Claims that Canada’s Wireless Market is Uncompetitive are Misleading, Telus Says

by Istvan Fekete on March 20, 2013

After facing criticism from industry analysts and claims that the Canadian wireless market is “woefully uncompetitive”, as well as wireless subscriber horror stories, Telus decided to respond to these reports.

In a bog post entitled “Why do Canada’s wireless critics want to turn back time?,” signed by Craig McTaggart, Telus’ director of broadband policy, Canada’s No. 3 wireless player is arguing that the aforementioned reports use old data.

“In the attached paper, I challenge the claims that Canada’s wireless market is “woefully uncompetitive” (as Professor Michael Geist puts it) and that Canadians “pay some of the highest prices in the world for some of the worst services” (as OpenMedia puts it). The most recent international statistics available show that prices for the kind of wireless services that Canadians actually use are below the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) average, in spite of the enormous area served by wireless services in Canada, our high standard of living, and the fact that Canadians use their wireless devices more than just about anybody else in the world. Canada also has some of the best networks in the world, in spite of the enormous cost of building and constantly upgrading them,” says Craig McTaggart.

While it doesn’t deny that Canadians have had bad experiences with their wireless carriers, including Telus, that’s in the past now, he claims. Many of the “horror stories” submitted to Open Media are a couple years old, he says.

In other words, everything is alright now. But if that is the case, why are consumer complaints on the rise? And I am not referring to Telus only, but the whole wireless industry.

According to his data, Canadians are among the most data-intensive users of the Internet and smartphones in the world, which obviously triggers high usage. This results in higher average revenue per user (ARPU), which, from this perspective, is not evidence of high prices, but high usage, he says.

McTaggart also defends the Canadian wireless industry’s usage plans, saying low-usage plans in Europe may be priced lower than in North America, but European consumers often pay for two or more plans. This is a somewhat questionable statement, as it lacks any reliable data to back it up.

It remains to be seen whether the key consumer complaints — three-year contracts, high early termination fees, and bill shocks from international data roaming — will indeed change uniformly across the industry as soon as the CRTC wireless comes into force.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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{ 1 comment }

Brian Brill March 20, 2013 at 12:12 pm

If you are Canadian and lucky enough to be in a city that has Wind Mobile, do yourself a favour and go over to a wind store and sign up for a prepaid plan.
The key is pre paid, some people are snobby and think pre pay some how means poor or for people with no credit but that is not true.

In my case I have a plane from wind it is 40$ a month 45 after tax and I get everything unlimited Canada & USA calling, Text, Data all unlimited. and I am in Toronto but I went to BC and because wind considers that a wind zone my phone acted as if it was in Toronto, now beat that Telus.(or anyone for that matter)
no I do not work for wind but I love them, I used to pay a sh*t load for phone bills now I pay 45 a month.

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