CRTC Receives Only 500+ Entries Over Wireless Code Consultation

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According to the CBC, the CRTC commission created to hear input from Canadians on setting up a wireless code has only resulted in over 500 responses from a pool of 27 million cellphone users:

The commission is expected to issue a draft code by the end of next month, after which a second round of online consultations will be launched. Public hearings are also set to begin in February.

More than 500 people made submissions to the online forum, a small fraction of the 27.4 million wireless subscribers in Canada, which account for 78.2 per cent of households — an increase of six per cent from 2011.

We previously told you about the CRTC’s plans to hear from Canadians back in mid-November. Some examples of input received was related to three year contracts in Canada and also the lack of competition when it comes to wireless:

The vast majority of wireless users have contracts with the big three carriers — Bell, Rogers and Telus. Those three were at the centre of the most submissions about a lack of competition in Canada’s wireless industry.

“Where is the competition? These plans are all the same,” read one submission below a chart showing wireless plans being offered by the big three.

In his submission, NDP consumer critic Glenn Thibeault said “Canadian consumers continue to be saddled with higher than average costs for wireless services as compared to other OECD countries.” He emphasized how three year contracts here go beyond the typical lifespan of heavily used cellphones. In the USA, only two year contracts are required for full iPhone 5 subsidies whereas they are at three years in Canada.

It’s not hard to see how Canadian companies are often accused of price fixing when it comes to plan pricing. An example would be the similarities seen in terms of pricing and features with recent unlimited plans from Fido, Virgin Mobile and Koodo. When one company makes a move, another quickly follows. Expect more submissions to the commission as their first draft code will be ready for public feedback in January of 2013.

What do you think should be included in a national wireless code?

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • i find it hard to believe it was only 500 submissions, there must be some criteria or something that they are excluding some. 500 just about no competition i believe. or maybe people really don’t know about it

  • Gavin

    I’m sure they put no effort onto actually letting those 27 million wireless user know this was even happening. The CRTC has NO interest in the wants and needs of the citizens it “serves”.

  • Yeah that seems way too low. I mean the CBC news article alone generated 250+ comments.

  • guest

    “It’s not hard to see how Canadian companies are often accused of price fixing when it comes to plan pricing. An example would be the similarities seen in terms of pricing and features with recent unlimited plans from Fido, Virgin Mobile and Koodo. When one company makes a move, another quickly follows.”

    This is the opposite of price fixing. These are competitive forces moving to drive the price lower.

  • Guess

    How about 3 years contract

  • Vcr23

    Maybe if it had been advertised more, a lot more opinions would have been heard.
    Oh wait, was there more collusion going on to prevent the public of knowing this was going on in the first place?

  • einsteinbqat

    That day is not coming any time soon.

  • guest

    so when all the other carriers immediately move to match when the first carrier introduces a two-year contract term, that would likewise not be regarded as price fixing. just because they are matching doesn’t mean they are colluding. also, i’m all for short contract terms, but there’s something to be said about the unique nature of the North American (esp Canadian) market, where population density is not very high, especially over such vast geographic expanse.

  • guest

    the carriers are the ones requesting a national wireless code. such few responses is probably in their interest.

  • I entered my submission and one of my complaints was locking of phones. This decreases the value because it lowers buyers pool. Or spend money to unlock. This should be an illegal practice

  • pure4

    There is also something to be said about the profit per user margins (esp Canada) that are the highest in the world. Yes that’s right Canada has the highes profit for cell phone companies in the world.. This fact takes into account the population density not being very high.. so your argument is BS! Who cares if the populatin is over a vast geographic area if the big three still make tons of profit.. that means that their up front cost are not that high after all.. they’re ripping us all offf.. WAKE UP

  • pure4

    The 500 submissions are probably due to their lack of advertising any of this to anyone.. Way to go CRTC.. but the thing is that a sample of 500 submissions is probably a representative sample of the overall complaints that Canadian consumers have.. Heck statistically speaking even 20-30 submissions would probably be a representative sample. So yeah they don’t need more.. we’ll see what happens.. if the CRTS really is in bed with the big three….

  • Jon

    Not true. Price fixing by definition is to match the price of all competitions so as to not allow the consumer a competitive choice in price. The fact they are matching each other in a downward spiral doesn’t mean it is competitive forces, it merely shows they’ve been ripping consumers off from the very beginning. If Fido suddenly figured out how to cut costs for its customers, how is it Koodo suddenly figures it out in less than24 hrs? Answer: they’ve been gouging from the beginning, not cutting costs.

  • winnertakesteve

    You can sure bet that ill be submitting to the next round, and pestering all my friends to do the same. Especially if whatever is put forward in January doesn’t address any of these concerns.

    To me the 36 month contract is the most obnoxious. I tried to get a new phone one week ahead of my contract ending. They didn’t even bring up penalties, they just flat out wouldn’t allow it.

  • crosseyed_mofo

    if it was two years ago id agree with you, but in fairness to the crtc (even typing this just feels wrong) jean pierre blais appears to be siding on the consumer moreso than the previous heads

    look at their decision regarding bell and astral and it gives me hope

    cynical hope

    but still hope

  • Tom

    Which country has the best data plan prices? I heard Hong Kong was pretty competitive.

  • guest

    I’d be curious to see what these numbers for average profit per user look like, especially compared to other countries in the developed world. So far, all I can find is average revenue per user, and as you so astutely pointed out, comparing the profits per user would factor in the costs of investment in infrastructure. Average revenue per user would not account for costs and expenses. Can you direct me to a source?

  • Metromiller

    Gary, when the next round of consumer input is being accepted, please post a thread/article to let your regular readers know. I promise that I will partake this time around!

    Thanks!

  • Will do!

  • pure4
  • pure4

    AND ALSO:


    Canada’s big three far outstrip global peers in margins and monthly revenue”

    SOURCE:
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2008/09/04/tech-profit.html