Is the Canadian wireless market saturated?

Navneet Alang

March 17, 2016 6:05pm

When it comes to Canada’s big three wireless carriers, consumers can often feel they’re relentlessly asking for more. Yet, Rogers, Telus, and Bell may themselves be entering a strange phase — one in which there may not be much more to ask. Why? After a period of rapid growth in both wireless users and revenue, Canada’s big three telcos could be seeing signs of market saturation.

That’s the gist of a report recently put out by Scotia Capital analyst Jeff Fan. In it, Fan points out in 2015, there was a 9 percent decline in new postpaid additions for Canada’s biggest 3 carriers, a trend that has seen new wireless growth steadily drop for them since 2011.

Is the wireless market in Canada therefore saturated? It’s one of those frustrating questions where the answer is “it depends.” What is clear, though, is that the number of people signing up for new voice and data lines with carriers is reducing over time. A time when wireless growth gets closer to zero doesn’t seem too far away, however — and the effects on the Canadian wireless market will likely be far-ranging.

mobilesyrup canada wireless

Krista Collins, manager of mobility and consumer research at IDC Canada tells MobileSyrup, “the mobile phone market in Canada is becoming saturated, as most Canadians now own a smartphone.” While for the past few years, more and more and people have been have gotten swept up in the smartphone craze, Collins says we’re now at a point where mobile penetration in Canada in 2015 was around 80 percent for Canadians aged 5-90.

While 80 percent might sound like there’s still a lot of room to grow, Collins suggests that the slowdown is partly “the result of Canada’s landline infrastructure which in some cases may be more preferable to those in remote areas due to coverage.” The Scotia report also suggests that conversions from Pay-As-You-Go methods to monthly bills are also reaching a ceiling, since now that you can get 3G data on prepaid, we are also seeing the limits of the low-end market.

With room at both the low- and high-ends being squeezed, it’s not terribly surprising then that overall wireless growth is also slowing significantly. The CRTC’s Communications Monitoring Report states that yearly growth of wireless subscribers dropped from almost 8 percent in 2010 to just 1.5 percent in 2014 (though, the 2015 numbers haven’t been tallied yet).

Yet, as Fan notes in his Scotia Capital report, while Rogers, Bell, and Telus’s growth slowed, the so-called major new entrants (that is, Quebecor’s Videotron and the now Shaw-owned Wind) are picking up a bigger slice of the pie of users: 34 percent of new signups in 2015, from just 13 percent in 2010. This isn’t a huge number of people — just around 140,000 for Wind, for example — but it is a glimmer of hope for those who have waited patiently for more competition in the marketplace. Yet as telecommunications consultant Mark Goldberg notes, until newer and smaller entrants, Videotron, Wind, and Eastlink release their overall numbers for 2015, we won’t quite know what effect they’re having — though he notes “it could be substantial.”

mobilesyrup canada wireless 2

As for what is already changing, however, among the most obvious happenings in this increasingly constrained market creates is an uptick in churn or the number of people jumping between the three major players. The Scotia report states that the rise in the Bring-Your-Own-Device phenomenon means there are more consumers without contracts, and who can therefore switch between carriers more easily than before.

As is also common with TV subscriptions, consumers are pitting the sales reps of differing companies against each other in an effort to get the best deal, and jumping ship more regularly. In effect, argues Fan, the big three are basically now just trading subscribers rather than adding significant numbers of their own.

As such, if the wireless market may not be “officially” saturated, then it seems likely we are soon to enter that phase. What wireless carriers do next in reaction will be a combination of things — [something we will explore on MobileSyrup shortly] — and will probably include more of an emphasis on services, like Bell’s mobile TV efforts, or Roger’s recent focus on the NHL. But as Fan notes near the end of the Scotia report, one change has already arrived: higher prices.

  • Jesse

    It could also be that people don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for cell service..

    • Brad Fortin

      Case in point:

      2010: iPhone 4, full price $699, contract price $199 + 3-year plan at $40/mo (total of $1639 after 3 years, $1092 after 2 years)

      2015 (before CAD tanked): iPhone 6, full price $749, contract price $259 + 2-year plan at $80/mo (total of $2179 after 2 years).

      Maybe people don’t like paying twice as much as they used to for the same service?

    • kaostheory

      Rogers is still trying to get me to drop my 6GB plan for a new plan that costs double.

    • Brad Fortin

      My carrier tried to get me to upgrade a few months ago. I literally would’ve had to double my monthly payments to get a plan that’s identical to the one I already have, just to get a $500 subsidy. No thanks, I’ll save the $60/month for a few months, buy my next phone in cash, and continue *not* paying an arm and a leg for cell service.

    • It’s Me

      You mean world leading rates, caused by world leading profit margins and anti-customer behavior might lead to people slowing their usage? Blasphemy! /s

      If we weren’t being gouged, we wouldn’t be Canada.

    • Alex

      No, we weren’t being Canadians if we did not want our cake and eat it too. We stopped living within our means and went towards the seductive trap of consumerism. I’m sure you use 1-2gb data a month but demand to have a plan no less than 6 like everyone else on these boards. Companies will only charge what they do if consumers are willing to pay for it. Cut the demand, cut the costs

    • It’s Me

      Thanks for the lesson in consumerism. That’s a scourge of the entire developed world yet someone Canadians still lead with gouging. Not a very good excuse.

      I use 4-6GB each and every month. Thanks for trying guess anyway.

    • Alex

      What excuse? It’s a fact of life here, you agree so where’s the excuse? And for what?

  • Andrew English

    Cell service is cheaper in the US than it is here. Even with the conversation. A friend of mine has a Verizon phone with service which is what he uses here his bill is cheaper than mine each month that’s including the roaming fees.

    • Humbre

      Their country is also 10x more populous.
      Need a lower ARPU per use to recoup the infrastructure costs.
      Basic math.

    • jayzon12

      I love how people think our big three are crooks and that verizon and at&t are such great companys when verizon and at&t are second and third in the world for profit. no Canadian company is even close to top 20

    • ABCONMan

      Which one do you work for? Whichever it is, perhaps you can pass the message on that the $50 data overage they can charge before blocking is criminal in nature, but a brilliant move to make money by writing it in the Wireless Code. Who wrote most of the CRTC Wireless Code? The Big Three.

    • jayzon12

      how is it criminal in nature?

    • Alex

      No one is forcing you and this is not a necessity of life. How is this criminal? We are not talking about overage fee on water consumption. You have a choice

    • It’s Me

      Except they need to cover, with a modern network, a far larger area. That is, they have many more large urban and suburban areas that need coverage. They have a much larger population and need and much larger infrastructure to support it.

      Notice that in Canada the best value in wireless is in our provinces with the lowest populations, MB and SK.

    • Ulfredsson The Vanquisher

      That would likely be because they foot the bill to BC, AB and ON to cover the loss in extra revenues in those more competitive markets.

      Not that I’m condoning it, but to stay a company the shareholders need to be kept happy. At the end of the day they are a business. If you don’t like it, don’t pay for it?

    • It’s Me

      Sorry, that excuse doesn’t work either. They have no losses in those smaller markets. They are extremely profitable. The CEO of SaskTel went on record saying exactly that. The big 3 pricing outside of those markets was simply gouging.

