The Problem with Wireless in Canada

12 Jan

There’s a massive problem with wireless costs here in Canada that our government and even our carriers refuse to acknowledge.

The carriers won’t mention it, because it benefits them massively.

The government doesn’t notice because apparently they don’t read enough about it in the media.

This week I noticed a shining example that makes me sick to my stomach! Every single time one of these happens, I can do nothing more than laugh at how deluded our government and the CRTC are with respect to Wireless Competition in Canada.

Mobile Syrup

This is by far my favorite blog when it comes to technology in Canada and what it means for Canadians. They cover just about everything including the wireless industry.

Here’s two posts that were made the same day on MobileSyrup.com about two “entirely different” carriers, however the ACTIONS are exactly the same.

Bell Raises Prices on their Share Plans by $5

Bell_Raises_Prices_Jan_11_2016

Rogers Raises Prices on their Share Plans by $5Rogers_Raises_Prices_Jan_11_2016

Telus_Raises_Prices

How do they get away with it?

I have absolutely no idea how or why the CRTC doesn’t recognize that this is absolutely blatant price fixing arranged by the three national carriers. They do it the exact same day by the exact same amount even?!?!

They know that our government and the CRTC are absolutely powerless to do anything about it aside from foster and favor new competition.

Back in 2008 when Wind Mobile had spectrum set aside for them in a CRTC auction, the big three complained about it being unfair and that there was already “enough competition in Canada”.

The Wireless Landscape in Ontario

Here’s a list of the wireless carriers here in Ontario:

  • Rogers Wireless
  • Bell Canada
  • Telus
  • Wind Mobile
  • Mobilicity

MVNOs (Virtual Network Operators)

  • Koodo (Telus Owned)
  • Public Mobile (Telus Owned)
  • Virgin Mobile (Bell Owned)
  • Chatr Wireless (Rogers Owned)
  • Solo Mobile (Bell Owned)
  • Fido Mobile (Rogers Owned)

So lets see we have 4 national carriers Rogers, Bell, Telus, and Wind.

Wind is still fairly young and still requires time for their network to mature (and the big 3 know it!).

Now in order to get more people to join up and raise ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) they need to create some kind of competition right? So that people of Canada are under the impression that there are more than just three people to go with.

So we have 6 flanker brands who all operate on the big 3 networks, but who claim to be competing brands.

Koodo, Public Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Chatr Wireless, Solo Mobile and Fido Mobile. These companies are all flanker brands used to simulate competition and to confuse common Canadians who only look surface deep at their carrier.

One of the benefits of being Bell, Telus or Rogers, is that along with your wireless business, you also own a majority of the media in Canada. So here’s what happens when the big 3 catch wind of an rumor that someone such as Verizon may enter Canada. They launch a campaign in the media about what’s “fair” for Canadians. I don’t know about the rest of you but I certainly don’t see my wireless bill as being fair. It’s fair to their shareholders that’s for sure!

The End of the Day

At the end of the day this country needs to smarten up and open their eyes as to what is actually going on in this country. There are not enough people who understand that this country’s wireless service and media are controlled by three companies who work together to keep rates higher than most other countries in the world!

I had to write this post because every single time I read about a price change in Canada, it seems within two days, the other two carriers are doing the same damn thing, and yet the CRTC who is supposed to be protecting us, does absolutely nothing to stop these practices that have now been common for years!

Come on CRTC! Fix this nonsense!

UPDATE

Hot off the heels of Rogers and Bell raising prices, here comes Telus with more collusion!

Dictionary.com defines collusion as:

a secret agreement, especially for fraudulent or treacherous purposes; conspiracy:

Isn’t this illegal in Canada?!?!?! Our government created the CRTC to prevent things like this from happening did they not? Really getting tired of being bent over a table every month! FIX IT!

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.

 

Disappointed in Wind Mobile

3 May

Wind Mobile was a company that when it entered the market it spoke of doing away with the shady  business practices of the “Big 3” which for those not in the know refers to Rogers, Bell and Telus.

Today I saw people talking about a plan available on Wind Mobile that allows unlimited roaming usage as well. Plan details here.

After further reading it turns out this plan is only available in Alberta and after confronting Wind about it I got the same response about them “Bringing Value” as the big 3 use when they jack up rates.

I was always proud to be a Wind customer…. until today.

Long Time Coming

25 Sep

iphone6-gray-select-2014I feel like this post is long overdue and a lot of friends and family have been making fun of the fact that I said a bunch of stuff about the iPhone 6 (that I still believe to be true) but still ended up buying one. So maybe it is time to go into a bit more detail as to why I bought an iPhone again even after saying things like they are made for idiots.

Let me take you back to 2007. Apple was readying the launch of their revolutionary new device that was going to change the way people communicated forever. I was 22 at the time and was rocking my awesome Blackberry 7290 which at the time was what I thought to be THE smartphone for me.

Then I watched the Apple keynote on their new baby. I was blown away! A full real web  browser?! HTML email?! Why the hell was I using this junky Blackberry when this new phone was like a computer in my pocket! Needless to say I was incredibly disappointed that it was an AT&T exclusive, and it wasn’t available in Canada until a little known hacker by the alias of GeoHot came up with a way to be able to use the new iPhone with any network! Again my 22 year old heart nearly burst!

I’m not sure of the timeline but about a week or so after the iPhone had finally been unlocked, my brother and I drove down to Watertown and bought a couple. We unlocked them and got them going on Rogers and I couldn’t have been happier with my new shiny. Since that day, I’ve always been a fan of the innovation Apple brought to the mobile device space (much like RIM used to) and then like every great mobile device company, Apple stopped innovating and started iterating just like RIM was already doing before Apple knocked them out of their seats!

You see I’m a massive fan of technology. What I’m not a fan of is a company that has a huge hit, and then becomes complacent to the point where they stop innovating and start churning out the same device every 6 months with  “1 EXTRA MEGAPIXEL!” or  “2 TIMES THE PIXELS!”. Stuff like that pisses me off, and anyone who knows me knows that I speak my mind. So I may say stuff about Apple, RIM, Nokia, etc. but it’s because I’ve grown up using devices from all of these giants that it saddens and sometimes angers me to see that there is some exec making decisions that effectively destroys the future of some of the biggest tech giants in the world!

TLDR: I love technology. Lack of innovation pisses me off. Complacency pisses me off. I’m using an iPhone now because I like the new design, and haven’t had one since the 5C which was poop IMO.