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Canadian Android Carrier Forcing Firmware Update

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the monopoly-rents dept.

Cellphones 238

Wolfier writes "For wireless carrier Rogers in Canada, it seems that 'Customer Safety' only becomes a concern after months of neglect. Rogers is the only GSM carrier in Canada and so the only choice for Android users. Months ago, a customer called Rogers to report a firmware bug that was preventing users from making 911 calls under certain circumstances, and informed the carrier that Google had fixed the bug (recording of that call). But Rogers is only doing something about it now — namely, cutting data access of paying customers until they accept a mandatory firmware upgrade that not only fixes the 911 problem, but also contains 'extra' features that prevent users from ever gaining root access to their phones — even non-subsidized ones. And some phones are also getting bricked by this 'official' update. The moral: we really need to open up the competition here up North."

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238 comments

GSM Providers (4, Informative)

Denis Lemire (27713) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913518)

Rogers is no longer the only GSM carrier. At the end of '09 Telus and Bell launched their own GSM networks. So counting Fido (owned by Rogers) there are now four Canadian GSM based carriers.

Re:GSM Providers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30913528)

Actually, that number goes way up because Telus and Bell were added to the mix.

Bell owns Solo and Virgin while Telus is supposed to be the owner of Koodoo.

Re:GSM Providers (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30913550)

Wrong.

Bellus deployed their HSPDA network for 3G, which works across all 3G enabled phones. They still each maintain a CDMA network for regular service.

I couldn't take a Bell or Telus Blackberry and expect to use it on Rogers unless I used their HSPDA network.

Re:GSM Providers (2, Insightful)

Denis Lemire (27713) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913606)

Of course they still maintain their CDMA networks. It's not like they were going to pull the plug on all their existing clients in order to upgrade to GSM. A modern unlocked GSM phone will work just as well on Rogers/Tell/Bell now (assuming you could find such a thing). ie) The iPhone runs on Telus and Bell, let's not pretend Apple made a CDMA version just for Telus and Bell.

Your point stands that a CDMA based Telus or Bell Blackberry (as per your example) purchased prior to their new deployment will not work with Rogers but their legacy gear is irrelevant to this discussion, no?

Re:GSM Providers (4, Informative)

Nermal6693 (622898) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913694)

A GSM-only phone will not work on Telus/Bell. The new network is WCDMA/UMTS-based and does not have a 2G GSM component.

They do (2, Informative)

Jon.Laslow (809215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913756)

I unlocked and sold a Rogers iPhone 3G to a friend who's using it on Telus. Works perfectly.

I got rid of the iPhone to due to Rogers network problems in my area with that model. Guess what kind of phone I got? Here's a hint: It starts with HTC and ends with Dream. I just can't win.

Re:They do (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30913954)

The iPhone 3G is not a GSM-only phone. It is a GSM/UMTS phone.

Re:GSM Providers (1)

ChodaBoy (97144) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913792)

However, the Dream and Magic are both 3G phones and therefore work with Bellus' HSPDA network. I know this because I'm currently using an HTC Dream from Rogers on Telus. I broke my contract with Rogers a couple months ago because the Edge coverage Rogers has in my home town does not perform as advertised and they have no current plans to upgrade to 3G here

That's no problem here since Telus' 3G+ coverage is better than Rogers' Edge.

Re:GSM Providers (3, Informative)

litui (231192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913860)

As long as the 3G phones support the correct frequencies, they will work on both networks.

Telus: 850/1900Mhz
Rogers: 850/1900Mhz
Wind: 1700Mhz

So between Telus and Rogers 3G will be compatible, but phones that also support EDGE and GPRS will not work on Telus in those modes as they lack the legacy infrastructure.

Re:GSM Providers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30913564)

You forgot Wind Mobile, and Dave Wireless

Re:GSM Providers (1)

Jonavin (71006) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913620)

Can't really count DAVE until they launch and that's not even their brand that they plan to use.

Re:GSM Providers (3, Informative)

ChodaBoy (97144) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913798)

Wind is only available in Metropolitan areas in the east right now so it's not an option for any of us in the west. At least not yet.

Re:GSM Providers (3, Informative)

Jonavin (71006) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913598)

If you're going to count Fido as separate network (really a MVNO), then you might as well count Koodo , Solo and Virgin Canada as well. And technically Bell and Telus and their MVNO doesn't have a 2G GSM network, just a 3G UMTS/HSPA network.

You'll also need to include WIND Mobile too if you're counting 3G networks. Although they currently don't carry any Android devices, they are the only ones with T-Mobile US devices and Nexus One users (imported from US).

Out of all these, only Rogers (Dream/Magic/LG) and Telus (Hero) are carrying Android devices. The other networks are all capable of using imported devices by activating SIM accounts.

