TORONTO — Rogers Communications is using one of Apple’s newest smartphones, the iPhone 8, as a bargaining chip as it seeks to get customers to sign up for select service plans over the busy holiday shopping period.In a limited-time offer announced Thursday, Rogers began advertising an iPhone 8 with 64 megabytes of memory for $0 if customers sign up for a two-year plan that costs at least $2,280 before taxes over the contract.That amounts to about $95 a month for a plan that includes 300 local voice minutes, one gigabyte of regular data and two bonus gigs. Additional features would push the monthly fee higher.Wireless competition heats up as Big Three telecoms chase rival with $60 deal‘There is no escaping it’: Are telecom companies to blame for our smartphone addiction?Wireless carriers can’t keep up after weekend price-cutting promotionWhile it’s normal for carriers to offer older phones for little or no money to entice customers, it’s less common for a newer phone like the iPhone 8 to be available for $0.“I think it’s a change in market dynamics,” IDC Canada mobile products researcher Manish Nargas said Thursday.He pointed to a revised federal code of conduct, which went into effect Dec. 1, that requires carriers to sell unlocked mobile phones — making it easier for consumers to switch to another network.“Now when you’ve got into a situation where everything’s unlocked and everybody’s on equal playing ground, you have to create new ways to resonate with the consumer,” Nargas said in an interview.“You might be paying $0 up front, which is great for the consumer, but it does tack on a sizable amount to your monthly bills.”Nargas noted that, last weekend, other carriers followed Rogers after it and its Fido brand began offering $60 per month big-data plans until Monday or Tuesday — an apparent answer to a Freedom plan announced a few weeks ago.As of Thursday afternoon, Telus and Bell hadn’t matched the Rogers iPhone 8 temporary price cut. They were promoting $0 offers for Samsung Galaxy S8 and S7 smartphones and some older Apple phones.Rogers hasn’t commented on its most recent pricing moves, but its executives have said the company competes with Freedom on price but has advantages in terms of network, distribution system and customer care.“Freedom still has a ways to go in terms of having a network that competes with us and with the other two large players,” Rogers chief financial officer Anthony Staffieri told an industry conference on Dec. 5.Shaw’s Freedom — which has its network primarily in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia — wasn’t able to carry the Apple 8s and newer iPhone X until this month.By contrast, Apple’s iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 plus have been available from Rogers and the other major Canadian carriers since September and they’ve been selling the iPhone X more than a month longer than Freedom, which has had to upgrade its network this year to carry the Apple products.Last weekend’s price war spawned significant negative social media feedback for Telus, Rogers and — to a lesser extent, Bell — when their customer service phone and chat lines weren’t able to keep up with demand.
The Athabasca communities (Canada), Cameco Corp and AREVA Resources Canada have signed a collaboration agreement that builds upon an enduring partnership in the development of uranium resources in the Athabasca Basin.The Ya’Thi Néné (“Lands of the North” in Dene) collaboration agreement confirms the continued support of the communities historically and traditionally associated with the Cigar Lake, McClean Lake and Rabbit Lake uranium mining operations.The comprehensive and unique agreement builds on the existing relationships and commercial arrangements between Cameco, AREVA and the three First Nation communities of Black Lake, Fond du Lac and Hatchet Lake, and the four communities of Stony Rapids, Wollaston Lake, Uranium City and Camsell Portage.Diane McDonald, lead negotiator for the Athabasca communities: “The renewed partnership agreement gives the Athabasca communities certainty, to help ensure that the companies operate sustainably, bringing positive changes for the future generation.”Tim Gitzel, President and CEO of Cameco: “By working with industry, people living in the north have found ways to enhance the capacity and vitality of their communities while protecting their traditional values and lands. This agreement assures that strong partnership will continue.”Vincent Martin, president and CEO of AREVA Resources Canada: “This agreement further solidifies our longstanding collaboration with these communities. It speaks to our joint vision and commitment to the prosperity of northern Saskatchewan for decades to come.”The Ya’Thi Néné collaboration agreement builds on the existing impact management agreement signed in 1999. The new agreement is structured on five pillars of workforce development, business development, community engagement, environmental stewardship, and community investment. Terms of the agreement include commitments to:Workforce DevelopmentContinue the hiring preference for residents of the Athabasca communities for the Cigar Lake, McClean Lake and Rabbit Lake operations and the establishment of employment targets in consultation with communitiesContinue providing career awareness programs and scholarship funding for community residentsBusiness DevelopmentContinue preference for community-owned businesses in meeting the service requirements for Cameco and AREVA operations and develop new opportunities in specific areasCreate a business advisory committee to ensure strategic discussions take place and business targets are achievedCommunity Engagement and Environmental StewardshipEstablish new structures, in consultation with communities, to engage and inform the Athabasca residents on environmental and operational matters related to the Cameco and AREVA’s operationsSustain and enhance the community-based environmental monitoring program currently overseen by the Athabasca Working GroupProvide annual funding to support the Ya’Thi Néné Land and Resource Office which will serve as a point of contact for the companies on environment-related mattersCommunity InvestmentCameco and AREVA will provide annual production-based payments to a community-administered trust to be used for initiatives that promote the health and well-being of residents, address housing needs, preserve language, culture and traditional practices, improving community infrastructure and generate education and economic opportunities for residents.The agreement will remain in force until the existing Athabasca Basin operations of Cameco and AREVA are decommissioned.Cameco is one of the world’s largest uranium producers, a significant supplier of conversion services and one of two Candu fuel manufacturers in Canada. Its competitive position is based on a controlling ownership of the world’s largest high-grade reserves and low-cost operations.AREVA in North America says it “combines Canadian and US leadership to supply high added-value products and services to support the operation of the nuclear fleet. Globally, AREVA is present throughout the entire nuclear cycle, from uranium mining to used-fuel recycling, including nuclear reactor design and operating services.”