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Telus: Canada Should Be the Most Expensive Wireless Country in the OECD

Telus has responded to my post on the 2013 OECD Communications Outlook, which ranked Canada among the most expensive countries in the OECD for wireless services in virtually every category, with its own post claiming that Canadians should be celebrating our relatively high prices. The post notes the investment that Telus and other companies have made in Canada (Peter Nowak explains the reason behind much of that investment) and argues that:

When you consider our enormous investment, challenging geography, sparse population and outstanding networks Canada really SHOULD be the most expensive country for wireless service in the OECD, but we’re not. That’s a great success story we should be celebrating.

It is a testament to how out-of-touch Canada’s incumbent wireless providers have become that they think Canadians should be celebrating the fact that we are not the single most expensive wireless country in the developed economy world.  Telus says that scratching below the surface of the OECD report will lead people to conclude that Canadians pay about the same as other developed countries. Yet in its own chart, Canada ranks among the more expensive countries within the G7 in every category but one.

Interestingly, days after Telus promoted the OECD report with a press release and quotes from CEO Darren Entwistle claiming that Canadians “pay about the same prices as people in much more densely populated countries”, it now says the OECD methodology is “limited.” The OECD data relies on sample plans from Telus, Bell, and Rogers for its analysis. Telus also adds that pricing alone does not tell the whole story, noting that different prices may reflect different speeds.

To address their concerns about methodology and suggestions that rank do not tell the whole story, below are two of the key baskets from the OECD pricing comparisons that used Telus costs. Moreover, I have eliminated any country that does not match the Telus speed according to the OECD data. In other words, this is the OECD comparison of Telus pricing against providers in other countries offering comparable speeds. First, a 1 GB data plan with speeds of 40 Mbit/s or more:

Rank Country
Provider
US$ PPP
Speed (Mbit/s)
1 Norway Netcom 8.51 80.0
2 Slovenia SI.mobil 11.75 42.0
3 Poland T-Mobile 11.83 42.0
4 Korea KT 12.29 40.3
5 Greece Cosmote 16.13 42.2
6
Canada
Telus Wireless
31.83
42.0
7 Japan SoftBank 33.20 42.0

Second, a 500 MB data plan for tablets with speeds of at least 7.0 Mbit/s or more:

Rank
Country
Provider
US$ PPP
Speed (Mbit/s)
1 Denmark Telia 5.65 80.0
2 Ireland Meteor Mobile 8.15 14.4
3 Poland PlusGSM 8.28 42.0
4 Norway Netcom 8.51 80.0
5 Turkey Avea 8.82 7.2
6 Hungary Telenor 9.41 7.2
7 Luxembourg Tango 9.63 7.2
8 Italy TiM 10.67 14.4
9 France Bouygues 11.09 42.0
10 Switzerland Swisscom 11.68 7.2
11 Slovenia SI.mobil 11.75 42.0
12 Greece Vodafone 11.86 42.2
13 Germany E-Plus 11.95 7.2
14 Korea KT 12.29 40.3
15 Czech Republic Vodafone 12.72 21.6
16 New Zealand 2degrees 13.16 7.2
17 Spain Vodafone 14.99 21.6
18
Canada
Telus Wireless
17.70
7.2
19 Japan SoftBank 33.20 42.0

This is the data provided by the OECD using Telus as representative of Canadian pricing: the 2nd most expensive of 7 countries for 1 GB of wireless data (at speeds Telus customers are likely to receive) and the second most expensive of 19 countries for 500 MB of wireless data for tablets (again at speeds Telus customers are likely to receive). Telus apparently believes the fact that we rank 18th out of 19th countries in this OECD sample is a great success story.  Based on recent comments, it does not appear the government shares that view.