Re:GSM Providers (1)

anethema (99553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913618)

Just to expand on what the AC said, most notably Wind Mobile is expanding in a few markets and all the newcomers are in the AWS band, which is the same as T-Mobile in the USA.

While Wind does not yet offer any of their own Android phones, there have been reports of people with Nexus One's etc working fine on their network.

Re:GSM Providers (5, Informative)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913888)

Note: The networks you're mentioning from Telus and Bell are UMTS only, with no 2G GSM support at all. Won't matter in 5-10 years, but just a heads up.

The problem people don't really seem to get about mobile pricing and "competition" in Canada is that it really is a system with only two sides Rogers and Telus/Bell. Telus and Bell themselves barely compete as their pricing structures are nearly identical beyond minor differences, which makes sense given their Network Sharing Agreements [www.bce.ca] .

Fido is effectively the WestJet of our carriers, cherry picking the majority of their clients within high population density areas [www.fido.ca] , which did make them a competitor within the major cities and a large portion of the market until about 2004 when they became wholly owned [wikipedia.org] by Rogers.

Some people may mentioned the MVNO's Koodo and SOLO Mobile not realizing that Koodo is effectively a slightly lower margin Telus [wikipedia.org] , and Solo Mobile is Bell [wikipedia.org] (down to the same exact 'customer service' tools, except I believe Solo CSSR's are primarily through Canadian based subcontractors only).

Given these details, you see we have effectively two sides only. Two sides which somehow magically conviced everyone in the country that it makes sense for them to have doubled the price (two-sided billing) of per usage SMS's from 15c to 30c a piece. Two sides that maintain suspiciously close pricing that tends to vary only by small amounts for specific cases. Two sides that maintain a consistent CHURN back and forth between the two sets of groups generating Long Term Contract Charges and a variety of fine print charges so that when One is considered the evil, users switch to the other (with similar THEY ARE THE WORST rants concerning the business model in either case, rogers OR bell). The only reason it works is that the worst things only happen to a low enough percentage for each carrier that after they ragequit and go to the other side, its unlikely for it to happen again to the same person (post 90 day billing errors that are considered valid so long as client wasnt able to ask the right question to a CSSR before the 90 days was up thanks to the Consumer Protection Act [HAH], defective merchandise that is considered not covered under warranty but still generated a contract with a valid LTCC charge if cancelled [*cough*AUDIOVOX*cough*], etc).

The long and short of it is Telco companies have us by the short hairs up here in Canada. Heres hoping WIND Mobile takes off, but given that they only launched in friggan December, i cant have an opinion quite yet.

Re:GSM Providers (1)

Some1too (1242900) | more than 4 years ago | (#30914032)

I couldn't have said it better. Hopefully with the recently opened new market/competition we'll begin to see some short term changes. I've worked in the industry and still have several friends in both of the large carriers. I'm still mad at Bell for their throttling; I was hoping for a stronger response from our government (and people) regarding the issue. Cheers,

Re:GSM Providers (2, Informative)

samurphy21 (193736) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913938)

Agreed. If the issue was that you can only get an Android phone via Rogers, then

http://www.telusmobility.com/en/NS/htc_hero/index.shtml

http://www.bell.ca/shopping/en_CA_ON.Samsung-Galaxywith-Google/69236.details

There's at least two other nation wide carriers looking to do business with you, right now. Ones who have proper coverage in Eastern Canada, unlike Rogers, in many non-metro areas.

Rogers is terrible (5, Informative)

Merritt.kr (1120467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913524)

I run CyanogenMod on my Rogers HTC Dream, and it has apparently had the fix for this issue for 5+ months. Yet I am still cut off from data access, they keep insisting I install their update.

Re:Rogers is terrible (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30913608)

Call them and threaten them with lodging a CRTC complaint and small claims dispute if they don't comply. Tell the CRTC now.

Re:Rogers is terrible (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30914132)

I'm not saying that you shouldn't do this, but the CRTC itself is a sad state of affairs. Full of corrupt members at the Telco's beck and call. For sure we should keep filing complaints, but my hopes that anything will be done about it are nil.

Re:Rogers is terrible (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30913786)

Call Technical Support (not the regular csr's) and ask for a Network Refresh. Turn your phone off and on, and you're good to go.

Re:Rogers is terrible (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30914150)

Pull the battery out!

Re:Rogers is terrible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30913898)

call support and ask for a 'network refresh', they'll forward you to a higher level technician that can do that, reboot your phone shortly afterwards & you're good

Uhm, I thought it was open? (3, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913536)

I thought the one of the battle cries that Android fanboys wave at the iPhone fanboys was that it was open and you weren't locked into running what the provider wanted, you had root on your own device and they can't take it away ... Turns out they can force remote updates and lockout root?