      The shareholders need to be kept happy. So do the Canadians that helped them build their networks. The Canadians that providedtheir resources to the carriers and cut throat rates to resell back to them. The Canadians that protected them from facing any foreign competition. The Canadians that gifted them with their exclusive rights. They operate in a regulated industry. That regulation is what protected them and fostered their growth. Job well done. Now it’s time for that regulation to work for Canadians.

    • Ulfredsson The Vanquisher

      No excuse. It’s business. They’re gonna milk Joe Public until people stop giving them money.
      Pretty cut and dry IMO. Don’t give them money, they have to adjust their view. That’s the only way to get them to re-evaluate, but that will never happen.

    • It’s Me

      Except they have a hegemony on a service that people want, mostly due to the work of others (handset makers). It’s easy to say “don’t pay them” but that’s not very realistic. We helped build them. The service is build on our national resources. We want the service. yes we will pay for it, but the problem is how much we are forced to pay for it.

      If it was as easy as saying “don’t pay for it” no country in the world would need consumer protection laws or anti-trust laws to limit the scope of monopolies/duopolies/hegemonies.

    • Jo

      You tell it like it is. I am always impressed to see how masochistic people can be, just for the sake of defending the oligopoly.

    • mola2alex

      What national resources? Airwaves? They have to pay the government billions for that which is a big cost. I agree, it’s a business. People need to stop being dumb. Buy your device unlocked and shop around. You feed into the cycle when the device sticker price is so low and you sign a contract. If a carrier knew you could leave at any time, you would see rates fall. It is the customers faults for putting the upfront cost of a shinny new device ahead of the high monthly costs.

    • It’s Me

      Yup. Airwaves. And yes it costs them (those guys early on it was peanuts)…you can’t expect us to give it to them for free if they are selling it back to us can you?

      Do you honestly think buying unlocked will make prices lower? Didn’t bell and Rogers recently announce they were getting rid of BYOP discounts? With complete market power the old “vote with your wallet” chestnut just doesn’t work. That’s monopolies and duopolies are discouraged.

    • mola2alex

      As for air waves, no one owns them, they license it. Who would buy them otherwise? No one so it’s a bit of a poor argument, we need the service, and our government makes money selling them to find other programs.

      And yes, I do believe that if everyone could leave at anytime, it would force pricing wars to boost sorry term fiscal objectives. Sure byod discounts are gone but that doesn’t prove really anything. What it proves is the price plans are the price plans irrespective of who supplies the device. With most people still getting contacts, prices stay artificially high because everyone wants a new device every year. People complain but then make bad choices. And the people that complain are people on here who actually get what is going on but the average person doesn’t care enough to make change happen

    • It’s Me

      That’s the thing about a monopoly or cozy duopoly…where are you going to leave for? If they work to ensure that leaving one is the same as another, that’s the problem. That’s kind of why most developed countries don’t encourage monopolies and duopolies. In fact they actively discourage that sort of market imbalance because it prevents “voting with your wallet” from working.

      They need our resources to be in business. They were regulated and protected to ensure their success. Time to move on from that because they don’t need to be coddled any more. And yes, someone does own the airwaves. We do.

    • mola2alex

      It’s not a monopoly out duopoly and the rules actually favor new entrants, it is just the huge capital costs over many years that inhibit the competition. I think a good move to spur competition would be to mandate data only plans on wireless. Voice is useless. Many would gladly pay 40 for 1 or 2 gig data and use a VoIP or other voice service.

    • It’s Me

      Call it an oligopoly if you’d like to be pendatic, the effect is the same. And while a few rules in recent year did favour new entrants none were enough to overcome decades of preferential, protectionist treatment of the incumbents nor, as you say the vast expense of trying to deploy a network to compete with incumbents that had a decades long head start in a coddled, protected nursery-like environment.

      What good is mandating data only? $40 for 1-2 GB would be amongst the most expensive data rates in the developed world and it would only seem like a good value to someone conditioned by years of abuse.

    • mola2alex

      It’s not pedantic, just accurate. No one complains of the two horse race in operating systems or ecosystem lock in if it doesn’t impact there wallet on a recurring regular basis so duopolies can’t be all that bad.

      Data only plans will force what everyone actually wants, pipe only. Like water, pay for what you use not the forced services you don’t. Data only plans and no subsidies would evolve the market. Just my opinion.

    • David Rawlins

      Really? Favorable for new entrants? Let’s see…

      Rogers Communications: Rogers Wireless, Fido, Chatr, Cityfone, Mobilicity

      Telus: Telus Mobility, Koodo Mobile, Mike, Clearnet, Public Mobile

      Bell Canada: Bell Mobility, Virgin Mobile, Solo Mobile

      Looks like it really worked out well for those guys.

    • Alex

      How was it not favorable?
      Not all new businesses succeed especially when you want them to. Your frustration lies with the new entrants business strategy

    • David Rawlins

      1) It’s no that simple for some. (Some people’s jobs require extensive cellular coverage and work in remote locations)

      2) Except that other carriers have 1) been blocked from entering our market and 2) blocked from using the towers of the big 3 at wholesale rates. Which is stupid because the big resell to each other at wholesale rates.

      If they didn’t act as an oligopoly and actually competed with each other I’d have no problem. But anytime a competitor comes into Canada they get wrecked due to unfavorable conditions set forth by the CRTC. Don’t believe me?

      Let’s review who owns what:

      Rogers Communications: Rogers Wireless, Fido, Chatr, Cityfone, Mobilicity

      Telus: Telus Mobility, Koodo Mobile, Mike, Clearnet, Public Mobile

      Bell Canada: Bell Mobility, Virgin Mobile, Solo Mobile

    • mola2alex

      I was referring to spectrum auctions, aka the airwaves comment. It definitely is not an easy business to start, but you could also say the same about many mature industries like search engines, social networks etc. I don’t think that the answer is in more regulation. Wholesale between is actually not the carrier’s choice unless the have a network sharing agreement. There are also issues with wholesale in general, companies lose incentive (revenue) to those who take no capital risk. Why would a company want to upgrade their network for a competitors customers?

    • Alex

      Your post is so false, I guess I’ll start at the top
      1) Two words. Opportunity Costs. If your mobile gives more revenue than the expense it contains, then you have a decent business model. This part at least.

      2) What Carriers were blocked? All wireless companies play by the same laws.

      Roaming rates are regulated

      The only unfavorable condition is the barrier to entry in the market in the first place, this is hardly the CRTC’s fault. The government gave opportunity to new companies but most have failed because it’s a tough market, simple as that. Bad business models is not the fault of the CRTC (or the Big3)

      Who owns who is not relevant for point 1 and 2. Either they buy them or let them become extinct, unless your option is to pour money into a failing business, that makes a lot of sense.

    • Alex

      Except it is as easy as that. Don’t pay for more than what you can afford (or wish to). Have a budget and stick to it. Look at landline prices now that there is less demand for it

    • Jesus McDongswoggle

      Canadians are bad with voting with their wallets, plain and simple. Everyone’s guilty of reluctantly giving in to outrageous prices, look at our housing market. Anything is worth what people will pay.

    • gommer strike

      Well if you look at all the angry Facebook feeds, the blame is being thrown on the foreign buyers, not the locals here who plain can’t afford it. You’ve seen the situations where a 1.5M bid was outbid by 300k. No surprise, the rich daddy is someone foreign.

