Report: Canadian Consumers Not Seeing Benefits From Wireless Industry Competition

In a new report this week, the Canadian Press indicates that Canadians feel they are paying too much and have too few choices when it comes to mobile phone, Internet, cable, and satellite service.

The information comes by way of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, a group that provides legal and research services on behalf of consumer interests, including those involving the provision of important public services.

In regards to Canadian mobile, Internet, and television services, Michael Janigan of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre says that “in most services, we lag international models in relation to price and choice.”

Canadian consumers are reportedly still frustrated with the Canadian wireless landscape, even though the industry has been deregulated and recently restructured to allow more competition with the new wireless entrants, such as WIND Mobile and Mobilicity.

Janigan further indicates that, among wireless being a cash cow for the industry, it has been “enormously” profitable for Rogers, Bell, and Telus, which control the majority of the market.

All kinds of benefits were promised to consumers in terms of lower prices and better deals on packages. None of that came to pass.

Janigan’s report also details that the average monthly cellphone cost in Canada, which includes voice, text and data service, is approximately $67.50. This amount is a large price to pay when compared with similar services in the USA for $59.99 and $32.40 in the United Kingdom.

Of course, the wireless carriers disagree with this report, as Telus spokesman Shawn Hall calls the report “self-serving mythology,”

The fact is that urban Canadians enjoy the benefits of one of the most competitive telecommunications industries in the world. Canadians have access to a dozen or more options for their wireless, home phone and Internet services, while rural Canadians are not far behind that.

However, there is some accuracy to Hall’s comments, as recent offerings from Telus, Bell and Rogers have included various “unlimited” options. The new wireless entrants have also reduced prices marginally in some areas, while keeping prices the same but increasing available features in other areas.

While the Public Interest Advocacy Centre does not specifically recommend more regulations for the Canadian telecom industry, the group does see benefits in “establishing fines and a licensing system for all Canadian carriers with enforceable codes of conduct.”

Janigan further indicates that “…Across the range of telecommunications services, whether it’s Internet, wireless, wire line or cable, there’s a similar problem. There are…deficits in the competition that exists in that industry, which are not remedied by universal rules or price ceilings. Despite new wireless companies, the Canadian industry still suffers from concentration.”

Janigan’s 218-page report is called “Waiting for the Dream, the Consumer brief for Telecom Reform 2010.” The report will be given to the federal government and a copy will also reportedly be given to the CRTC.

On the surface, this seems like the classic consumer versus telecom industry that we have all been apart of for many, many years. So what do you think of Janigan’s report?

[Canadian Press]

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  • Tminus85

    I think the report is great, but definitly wont do fuck all to lower my cellphone bill.

  • Fragilityg4

    I find it funny that Shawn Hall says “Canadians enjoy the benefits of one of the most competitive telecommunications industries in the world” since they were also singing that same lame song before the government sold the spectrum to new entrants.

  • Megs

    The reason consumers feel this way still is that new entrants seem to only be serving a small proportion of the population in big cities, if you live outside Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver then you pay sky high prices from these new entrants. As well unlimited options tend to be limited time only or under certain conditions forcing consumers to take a mouldy old bone when the giants feel generous. For true competition we need to break down the traditional business laws and allow genuine competitors to flourish. The recent announcements by Rogers, fido and telus about unlocking phones will go a long way towards encouragin true competitiveness. And allowing consumers some freedom of choice.

  • S3c0nd4ry

    Love it.

    I’ve worked for all the “major” three. They just suck all the money out of consumers that they can. Bell is particularly bad with not having any remorse even for the most retarded of charges (mostly those damn internet sticks).

    The regulators need to see what is actually going on, not just pass off complaints that are thrown left right and center. Rogers, Telus, Bell, be the first to clear your name and become the reasonable one out of the three selfish giants.

  • Paulitos

    We should all get together and start a facebook page where people can complain and discuss issues they may have with the big three providers and maybe if enough people join, it might open there eyes a little bit…after all it’s the wheel that squeeks that gets oiled.

  • Cjlee9

    The big three overall does’nt care about the competition such as Wind, Public etc. Until the CRTC does something ( highly unlikely ), we the consumer wil continue to pay the piper.

  • Gerry18

    I just started on. It’s “Cellphone Rates Too High In Canada” lol. Hey, you never know. It may catch local news eye’s really.

  • Gerry18

    It’s ridiculous paying such amount for any cellular bill, especially for people who has smartphones. I had a contract renewal and I was able to convince Fido to match what Roger’s had. I got a fully loaded plan just for $55/mnth and if I haven’t, I’d be paying and extra $10. You just have to play it smart when you can to get the rate you want to pay.

  • VOuch

    The big 3 seem to almost have the same prices for everything
    Coincidence? I think they have laws in free countries on price fixing but after recent years there is no such thing as democracy or freedom it seems we are being ruled by autocrats who bend to big business and ignore the masses last time I looked the rest of us were responsible for the largest portion of our GDP when r we going to get together and do something about this and stop being so apathetic we can elect a government who looks after the people stops draining us of our money and protects us from wrong doing right now I don’t see it all I see is some stroking with no finale and I’m tired of it

  • Oms

    Umm, to say we are paying a high price compared to the Americans when the difference is only $7 isn’t really that bad. The real problem is that 3rd year contract.

    Also I’m sorry but as much as people think it isn’t a big deal, the sheer size of Canada that needs to be covered does factory in what we pay. A country like the UK can get away with a lot less towers and infrastructure then we have to in Canada. Take the UK and place it over Alberta and it will only cover about 1/4 of Alberta;s land mass. Yet Alberta has to essentially be covered with towers top to bottom left to right with few exceptions. Yes The UK has a much higher population density but the beauty of GSM towers is that they are able to handle very large numbers of calls coming through before they fail, and simple addition of much less expensive repeaters over more towers alleviates this problem. Does this warrant a cost of a bit more then double, probably not, but for us to say we should have equal or less rates is just plain stupid. Clothes cost more in the UK then they do hear, as does gas, food and many other things…are British ppl up in arms about that? Which in some cases is a life necessity, no! A cell phone is a privilege not a right, welcome to capitalism, if you dont like feel free to move someplace else. You don’t like what Rogers, Telus, and Bell charge well then you have koodo, fido, virgin, wind, mobilicty (yes 3 are owned by the big 3 but koodo offers the best system for getting a phone out there, a BB for $150 and a $50 unlimited plan with caller id and vm) People need to learn to be better consumers and stop blaming corporations for doing what they are specifically MANDATED TO DO, EARN A PROFIT. They could give a shit if you don’t like their prices, you clearly haven’t decided with your wallet so why should they? It’s called supply and demand, inelastic goods and services and elastic goods and services.

  • oms

    Hahaha, i have a bell blackberry i got from work and i was having a problem with my sim card, they said it was defective and I would need to buy a new one for $10, i told them it’s silly that 3 months into my phone i should have to pay for ur defective product to be fixed and they simple told me, well its $600 to cancel, have a good day. worst service ever

  • The only way to get a more fair price it to get retention. Funny it seems they come rare for most people, but everyone i know has a very great retention plan. I have one with Telus and Rogers.

    How bad do you want to save money? be willing to fight lol

    But i do agree with the reports, and I support them

  • Eason_1108

    everything just getting more and more expensive, you ever see the price actually goes down for the past 10 years?
    just hope they won’t increase the price even the economy is going up

  • MGC

    I’m ok with the prices. Like Oms said, it boils down to the 3 year contract. Bring it down to 2 years with full discounts on phones and I’ll be happy.

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