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37 Comments

  1. Adam Bell says:

    A License to Print Money
    Starting long ago with Cable TV networks, the CRTC fell for the sparse population line and allowed high prices and very awkward bundles. The cable companies are now owned by very rich men. Then came Internet over cable; again at high prices relative to other countries even though all the last mile infrastructure was in place and paid for. Adding Internet requires some switching infrastructure but in the last mile it’s just another channel. For those used to telephone modems it seemed worth it to get 1 up 10 down. We didn’t know any better. Then came cable telephony bundled with TV and Internet. That wireless voice and data services rank among the highest priced in the world doesn’t surprise me at all — it’s why I have Wi-Fi only iPods and iPads and it’s why I have a dumb Doro phone with no data plan. I regard the lock-in time plus local and roaming pricing for iPhone telephony and data ridiculously expensive — that’s why I don’t own one. I have strong it’s a rip-off instincts, I guess.

  2. David Collier-Brown says:

    Are they arguing costs, perchance?
    While I have no love for any of the phone companies, I do note that I live in a country that’s extremely wide and high, but most of whose citizens live close to the southern border.

    Providing wired phone service to the thinly-populated area that make up most of the country was famously expensive, even more so than the U.S., which also has some large, thinly-populated states.

    I fear that the costs of providing cellular service may have the same undesirable distribution!

    –dave

  3. Like most Canadians I have an irrational love for beer and hockey and I also enjoy bashing the banks, airlines and phone companies. But Mr. Geist keeps missing the point. When you consider that many of the countries we are compared to have vastly inferior wireless networks, seeing that our cell phone prices are near the middle of the pack is actually pretty damned impressive.

    Sure, I could move to Norway, a country with roughly the same population as Toronto concentrated mostly in a half dozen medium sized cities, and find slightly lower cell phone rates but that would be more than offset by having to endure Norway’s notoriously high tax rates that suck up 41% of their GDP.

    I have spent a fair bit of time in Europe and just like Canada, everyone who wants a cell phone has a cellphone. But unlike Canada, Europeans have multiple SIMs (accounts) and many of their phones have multiple slots for SIMs. But the desire for those multiple accounts is driven a variety of prepaid promotions offering different daytime, evening, and roaming prices that we simply don’t have a need for here.

    And regardless of what anybody says, Europeans love to bash their banks, airlines and phone companies just as much as we do.

  4. More OECD
    Canada also has the highest disposable income of the top chart. Slovenia and Poland are not even in the top 25 while Greece in 22nd at about 30% less than Canada.

    The fact that things are priced higher where there is more disposable income should not come as a surprise but the fact that everyone wants to compare apples to oranges should. Please re-present your data using numbers that are relevant to each other; how much of my disposable income goes toward my cell phone bill compared to a Slovenian or Pole?

  5. Everyone Has Their Take on It
    @Steph: have you lived in Norway or just “read” about their apparently “high” taxes? One interesting fact is they do pay what seem to be high income taxes. But after that everyone gets the same benefits not like our “progressive” system where the more you pay, the less you get – unless you have a overseas”tax haven” account.

    Secondly, the cities are remote from each other but are connected by frequent high speed electric trains. The cities them selves are carved up by ridges with tunnels through them. Amazingly, there are radiating cables which transmit, not only icing warnings to special car radios, but also telephone signals. Much of the main roads through Oslo, the capital, are tunneled under the old town and harbour. No impediment to cell signals but certainly challenging.

    Thirdly, Norwegians love to go hiking on government provided mountain trails throughout the country. The government provides hostels as well. I’ll bet most Norwegians would be carrying cellphones with them while hiking winter or summer. How do they get a signal?

    That’s just a sample of ideas which are often ignored if Norway, which I happen to have visited and through numerous discussions with diplomatic staff here in Ottawa. Full disclosure: I have no ties with Norway family or otherwise.

    As for Japan, everything there is wireless. It seems to me that interference would be a problem in all bandwidths. Perhaps that is why Japanese phones and portable televisions (for watching on the trains) use a totally different technology. My daughter’s cell phone which she brought back home is but a brick. But apparently it had many features which we don’t have on our cellphones. And her plan with Softbank (because it provides English service) was cheaper than her plan here for a non-smart phone. She misses it.

    Again, much of large cities are built many stories into the ground as ground space is at a premium (if you think Vancouver is expensive, try land in Tokyo) and transportation is often up to 5 storeys above ground. It seems to me cell transmission would be problematic. And where can you rent phones at the airport for less than $45 a week good anywhere in Japan no long distance? I’ve never found a booth at any of our airports.