      But that in turn also raises the rent, too. An influx of renters(who can’t afford to buy) means the rents go up. The only alternative is to live further away from the metropolitan areas.

    • Jesus McDongswoggle

      I’ve gladly done this already. The odd concert and sporting event would be the only thing keeping me in a big city, certainly not a deal breaker so I bounced outta there.

      Seriously though, vastly different markets but my point remains the same, keep giving a company the money it asks for and it will act like everything’s fine, it doesn’t need to attend to your complaints if you’re still paying them. Wilfully paying someone and then complaining about what you get for the money is your own fault after the second time around, sorry.

      We’ve seen the political BS these companies throw our way to legislate our choices for us (welcome to Canada, where gov’t knows best) we can’t win that battle so just stop lining their pockets instead.

    • gommer strike

      I would have to agree with you on some points here. I will add though, that paying for something, then realizing sheesh, all these costs really add up, and then removing(or downgrading your service to save money) is a possible option.

      One additional thing I’d like to add is, there are alternatives, but for some reason people aren’t willing to take them, or adjust their habits to adapt. Take for example WIND mobile. Sure the coverage wouldn’t really be there if you’re about to snowboard off the top of the mountain at Whistler, but then – why do you need phone coverage so badly in those situations?

      People say, well I can’t stream Google Music without being on a major carrier. But what’s wrong with switching to WIND, and just playing your music via mp3 format stored on your device, or even just turn the freaking radio on in your car?

      All too many are under this attitude that mobile data is a god-given right. To that, I say – no, it is not. It is still a luxury. And when something is a luxury, then you pay to play.

    • KiwiBri

      For sure!

    • Ryan Augerman

      Serious question:

      I require a cell phone for work, life, everything. I need it to keep in touch with the way my life currently is. I would like to vote with my wallet, but what should I do?

    • It’s Me

      And yet you tried to fob it off as an excuse. You said we pay more in BC/AB/ON because of lower rates in SK/MB. Which isn’t just a poor excuse, it’s fiction. It’s untrue. They charge what they do everywhere else because they can. Period. They just can’t get away with in in places where there is strong competition.

    • This is true. They charge almost double in the GTA compared to everywhere else. Thunder bay is in ON and pays half of what we pay. I get that we get higher speeds but I would gladly have speeds of 50 mbs for plans of $50 a month

    • It’s Me

      Our speeds are good. That’s one positive but a relatively recent one. We overpaid for many, many years before that though and still do.

    • That is the only thing I could think of that would justify the high prices. We don’t even have the same promotions as they do for hardware. We get double hit.

      I personally don’t upgrade and buy my phones outright because in Toronto, you either spend big now or spend bigger later

    • Eastvanfan

      It’s because the signals go farther with no mountains anywhere just wheat 😉

    • Alex

      There is no strong competition in MB. SK. The rates are the same regardless of providers just like it is in Ontario. Yes, they are lower relatively speaking to Ont but there is no strong competition within them. There you have oligopoly between 4 providers and here we have 3

    • It’s Me

      You need to read your own post and think it through again. That 4th carrier is a strong 4th option that isn’t in bed with the national carriers. That’s the extra competition and it’s why they are cheaper. Because they are cheaper.

    • Alex

      You need to read my post again. Let me put it in another way. What if SK was a nation on its own? With 4 carriers having the same prices, is that “strong” competition? There’s more competition in Quebec but not in SK, MB…not anymore

    • It’s Me

      Yes, if the result of a strong 4th led to lower prices. Hey wait, that’s exactly what happened. Imagine that!

    • Alex

      I’m not arguing prices, I’m simply responding to what you wrote. Who is the strong 4th in your equation? What you are seeing is a long run equilibrium between 4 companies that have enough supply to fulfill the demand, nothing more, nothing less. It’s a natural economics based on the players involved and the environment in which they operate. No one is pushing any buttons here driving the prices lower and lower as you are alluding with your “strong” competition. As prices increase for one, it will follow by all others just like everywhere else

    • It’s Me

      That equilibrium is lower than the rest of Canada because of the 4th large and independent competitor. No one ever said more competition would mean eternally dropping prices. That’s a straw man and a poor one. It means there is less freedom for any single player to raise prices, hence lower prices that is markets with less competition. Without competition, as we have in the rest of Canada, the close participants work to ensure none of them reduce rates and in fact will ensure that any increase from one is matched by the others so as to ensure consumers have no choice.

    • Alex

      Maybe clarify what you mean by “strong” competition. Or, were you on an emotional tangent spewing out whatever sticks but not necessarily fits. Also clarify this 4th independent competitor. Talk in real terms. In the regions you’re speaking about no such “less freedom for any single player to raise prices” exists. Eg in MB, MTS charges $81.50, Bell offers similar for $70 and Rogers same as Bell. In fact this is a 15% jump from a year ago; more so for MTS. There is all of the same freedoms to raise prices in MB as there is in Ontario; they work on the same market principles which I have mentioned earlier. Back to the original topic: Monopoly/hegemony in Ont, but strong competition in MB, SK? Do you have any idea how bi-polar your argument / thought process is?

    • It’s Me

      In MB and SK you can get 5GB and unlimited Canada wide for $55 on the Telus network through Koodo. In Thunder Bay you can get 6GB with Bell for $60. That is hundred of dollars less per year than in Ontario.

      Again, it’s a sad straw man to argue against eternally dropping prices. No one claimed that. But that equilibrium you are fond of mentioning will be found at a lower mark with increased competition. With a very few and tight knit group of competitors there is little to no incentive to actually compete, ergo higher prices. This is basic high school economics principles not rocket science.

      With the provable and well established fact that rates are cheaper in MK, SK, TBay, and even Quebec to a lesser degree, with the common denominator of there being a strong 4th player that isn’t completely in bed with the 3 sister national carriers, to even try to claim that the increased competition isnt obviously responsible for the vastly lower rates, is either a really poor attempt to shill and deflect or really classic Stockholm syndrome.

      Two questions:
      A) are rates cheaper in MB/SK/TBay/Quebec? (Your answer will go a long to to demonstrating your bias and honesty)
      B) why is it that they are cheaper than everywhere else in Canada that happens to lack a 4th strong and well established competitor?

    • Alex

      Correction: Koodo is 74/mo in SK and Bell is 70/mo in Thunder Bay. An increase of ~13 and 28% over a couple of years ago respectively. Thunder Bay does not have 4 competitors so your 4th carrier argument does not work here. You do not know what I am arguing here that is why you avoid answering my questions and pick the words I use to counter-argue. Effective arguments use the whole information not bits and pieces. I am not arguing prices and I am not saying all markets have the same prices. What I AM saying is that IF this is true:
      “That’s the thing about a monopoly or cozy duopoly…where are you going to leave for? If they work to ensure that leaving one is the same as another, that’s the problem. That’s kind of why most developed countries don’t encourage monopolies and duopolies. In fact they actively discourage that sort of market imbalance because it prevents “voting with your wallet” from working.”
      Then it exists in MB, SK and ON.
      and
      “They charge what they do everywhere else because they can. Period. They just can’t get away with in in places where there is strong competition.” is a false statement.

      Again, I am not arguing prices and I’m not advocating anything here. I am arguing your arguments as they are emotional one tracked minded that I find humorous.

