Is Quebec a Model for Wireless Competition?
A report from The Globe and Mail says to increase wireless competition in Canada, we could look at the model being used in–Quebec. The province introduced Bill 60 back in late 2009 which limited cancellation fees and ensured they were transparent for all consumers:
To end the abusive practices of the wireless triumvirate, Quebec imposed limits to the prohibitive termination fees, which cannot exceed the value of the handset subsidy and fall over time. Moreover, these fees need to be clearly identified in the services contract. And when wireless providers change the terms of their contract midway through, consumers can walk away penalty free.
Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador have followed suit like Quebec in implementing similar laws to protect consumers.
Has Bill 60 made a difference though? Based on the latest CRTC data on average wireless revenue per user (ARPU) in Quebec, telecom analyst Sophy Lambert-Racine from the Union des Consommateurs believes things have changed for the better:
The average monthly bill had gone down to $50.36 a month in 2011 from its peak of 2009 and is on par with where it stood in 2007. Quebec boasts the lowest wireless prices in the country, with an average bill that is 13 per cent cheaper than in Ontario and 49 per cent cheaper than in Alberta.
Wireless changes are coming with the CRTC soon to release its final wireless code. But with our newer wireless entrants up for sale and being eyed by the incumbents, will it end up making a difference?
What do you think about other provinces implementing consumer protection practices like in Quebec?