    And finally, why do I always see cellphones in US drugstores for $15 with $15 worth of time. We don’t have “burners” here in Canada as far as I know. We are locked in, more or less, unless we buy a very “ancient” model for up to $50 and be on a set plan. I’ll bet that phone was a unused phone imported from Thailand or India which no one would buy. I could go on and on but it is hardly worth it as the “naysayers” will always find an excuse – long distances (Canada was the first to have microwave transmission towers right across the country from the 1950s. Those towers are still there and in use.), small population? (Toronto region? Montreal region? Ottawa region? Vancouver region?) I would guess because of the population densities, rates would be cheaper here but the old telephone company trick of claiming you can call more people still works – as if that makes any difference to me. I can now call way up north of Gatineau at local rates but it is long distance to Russell (a nearby town actually inside the urban boundary almost).

    And as was said, the telecoms are “owned” by exceedingly richly people who use creative book keeping to publicly show a loss. Does a baseball team have anything to do with the lossses?

  6. Rogers owns all the major sports teams in Toronto save for the CFL Argos (which may explain their interest in the NFL Buffalo Bills)…but that may be a distraction from the main issue at hand.

  7. PPP
    The OECD data uses PPP – purchasing power parity to account for differences in spending income between the countries. These are not absolute dollars but adjusted rates based on earnings and prices.

  8. They probably think more Canadians should freeze to death in the winter, too.

  9. @MikeM

    Of course, we all live in igloos and mush our dog sleds to work each day ;-)

  10. David B Harris says:

    Systems Engineer
    Hey Mr (Dr?) Geist,

    I think your argument could be much better made by simply showing the population density and wireless network coverage in Canada, on maps. Canada’s population is incredibly urbanized (I’ve read in the past, from multiple sources, that it’s as urban/city-concentrated most European countries). And those are the areas that the wireless providers cover. Rogers, for example: http://www.rogers.com/web/content/wireless_network?setLanguage=en&cm_mmc=Redirects-_-Consumer_Wireless_Eng-_-Network_0909-_-coverage

    Their network does not cover all of Canada. It does not cover the sparsely-populated areas. It covers the major towns and cities, the major highways, and when those areas are close enough together (like in some of Alberta, some of Manitoba, some of Ontario, some of Quebec, and some of New Brunswick), they cover the areas in between.

    The wireless providers’ message of “our networks cost more because we’re so spread out” is an outright fabrication on several levels, and easily demonstrably so.

  11. Jeff Bisset says:

    My cell bill for a family of 5 fully loaded with virtually unlimited data, voice, text, long distance, etc is $275/month. That’s half of what it was 3 years ago! It takes a little negotiating and research, but in my experience the rates are very reasonable and provide great value for the money.

    @Michael – if your really believe Telus and the others are making out like bandits, buy their stock and enjoy the windfall. After all, capitalism is the ultimate path to prosperity.

  12. @JeffBisset
    “My cell bill for a family of 5 fully loaded with virtually unlimited data, voice, text, long distance, etc is $275/month.” – There’s no way you’re getting “virtually” unlimited data for $55/month (per person). At least not with a major cell provider. Please show me a plan from Rogers/Bell/Telus which even offers unlimited data.

    Either you think 1GB/month is “virtually unlimited” because your family doesn’t use their internet much or you’re with an independent provider (like Wind/Mobilicity). This article doesn’t include data about the independent providers.

  13. @ David B Harris – “The wireless providers’ message of “our networks cost more because we’re so spread out” is an outright fabrication on several levels”
    Bravo! Another person who understands. The above is a myth which they defend & (attempt to) bolster at every opportunity. It’s a good one, as many do buy into it. But it’s all misdirection. They way they spin it, you’d think they provided coverage to every last square centimeter of Canada – but we all know that isn’t even close to being the case.

