or 5G service. A quick look at Twitter shows that others are having issues:

However as I type this, I am getting word that 5G service has come back online for some. Thus whatever happened, it was brief thankfully. But there has been no confirmation of any issues from the troubled telco on this. And I would be interested to see if they do comment at this at all as it would draw some unwanted attention towards them that Rogers simply cannot afford right now.

How Rogers Can Close The Gap On Their Competitors When It Comes To Their Internet Offering

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 11, 2022 by itnerd

I got an email this past week asking if Rogers was “screwed” because Bell is deploying fibre all over the place and Rogers seems to be sticking to using their existing copper cable infrastructure for their last mile delivery. Instead of answering the email with my thoughts, I decided to write this article to lay out what options Rogers has to close the gap when it comes to their competition so that they can avoid being an afterthought when it comes to Internet in Canada. And by “competition” I mean both Bell and TELUS who are rolling out fibre as fast as they can, and as a result are way ahead of Rogers in terms of what they can offer. Let’s start with option one:

  • Deploy Fibre – Everywhere: This is by far the best and the worst option that Rogers has. I say that because while it would allow them to roll out Internet services that are competitive with Bell and TELUS from a speed standpoint, this won’t happen overnight. And on top of that, fibre builds are not cheap or fast in terms of how fast you can get it into homes and light it up. Both Bell and TELUS started doing this years ago while Rogers largely has sat on their hands. And now they are kind of behind the 8-ball. Rogers to be fair has fibre in a handful of places. But their fibre footprint is tiny relative to Bell and TELUS. To be competitive Rogers has to move faster and in more places in terms of their fibre rollout.
  • Deploy DOCSIS 4.0: Because rolling out fibre can’t be done quickly, nor is it cheap, that leads us to option number two which is to deploy DOCSIS 4.0 which will give Rogers the ability to provide gigabit speeds on both the downstream and upstream sides of the connection while leveraging their existing infrastructure. Minus maybe having to either update modems via firmware or replacing them entirely. But that would be a big improvement over what they have now which is 50 Mbps upstream and up to 1.25 Gbps downstream. The reason being is that DOCSIS 4.0 promises 10 Gbps downstream and 6 Gbps upstream which will give Rogers an offering that is competitive with offering from Bell or TELUS. But in the case of Bell, they are already up to 8 Gbps upstream and downstream. Which means that they can continue to push that to faster and faster speeds that will run circles around Rogers and put Rogers back in the position where they are currently in. Which is that they aren’t competitive. Now do you need those sorts of speeds? I’ve argued that you don’t, but that’s not the point because it is great marketing for Bell that they’re faster than Rogers. As far as I am aware, Comcast is rolling out DOCSIS 4.0 next year. Thus since Rogers uses Comcast hardware, I have to assume that they will be doing the same thing.

Now if I ran Rogers, I would go all in on fibre and abandon their copper infrastructure as quickly as possible as that would give Rogers as much headroom for the future. But having listened to their most recent investors call, it’s safe to say that they will go with DOCSIS 4.0. That will put them back in the game for a period of time until Bell and/or TELUS leverages their fibre infrastructure to exceed what DOCSIS 4.0 is capable of. Then Rogers will have to reconsider what they do next. It will be interesting see how Rogers handles this situation because if they get it wrong, then they are “screwed”.

Rogers Changes Their Advertising For Their Internet Service After Claiming That They Deliver “Pure Fibre To Your Home”

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 9, 2022 by itnerd

Rogers last week released new Internet speeds, and in an article that I wrote about it, I said this:

The other thing that I notice is that they call this “Pure fibre to your home”. I find that unlikely to be the case given the upload speed. This sounds like Rogers existing cable infrastructure jazzed up to sound like it is competitive with Bell’s fibre to the home offering, when in actual fact it is not even in the same league.

That was based on this screen shot:

You’ll notice the “Pure fibre to your home” line in that screen shot. In short, I was calling BS on that because Rogers has so little fibre deployed when compared to Bell or TELUS, it’s not even worth talking about. I guess that other people must have said the same thing, because if you look on Rogers website, you now see this:

It no longer says “Pure fibre to your home”.

That says to me that they got called out on this by customers, regulators, or both. And as a result they had to change it. But the fact that Rogers had the audacity to even use the words “Pure fibre to your home” when the majority of the network is copper cable is mind blowing. This is the sort of thing that makes Rogers look really bad as no company their size should be caught “manipulating the truth” to grab more subscribers. Ever.

Rogers Releases New Internet Speed Tiers…. With The Same Pathetic Upstream Speed

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 5, 2022 by itnerd

Just this morning a reader of this blog pointed me towards this page on Rogers website where it appears that Rogers has released new Internet speed tiers:

It looks like Rogers has deleted the 1 Gbps tier and added a 1.5 Gbps and a 2.5 Gbps tier. As always, the Devil is in the detail. so if you go looking for detail, you’ll notice this:

Now I am using the 1.5 Gbps tier as an example of this as I couldn’t find an address where the 2.5 Gbps tier was available, but the first thing that should grab your attention is the upload speed which is a laughable 50 Mbps. Any of Bell’s Internet tiers will simply destroy this without breaking a sweat if a potential customer compares the two against each other. How Rogers can put this out there and try to sell it with a straight face is beyond me. The other thing that I notice is that they call this “Pure fibre to your home”. I find that unlikely to be the case given the upload speed. This sounds like Rogers existing cable infrastructure jazzed up to sound like it is competitive with Bell’s fibre to the home offering, when in actual fact it is not even in the same league.