Gonna be lots of pissed off fanboys, this should be a nice calm discussion ...

Re:Uhm, I thought it was open? (4, Informative)

MorderVonAllem (931645) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913566)

According to the summary they're not remote updating but cutting off access if you don't update the firmware - a bit different. Though I didn't RTFA as it's just a forum...

Re:Uhm, I thought it was open? (5, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913572)

Yea, I'm a douche, I didn't even read the entire summary apparently.

Re:Uhm, I thought it was open? (5, Informative)

Heretic2 (117767) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913952)

You just have to fake your Android version to appear to be the version they're looking for. If you look through the forum threads linked in the story the exact method is there. I will put it here for convenience:

adb shell reboot recovery
***Wait for Magic to boot into recovery***
adb shell mount -a
adb shell
cd system
ls
***look for your build file, will be build.prop or build.sapphire.prop most likely***
CTRL-D ***to quit the shell***
adb pull /system/build.prop ***or whatever it was called***
***make a backup copy and edit the file***
adb push build.prop /system/build.prop
adb shell reboot

The actual changes you need to make to the file are:

ro.build.description=3.05.631.7 CL#118917 release-keys
ro.build.changelist=118917
ro.product.ua=
ro.build.fingerprint=rogers/htc_magic/sapphire/sapphire:1.5/CUPCAKE/118917:user/release-keys
ro.build.display.id=DRC92 3.05.631.7

Once you reboot your Magic, you should see the changes in Settings->About Phone under "Build Number".

Call into Rogers and get then to reset your network and you should be good.

Re:Uhm, I thought it was open? (1)

smash (1351) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913890)

i'd rather have a remote update, than end up with a phone that doesn't make/receive phone calls and fulfil the operational requirements sold to me on the spec sheet.

Re:Uhm, I thought it was open? (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913578)

Google is to Apple as Rogers is to AT&T here; this is the carrier being evil. On the iPhone it's both. Of course, you can just jailbreak your iPhone so I don't see a huge difference either way.

Re:Uhm, I thought it was open? (2, Insightful)

CNeb96 (60366) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913652)

I thought the one of the battle cries that Android fanboys wave at the iPhone fanboys was that it was open and you weren't locked into running what the provider wanted, you had root on your own device and they can't take it away ... Turns out they can force remote updates and lockout root?

Gonna be lots of pissed off fanboys, this should be a nice calm discussion ...

No the battle cry was that you could install any userland app you wanted without asking anyone's permission like Apple's app store but that app would still need to conform to the android API for apps, which AFAIK is java like and doesn't give the app any low level access. The fact that it runs on Linux is near irrelevant to users (since they don't give you or apps native access) but I suppose it would make it easier to port the whole OS to new hardware platforms.

Re:Uhm, I thought it was open? (3, Informative)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913730)

Android doesn't come with root. It comes with the ability to install your own apps without having to jump through some lame "app store" or other technical/political hoops.

Re:Uhm, I thought it was open? (1)

adbge (1693228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913784)

It's the difference between all iPhones being locked and some Android phones being locked by Rogers.

Or:
ALL ELEPHANTS ARE NAMED PHIL, ERGO EVERY PHIL IS AN ELEPHANT.

Some phones are more open than Android (5, Informative)

MobyTurbo (537363) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913846)

I thought the one of the battle cries that Android fanboys wave at the iPhone fanboys was that it was open and you weren't locked into running what the provider wanted, you had root on your own device and they can't take it away ... Turns out they can force remote updates and lockout root?

By comparison, Palm not only has root available on all their WebOS phones, it is provided by Palm's SDK itself and not by an unsupported hack that can be closed later at the carrier's or device maker's discretion. CEO Jon Rubenstein has even publicly praised the Homebrew community, who's efforts are encouraged, and they've promised not to close developer mode.

Maemo, from Nokia (N900, Nokia Internet Tablets) is even more open in a way; not only you have root, you have essentially a little Linux computer with all that implies; this is due to it's UMPC heritage, it originally wasn't really a smartphone OS. (Though it's a little easier to hack the apps for WebOS with "patches" because they're just JS/HTML5 text files, except the new native apps. :) )

Really, although Android has Linux, among the Linux-based phone OSs, it is probably the most closed.

Rogers is not the only one anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30913548)

Rogers is not the only GSM provider in Canada now, Bell and Telus have turned up a combined HSPA network, and there is also Wind, and others coming on stream soon.

How ironic (1)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913570)

Rogers finally gets off their collective duff, and fixes a potentially life-threatening bug.

Within weeks of the GSM hack being published.