    Heck, where I live now (BC), all the homes starting less than a kilometer up the road still can’t get the same services I get & wireless is a “1 or 0 bar” situation. At my old home in the Niagara Peninsula (I could literally see Toronto from my upstairs windows) I never could get stable wireless, either – I went back to a landline after a month of dropping 90% of my calls. And that’s in one of the most densely populated areas in the country.

  14. @Dan

    I typically spend $70/month for two iPhones plus another $5/month for an iPad. The cell phones have unlimited talk, text and long distance in Canada. The iPhones also have data on them but I honestly don’t know what the limit is since I have never bumped into it. The iPad plan starts at $5/month for the first 500MB and then $0.05/MB until you hit a price cap of $30. You can keep downloading even after you hit the $30 cap so it is essentially unlimited data for $30/month. They also allow tethering through the iPad so it is incredibly flexible.

    Those prices aren’t advertised on Telus’s website but were provided to my wife and I because we have been long term customers and also have our TV and internet service with them. Sometimes it pays to be loyal to your service provider and they will look after you very, very well.

  15. YinYin Ma says:

    Monopoly
    Why Canada should be the most expensive wireless country? I think another reason is monopoly. Rogers and Bell basically monopolized telecommunications market. There aren’t more quality competitors who have same advancement of information and telecommunications technology in Canada.

  16. There are paid commenters here
    I smell garbage. I am prepared to bet $ that commenters here like @gregg & @JeffBisset are either employees of Robelus or part of their contracted propaganda machine. People as clueless about the facts of how Canadians have been shaken down abusively by our telecom cartel would not even know about this site, let alone be bothered to comment. @David B Harris is bang-on, the geography-population argument is baseless and intended for people and reporters that can’t think.

  17. The facts incumbents don’t want you to know
    Network cost roughly equals the number of towers. Not only is our network among the slowest and most expensive, the Robelus (why don’t we just shorten it to “rob us”)incumbents spend less on their networks on a per subscriber basis. This means less coverage, weaker signal and legacy network speed… all for the glory of usurious rates and gangster-like contracts.

    Canada has a total 13,000 towers and Bell & Telus share theirs, excluding access by new entrants. With 27 million subscribers nationally, we have ~2100 subcribers per tower. The UK has 52,000 towers and 75 million subscribers at a rate of 1442 subscribers per tower.

    If we can get 1) 700 mhz spectrum set-asides for small & new entrants and 2) mandatory tower sharing at a fair rate… only then will Canadians would see a long overdue massive change in the marketplace. Wind Mobile would become a national player in no time. The govt owes Lacavera & Sawiris the opportunity to finish the job (for goodness sake don’t let Verizon steal Wind)!

  18. @Stevef

    Don’t know where you are getting your data from but it’s wrong. The OECD report released just last week shows that Canada’s carriers have the second highest capital investment per access line in the OECD (table 3.9). On a per capita basis, Canada ranks 4th highest (table 3.10).

    Your assertion that Canada’s wireless networks are the slowest is also wrong. 4G LTE has been rolled out to all first and second tier cities in Canada by almost all the carriers (except for the new entrants). In contrast, 4G LTE won’t be offered by Vodaphone in the UK until 2014 so Canada is still 3 years ahead of the UK.

  19. I’m the ORIGINAL Gregg here!
    All these whiners “Ohhhhh, population sparsity! Ohhhhh, rugged terrain…” seem to forget Australia’s ambitious network expansion plan and it’s WORKING! Some mates in Wagga saw their bills drop and speed go through the roof.

  20. @Cynic
    1) My Canada and UK tower data came from your industry, CWTA 2011 (http://www.cwta.ca/CWTASite/english/pdf/Connecting.pdf). Subscriber data multiple sources.
    2) 4GLTE infrastructure is new and the exception in terms of the installed base of Canadian users. The weighted average wireless data access speed in Canada is weak 3G and our ARPU for this service is atrocious: OECD data reported here http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/6905/125/
    3) Regarding your reference to last week’s OECD report, you failed to mention that OECD admits that its capital investment methodology is inconsistent across nations and has other limitations, including the fact that Canada’s numbers are “largely due to the appreciation of (our)currency” page 72. Furthermore that data is all telecommunications access paths, not wireless-specific. It also includes spectrum acquisition costs which the Robus Cartel colludes to inflate and shelve unused in order to exclude, dissuade and financially punish existing & potential competition. Finally, capital costs are a highly variable accounting strategy driven by tax planning and public financial market reporting interets, all kinds of unrelated costs can be “capitalized” and can be very unrelated to tangible service infrastructure such as the numbers of towers and antennas per subscriber.

