Report: Canadians still feeling “frustrated” even with new wireless choices

An interesting report from Public Interest Advocacy Centre called “Waiting for the Dream, the Consumer brief for Telecom Reform 2010”. In this 218-page document it states that even though the wireless industry has seen more competition and restructured consumers are still feeling “frustrated”.

Executive Director and General Counsel Michael Janigan says that “All kinds of benefits were promised to consumers in terms of lower prices and better deals on packages. None of that came to pass… Wireless seems to be the cash cow of the industry… What we find is, as we’ve restructured the industry to put an emphasis on competition, there’s still problems associated with the influence of the big incumbent telecos on the entire process.”

Not sure where Janigan has been for the last year but there has been several options for consumers to choose from. New entrants Public Mobile, Wind Mobile, Mobilicity and Videotron all launched their new wireless networks. As for subscriber numbers, Videotron announced 95,400 subscribers in Q3, Wind Mobile will reach “well over” 200,000 by the end of the year and Mobilicity recently claimed 50,000 new subscribers in Q4. Public Mobile has not declared subscriber numbers. All this to say that customers are making moves to give new competitors a chance. So competition is working and in some areas the new entrants are pressuring the incumbents to act.

As for pricing and better deals – every carrier (even Rogers, Bell and TELUS) now has some sort of Unlimited offering. Quebec is fine example of this as you can now get an Unlimited Quebec plan from any carrier for about $60/month. Even Solo re-branded and started offering Unlimited plans and Rogers launched their discount brand Chatr. All new entrants came out with lower prices than any of the Big Three. Both Mobilicity and Wind have an all-in Unlimited talk, text and data plan for $40 per month. Without the fierce competition in Canadian wireless these pricing plans would have never happened a year ago.

Even Telus spokesman Shawn Hall spoke up and called Janigan’s report is “self-serving mythology… The fact is that urban Canadians enjoy the benefits of one of the most competitive telecommunications industries in the world… Canadians have access to a dozen or more options for their wireless, home phone and Internet services, while rural Canadians are not far behind that.”

The Government wanted more “to achieve lower prices, better service and more choice for consumers and business” when they announced the auction back in 2008…. and that’s exactly what 2010 delivered. Every carrier in one way or another stepped up their game to earn their customers business. 2011 will be even more insane for wireless competition.

What are your thoughts on Janigans remarks. Even with all this new competition are you feeling “frustrated” or have you benefited from the lower prices and more choice?

Source: Canadian Press