Rogers' wireless data rates are so high that they've made Ted Rogers the 2nd richest man in Canada. But a new wireless data rate plan from Rogers may be the first sign of a move to be (slightly) more competitive.

Rogers has introduced a new, cheaper, plan for PC cards, those cell-phones-on-a-card that you plug into your notebook PC to give it wireless access to the internet. This may be a sign that cheaper plans for smartphones and PocketPCs are soon to follow; Rogers will have to act soon, since Bell has introduced a $7 unlimited browsing plan on their HTC Touch.

Previously, Rogers' plan for these wireless data cards was 1 GB for $65, with each additional GB costing a rapacious $1000. The base price hasn't changed, but now you won't be bankrupted if you happen to go over that limit. Instead, you'll just pop up to the next, lower-priced, pricing tier. Here they are:

  1. Tier 1: $65, includes 1 GB (i.e. $65/GB), if you go over the limit, you move up automatically to Tier 2
  2. Tier 2: $75, includes 2 GB (i.e. $38.75/GB), if you go over, you move up automatically to Tier 3
  3. Tier 3: $85, includes 3GB (i.e. $28.33/GB), if you go over, you move up automatically to Tier 4
  4. Tier 4: $100, includes 5 GB (i.e. $25/GB), if you go over, you pay $30 per additional GB
Rogers old & new wireless-card rates

Since you automatically move from one tier to the next, and the rates get cheaper at each succeeding Tier, there appears to be no reason to sign up for anything more than Tier 1. Whereas the old plan cost you basically $1000/GB for anything over the 1st GB, the new plan actually costs less the more you use it, up to 5 GB. Even after that, your total bill will only increase at the modest rate of $30/GB.

Rogers appears to envision even cheaper rates on the horizon, judging by how they want to lock you into this new plan. Cancellation fees on this data plan are quite steep -- up to $400. Always read the fine print on pricing plans.