The Final Kick in the Nuts

20 Jan

A good friend I’ve known for quite some time shared this CBC article on Facebook and I could not believe my eyes! Not only have the big 3 raised wireless prices all at once now they’re getting ready to raise prices across the board for each and every service offering?

Serious Bull

The article features commentary from a representative from Telus who goes on to say that the weak Canadian dollar is to blame for this price increase.

That’s a really funny thing for Telus to say, because when the Canadian dollar was on par with the US we didn’t hear of any price breaks because of how strong our dollar was did we? So why are we now seeing increases in pricing?

Greed

The reason is simple. The sinking Canadian dollar gives the carriers a free pass to up pricing and blame other sources for the increase. A sinking dollar means network components cost more? Why is that being passed on to the consumer? Is that not a cost of doing business? Do you not get massive tax incentives and subsidies to offset some of those costs?

When three companies control the market, it makes price increases super simple. Make a quick phone call to the other two guys and let them know what’s happening and then simply raise prices.

What’s even better is if you are running into new costs of running your business, you can always raise them again.

Where are they going to go? A “competitor”? Let them. This just means Bells network upgrades are paid for instead of Rogers.

As I mentioned in my post about the wireless industry in Canada when real competition comes along, all 3 carriers run out to the news outlets and scream unfair and try to turn Canadians against real competition.

Did you know that Rogers Wireless holds more spectrum in Canada than Verizon does in the entire United States?

Rogers Customer Count: 8.24 Million as of Q32015

Verzion Customer Count: 110 Million as of Q32015

So Rogers is 10 times smaller than Verzion so why do they need all the spectrum? Because if competitors got their hands on it, Rogers and the other two carriers may actually have to compete!

Fed Up

The Competition Bureau has an obligation to the Canadian public to ensure that this country is not getting bent over a table by businesses in this country.

According to their web site:

The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.

Headed by the Commissioner of Competition, the Bureau is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (except as it relates to food), the Textile Labelling Act and the Precious Metals Marking Act.

The basic operating assumption of the Competition Bureau is that competition is good for both business and consumers.

The very first item in their list of anti-competitive activities that are investigated is price fixing. So why is it that these companies are getting away with this garbage? Why has the competition bureau not stepped in? I wish I had the answer!

I’m sick and tired of these companies completely emptying our wallets day in and day out to the benefit of their shareholders.

Communications are a necessity in this world, and we should not be punished for it! These companies need to understand that just because consumers pay it, it doesn’t mean they’re happy. It means they have a need and with 3 carriers controlling the entire market, they can’t make a choice that will help this situation.

Do Something

The best we can do at this point in time is have everyone hop on Wind Mobile, but even with them being purchased by Shaw, their pricing will likely get insane too. The only reason they’re cheaper at the moment is because their network can’t reach into buildings anywhere near as well as the big 3 and the big 3 know it.

As soon as devices are ready to use 700mhz spectrum, we will see a bit more panic with the big 3 but for right now, they’re going to get as much money in their coffers as they can before any kind of revolution comes.

 

Wind Mobile Reality

29 Sep

Wind Mobile LogoThe reason I’m writing this post today is to talk about the people who try and detract from Wind Mobile who really don’t know what they’re talking about and tend to fire off negativity in the comments section of Wind’s Facebook posts. Here’s what you need to know about Wind Mobile before singing up as a customer.

Coverage

Wind Mobile does not have the same wireless coverage as any of the other carriers here in Canada. If you’re planning to leave ANY other carrier for Wind, you need to ensure you have appropriate network expectations. They are still a young company and have a lot of ground to cover in terms of network. If you are expecting the same coverage you have with your current provider at Wind, you’re going to have a bad time.

 

Customer Service

Wind Mobile does have local customer service reps during normal North American business hours. They have an outsourced call center that takes over the load when the local customer care is at home sleeping. If this is something that makes you uncomfortable, then stay where you are.

wind-memeRoaming in Canada

I’ve seen a lot of people talking about how a rep told them that as long as they were in Canada, there would be no roaming. This is simply untrue and poor training on the reps part. If you’re in Canada and on the WIND network (not WIND AWAY) then you are safe to use all of the facets of your unlimited plan.

If you see WIND AWAY on your device, you are roaming and should try to limit use.

It’s really that simple. I’m not sure how so many people get confused.

Device Subsidies and AWS Banding

Wind Mobile uses a type of spectrum referred to as AWS wireless spectrum. The AWS bands are much higher frequency bands which means that wall and building penetration is not the greatest. Wind has made several improvements to this situation to try and help their customers as much as they can, however they can’t create miracles. What does somewhat frustrate me is the fact that Wind managed to scoop up some low band 700mhz spectrum but has yet to deploy it for customers. This would solve reception issues and network density issues from what I’ve been told.

Now lets talk about the Wind Tab and device subsidies.

A device subsidy is essentially the way a wireless company can offer you a $0 phone. It essentially is an agreement between yourself and a carrier saying  “Here’s a free phone. Now you keep service with us for X amount of time / days / revenue”. Wind Mobile and even most other carriers have moved over to a model that works similarly. Let me break it down.

  1. Carrier provides you a device at a very small or no upfront cost.
  2. The balance of the value of the device is placed on a “tab”
  3. Each month you pay your bill, the carrier reduces the amount of your tab by subtracting 10% of your months bill from that amount.
  4. Once the subsidy is paid back in full, you are no longer required to pay off your “tab”.

Let’s go through an example.

On the Wind Tab, you can get a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus for $399 up front.

The actual value of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus is $949 + tax.

This means your Wind tab balance would be $550.

Each month your bill is $40, so Wind would apply $4 towards your balance making it $546 after month 1.

This means you have a long ways to go before your tab is cleared but here’s where Wind is different. If after 2 years you still have a balance on your Wind tab, they will bring it down to $0.

I hope this helps clarify a few things for people considering making the change to Wind.