      Questions
      A) Yes
      B) Can’t answer as the question not make sense

    • It’s Me

      I don’t know if your misinformation is because you are dishonest or just confused, but let’s correct you.
      5GB plan from Koodo in MB is now $48, so actually almost a 13% drop. https://www.koodomobile.com/rate-plans (pick MB, it’s one of the first plans listed). TBayTel has 6GB for $60 http://www.tbaytel.net/personal/mobility/rateplans/voiceanddata . Bell also has 6GB for $60. http://www.bell.ca/Mobility/Promotions/NorthWestern-Ontario#EXT=MOB_off_vanity_thunderbay_mass_100312_TM_EN Simply, you are wrong and seem to either ignore facts that don’t fit your view or make up your own.

      You can’t answer B because it doesn’t match your narrative. They charge less in these markets because they cannot charge more and that is because of the presence of of a strong and independent competitor (whether that is the 4th or 3rd or 10th isn’t relevant, it’s the presence of one or more that isn’t from the cozy big 3)

    • David Rawlins

      Just ignore Alex. He’s either a paid shill or a troll. Either way I don’t know how he can’t look at the big 3 and see collusion for price setting. Hell I don’t know how this is all allowed given the evidence (as you have laid out). It’s not like they can even make a honest claim they aren’t working together to charge higher prices in provinces where there is no strong 4th player.

    • Alex

      I am neither but I can see how you came up with that miss-information.

    • Alex

      Again, skipping the parts that you do not wish to address
      I can’t answer as there are no 4 players in Thunder Bay. Re-word your question and I will answer.

      Your rate plans you speak of are not a fair comparison of the past as most plans included hardware subsidies. Compare apples to apples. The rate plans I have shown includes hardware subsidies thus are a fair comparison to the market couple or more years ago. See my post for relative increases.
      What am I making up here? It is all on their website

    • It’s Me

      Fine, re-word. Take out “4th” and include only “strong independent” competitor. Any area with a carrier that is not the big 3 but is well established has far lower rates than where that is not the case. Can yuo answer without the distraction of “4th”? Why is it so much cheaper when there is a well established independent carrier? I’ll help you since you seem to want to pretend to be obtuse: it’s because of competition. Whether that competition is a 3rd or a 4th or a 10th, it is a player that is not within the cozy, close knit cartel.

      As far as wanting to insert subsidies, that’s just trying to stack the deck. If you want to go back in time, then fine, back then the 6GB plan in TBay was even cheaper at $50. Also, if you want to compare todays rates, the ones I provided are those prices for those features. If you want to stack the deck and add more, like a subsidy, feel free to do so. Yes, those rates are then higher, and the rates elsewhere, when you include the subsidies also jump. Apples to Apples, it’s just massively cheaper. You can’t deny that.

      Dodge and squirm all you want. The fact cannot deny is that rates are cheaper in MB, SK and Tbay, all areas with a strong independent competitor. Break the absolute market power and amazing things happen. Rates end up cheaper and the shills end up looking dishonest and desperate.

    • Alex

      Ok great, you agree that rates have increased in all markets. Significant at that. Could have agreed at the beginning and saved us time.

      I never said rates are cheaper in Ont and I never said rates in SK, MB etc are more…not sure where you are getting that from?

    • It’s Me

      ..And yet even with some increase they have yet to hit the abusive rates we pay when it’s just the cozy cartel. Say that out loud “wherever there is strong independent competitor, rates are always cheaper”. You cannot deny this simple fact of life no matter how much wiggling you do.

    • Alex

      I am bringing it up because this is the whole topic, isn’t it?
      You can say strong competition all you want. Simple fact, which you agree as well, is that price increases are across the board here. Even in markets with “strong independent” competitors when one goes up, they all follow.

      Even you cannot deny this…pretty simple

    • It’s Me

      And no one, ever, denied competition would eternally prevent increase. As I said days ago, that’s a straw man and a exceptionally weak one at that.

      It does prevent insane and abusive pricing. It’s been proven to help prevent such prices even here in Canada. MB/SK/TBay all prove it. They are cheaper than the rest of Canada because of strong independent competition. Pretty simple and obvious…well, maybe not to everyone if it’s inconvenient to their agenda and narrative of misinformation.

    • Alex

      Where is the misinformation on my part?

    • It’s Me

      Denying, against facts and common sense, that these specific locations are cheaper because of competition. Misinformation. When correct pricing is provided that shows how much cheaper they are, you “correct” those prices by bringing in inflated prices that also include subsidies even though the big 3 prices outside of those areas are still much higher even without a subsidy. You corrected nothing but claimed you were, so misinformation.

      Do you really not know you are dishonest or just pretending?

    • Alex

      So, I made up the prices that I provided? Ok good argument
      Again, show me the misinformation. Stop dancing around the question and answer it

    • It’s Me

      Dancing? How many times or ways do you need the same thing stated?

      I provided prices, you attempted to corrected them even though they were accurate. That’s dishonest. That’s misinformation.

      So, you really don’t see how dishonest you are. You must work for a carrier. Seems to be a hiring criteria.

    • Alex

      I was comparing apples to apples. You know that…

    • It’s Me

      You brought up unrelated prices exactly to avoid the apples to apples comparison and then stated that it was a correction of facts (presumably because those facts were inconvenient).

      The rest of your rant is simply dismissed with these words: where there is strong competition, the big 3 charge much less. All the rest of your rant is meant to distract from that very simple fact.

    • Alex

      Call it what you want, I am no less correct.

    • It’s Me

      Of course you are. As soon as you disagree with a fact you are wrong. Facts are not opinions. If you disagree with a fact you are wrong. Ergo, you are wrong.

    • Alex

      But I am not disagreeing with the facts…Ergo, you post has no meaning

    • It’s Me

      As soon as you disagree that rates are cheaper in Canada where there is strong competition you are disagreeing with a fact.

      Seriously, why is honesty so difficult for you?

    • Alex

      Where did I disagree with that?
      Is reading that difficult for you?

    • It’s Me

      When have you agreed? I’ve asked repeatedly for you to answer that simple question and the best I’ve received is for you to dance around the question and bring up strawman arguments like “rates go up in MB too” in order to avoid answering the inconvenient truth.

      Say it loud and say it proud, where there is competition prices are lower. (If you can acknowledge that, it will be a sign a huge personal growth on your part and you might get out of having to work for a carrier)

    • Alex

      Read what I wrote, your answers are all there
      Key word is read

    • It’s Me

      Are rates cheaper in MB, SK and TBay than in the rest of Canada?

      deja vu

    • Alex

      Yep and…
      Do companies in SK, SK, Thunder Bay operate the same way as the Big3?

      Yep, deja vu

    • It’s Me

      No, If they did their prices would be just as high. They aren’t as high ergo not the same.

      But at least you’re right about the big 3 gouging us where they can.

    • Alex

      I did not say they were exactly the same
      They operate the same way

    • It’s Me

      You didn’t qualify. Saying the same means the same. But they aren’t exactly same, you are right about that. None of the regionals are nearly as abusive as the big 3. They are in a league of their own on gouging (really, close to world leading on that score).

    • Alex

      Ok, in contrast to what you said before…you need to write your thoughts down before typing them here.

    • It’s Me

      It’s funny that you can see the difference between them being similar in all being for profit businesses but not all being out to gouge.