Is there anything Rogers gets right? Or are they currently the most abusive monopoly Canucks have to live with?

Re:How ironic (4, Insightful)

dubbreak (623656) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913638)

Is there anything Rogers gets right? Or are they currently the most abusive monopoly Canucks have to live with?

While I agree rogers sucks, they aren't a monopoly. Canada does have a problem with cell providers though. There has to be collusion between the cell companies, that's the only explanation for the ridiculous rates canadians have to put up with. I've had a cell phone since '98 and comparable plans have not gotten cheaper since then. I've been on all the major canadian carriers as well and while coverage is acceptable now it still sucks. Best coverage and cost I ever had was in Vancouver with Fido before they were bought out by Rogers.

"High speed" internet is the same thing. It costs the same as I was paying in the 90's and I had better bandwidth then (no upload speed caps, much more consistent DL speeds). If I want higher upload rates I now have to pay a premium for them to up the cap. Awesome.

Re:How ironic (1)

Doggabone (1025394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913732)

Is there anything Rogers gets right? Or are they currently the most abusive monopoly Canucks have to live with?

While I agree rogers sucks, they aren't a monopoly. Canada does have a problem with cell providers though. There has to be collusion between the cell companies, that's the only explanation for the ridiculous rates canadians have to put up with. I've had a cell phone since '98 and comparable plans have not gotten cheaper since then. I've been on all the major canadian carriers as well and while coverage is acceptable now it still sucks. Best coverage and cost I ever had was in Vancouver with Fido before they were bought out by Rogers. "High speed" internet is the same thing. It costs the same as I was paying in the 90's and I had better bandwidth then (no upload speed caps, much more consistent DL speeds). If I want higher upload rates I now have to pay a premium for them to up the cap. Awesome.

Replace "abusive monopoly" with "corporate fucktards" and you've got a near-perfect sentence. I'd sooner go without than go with Rogers for any of their services. (Thank goodness I found TekSavvy!) Collusion isn't needed when competition is light, and so far competition has been light - and between two companies known for marketing on B.S. more than competitive pricing or services.

Re:How ironic (1)

TikiTDO (759782) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913948)

They are most certainly a monopoly, just not a cell phone monopoly. At least in Ontario they are the only cable provider. Of course they also offer discounts all of the services they provide if you get bundles, so while they may not be a monopoly in all markets, just the fact that they are in one is already a big problem.

Re:How ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30914078)

I guess all those customers of Cogeco cable in Ontario will be really upset to learn their cable provider doesn't exist.

Re:How ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30914082)

They are most certainly a monopoly, just not a cell phone monopoly. At least in Ontario they are the only cable provider. Of course they also offer discounts all of the services they provide if you get bundles, so while they may not be a monopoly in all markets, just the fact that they are in one is already a big problem.

Rogers is not the only cable provider in Ontario! You must be from Toronto.......

Cogeco, mountain cable.....

Re:How ironic (1)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 4 years ago | (#30914106)

Maybe it's a collusion, or maybe it's simply because the market is not saturated yet, so the carriers are in no rush to compete for customers because there always are those who don't have a phone yet.

I suspect when the saturation gets higher (which is happening), customers will switch carriers more aggressively (which is also happening). The hope is that after a year or so, the prospect of having anything like a collusion would make less sense than going all out and compete - because they'll hopefully be running out of new customers that don't require much effort to entice.

Re:How ironic (1)

JobyKSU (1071830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913978)

Or are they currently the most abusive monopoly Canucks have to live with?

No - that would be Telus. The area of Alberta where I lived - a new landline waiting list was over 2 years. Well, that was when a time was quoted or you weren't told unequivocally "no." Customer service is a joke.

Now, after moving to Toronto, my experience is vastly different. Rogers is giving me 10mbs at home for prices comparable to what I paid in the US, respectable speed and 6gb tethering with mobile... 50 mbps available (if you want to pay). Plus, a healthy bit of competition has the major companies (Rogers, Telus, and Bell) competing for subscribers with phone, mobile, TV, and internet packages - and a corresponding increase in quality of customer service here.

It all comes down to location when dealing with these corps in Canada.

Security Updates... now with push support! (3, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913580)

On a closed system, the company behind the system should be able to push updates, especially when there's a security or safety risk involved.

But Google is claiming this is an "open" smartphone... and under this scheme it's usual that the user control when to upgrade.

What a contradictory situation this brings up...

Re:Security Updates... now with push support! (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913742)

Obvious solution: cell networks shouldn't be closed systems in the first place.

Re:Security Updates... now with push support! (2, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913850)

The user does control when it gets updated. They just lose other things and get annoyed to all hell and back until they upgrade.

