More competition needed in the mobile industry

Moose Jaw Times Herald - Editorial Staff
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Have you ever looked at your cellphone bill and thought it cost more than it should? If you have, you’re not alone.

(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

According to a report released Monday by the CRTC, Canada is among the most expensive G7 countries across the board on mobile packages.

The CRTC is the organization that oversees wireless services in Canada.

On what is dubbed a “level one” package, which “includes low local and long-distance call volumes,” Canada is the most expensive of the G7 nations.

For “level two” packages featuring “average call volumes plus two features and 300 texts,” and “level three” packages that include “high call volumes plus a full set of features, 300 texts and 1GB of data usage per month,” it is third behind Japan and the United States.

It’s a problem that has been recognized in Canada — so much so that, in 2013, the CRTC introduced a Wireless Code designed to made things more affordable for consumers.

In every bracket except for “level one” service contracts, the code succeeded, but the price of a “level one” service plan actually increased by approximately 16 per cent between 2012 and 2013.

Some have said the problem is related to lack of competition.

In an interview with Business in Vancouver Michael Geist, an expert with the University of Ottawa, said the report’s findings reflect a lack of competition in the wireless landscape.

Presently, Canada is covered primarily by three major carriers in Telus, Bell and Rogers. In Saskatchewan, SaskTel holds the place of Bell as a provider.

Geist seemed to indicate the situation would be better if a fourth, presently minor carrier were able to expand and become a fourth national provider.

The government, apparently, agrees.

In their next auction of wireless spectrum — essentially, the capacity to provide service to more clientele — the government has said it will tailor toward smaller, newer telecommunications providers.

“It would be irresponsible of the government to deploy spectrum into the marketplace and not do so with a deliberate policy objective of increasing competition in the wireless market,” said Industry Minister James Moore at the time of the announcement.

With the CRTC’s data confirming that Canadians pay more than most for wireless service, Moore’s position is tough to refute.

All Times-Herald editorials are written by its editorial staff.

Organizations: CRTC, G7, University of Ottawa Telus

Geographic location: Canada, Japan, United States Saskatchewan

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  • Larry
    July 17, 2014 - 12:27

    Mobility is one area where price and demand do not match up. The demand is high but the price doesn't have to be high. The US has the advantage of having more providers and plan levels. Hope Canada has more options available for the people soon.