How Rogers ‘Email to Text’ Just Plain Sucks

There’s an update to this story , posted June 2, 2005.

Although I bought a Sony Ericsson T610 mobile phone primarily to take to Europe, I thought I’d use the opportunity to also activate the phone on Rogers mobile network here in Canada.

Activation was easy: I just phoned Rogers, gave them the serial number of the phone and the serial number of the Rogers SIM card I’d purchased retail in Ontario, and the phone was activiated within an hour.

One of the things I use mobile phones for most is their ability to receive text messages via email. I’ve been using my Island Tel Mobility phone in this way for many years, and it’s hooked up to our network monitoring system here at the office so that I get “paged” in the event of problems. Although historically the Island Tel network has had reliability problems, these seem to have been largely cleared up as of late, and the system works well for me.

I was eager to try out Rogers system for doing the same thing. Every Rogers phone comes with its own email address: [email protected] (where you replace the Xs with your area code and mobile number). So I sent myself off an email and waited for the T610 to jangle news of its arrival. Here’s what happened:

Rogers Email to Text Message Service Insanity Photo

Rather than actually just sending me the message, Rogers sent me a “you’ve got mail” message, to which I needed to reply to get the actual message sent to me.

This is insane.

It’s insane because it means a complicated extra step must be taken for every email received — perhaps trivial for one message, but when a network problem happens I often get 10 or 15 email messages.

It’s insane because although Rogers doesn’t charge for incoming text messages, they do charge for outgoing ones, so to be able to retrieve an email message I have to pay Rogers 15 cents.

And those two things together make it doubly insane because the network resources that Rogers used to send the “you’ve got mail” message could have simply been used to send the actual message in the first place.

And finally it’s just another depressing move by a mobile company that doesn’t “get” that their phones will be used by more people more often if they build an open, flexible network that lets others build useful applications on its functionality rather than trying to replicate the “walled kingdom” of land-line telephony without wires.

I emailed Rogers about this “feature” and received this reply:

In response to your inquiry, our new email to text service, unfortunately, it is not possible to remove the alerts to receive your message, below, we have added the link to our website for the details on this program.

This isn’t a great problem for me — I just won’t continue to use the T610 in Canada once my initial “pay as you go” time with Rogers is used up. I just hope that my friends at Aliant don’t decide to move in a similar direction.

  • Telephony


I’m just about to try out Telus Mobility’s text messaging.

My text messaging with Verizon in the states works when roaming on other networks in the US; but not when roaming in Canada, on Bell or Aliant.

However, now I can finally dial out in Canada while roaming which I could never do before. My phone used to just accept calls while roaming (mostly in PEI) in Canada. If you wanted to dial out it went into the enter your credit card jungle — which I actually did once and it worked but what a pain and it was like $3 a minute.

I updated my roaming list (*228) before I left the US on this trip to Canada and am very glad I did. My new ability to dial out while roaming in Canada (on Bell CDMA) means a lot to me because now I don’t really need to equip one of my two phones to service with Telus or Aliant, that phone is just occasionally used and it will be one of PEI’s few Verizon subsribers roaming at $1 a minute.

However, my main phone has dual NAM — one Verizon, one Telus. Both prepaid. I am just about to buy the $5 for 100 messages good for 30 days from Telus.
I’ll let you know how it works.