What kills me is that Bell has had actual fibre to the home for five or more years now. Meanwhile Rogers fibre footprint is so tiny, it’s microscopic because I am guessing that they are trying to milk every last cent from copper cable that they can. That leaves Rogers at a significant disadvantage. At this point, Rogers really needs to suck it up and start rolling out fibre everywhere they operate, or just roll out DOCSIS 4.0 instead which may give them a fighting chance against Bell. And if somehow Rogers and Shaw manage to close their deal to merge, Rogers will face the same problem with Telus out west. The bottom line is that while this is a mildly interesting development, this does nothing to make Rogers more competitive with Bell in areas where the two compete against each other.

Nice try Rogers.

A Final Follow Up To Dumping Rogers And Moving To Bell… With Some Advice For Both Companies

Posted in Commentary with tags , on October 14, 2022 by itnerd

Let’s recap what’s happened when it comes to our move from Rogers to Bell.

After having an outage a week after the national outage in July, which was the latest in a string of Rogers outages this year that my wife and I have experienced with Rogers, we decided to move to Bell. Which turned out to be “entertaining” to say the least because of how aggressive their outsourced and overseas based customer service reps are. But in the end we got Bell installed. And because I never, ever use the telco supplied hardware to power my network for these reasons, I managed to get it working with my own equipment after taking two cracks at getting it done. In short, we are Bell customers. But there was still an outstanding item to deal with.

We checked our Rogers account and found that there was Rogers owed us money. $144.60 to be specific. We assumed that Rogers would send us a cheque at some point, but on the advice of a backchannel contact that I have at Rogers, we called into Rogers. And that’s when the fun, if you want to call it that began. My wife sent me a play by play over iMessage that looked like this:

I’ve redacted the name of the contact in question. But in any case, this seemed weird to me as I had heard rumours that Rogers had curtailed their retention activities during the pandemic. And what was weirder was that we were expecting a hard sell to try and keep us as customers, but we didn’t get it. The rep that my wife got after a 12 minute wait said that the account would be closed automatically now that we have returned the Rogers equipment. And that we would get our $144.60 via a cheque in four to six weeks. So I am not sure why getting this information required a trip to Rogers retentions, but this is the answer we were looking for. Though it took us a total of 25 minutes to get that answer which is a bit of a #Fail. And as for that “four to six weeks” part, that was closer to eight weeks based on the fact that the above conversation happened on August 14th and we didn’t get our refund cheque until October 12th.

Now over to Bell. Many people who have Bell services have warned me that Bell has a “habit” of overcharging customers, or customer having billing issues. And doing some searching on the Internet, I found some posts in a variety of places that support this view. But In my case, that didn’t happen. At least not so far. The price that I was quoted when I signed up was the price on the bill. So that was positive. Thus I set up Bell as a payee in my bank account so that I can pay them easily. And did so without any issues as they received my money a few days later. Making my first billing cycle with Bell a total non-event. And every other billing cycle since then has been a non-event as well.

As for outages, we had one due to a Bell employee doing something stupid. But other than that, there have been no issues with Bell.

To close this out, I have some advice for both Rogers and Bell. Let’s start with Bell.

My wife and I are customers of yours now. But only because you have the best Internet tech available for a lower price than Rogers. However your customer service needs some serious improvement as I’ve documented the tactics that your outsourced, overseas, and hyper aggressive customer service reps use. Those tactics don’t paint you as a company in a favourable light. You seriously need to look into that and make some changes as this is the sort of thing that will turn people off from dealing with Bell. Just like it turned us off from dealing with you when we tried to switch to Bell last year. In other words, if your Internet reliability degrades, we’ll likely switch because there’s nothing else that incentivizes us to stay with you. So if you want to retain us as customers, you’ll need to improve your customer experience ASAP.

Though, to be completely fair, here’s one area that Bell does much better than Rogers. I got this via email a couple of days ago:

I like the fact that they warned us via email about this upcoming outage due to an upgrade that they are doing as Rogers doesn’t warn their customers about this sort of work. When my wife and I were Rogers customers, we would find out that Rogers was working on something when the Internet went down without warning and I complained to Rogers either on Twitter or by phoning them. And then stay down for an extended period of time. All of that is not the way things should work and Bell clearly gets that. Now, I am guessing that this 10 minute outage is related to rolling out Bell’s new 8 Gbps service live in my area so that they can put one more nail in Rogers coffin. But I guess I will find out after the work is done and I will update you accordingly if I see anything that is worth reporting to you on.