    • Alex

      In the case of this argument, I see them as similar in business practices since inception. They follow the same line (to success) and consequently the same product of revenue generating machines they have become. Whether you draw the line in SK is not relevant. There is always pros and cons of anything, in capital markets especially.

    • It’s Me

      If they were the same they’d charge the same as elsewhere. There’s nothing stopping them and the big 3 have consistently demonstrated that they are all more than willing to gouge together so all can gouge. Yet they don’t. So not nearly as abusive in nature.

    • It’s Me

      In other words you are simply saying to ignore facts and common sense because you have a narrative you need to push and facts are inconvenient to that narrative.

      Could have saved us a lot of time and just said that at the beginning.

    • Alex

      Misinformation…not surprised here. These regional carriers do have business relationships with the big3. MTS has agreements with Rogers, Rogers has relationship with Videotron, Sasktel and Bell. Heck, even TbayTel has “powered by Rogers” right on their website. Sounds like they are all in bed with each other

    • It’s Me

      Powered by Rogers outside of their network footprint. Advertising that connection is advantageous since it gives them national coverage.

      And of course they have business relationships. It’s effectively impossible to be in the telecom business in Canada and not have to do business with them…they exercise almost complete market power in Canada so of course you have to deal with them. Sometimes you have to hold you nose and deal with those you must deal with. But that doesn’t make them a member of the cartel. Membership there means being a national carrier. No one else is allowed in that club.

    • Alex

      Truth is both ways, the big3 need the stronger networks of the regional companies as well. Tit for tat

    • It’s Me

      exactly. And that need is what keeps prices down in areas where the need the regional player’s networks. And as long as they need the regionals then the regionals remain strong competition and they are forced to provide lower prices.

      You might finally be catching on.

    • Alex

      That goes against exactly what you were saying earlier…

    • It’s Me

      Not even a little bit.

    • Alex

      Well except your rant about regional not being in bed with the big3

    • It’s Me

      They can do business without being cahoots to rip off Canadians.

    • Alex

      Then why is MTS more expensive than Rogers in the same market? They offer pretty much identical service

    • It’s Me

      Yet cheaper than Rogers is in Ontario. Difference being no strong competitor to keep them in check.

    • Alex

      That is not answering the question…

    • It’s Me

      It was clearly a rhetorical question, so it received a rhetorical response. The answer is that because they can. Because competition will achieve an equilibrium instead of eternally falling prices, as you stated and as I agreed with days ago. We’ve been over this, yet you keep trying to use it as a distraction. Why is that?

      The discussion until now has been (though you have failed to grasp) is why is MTS and Rogers and everyone else so much cheaper in those markets? What’s so special about them? You know why.

      You know the answer but can’t bring yourself to admit it. Instead you keep trying to steer the discussion away from such an uncomfortable fact.

    • Alex

      There is more competitors to keep prices in check is the reason for MTS offering the same service for a higher price? Then your answer is “because they can”. Wasn’t that your argument against Bell/Rogers/Telus? Did you just agree with me that the regional providers work the same way? Finally…

    • It’s Me

      Well, they are still businesses. No one said they couldn’t make money.

      But if they were as abusive as the big 3 the prices in those areas would be as high as the big 3. Something holds the big 3 back from their normal abusive pricing. That something is the string competition they face.

      You took one step forward and two back. Guess working at the carrier is in your future for a while.

    • Alex

      No one said that they can’t money? That’s your answer? Because they are not as expensive as the big3 in Ontario, that’s your answer about MTS in Manitoba?

      Not sure what you mean by the last sentence. Is that suppose to be insulting? I work in health care actually, but nice try. You think wireless is bad…but that’s another discussion in another website.

    • It’s Me

      Why does Rogers charge less than MTS in MB? Because they feel the need to compete on price because MTS is there. If not for MTS, then certainly Rogers would jack up their prices and gouge Manitobans as much as they do everyone else.

      And no, it wasn’t meant to be insulting. But I find very few people act as obtuse about the insane position we are in for wireless in Canada as carrier employees. But their excuse is that they are paid to be dense and are indoctrinated. If you don’t work for a carrier, there’s no excuse really.

    • KiwiBri

      But people here continue to give them money. Heh.. And they thought I was crazy with a 6GB $30 plan 4yrs ago… Now who’s laughing.

    • mola2alex

      The CEO of a competitor, the absolute truth. He has no motive at all to say that

    • Alex

      What’s the regulatory solution?
      Keep in mind that these gifts of spectrum created thousands of jobs and revenue, which in turn has increased government revenue in form of taxes. The government got back more than what they put into it

      So I ask again, what regulation would you put forth which will help the situation here?

    • It’s Me

      Enforcing existing regulations requiring access to smaller players would be a start. A complete modernization and revamp of MVNO regulation to catch up to the rest of the world would be nice.

    • Alex

      Isn’t access to incumbent networks and rates government regulated?

    • It’s Me

      Yes. But it’s poorly enforced and hasn’t caught up with the rest of the world. We are basically stuck with ye olde robber barons.

    • Alex

      Can you elaborate? How is it poorly enforced?

    • It’s Me

      One example, would be that even though regulation said otherwise Rogers was able to get away with charging Wind and Mobi $1000/GB for years before finally having their hands slapped. Now they charge a far lower, though still outrageous (for a wholesale rate) of $50/GB. The fact that they would even think they could get away with such behavior, against standing regulations, shows how much disdain they hold for Canadians and our regulations and how poor the enforcement is.

      I can’t think of anywhere else where domestic roaming is $1000/GB at the wholesale rate. Maybe Somalia or Cuba.

    • Alex

      You are giving past and present situations and arguing the past…
      What about the present? How is it poorly enforced right now?

    • It’s Me

      $50/GB at wholesale is unreasonable and not in the spirit of the regulation but the regulator are letting it slide. Present.

    • Alex

      Spirit? is it or is it not being regulated?
      “letting it slide” = not following the regulation?

    • It’s Me

      I’m not going to look it up now, but the regulation imposed on one of the spectrum allocations stated that tower sharing and domestic roaming rates should be fair and reasonable and based on comparable agreements/rates. $1000/GB was none of those. And while $50/GB at wholesale is better, it still isn’t fair nor reasonable and nowhere close to what their agreements with other carriers provide (which is why domestic roaming is free with most other carriers). So yeah, letting it slide.

    • Alex

      Letting it slide really means what the regulation is vs what is happening now.
      What is fair?

    • It’s Me

      A wholesale price that is higher than retail certainly isn’t fair. A wholesale price meant to cripple isn’t fair. You must work for a carrier to need your hand held like this.

    • Alex

      You sound pretty upset. It was a simple question…
      Looks like the carriers are taking advantage of network access agreements. Access that was made possible by regulation…right?

    • Alex

      Don’t forget Que, another common element is that they all have established regional players as well.

    • robinottawa

      I don’t get it. Your two paragraphs seem to have opposite messages.

    • It’s Me

      Just pointing out how ridiculous the excuses being made are. Some days it’s because our population is too low, yet our lowest population areas have the best rates. Some days it’s landmass and coverage that drives our rates up yet our modern coverage area is actually relatively small.

      Some people will swallow absolutely any excuses the carriers give them and then even parrot them in public. I’d prefer people think for themselves instead of letting the carriers think for them.

    • robinottawa

      Yes, it’s always what the market will bear, a.k.a., how easily people will give away their money.

