’s Top 6 Posts for December 2013

by Jeff Wiener on January 2, 2014

1. CRTC Wireless Code goes Live: Know Your Rights

The day Canadian mobile subscribers had long been waiting for finally arrived in December: The CRTC’s new Wireless Code went live. The code provides basic rights for customers and imposes new requirements on carriers, such as limiting cancellation fees, and forces wireless players to unlock phones, provide a trial period for wireless contracts, and, last but not least, to set default caps on data charges.

The code comes into effect six months after the initial announcement. One of the biggest changes the wireless code has brought is the elimination of three-year contracts, the major complaint of Canadian wireless subscribers. This, however, has come at a cost: after the code was announced, prices paid up front for subsidized devices increased, as carriers implemented two-year contracts.

2. The Telecom Industry Needs to Change or Die

The core revenue streams for the telecommunications industry in the developed world are in jeopardy, a report released this month argued, and if telcos don’t radically alter their current business models they stand to lose billions to non-traditional telecom companies like Google and Facebook.

In fact a battle is being waged between telcos and tech giants over control of Internet revenues, and while telcos can’t hope to stop his digital communication revolution, the report promises that if the telecom industries in key developed nations act now to change their overall SMS strategies they can at least significantly mitigate the damage, now it just remains to be seen if anyone listens.

3. Google’s Recklessness could be Its Undoing

There is one recurring theme in the business world, that big companies, those unmatched and unchallenged in their respective fields, almost always seem to find a way to destroy themselves. It’s not difficult to discover why this happens: successful companies, those who dominate their markets, start to become arrogant, thinking that since no competitor can touch them that they can start to dictate the way things are.

Such arrogance then leads to risk taking and customer abuse, which in turn leads to consumer revolt, and that’s enough to topple even the sturdiest of giants. Google, it seems, is hell-bent on becoming the next example of this.

4. Sprint Ponders T-Mobile Takeover

Sprint is hoping to succeed where AT&T so famously failed a few years ago: by acquiring T-Mobile. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, citing those ‘familiar with the matter,’ Sprint is working on acquiring its wireless rival T-Mobile, a deal that would see the 3rd and 4th largest carriers in the American market join forces.

The move would be an exclamatory finish to a period of wild consolidation and acquisitions in the American wireless market, with Japan’s Softbank acquiring Sprint, Sprint acquiring Clearwire, and T-Mobile acquiring lesser prepaid wireless rival MetroPCS. Further, it would create a strong challenge to the combined dominance of AT&T and Verizon, who currently hold more than 2/3s of the nation’s wireless subscribers.

5. Blackberry Fights to Retain Corporate Clients

Blackberry’s struggles of late have been well-documented, the once great mobile behemoth put up for sale yet failing to find a partner, only to appoint a new CEO who promptly cleaned house. Yet the company is putting on a brave face, refocusing itself on services offered to its corporate clients, possibly the one sector the company may still be relevant in.

The problem, however, is that the company’s corporate partners are quickly jumping ship, many ending long standing exclusivity agreements with Blackberry. The company is now looking at ways to diversify its services, offering the enterprise not only its classic business oriented smartphones, but rebranding itself as a crucial data and device management partner as well.

6. North American First: RBC iOS App Allows Money Transfer via Facebook

The Royal Bank ofCanadahas become the first North American bank to combine social media with electronic transfer of funds. The bank announced this month that it has added the first social, person-to-person (P2P) feature to its app, allowing avid Facebook users to send electronic funs to their Facebook Messenger contacts.

RBC has been working closely with Facebook to enhance the RBC Canada app for iOS to send an Interac e-transfer in a simple, convenient and secure way. The process discloses neither the personal or financial information of either the sender or receiver.

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