Happened to my wife... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30913602)

Fed up with the barrage of "URGENT" text messages & direct calls from Rogers staff, my wife decided to complete the update (mostly just to stop the harassment). A failed download from the Rogers website, and a second attempt later - welcome to a bricked Android. Rogers now pays the price by mailing us a replacement. Wonder if they'll try to pass this cost on to HTC, or worse... Google?

Re:Happened to my wife... (4, Informative)

smash (1351) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913910)

Well, if the design of the device allows itself to brick due to a failed download, then perhaps HTC or google SHOULD wear the cost. Totally different issue to requiring the firmware update - your issue is that the android update process on your HTC phone is broken.

open means closed for cellphones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30913604)

I guess the only truly open phone is the Openmoko Freerunner. There are so many "open-source based OS" out there but the whole point is lost because you can't install your own version - there are lots of restrictions and locks to prevent you from doing that too. You are forced to accept the cellphone manufacturers' and operators' crap.

Re:open means closed for cellphones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30913698)

Google Dev Phone 1 and the un-subsidized Nexus One have no such restrictions.

Re:open means closed for cellphones (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913842)

OpenMoko is open if by open you mean unusable and useless. Seriously give up with the OpenMoko crap, it failed, no one actually gives a shit outside of a small portion of the tech community.

Re:open means closed for cellphones (1)

daveb1 (1678608) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913964)

Probably. I don't know SHR is fairly usable. The problem is that call quality has always been bad. However, openmoko isn't a very good "phone".

Re:open means closed for cellphones (1)

MobyTurbo (537363) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913856)

I guess the only truly open phone is the Openmoko Freerunner. There are so many "open-source based OS" out there but the whole point is lost because you can't install your own version - there are lots of restrictions and locks to prevent you from doing that too. You are forced to accept the cellphone manufacturers' and operators' crap.

Maemo and WebOS are more open than Android, but they also have non-open-source components. OpenMoko is very open, but it's also very primative, it's essentially a feature-phone OS at best, not a smartphone OS; which is a pity. So it's really not much of an option.

I wonder (1)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913626)

Is this phone sold as a truly 'open' phone, and does it state in the fine print you may alter the software as you wish 'at your own risk' of course. Because if it does since Android is considered an open phone, then this is a violation of the products sold upon description and would now put it as false advertising. Anyone have any of these phone and can check if it does state anything along those lines?

Anyone heard of the CDMA Android phones? (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913646)

Android is available on both GSM and CDMA phones. You don't have to have a GSM carrier to get a phone running Android.

HTC Hero, HTC Drois Eris, Motorola Droid, and the Samsung Moment are all CDMA Android phones.

I understand most of the CDMA Android phones are locked to specific carriers, and that could be an issue. If your carrier can't get a phone, that's a problem between the manufacturer and the carrier. It's not a CDMA vs. GSM issue that a particular carrier is refusing to secure your OS of choice.

Re:Anyone heard of the CDMA Android phones? (2, Informative)

Jonavin (71006) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913738)

In Canada, the CDMA carriers (Telus, Bell) don't allow foreign CDMA handsets. So you couldn't import an unlocked Verizon DROID for example.

However, as of late last year, nearly all carriers now also have a UMTS/HSPA network (aka 3G GSM), including the new ones like WIND Mobile. They are all capable of using foreign handsets with compatible bands (which means AT&T or T-Mobile compatible depending on the network).

There actually isn't any CDMA Android devices in Canada. Telus does, however carry the UMTS/HSPA version of the HTC Hero. WIND Mobile can use all T-Mobile US Android devices including the Nexus One. Bell can use whatever Rogers and Telus offers.

The statement from the article "Rogers is the only GSM carrier in Canada and so the only choice for Android users" is completely for this reason.

Contract breaking? (5, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913664)

Considering that Rogers isn't giving you data service anymore, a service that you pay for, could this be used as a way to break out of the contract?

After all, they refuse to provide the data service, they're not holding up their end of the deal, and you're paying for a service you cannot use.

Hell, at least call them and demand a credit for service not provided. Or move the SIM card to an iPhone and demand they activate the data service.

It's not like the data comes with the plan - you're free to buy any voice plan with a data plan.

Re:Contract breaking? (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913762)

You are probably not a lawyer. IANAL. Anyone who wants to break his/her contract should consult a real lawyer, who will in turn consult the contract and determine whether this is feasible. Contract might contain language like "Rogers reserves the right to suspend access to The Services under X circumstances... [You can't break the contract just because] Rogers has suspended Your access to The Services...[etc]".

Re:Contract breaking? (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30914002)

That's not very useful advice, considering that the cost of a lawyer will probably be more than the cost of EITHER just paying the remaining contract, OR breaking it and paying some sort of penalty. So consulting a lawyer is the worst possible option, worse than asking on Slashdot and taking the resulting advice, even if it turns out to be wrong.