    • It’s Me

      That only works in a balanced market here both supply and demand side hav leverage. That doesn’t happen in a monopoly/duopoly/hegemony. Which is why it doesn’t work that way here. What the market will bear is whatever those with absolute market power decide it is. That’s why most developed countries don’t encourage such market power.

    • mola2alex

      Urban areas are generally easy to cover

    • It’s Me

      Easier so cheaper? Yet in Canada our urban areas are the most expensive.

    • mola2alex

      Cheaper yes per capita. That should be obvious. Hence why it’s not a great comparison.

    • It’s Me

      Cheaper per capita that then leads to more expensive per capita.

    • KiwiBri

      Population..maybe but there is *competition* here. (been in the US this week and its been interesting. They think our prices are truly ridiculous)

  • GQDRU

    Considering no foreign competition, other than Wind Mobile on the AWS Spectrum, is allowed to set up shop in Canada, it is not suprising that there is no more growth in the Mobile market. There are a ton of Canadians who are still using Flip phones or cannot afford a smartphone currently. The SEVERE lack of competition is preventing organic growth of new smartphone user adoption.

    • not everyone wants/needs a smartphone though… there are people out there, that only want their flip phones. Frankly, I don’t blame them… being a little less connected has it benefits — if I wasn’t for my profession and being away for weeks on end, I’d consider a flip phone for sure.

    • Alex

      So what you’re saying is that offer dirt cheap service for smart phones and overnight population will increase thus allowing increased growth?

    • No, not at all —

    • jayzon12

      Its not a lack of competition, US has 4 major carriers with 319 million people. Canada has a larger land mass to cover only 36 million people and 3 major carriers. The market is not big enough for more competition as we have seen time and time again with every new entrant having to sell due to losing or not making enough money. The issue is that they keep doing upgrades to the network to cover reception in the middle of nowhere and increase speeds of internet beyond anything anyone needs and those upgrades cost a lot of money which is than moved down to the end user.

    • Humbre

      Yup, telecom 101 right here.

    • BR

      This.. This is what people don’t get. Drives me nuts when the unknowledgable compare the Canadian market to the US market. But hey, people are i****s.

    • People actually believe that it cost next to nothing to build a high speed cell network and cost next to nothing to maintain. Wind is a great example of how hard it is to survive in a country with so few people, such large mass and most of the populous already on some sort of network

    • John T.B.

      That’s propaganda that our Big 3 cartel wants you to believe. They are cartel and not competitors.
      Many European countries with less than 10 million people have 3 real competitors. Don’t fall for the population density excuse. Windsor to Montreal corridor has more people and greater population density than many of those European countries.

    • Ulfredsson The Vanquisher

      How many of those 3 real competitors are available in more than 1 European country? Such as Vodafone and T-Mobile. I highly doubt there would be many examples of multiple, independent, country bound carriers. Most I would say are either a major telecom or a subsidiary brand.

    • It’s Me

      Our carriers never went beyond our borders because they know what’s good for them. They know they are run by incompetence and would fail if they moved outside. Why leave the nest, when it is so warm and cozy and cushy and protected? They know where they have it good. To expand elsewhere means having to operate without the protections and coddling they have at home. They aren’t that stupid.

    • Ulfredsson The Vanquisher

      What in the sweet baby geebus are you on about?

      At no point was there any discussion about our carriers moving outside Canada.

      the point made was there are Euro countries with less than 10 million and 3 carriers competing. My point was those countries have carriers that are operating in many countries, sooooooooo….

      Either way. NA market in general is ridiculously over-priced. Canadian market is just plain insane.

      Can’t compare with Euro market. Need to look at whole picture, such as value of Euro, cost of living, average wage, blah blah blah.

    • John T.B.

      There are not independent local carriers but they are competing. Yes, it’s a local branch of T-Mobile or Telefonica or Vodafone or Telenor but the point is that they are not colluding but competing. Canadian Big 3 are protected and live in an isolated environment without real competition thus high prices.

    • Stephen B Morris

      It is a lack of competition when the major players are not really competing. The new entrants were brought in to try to get the incumbents to start competing without actually calling them out. That’s what it seemed like anyway. But I agree with your other points.

    • Alex

      They do compete, just not the way you think

    • Stephen B Morris

      I am aware that they half compete when it comes to services and device prices, but they don’t compete where it counts. The plan prices are what’s going to land the subscribers. It’s like having a race in every province and all of the racers in certain provinces decide to speedwalk instead of run. If you’re going to race, race!

    • Alex

      These companies do not want to engage in a price war so it’s more of a bad game of poker where all players have equal cash and skill. The best decision is taking into account all others decision while their decisions remain unchanged, also known as the Nash equilibrium. Think of two pop machines next to each other, Pepsi and Coca-Cola; their prices will be identical. If they were to compete in the traditional sense, the only race they would be engaged in, is the race to the bottom (of their existence)

    • Stephen B Morris

      Fair enough. But even in that example those two have a stranglehold on the market. People won’t actively search for a PC COLA machine.

    • It’s Me

      That’s right. They compete to see who can abuse their customers the most.

    • It’s Me

      Our landmass is barely coveraged. US has massively more coverage to go along with their much larger population.

    • Ulfredsson The Vanquisher

      The cost of the tower does not change based on the population though (ignoring bulk purchases and dollar exchange rate which favor the US for argument’s sake). So logically, it would take longer for a smaller company to build a network than say a company with roughly 2.5 times the subscriber base as the entire Canadian population.

      Logistics can be a cruel mistress.
      ^-^)

    • It’s Me

      Loner? After 30 years, longer isn’t really relevant as an explanation. But even if it was the reason, that because they are smaller they still haven’t caught up, that would only work with the assumption that they are building out at the same rate and therefore that is no excuse for higher rates. If you had instead argued that they had kept up, even though they were smaller and covered as much of the landmass with modern networks, then you might have a point, logically.

    • silverfox007

      Whoever is saying Canada has a larger land mass to cover, give me a break. 75% of the Canadian population lives within 100 miles from the border. So the main population is concentrated along a strip, near the border.

    • It’s Me

      Yup. And only in a very few pockets along that narrow strip.

    • jayzon12

      The us has more coverage if you add all the carriers together but unfortunately they do not all share networks so most places out of major cities are forced into a carrier because it is the only one available in their area. Also with 10 times the population they should have a larger covered and lower costs. But if you look and exchange rates and prices including all the extra fees their plans are not that much cheaper than ours. Also have you ever used 4g in new York? Its like being on wind it is so slow.

    • It’s Me

      I used it in NYC back in Dec. it was fast.

    • gommer strike

      Why would lack of competition result in market saturation, though? The article states well – everyone who wants/wanted a smartphone, has one now. So everyone’s covered. Why would another Wind, Sasktel, MTS etc entering the scene all of a sudden, cause a huge spike in growth?

      Any competitor looking at the situation would go – well the market’s saturated. What’s the point? Why would I setup shop here, only to feed on the crumbs?

  • rick

    Selling phones and numbers directly to consumers has to peak at some point simply given we do not have a limitless population. But three words

    internet of things

    Sure alot of this will connect via peoples home networks but alot won’t.