    But you probably new all that, you just didn’t want to be honest because it is not in your interest. You no doubt work for or on behalf of the telecoms because the OECD report is not free. I was only able to see the text related to the tables you cited using this “free preview” service.
    http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/science-and-technology/oecd-communications-outlook-2013_comms_outlook-2013-en

  21. The intended trap of capped data plans at speeds of 40 Mbit/s
    OK let’s take Telus at their word:
    https://mobility.telus.com/en/ON/plans/promotional.shtml

    $100/mth gets you 6GB/mth of data. At the advertised speed of 40mb/s is **150 seconds** of data download.
    Data cost over plan maximum at 40mb/s is $0.80 per second or **$48/minute**

    One hour of 1080p streaming video is 2GB (http://gigaom.com/2011/07/08/so-what-is-a-gigabyte-for-mobile-users-anyway/) or 33 MB/min.

    However Telus’ handy data calculator estimates streaming video at “YouTube Standard Quality” if you check the fine print and know the difference. They don’t say exactly if this is 240p or 360p (https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/91449?hl=en) however the Telus calculator implies you only consume streaming video at only 1MB/minute

    No wonder all the ads show your kids watching TV and movies on HD smartphones, Telus and its robber baron peers have your credit card by the short & curlies.

  22. Ramblin' Rose says:

    You could change your behaviour…
    I am neither bundled nor beholding to one Canadian Communications Company and I do not have a contract with anyone…well Skype for $30 bucks a year to make calls to any phone number in Canada and the USA in any free WiFi locale…and to have the ability offshore to do same.

    I have unlimited Internet with one company, my home phone with another (who are about to get a call to reduce my service and bill), two “pay as you go” limited use/emergency cell phones with yet two other companies costing less than $200/year and lastly analog cable with Rogers which I would like to dump in favour of an HD antenna but geographically the Government/CRTC hasn’t yet legislated an adequate signal to those of us who don’t live in downtown big city Canada. I am hoping that the CRTC will tell the Rogers and the Satellite Companies that they have to offer a channel by channel menu to customers so that Agnostic English Persons can create a menu of programs they understand and watch!

    Just the same within reason I’m reasonably connected or in an a manner of speaking as connected as I want to be and so I am largely not sympathetic to the glued to your ear/constantly texting folks/can’t wait til I get home to send the cute picture to all my friends generation.

    If I was still working I’d be demanding the company pay for me to be connected after normal working hours and if they wanted me to answer it to pay me an hour’s wages if they called and wanted me to answer outside of normal working hours…it’s the world I grew up in…sorry the rest of you didn’t dig in your heals to the down side of technology…don’t get me wrong it’s marvelous!

    You want these companies to change their behaviours…you have to change yours…leave them…go unlimited texting/calling cold turkey…get bundle/contract free…

  23. @Stevef

    You are getting your bits and bytes all mixed up. A byte is equal to 8 bits so all of your “calculations” are out by 800%. The internet uses a data transfer protocol that carries the content in formatted data packets so there are other overhead bits that provide addressing, error correction, priority flags, congestion control, etc. So even though your favorite movie is only 2GB you need to add in the overhead bits, up to 10%, to figure out your real usage. They do teach this stuff in high school but maybe you were skipping class that day.

    Your assertion that Canada is weak 3G is wrong. You can get 4G LTE in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Prince Albert, Saskatchewan but you still can’t get it in London, UK.