Now over to Rogers. Beyond the national outage in July and the fallout related to that, Rogers has larger issues. Not the least of which is the fact that Bell is taking their breakfast, lunch and dinner by aggressively rolling out fibre and aggressively bumping up the maximum speed that Bell customers have access to. Which is something that I’ve documented in the past. Whether you actually need that speed or not (I say not) is a completely different discussion. But it does place Rogers on the back foot because the majority of their infrastructure is this mix of fibre in the backbone with a coax cable last mile which severely limits what they can do in terms of delivering Internet access that is competitive with Bell. So what that means is that beyond regaining the trust of Canadians by proving that they can be a telco that Canadians can rely upon, Rogers needs to quickly get to a place where they are competitive with Bell on a spec sheet because at the moment they are not in most places that they operate in. And coming out with press releases that talk about faster speeds which the majority of Rogers customers can’t get access to isn’t going to get the job done. Instead, Rogers needs to stop providing “fibre to the press release” and start rolling out fibre to the majority of their existing customers who have a copper based last mile connection to their network immediately. Just like Bell did several years ago when they went all in on fibre. If they do that, they have a fighting chance to survive. If they don’t, I am pretty sure that Rogers will be headed for oblivion in a few years as they will not be able to compete in any meaningful way against Bell.

Now I know a number of people who work for Rogers. They’re hard working and talented people who do their jobs well. And when I’ve called into Rogers for help on behalf of clients, the people at the other end of the phone have gone above and beyond. Take this for example where a Rogers rep went above and beyond to help an elderly couple get access to their email back after being hit by a scammer. Clearly Rogers have the people to pull this off. But the real question is do they have the will to do so at the C-level where these decisions are made? Or are the C-level types at Rogers trying to simply weather this storm and go back to business as usual and hope that most of their customers don’t do what we did which is switch to Bell? I guess we’re about to find out. And that starts with their Q3 results which will paint a picture of how much of a challenge they will have to regain the trust of Canadians. I say that because their Q3 results will show what their churn rate (the rate of people who leave a telco) is. My guess it’s going to be ugly as I suspect a whole lot of people left Rogers in Q3, but I am free to be surprised when it comes to that.

Rogers Is The Target Of An Email #Scam…. And It’s Pretty Lame

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on September 14, 2022 by itnerd

I have to say that this phishing email which was brought to my attention by a reader of this blog is one of the worst phishing emails that I have even seen. This specific one is aimed at Rogers customers and here it is (click to enlarge):

Let’s dive in. It’s playing on the fact that Internet Explorer 8, or “the old version (IE) 8” is not supported anymore, and it’s trying to get you to upgrade your browser by logging into their phishing site using your Rogers ID. It tries to get you to do this by saying that you have 48 hours to do so. Otherwise your access to your account will be “restricted”. Creating a sense of urgency is a common tactic in phishing emails of this type.

Where this email falls off the credibility cliff is that it says this:

Protecting your information is important to us and we work continuously to strengthen our security against the threats targeting our Financial Institution.

Umm…. While Rogers does own a bank, this is targeted at their Internet users and not their bank customers. So it’s as if the rocket scientist behind this scam couldn’t decide what they were targeting, or they didn’t sweat the details.

But just for fun, I decided to go down the rabbit hole to see what their phishing website looks like. And here it is:

You’ll note that at the top, the URL or website address doesn’t go to Rogers. It goes to square.site. Which means someone set up a website on the Square platform to pull this scam off. Though the existence of this site may be short lived as I’ve informed Square about this and I suspect that it will be taken down shortly. The next thing that you’ll notice is that I entered some text in the email account and password section. Another hint that this is a scam is that the password is not not masked, as in you can see it in plain text which is not how passwords fields work. I suspect that this is the case because clearly the scammers behind this are too stupid to know how to do that. But just for fun, I pressed next and got this:

At this point you are pwned, and the scammers are going to take over your email along with whatever websites are associated with that email. Be it bank accounts, Amazon, whatever. The thing is, this is one of the most poorly executed phishing scams that I have seen in years. While I am sure that most people would never fall for this, there are some that will. However, the fact that I am publishing this will mean that even less will fall for it. And now that I’ve alerted both Rogers and Square about this, nobody will be falling for this. In the meantime if you get an email like this, delete it and move on with your life.

Hopefully you’ve learned something from this. Even though this scam is pretty lame, dissecting how this scam works will help you to avoid more “interesting” ones.

Rogers Has An Ongoing Outage In Hamilton… And Customers Are Mad

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 10, 2022 by itnerd

The bad news for Rogers is that they have another outage that they have to deal with. This one is in Hamilton:

From what I have been able to figure out, the fire caused a fibre line to be cut near their office on Hamilton Mountain which took out Rogers services. But as you’d expect, Rogers customers are not happy:

Rogers is in a place where anything that goes wrong with their services is going to result in outrage and customers leaving. And the fact that it my or may not be their direct fault doesn’t matter. It truly sucks to be them and I have to wonder how wonder how many more hits they can take.

UPDATE: Rogers has posted this earlier this afternoon:

So it looks like they are making progress.