As part of the ongoing review of the Wireless Code, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) offered all Canadians the ability to participate and voice their opinions through an online discussion board.
A request from accessibility group Deaf Wireless Canada Committee (DWCC) has been granted, resulting in the CRTC extending the participation date until February 20th. The reason for the new end date is so the DWCC constituents are able to participate in the hearing.
The Wireless Code of Conduct started in 2013 with the goal of helping Canadians better understand their monthly bill and prevent ‘bill shock.’ In addition, the Code aimed to reduce the number of steps it took to change to a new provider. As a result, carriers scrapped 3-year contracts in favour of 2-year terms, but ultimately monthly bills increased while wireless complaints dropped.
During the hearing in Quebec last week, the hot topics of discussion included unlocking feeds, data overages and disability services.
Many of the comments currently on the discussion board voice concerns over a lack of competition in the Canadian wireless space. “The only way to see Canadians get a fair shake is to mandate pricing for cell phones. OR… allow foreign competition. NO Canadian corporation like Rogers, Telus or Bell will ever give up this insane business practice unless forced. Let a big US or EU cell company in,” says forum poster Cameron Clarke.
“Having 3 competitors is not a competitive market. I’d love to enter a competition where the worst case scenario is a bronze medal. Data plans, minimum plan, etc are priced accordingly because consumers don’t have options,” wrote Giancarlo Consoli. “This isn’t rocket science. Economics 101. Open the market to more competition.”
“The wireless code has been effective in many areas of pain for consumers. There are a couple of areas left that have not been addressed and I believe should be. There needs to be some controls put in place to restrict carriers from ‘Fine like’ charges for overages. The Wireless Code caps the data overages at $50, so the carriers responded by making overages $50 a gigabyte, when this same data is available for $5 or less per gigabyte in plan. Make overages reasonable and stop the bill shock,” voiced Jackyonge.
If you’re interested in shaping the future of wireless, or at the very least having your opinion recorded in the CRTC’s vaults, head on over the forum here.