TORONTO -- The hysteria around bringing Apple Inc.'s iPhone to Canada has hit a new high -- or a new low, depending who you ask -- after a Quebec-only beer contest mistakingly offered the much-heralded device as a prize and incorrectly indicated that it would run on the Rogers Wireless network.
Molson Canada's contest for its Molson Dry "Twist and Score" promotion stated that the device will be available beginning January 2008 on the Rogers Wireless network and valued it at $800.
Not so, says Molson Canada spokeswoman Marie-Helene Lagace.
"The information published in our rules and regulations for our promotion turned to be mistaken," she said. "There seems to have been a misunderstanding with our agency."
The rules of the contest, which is only available in Quebec, said iPhone would also not come readily equipped with a "Rogers network subscription or any other charges related to its usage."
The reference to Rogers also isn't accurate, says Rogers Wireless spokeswoman Odette Coleman, who added that the company is the "absolutely not involved in a contest" for an iPhone.
"This is news to us," she said. "We heard the news this morning and said 'What?'"
Ms. Coleman said that Molson representatives called Rogers later Wednesday afternoon and notified them they will be pulling the website down until further notice.
"It's speculation," added Ms. Coleman "We don't have an agreement or are participating in a Molson Dry contest."
Apple's popular gadget has been one of the most successful consumer products since its launch in the U.S. last May. It sells for US$399 for a 8GB model and has sold more than 1.34 million units to date.
Apple has launched the device in the U.S. and parts of Europe, neglecting Canadians clamouring to get their hands on the "Jesus Phone" as it's affectionately been dubbed by its fans.
If Canadians want the device, they would have to travel to the U.S., purchase the device at an Apple Store or an AT&T dealership and unlock it using third-party applications.
Amit Kaminer, a telecommunications analyst with the SeaBoard Group, says a iPhone launch through a promotion should be taken with a grain of salt until an announcement from either Apple or a carrier is officially announced.
"The first time we heard [an iPhone in Canada] was from Holt Renfrew for $799 with a leather case, but nothing was announced," said Mr. Kaminer.