New Rogers service lets customers control access to wireless ‘cookie jar’

The same week the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS) criticized wireless service providers for doing a poor job of notifying consumers about their data use, Rogers Communications Inc. has released a new tool that allows customers to monitor their current data usage by logging into the company’s mobile app.

Released Thursday, the new MyRogers feature allows whoever pays the bill on a Share Everything plan to set data limits for each user, while also giving them licence to add, subtract, or buy additional data with a few taps of their phone.

The affected parties, meanwhile, are notified of the changes but can’t do anything about it.

“The analogy I always use is a cookie jar,” Rogers CEO Guy Laurence told reporters on Oct. 6, picking up a full jar.

“You start the month with this amount of cookies, and… by the time you’ve got to the 18th of the month you’re doing this,” he said, exchanging the full jar for an empty one. “And if you’re the bill payer, which I am in my family, you then turn around to the kids and you go, ‘okay, who had the cookies?’ And you get no takers for that question.”

Instead, aggrieved parents call Rogers customer service, he said, with the company receiving 1.5 million calls regarding data usage every year.

In fact, a recent company survey discovered that 89 percent of parents wanted control over how much data they and their kids were using.

“They understand that everybody wants to use data,” Laurence said. “‘It’s not that I resent buying it, it’s not that I don’t understand it’s going up, it’s just I want to be control.'”

The new tool, he said, represents Rogers’ willingness to pass its control of data usage onto the customer, allowing them to determine the size of the cookie jar, so to speak, and the number of cookies everyone actually receives.

Using the tool Share Everything subscribers can not only set data limits from the MyRogers app, but also customize alerts for each person. Should a Share Everything member reach their data alert threshold, that member and the bill payer are both notified with a text message, after which the bill payer can choose to do nothing and continue letting the other member use data, allocate additional data from another member, buy more, or switch it off entirely and at the beginning of the following month, turn it back on.

“Let’s say you take a stereotypical family, and… one of them has been spending more time watching videos on Facebook instead of doing their school work,” Laurence said. “One swipe of the switch and you can then turn [their data] off. That person is then notified they have no data until the end of the month.”

“Let’s say they come home with good grades the following day,” he continued. “You can switch that data back in a nanosecond, and it notifies them that they’re back on.”

Additional data will cost $15 per GB or $7 for 300 MB, Laurence said, the current fees paid by existing Rogers Wireless customers.

The data management tool is now available through the MyRogers app on Android, iOS, and desktop. For more information, visit Rogers’ website.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Eric Emin Wood
Eric Emin Wood
Former editor of ITBusiness.ca turned consultant with public relations firm Porter Novelli. When not writing for the tech industry enjoys photography, movies, travelling, the Oxford comma, and will talk your ear off about animation if you give him an opening.

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