Re:Contract breaking? (1)

CraigoFL (201165) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913768)

You and I might see the logic in the argument, but I doubt there's much legal leg to stand on even if you cared to try and fight it. They're not "refusing to provide service", they're "requiring an update" for a problem which happens to (somehow) conflict with an essential (911) service. Install the fix, and you're back in action, so they're not denying you much at all. All of this will be covered under the Terms of Service I'm sure. I doubt any judge will go for the "they should be doing better than they are" argument.

Re:Contract breaking? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913828)

Yea, except you signed a contract that states they are allowed to require certain things like compatible software. So you are in fact the one refusing to comply with the terms of the contract.

Do you even read the contract you sign?

Re:Contract breaking? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30913944)

Rogers is automatically crediting 1 month data service because of this issue.

What?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30913668)

Wait you want competition ? (capitolism) ? Who would thought you need that when you a government sponsored program

Re:What?!? (-1, Flamebait)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913710)

Um, you don't need a government sponsored program. If you look, nearly every abusive monopoly starts by misusing public funds given to them. I highly, highly, highly doubt that Rogers uses no public funds for their network. Government regulation is only needed after the government screws something up, that is the case in almost every single monopoly.

Re:What?!? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913812)

If you look, nearly every abusive monopoly starts by misusing public funds given to them.

I'm sorry but doesn't that make them government sponsored, since the government distrbutes those funds.

Always Nice (1)

hduff (570443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913670)

Always nice to see a company exhibit such care for their customers and not be evil/greedy/stupid. Oh, wait . . .

Guess it's the iPhone for me ... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913688)

If I'm going to be locked in anyway, at least I might as well get the free black turtleneck.

Question is, what gives Rogers the right to force people who are PAYING for their phones to require them to update. You don't get the phone for free - a portion of your monthly cost goes towards paying the phone. The phone is YOUR property, not theirs. Try canceling before your term is over, they'll hit you with $20 for each unused month to pay for that phone.

Re:Guess it's the iPhone for me ... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913848)

If I'm going to be locked in anyway, at least I might as well get the free black turtleneck.

If you join (at the paying level) Apple Developer Connection [apple.com] , you get a black T-shirt.....

Turtlenecks are only for important folk.

GSM is not HSPDA, Telus does not have GSM. (3, Informative)

starbugs (1670420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913714)

GSM is 2G
Telus has HSPDA (or commonly called HSPA).
No GSM-only phone will work on Telus or Bell.

Many new 3G phones can use Both, so an unlocked phone can be on either network by just switching sim cards.
Besides having the same Tech. The phones must also support the specific frequencies used by that carrier.
Many European 3G phones will not work in North America.

It is rumored that Telus will get both the Milestone [engadget.com] and perhaps even the Opus one [cellphones.ca] this year.

Re:GSM is not HSPDA, Telus does not have GSM. (1)

Jonavin (71006) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913764)

In any case all of Roger's Android devices does have 3G bands that will work with Bell and Telus. Telus also carries its own HSPA version of the HTC Hero.

So the article is wrong that Rogers is the only choice for Android in Canada, even if you ignore the fact that most Android devices that work on US networks will work on one or more of the HSPA networks with a SIM activation.

Re:GSM is not HSPDA, Telus does not have GSM. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30913806)

I think you mean HSPA, which has HS-DPA and HS-UPA components, but they are all grouped as HSPA

Re:GSM is not HSDPA, Telus does not have GSM. (1)

starbugs (1670420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913960)

I think you mean HSPA, which has HS-DPA and HS-UPA components, but they are all grouped as HSPA

Yes, I meant HSDPA, not HSPDA.

Does Telus have HSUPA as well?

Concealing device id/type/abilities? (2, Interesting)

gehrehmee (16338) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913716)

Is there any practical way to conceal the details of the device from the carrier? To prevent the carrier from knowing the ID#, model #, or software details of the phone, beyond the identifying numbers on the SIM card?

As far as I'm concerned, if I own the hardware, I should be able to do what I want with it. All the service provider should care about is the SIM card to which they provide service.

Re:Concealing device id/type/abilities? (1)

litui (231192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913950)

So far, we're not altogether sure of what's being scanned for exactly. If it's a message the radio is sending out on connection to the network with a radio version, it'd be very difficult to intercept.

There's been suspicion it's just the build version, but build patches haven't proven themselves to work (it's been tried).

Re:Concealing device id/type/abilities? (1)

litui (231192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30914000)

I'll add that there has been some luck fooling it by installing the CursorSense 1.2 mod, which is based on the Mandatory Update itself and reports the same or similar versions of just about everything.