  24. @Cynic
    So, to review, we have established that:
    1) the “few people/big geography” RobUs PR line from you and your employer is BS;
    2) that the “look how much capital we have have spent” PR is also deliberately misleading;
    3) that are ARPUs across all Cdn plan levels are egregious;
    4) that, using your own data, other benchmark markets like UK have 33% more towers on a subscriber basis;
    5) that Telus’ data calculator is outdated and deliberately deceptive; and
    6) that, yes, the RobUs cartel has rolled out 4g LTE nationally (good for you) but what you don’t seem to get is that 90% of Canadians are on 3G or less, still locked into you your 3 yr contracts and that our 3G data service and value sucks (back to the not enough towers fact).

    Good eye; you were able to correct the mb vs MB calculations. Take a bow. You could have given updated calculations, but that would have undermined your purpose to deceive:
    - 3 hrs of HD LTE movies uses all data in a $100/mth 6GB plan
    – After you are over your data cap the cost is $67/min or $40/hr
    – My final point still stands…
    6) LTE and small cap data limits are a trap designed to rob our credit cards without warning until the bill arrives

    One more bonus point:
    7) As you are fond of referencing London England, your locked phones can’t accept a local SIM card there because you want to rape users with international roaming charges. In the US your data rates are $5/MB (every 7 seconds at LTE speed). Telus won’t say on their website what they will charge for data in other countries because it would be ugly.

    Oh and I almost forgot! I will conclude by going back to the first point in my original comment:
    8) We have clearly established that you are being paid to comment here, your purpose is not to inform, rather it is to deliberately mislead readers and undermine Geist’s advocacy.

    Full disclosure: I have only ever made 2 previous comments here, before this article. I have no relationship to the carriers other than as a consumer. Before going to Wind in 2010, Rogers raked me for 9 years except for a blissful brief 9 mth period when I left them and went to FIDO when it was owned by Microcell. Then Rogers bought FIDO and started their games again.

  25. @Stevef

    The only thing you have proven is that you have a hate on for your phone company and you have no respect or tolerance for anyone else’s views in this forum. You dismiss any divergent views from your own as those of “paid shills”. Perhaps this is just something you do for kicks but it may be that you are desperately seeking affirmation. Whatever inner demons you are struggling with I do wish you well.

  26. @Cynic
    On a forum like this, on the subjects under debate, I respect fact and logic-based arguments from people honest enough to post sincerely. Views based neither on fact or with logic, especially when they can be shown to be deceptive, deserve both exposure and dismissal. I have presented you with facts, not “views”. I have shown how *your views* are not in the interests of Canadians, including your customers, and the purpose of your presence on the forum seems to be to undermine and discredit facts.

    What has been proven (both specifically in this thread and comprehensively on this site) is the fact that Canada’s telecoms are, and act, as an oligopoly, they exploit their customers and will go to any deceptive lengths to collude in managing the market to protect their oligopoly. This oligopolistic behaviour has more in common with extortion and racketeering than it does with healthy, competitive markets. This is not simply a terminological issue, the oligopolistic premium fees amount effectively a tax on Canadians, indeed the amount that many households pay for home, cable, internet and mobile can be comparable to what they pay in municipal taxes. Monopolies and oligopolies, unless they are aggressively regulated, are dangerous both economically and morally.

    Perhaps you do not fully understand the market system and propaganda methods. Regardless, your work here, as you rightly describe as a “paid shill”, no doubt ‘just doing your job’, undermines the former and perpetrates the later. The dots you fail to connect are that this is bad for Canada, bad for Canadians, and bad for Canadian innovation and economic competitiveness more broadly.

    My contempt for the RobUs Cartel is specific to them, and I am glad that I have become among the few Canadians that has been able minimize their impact on me. In fact I am very satisfied with my phone company since 2010, Wind Mobile. I have never experienced such tremendous value, value that every Canadian deserves and that is on par with other fair and competitive telecom markets in other countries. I am very concerned at how the RobUs Cartel is manipulating the government and the marketplace to drive desperately needed honest competitors like Wind out of business.

  27. @Stevef

    Let’s look at your first contribution to this discussion. Stevef said, “I smell garbage. I am prepared to bet $ that commenters here like @gregg & @JeffBisset are either employees of Robelus or part of their contracted propaganda machine.”