    Which brings up an interesting point on peoples home networks………Why not sell reasonable internet plans to areas where is easier to blanket the market with high speed wireless vs building copper or fiber connectivity directly into peoples homes.

    there is plenty of market left. Carriers need to look at slimmer margins and think outside the box is my opnion

  • jay

    Canadian market is different than the states. Its harder to get coverage and lte support. Then the changes from three to two years and so on. However you better sign with wind when you can. Paying 80$ for a service is just so bad and on top of that if you want the newest phone its another 400$ up front. I can see a big decline in the market for the next 2 years.

    • Iz3man

      The biggest issue with what’s now going on is the removal of the byod plan… Now regardless if you get a new device or not, your still going to pay that extra charge. In my case, I pay $80 + $50 for 2 phones unlimited everything and 6gb of data, in yesteryears that would have been insane, now it’s sadly a good deal. My Note 4 balance drops by $25.09 each month, my wife’s z3 $26.15. When my term is up and I’m at a $0 balance, they will still collect that $25.09 from me. So when my 2 year is up ( August 2016) I will she’ll out for a note 6, sell the note 4 to recoup the cost of the note 6 and continue to pay that same amount, except now that extra $25.09 will go towards paying off my new phone and not directly into the void.

      Now I know they sell the phones for a profit, they pay way less so even at $25.09 I’m still paying I to their profit, just if they have to use it to pay off a new device e it means they get that much less.

    • monkeymo

      They dont make money on the hardware, what have you been smoking? That usual Rogers/Telus/Bell added cost of $20-$50 on top of the standard MSRP is their profit

    • Iz3man

      Think about what your saying..

      I pay 199 for the phone and I pay $80/mth under the current system..
      Eastlink plan adopted by robelus.
      Pay $0 up front pay $80/mth for plan, pay $30/mth for phone.

      Over 2 years according to you’re logic, I pay $199 + $1920 (80 x 24) = 2,119

      On eastlink plan
      (80+30)x24 = 2,640. A difference of $521.
      What is hell are you saying G..

      First you say they don’t, then you say they do.. That $20-$50 is the normal “Hardware profit”. And to be honest it’s more like $100.

    • monkeymo

      wtf are you talking about, subsidies do not equate to making money on the phone, its equated into the cost of the contract, because the subsidy essentially is a loan offered by the carrier.

      If you say profit off the hardware you imply that the sale of the phone there is a massive markup, which there is not, its less than 10% not to mention with some manufacturers you cant return the unsold stock for even account allowance, hence the “need” for the telecoms to add an extra cost on the hardware ontop of the MSRP so that it writes down some of the total unsold stock.

      Its only $100 when it comes to the Nexus line because the carriers dont want those phones attached to lite plans, so they artificially raise the prices so it can count in the premium/super phone devices category.

    • Iz3man

      My argument isn’t about profit of hardware… It was a small piece. My point is that passing the total cost of the device to the user plus a monthly cost is just ridiculous! And people think it’s a good idea!!

  • h2oflyer

    The Triad wants growth in revenue, and if they can’t get it from new subscribers, they’ll get it by CONTINUALLY raising plan rates.

    • ianberg

      I’m holding off on getting voice+text+data plan for as long as possible and sticking with just voice+text. But even the gap in pricing between the two is shrinking.

    • Alex

      The article is talking about subscriber growth. Please read again

    • h2oflyer

      Please read my post again.

    • h2oflyer

      You replied to me and 6 other posters with a.lot of rebuttal gibberish without really saying anything.

      If you have an opinion on this article, step up, be a man and say so.

    • Alex

      I stand by my comment and this article isn’t well put together. Just typical journalism to get the average joe to stick their faces in the monitor and get all emotional and well guess what? you fell for it. First of all, average house spent an average of 3% increase in telecommunications over the last 10 years. There was a big hump in 2013 of 6%. Second, this is in line with inflation. Third, likely due to the fact that people have also been cutting the cords on their TV and home phone. Consumers are substituting one for the other. Did you know what healthcare and education costs have risen more than telecommunications?

  • McNucklefuts

    I would expect prices to go down in order to try and compel the individuals already with another carrier to jump ship? Why raise prices?

    • ianberg

      I don’t see prices going down unless there’s a 4th national carrier. Wind/Shaw right now is the leading candidate to become it but it’s nowhere near to where it needs to be yet.

    • Alex

      There will be a short term adjustment, once (if) the fourth player is on the same playing field then we are back where we are now (relatively speaking). Economics 101

    • Alex

      All other things constant, prices will go up if there is demand for it. Key word is demand

  • Tim3Tripp3r

    Nanuet, Is this really correct: “Collins says we’re now at a point where mobile penetration in Canada in 2015 was around 80 percent for Canadians aged 5-90”
    aged “5”-90? Didn’t know 5 year olds packed smartphones. Just asking.

    • Iz3man

      I know 5 new parents that have kids under 6 with smart phones… Data usage mostly but still under 6!!!

      My kids ( 6 and 2) play outside, with rocks and sticks and bugs… Hell for the amount the other folks pay a year for those kids entertainment, I bought them an a*s kicking 600sqft play structure complete with twisty slide, rope bridge and a damned zip line.. It’s bad enough that my son tells me where to go on Netflix, kodi and YouTube for his shows, I don’t need him telling me how to tweak my rom… Yet

    • Tim3Tripp3r

      Thanks for enlightening me & the chuckle.

    • Iz3man

      Personally I think cell phones should be a mid to late high-school thing… Maybe thats because they didn’t get popular until I was in grade 11… You know those old huge analog flip phones…. My kids are going to hate me…

  • thomas nguyen

    Canada has a few issues with new entrants:
    1) it’s harder for any new entrant to come and set up shop, we have a LARGE landmass, and sparse userbase.
    2) at our most dense cities, they are nowhere near as big as some of the other major locations in the US
    3) our government requires all entrants to also serve our rural area, so without investing an arm and a leg to support a small fraction of users, they can’t even come in to start a base.
    As for “market saturation”
    the big 3 has no reason to retain people, because it’s like playing poker with 3 people passing the blinds around, at the end of the day, it’s still the same money going back and forth. there is no reason to look at retention, and at this rate, there is too little gain for resigning a contract and getting a new phone.

    • “our government requires all entrants to also serve our rural area, so
      without investing an arm and a leg to support a small fraction of users,
      they can’t even come in to start a base.”

      No they don’t, try using wind in a rural area.

  • Freddy Hajoong Jeong

    I don’t want to compare but I have to because plans in Canada is just insanely high. I don’t know about states, but in Korea, $50 for unlimited call, message and 5gb of data. LTE way faster than these 3 giants in Canada. These 3 main carriers seriously need to stop ripping off from people

    • jayzon12

      south Korea has 50 million people in 100 thousand square km. Canada has 36 million over 9.985 million square km. it costs a lot of money to put up and maintain towers over such a large area.

    • Ipse

      This argument is getting REALLY old.
      Explain then why ARPU for Canada is 48USD and Australia is 31USD. Even US is at 41USD.
      Only the Big3 can throw this in our faces…readers of MobileSyrup cannot 🙂

    • Alex

      It’s not that it’s getting old, it’s more of hearing the same thing without considering the differences beyond what you see. So these countries have the same population distribution, government, taxes, subsidies, minimum wages, currency, supply and demand, generally firms’ fixed and variable costs? The world is not as black and white as you think

    • jayzon12

      average revenue per unit
      US 41×318 million divided by 4 main carriers
      Canada 48×35 million divided by 3 main carriers
      I honestly don’t know much about Austrailias mobile network but I would guess there is more to it than just the arpu numbers

    • Ipse

      It’s “average revenue per USER” Ted Rogers.