Personally, I'm not that keen on switching mods unless I absolutely have to, though I do rank it as a better option than going with the mandatory update firmware.

On top of all that... (5, Informative)

CraigoFL (201165) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913734)

The user-applied fix isn't available for Mac or Windows 7 users. Those users are required to call into the Rogers tech support line to get the fix.

I did that, and had to wait on hold for over 30 minutes while the phone support waded through the (expected) deluge of calls. When I got through, I was told that I could either:

  • Go to a Rogers store to get the fix
  • Have a micro-SD card shipped to me (3-5 biz days wait) that contained a fix. (I don't know why they couldn't offer the fix for download).

I stopped in the Rogers store to get the fix. I waited for about 20 minutes while the customer support people (calling them "techs" wouldn't be accurate) installed the fix software on their in-store computers. Then I was told that the fix would wipe my phone. Did I have a backup? I said no; I haven't been able to find any evidence of Rogers-capable phone-sync software that works on my Mac (it's all Windows only). The store person offered to make a backup there, but after doing so he said that it only backed up my contacts, not my apps or settings (IMO the important parts). I walked out hoping that the SD solution will be better, but at best, I'm locked out of my wireless Internet service for 3-5 days.

It's hard to imagine how Rogers could have made this process worse.

open doesn't mean do what ever you want (1)

gbelteshazzar (1214658) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913770)

i think people are misunderstanding what open really means in the case of a mobile phone platform. the software on it may be open but you have to connect it to a controlled infrastructure where the controller can make you do what ever they want...

Re:open doesn't mean do what ever you want (1)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913822)

but you have to connect it to a controlled infrastructure where the controller can make you do what ever they want...

Except, in this case the controller is not just making me do something on their network, but also intruding into my phone and modifying my software stack.

Re:open doesn't mean do what ever you want (1)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913878)

Not true. You are completely able to simply refuse and not update. If you wish to continue using their service however, you must update.

Just because you own the device doesn't mean you have an unalienable right to use it on their network any way you chose.

Android fanboyism (-1, Troll)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913794)

Android fanboys never had a solid reason to claim that Android is more open than iPhone. Sure, it runs (modified) Linux. But that doesn't imply openness.

Re:Android fanboyism (1)

nrgy (835451) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913884)

I know one thing that is open, I can buy a multitude of phone types from different manufacturers.

Appstore purchases are transferable to another device, save for the other device running a version of the Android operating system the application in question supports.

The appstore while currently not having as many applications as Apples, does include many that Apple would simply never allow to be sold.

You don't have to be a fanboy to see that in certain aspects the Android is more of an "open" platform.

Re:Android fanboyism (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913942)

Android fanboys never had a solid reason to claim that Android is more open than iPhone. Sure, it runs (modified) Linux. But that doesn't imply openness.

Well I won't call myself a fanboy since my phone is a Blackberry, but Android is the most open phone platform out there. Name another successful platform for which most of the source code is freely available,whose bug database is publicly accessible and accepts patches?

Re:Android fanboyism (1)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 4 years ago | (#30914028)

Name another successful platform for which most of the source code is freely available,whose bug database is publicly accessible and accepts patches?

Maemo? Openmoko?

Re:Android fanboyism (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 4 years ago | (#30914066)

Name another successful platform for which most of the source code is freely available,whose bug database is publicly accessible and accepts patches?

Maemo? Openmoko?

Maemo is a good one, only on one phone so far though. Openmoko is a joke. (And I have a FreeRunner... running Android)

Ruh roh.. (1)

adbge (1693228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913808)

Damsel: Help me, please! My husband is having a heart attack!
911: This call cannot be processed until you upgrade your phones firmware. For more information, press 1. To speak with a technician, press 2.

but... (1, Troll)

smash (1351) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913864)

Apple is evil, and android is open!

Wait... what?

Re:but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30914094)

Well it's not Android that's the problem. It's the service provider. By my estimate it's better than my situation.

Me: Apple sucks and AT&T sucks. 0/2

Them: Android is great and my provider sucks. 1/2

Ahh Rogers.. (1)

loconet (415875) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913882)

For those interested, there are further discussions here [androidforums.com] and here [androidforums.com] .

In my case, I use Linux exclusively so this weekend I had to hunt down a Windows XP box (since it doesn't work on 7) that I could use. There was no way I was going to trust
the clowns at a Rogers store nor wait for the SD card to get shipped.

As much as I like Android and the whole concept of an open mobile platform, there is still a lot of work [loconet.ca] to do in terms of letting all members of that mobile ecosystem know who is resposnible for what. The entangled mess that is the mobile industry in Canada will be a challenge.

