Telecom by yum9me (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/53jSy4

Telecom by yum9me (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/53jSy4

Telecom

Montreal Gazette Calls for Spectrum Set-Aside

The Montreal Gazette, which is running a version of my mobile data column as an op-ed, features a lengthy editorial slamming the Canadian wireless market and calling on Industry Minister Maxime Bernier to support greater competition through a spectrum set-aside.

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July 25, 2007 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

The Canadian Telecom Complaints Commission

The major Canadian telecommunications companies announced yesterday that they have created a new Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services.  They indicated that the interim Commissioner – David McKendry – was now ready to take complaints and that the new commission would seek approval from the CRTC and complete its organizational […]

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July 24, 2007 6 comments News

Uncompetitive Canadian Pricing Threatens Mobile Internet

Appeared in the Toronto Star on July 23, 2007 as Time to Revamp Mobile Internet Pricing The promise of an always-on mobile Internet – delivered through cellphones and wireless devices – has long been touted as the next stage in the evolution of electronic communication and commerce. That next stage […]

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July 23, 2007 9 comments Columns Archive

Uncompetitive Canadian Pricing Threatens Mobile Internet

My weekly Law Bytes column (Ottawa Citizen version, Toronto Star version, homepage version) focuses on the mobile Internet in Canada, arguing that we are falling behind even developing countries as a consequence of overpriced mobile data services in our cozy, uncompetitive market. Until recently, the conventional wisdom held that there were two barriers – technology and cost – to the emergence of widespread mobile Internet use.  From a technological perspective, most cellphones and wireless devices could manage email and text messaging, but were ill-suited for the full Internet experience including browsing and Internet video.  That technology barrier has largely been eliminated, fuelled by popularity of devices such as the Apple iPhone.

The cost barrier still looms large, however.  Canadian carriers have treated mobile Internet use as a business product, establishing pricing plans that force most consumers to frugally conserve their time online.  Indeed, the mobile Internet in Canada is reminiscent of Internet access in the mid-1990s, when dial-up access dominated the market and consumers paid by the minute for their time online. 
For example, Rogers – Canada's sole GSM provider and therefore the only telecom company currently equipped to offer the iPhone – offers a starter data plan that provides 1.5 megabytes of data per month for $15 (each additional MB is $21).  Since that is not even enough data to download a single high-resolution photograph, most consumers presumably opt for more.   The company's biggest data plan provides 500 MB, yet costs $210 per month – far beyond the reach of most consumers.

This pricing, which is comparable to plans found with Bell and Telus, is not close to competitive internationally.  

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July 23, 2007 16 comments Columns

More on Canadian Wireless Pricing

The National Post's Peter Nowak blogs about the response to his article and my posting on the high wireless data rates in Canada and the implications for iPhone.  Nowak reports that the article generated protest from many in the industry, yet when he ran the numbers, he arrived at much […]

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July 12, 2007 3 comments Must Reads