    • Ipse

      Hmm…cat ate my reply?
      I was correcting Mr Robellus here as ARPU stands for “average revenue per USER”.
      But the fact you consider us “units” speaks volumes 🙂

    • jayzon12

      If you look up ARPU it can be used as either. I used it as unit as in per phone number. Because If I have 2 phones or a phone and a tablet they do ARPU per phone number or unit. It may be used more commonly as per user that just seems odd to me. As for the Mr Robellus comment. I like to look up information and make up my own mind on things rather than just blindly hate anything I don’t like or agree with. I would love cheaper phone plans, heck id love everything here to be cheaper but there is more to it than everyone is trying to rip us off. There are factors like min wage, currency strength, population, etc. And even if I believed that none of that mattered and the big three were just ripping us off well that’s a point of opinion and as much as people say that it cost to much they still pay it so it obviously is not to much to pay it is just more than they would like to pay but still within what they are willing to pay. 🙂

    • Brad Fortin

      Except none of the big 3 are trying to cover 100% of Canadian land, they’re trying to cover 90% of Canadians.

      Ask anyone living in rural parts of Canada, coverage outside of big cities is sparse at best. Sure, the coverage maps show large swaths of coverage but those maps are “best case scenarios” that assume a clear line of sight to the nearest tower and have no regard for topography, buildings, forests, etc.

      Coverage figures also only include people’s “home” address which for a lot of rural areas is a PO Box in a nearby town, not the location of their house (which can be 15 km outside the “covers 90% of Canadians” coverage area). There are areas in Canada with thousands or tens of thousands of Canadians who have no coverage, and who’ve never had coverage, and likely won’t have any coverage for the foreseeable future due to “budget constraints” despite each of the Big 3 making billions of dollars in profit every year, which could pay for plenty of towers to cover those areas.

      Meanwhile if you take a trip to a country with more competition, let’s say any country in western Europe or east-Asia, you can be driving down the most remote country road imaginable or in the third-level basement of a parking garage and still get acceptable coverage.

    • Iz3man

      We are spread out, I lose signal 3 times between my office and my house.. It’s a 30km drive on a sparsely populated highway corridor.

      Drive down south and I get full bars steady from barrie right through to Niagara.

      It’s a numbers game, when you have large gatherings of people in close proximity it costs less to give them service vs having to put up towers just to maintain service for a small few.. I applaud their service lever.. Just hate their prices.

    • jayzon12

      I agree they are not trying to cover 100 percent but if they covered 10 percent of Canada they would still have 10 times the amount of land as south Korea. I agree they could be less but there is more to it than just gouging

    • Distract2

      you seriously think you can get a signal everywhere in Canada ? The network is really not that big, take a look at the covering map again and you will understand how silly was your comment.

    • jayzon12

      Its not about hitting 100 percent it was pointing out that they have 1 percent of the land mass we do.

  • Breeze

    Higher prices, haha! The big three can always grow their profit by raising the price. They know consumers will complain but will also accept the fact inevitably.

  • Techguru86

    We definitely need competition look at prices the Big 3 charge in Tbay, MTS, SaskTel and Que, plans are way cheaper, and no that Wind has deep pockets prices will go up but they will still outmatch everyone else

  • MoYeung

    Canada population just passed 36 million yesterday; already someone is complaining about market situation?

    Need new customers, need profit growth, need higher ARPU, you want my money but your product/service and prices just suck.

  • h2oflyer

    Reaching saturation is only a statistic. It’s really an excuse to protect revenue with rising prices and limit infrastructure expenditure because they don’t need to expand.

    Saturation in the TV/ Internet segment was reached years ago and look where we are with prices and everyone trying to escape with Netflix etc.

    We just have to wait for the wireless “skinny” package! CRTC is our friend and protector.

  • Anupam Khandelwal

    I Cant wait to see what Shaw-Wind has bring in the market. As Shaw is having unique shaw go wi-fi like service which gives customer save on their cell phone internet plans too.

  • Michael Yun

    Another reason new sign is slowing down is because people are keeping their old grandfather package rather then getting another contract. The new plans they have now sucks. Why would I give up my old plan that’s miles better. It makes more sense the buy the phone outright and keep my old grandfather package.

  • dantexaiver

    If The Telcos need to recoup their investments by jacking up prices maybe they should get the shareholders to take a cut i mean they are reaping the rewards of an noncompetitive market and can surely afford to loose a few pennies

  • blp

    we need more competition to drive down the price.

    • PeterC

      But there already is competition (windmobile for example) with lower prices. Problem is that the quality isn’t that great. So if you want good quality connection, you have to pay for it and use one of the big 3. I don’t see a problem with that.

  • EvilWalnuts

    You can talk about how Canadian carriers must cover a large land mass, but look at coverage maps. Cell service covers maybe 30% of the country, which is 99% of the population.

  • robinottawa

    If you’re willing to pay, you can’t complain. My bill with Rogers is $50 mo with 1gb and unlimites talk and text in Canada. I won’t go higher. Anyone getting a better deal?

    • JP

      Exactly the same plan with Koodoo for 34$……. in Québec. Thanks to the competition from Vidéotron !

  • Rave Vanz

    Or could it be that people have had there fill outside of Canada? Unlocked and cheaper. All my phones i have ever owned are from outside Canada. Oh ya and good old $0.99 eBay unlocking. Or the so called “TAB” needs to be investigated as to how much crime(scratch that). How much phones it contributes to?……Just saying 🙂

  • Andrew

    I love how everyone is an expert on the wireless market. How many of you actually work as an economist or as an industry analyst that can actually provide evidence on your claims?

  • David Rawlins

    OK, I’ve seen a number of responses of people that go along the lines of, “If you don’t like the prices of the big 3 mobile market in Canada, use someone else or don’t use it at all”.

    1) Sorry, but in the world today, to reference Cellular/Internet prices and
    say, hey if you don’t like it don’t buy it! Is like saying the same
    thing about gas. Sure, you could stop using it, but it would be a fairly
    major impact to many many peoples lifestyles and in my opinion our
    government is supposed to protect us from things like an
    monopoly/oligopoly.

    2) The CRTC ruled that small providers can’t use the big 3’s towers at wholesale rates, (even though they do so with each other). Despite that there is already precedent for this with our internet providers. So that leaves completely different carriers. Like Koodo, oops… I mean, Clearnet… nope… Virgin? Let’s review who has tried to enter the market and been destroyed by the unfair competition laws and practices (I mean “bought out”) by the big 3:

    Rogers Communications: Rogers Wireless, Fido, Chatr, Cityfone, Mobilicity

    Telus: Telus Mobility, Koodo Mobile, Mike, Clearnet, Public Mobile

    Bell Canada: Bell Mobility, Virgin Mobile, Solo Mobile

    Now tell me that things are nice and fair for new entrants and that there are other fair options. Tell me how fair it is that in places where there’s real implacable competition (Saskatchewan and Sasktel) they have much lower prices for plans (and still make a decent profit) but somehow those in Ontarioa, BC and Alberta pay billions more each year. Please illuminate me.