    Your first contribution to this discussion was to hurl an insult at two other contributors. You didn’t present an alternate viewpoint you just started throwing out insults. Now you are trying to wrap yourself in a flag of “righteousness” and declare yourself as the only true source of “truth”. Pretty gutsy for a guy who doesn’t know the difference between a bit and a byte.

    What I don’t understand is why you hate all the telecom companies in Canada except for Wind. If you truly believe Wind has figured out what consumers want and you want them to survive, you should be hoping the other players continue to do what are doing so they will lose their customers to Wind. Perhaps your relationship with Wind and OpenMedia is much deeper than you would like us all to believe.

  28. The Bottom Line – Social Benefit
    The bottom line is that Canadians should always strive to have the best value from the communications infrastructure used here to service our economy and connect our population. TELUS/Rogers/Bell have very attractive profit margins, sufficient to attract virtually unlimited public market capital, however this is all at the expense of the consumer.

    In my mind (and I hope in my life this becomes a reality), EVERY Canadian should have a right to affordable cellular data and telephone. We should have 100% market penetration, none of this 70′s or so percent rate (totally embarrassing). If technology has come so far as to bring us these wonderful technologies (infrastructure and phones) at reasonable prices, why shouldn’t Canada be the leader at adopting and utilizing it? We can only stand to benefit.

    All of these comment threads I read, whether in this forum, in the Globe and Mail comments section, or otherwise, are battles between those who stand up for their desire to see improved service, and those who for no logical reason (other than their job may depend on the bloated telcos) defend the price-gouging cellular carriers who have virtually stolen the airwaves they use today because the government back in the 80′s and 90′s saw no value other than to regulate its use.

    Every single person that thinks about these issues in Canada should all have a common goal: increased penetration, lowered prices, and more efficient use of capital. Why argue for anything else?

  29. @Arnf

    We have to be careful with the goal of 100% penetration because that would require every person, including newborn babies, children and the very elderly to be equipped with phones they have no need for. A more realistic target might be 85%

    Also, I think much of the debate is rooted in whether prices are fair. There are tons of studies out there that say Canadian prices are actually about average when compared to the rest of the world but there is another dimension that gets overlooked and that is the quality of the networks. We’ve had 4G LTE in Canada for several years now while most of Europe and the US are still stuck with 2G and 3G networks. Canada also has one of the highest smartphone pentration rates in the world at 58%. To use an analogy, we are driving Ferrari’s while the rest of the world is driving Lada’s and we are paying about the same price they are.

    I don’t think anyone would disagree with the idea of cheaper cell phone bills but we need to understand that might force the carriers to reduce their investment in faster technology and network expansion. That would mean we will also be driving Lada’s and improvements in rural cell phone coverage will never happen.

  30. Misguided Sheep says:

    Conclusions
    If one was to believe that @Cynic, @gregg or @JeffBisset are Robelus shills, one would also have to conclude that you @Stevef are a shill for Wind.

    “The govt owes Lacavera & Sawiris the opportunity to finish the job (for goodness sake don’t let Verizon steal Wind)!”

    The government (me) already gave wind a break on the last spectrum auction and owes them nothing, especially another break in the next auction. Taxpayers subsidizing new market entrants into a business that have proved they cannot compete in is a waste of my money.

    This catch phrase of a fourth national carrier is a pipedream that we will never see in Canada because despite your claims that sparse geography and the population density that accompanies it matters not to cost of delivering service, you will never see even a giant like Verizon venturing into the rural markets where they will NEVER see a return on their investment. If you consider Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal national then I think we know what Wind considers national as well. We will be well served if Bell, Rogers and Telus continue to serve this revenue negative market.

    No Verizon,like your Wind and Mobilicity will stay where the cream is while Bell, Rogers and Telus suck it up, putting up towers and the associated network in the middle of nowhere to serve the rural Canadians, on the same model they always have, at a loss that is recovered by charging the urban centres more.

    Is our market perfect? No, not at all, but the lies, misrepresentation and rhetoric put forth in this blog week after week do little to assist the average consumer in trying to make it better, in fact it is so askew, that the liberals and left wingers normally associated with openmedia are supporting the Conservatives. Think about that.

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