Thanks to Rogers' constant habit of sticking their stinky paws [androidforums.com] in the ROM to customize it with their useless icons (amongst other things), "supported" upgrades to Android devices such as the HTC Magic and HTC Dream are VERY difficult. Part of the reason Rogers was even able to release the fix so quickly was because a vocal group of us has been pushing Rogers and HTC to stop this nonsense and letting us upgrade - I'm sure work had already gotten started. I am curious about what would have happened if Rogers and HTC had continued with their no upgrades plans [androidforums.com] .

I didn't update and I have internet (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30913926)

I received text messages last week warning of the cutoff and forced update.

I called Saturday afternoon and politely asked the CSR if I'd receive any consideration for running an unaffected 1.6 ROM and have made a few 911 calls. Apparently the guy made a note. I asked for his name and ID number and hung up. Next day neither of the phones had internet, so I called up and sang the same song to the this CSR; he insisted that I had to update, I explained that I'm not affected and being asked to install an earlier revision of the ROM is hardly an update. He said all he could do is "reset the phone" when we hung up. He asked me to restart my phone when we hung up and when I did, my 3G signal was back and has been back since.

I've been getting texts to update, though.

but but !! (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30913932)

micheal moore has told me all about how wonderful canada is and how all it's government control and regulation has made it a paradise!!

Re:but but !! (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 4 years ago | (#30914130)

I think you're confused. His movie was called "Roger & Me", not "Rogers & Me" and it wasn't about the Canadian wireless industry.

I stand corrected (5, Insightful)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 4 years ago | (#30914020)

Thanks for letting me know Rogers is no longer the GSM monopoly here. Here is some more background information and more of my opinions below.

The bug was, when GPS is turned on, calls to 911 can crash the phone. This bug was fixed in Android 1.6 and subsequent releases, which came out months ago. However, Rogers stated that there'd be no 1.6 updates to their customers (contrary to what Magic users in other countries can do).

Data for all Dream/Magic users went down on Sunday, and will remain down until the update is applied. The reason for data shut down is that, apart from shutting down GPS, which a carrier cannot do remotely, shutting down data is also a work-around for the 911 call issue - so, this way it's guaranteed that 911 calls will always succeed from the moment they activated the block, thus, covering their ass from potential lawsuits.

What's on the update:
1. The 911/GPS crash fix in the main firmware.
2. HTC's new Sense UI made for 1.5.
3. New radio firmware
4. New bootloader firmware

#1 is the only necessary part to fix the 911 issue. #2 is of dubious usefulness to users, especially if it requires a full backup, that Rogers claimed can be done with "3rd party software" - but the software that can fully back the phone up are all root-user-only. How ironic.

#3 and #4 are out of pure user control so customers can no longer unlock or root or run custom firmware. I have no complaint if it's for subsidised phones. However, unsubsidised phones (i.e. those we have paid a full price to buy) are also forced to update, even for people who run custom firmware that *already* has the 911 issue fixed.

So we're given 2 carrots (911 fix and Sense UI) and 2 big sticks (useless control freak firmware updates).

My opinion is, they could have rolled out a fix sooner - if a lone hacker can do it in his spare time, I'm sure a major wireless carrier can do it - the sooner the better, because there are people whose life might be at risk.

Instead, Rogers probably spent a lot of time testing the unnecessary parts of the fix (Radio firmware and Bootloader), and also testing their totally useless "add-ons" (branding, partner bookmarks, unremovable links to Rogers Shop, "Ringback", Ringtone purchases, etc.) - without wasting time testing these unnecessary parts that provide negative values to their customers, especially those using unsubsidised phones, I imagine they could have rolled out the fix sooner - even for only ONE day, and putting less of our lives in danger. In my opinion, it's putting profits higher than customer safety.

They say they cannot support rooted phones, but people are not asking for support. They're only asking to get the service they have paid for - "service" meaning usable bandwidth. Somehow these carriers or some backwards-thinking PHB inside still think they can provide something more than bandwidth, and forcing these extra "services" to unsubsidised phones somehow seem to have a priority even when customer safety is at stake.

Re:I stand corrected (1)

loconet (415875) | more than 4 years ago | (#30914118)

However, unsubsidised phones (i.e. those we have paid a full price to buy) are also forced to update, even for people who run custom firmware that *already* has the 911 issue fixed.

According to this post [androidforums.com] , for rooted phones with the 911 fix, you can call Rogers and have them restore your data. Are they not doing that anymore?

Re:I stand corrected (1)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 4 years ago | (#30914156)

According to a lot posted on forums, no, they're requiring *everyone* to upgrade (or for those who already have the fix on unsubsidised phones, downgrade).

Apparently they're not doing network resets anymore. I had to social engineer a bit to get mine done.

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