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Sunday, July 06, 2008, 02:55 pm PT (05:55 pm ET)

Apple allegedly sanctioning Rogers for iPhone rates

After raising the ire of its customers with what are believed to be overly expensive iPhone 3G plans, Canadian provider Rogers Wireless is allegedly being punished by Apple with fewer shipments.

Blogger Daniel Smith claims multiple sources, including a senior Rogers representative, claim that Apple has diverted a significant amount of its initial iPhone 3G Canadian deliveries to Europe in retribution for the carrier's steep rate plans, which at similar prices offer a third fewer minutes and limited data compared to AT&T.

Stores may be getting just 10 to 20 iPhones each and are being told to "exercise caution" not to promise ample stock on launch day, according to the rumors.

At the same time, Rogers is also claimed to be promptly firing the part-time staff that had been hired to handle an expected deluge of customers at some stores.

With the story breaking on the weekend, neither Apple nor Rogers officials have commented on the allegations. However, the provider in recent days has faced a steadily mounting backlash against its planned rates with approximately 42,000 would-be iPhone buyers signing a highly-publicized petition for lower rates that they plan to deliver to Rogers in person.

Rogers itself has already made an about-face regarding some of its plans. A statement issued to the press clarified that customers will now be able to pick and choose from separate voice and data plans as well as to order extras such as caller ID a la carte rather than as part of mandatory $15 and $20 value packs.

A separate statement from Rogers has also alluded to "tweaking" data plan sizes, although it stops short of offering the unlimited data demanded by some of the company's critics.

While readers should take caution in accepting the rumor at face value, at least one other carrier has been forced to loosen its Internet access restrictions after facing similar criticism: TeliaSonera has been pushed into extending its Swedish iPhone plans with an unlimited data option after previously giving even its highest-end iPhone plan just 1GB of data per month.