It's an option Canadians have long been hoping for: the ability to snag a new mobile phone in place of an old one without having to pay through the nose. But as with anything, there are a few catches with Rogers' new Handset Protection Guarantee Program.
First off, the free program, which affords either a new $0 phone or one at a subsidized price, is only available to a customer who's phone has been lost, stolen, or broken. In the former two scenarios, the customer can get a discount toward the purchase of a new or refurbished phone. Of course it's pretty easy to fake a lost device, so note that the program only applies to the first time this happens after the warranty period. Also note that replacements are only offered for devices that are less than 30 months old, which means you can't get a quick upgrade to that old clunker you've been keeping for the past decade (although you should apply for a standard replacement plan if you've had a phone that long anyway.)
In the event of a broken phone, customers out of their warranty period also have the option to repair the device at a discounted, subsidized price, which will vary depending on the handset and the damage done to it. Once the phone is sent in to Rogers, the carrier will assess the damage, provide a quote, and then, if the customer so desires, repair the device within 10 days.
In all three scenarios, customers with a contract that runs for at least 12 months can also opt for a $0 replacement device, of which, of course, there's a limited selection.
Rogers will also be offering courtesy devices to those customers who need to wait for a phone to be repaired or replaced. This can be arranged at a Rogers retail store. Customers can also discuss the Handset Protection Guarantee at a retail store, or by calling 1-888-ROGERS1.
Note one last catch: the program only applies to "eligible devices." However, judging from Rogers' list of such devices, it seems to include essentially any handset, smartphone, or PDA in the carrier's roster, as well as the Rocket-branded USB Internet sticks. Presumably, then, the program omits only netbooks, including the iPad. While the iPhone isn't explicitly noted in Rogers' press announcement, one can infer that it does qualify as a "smartphone," which is listed as a descriptor for a compatible device.
The program officially comes into effect on May 24, 2010.