Competition Bureau Commissioner John Pecman stated in an interview with BNN that consumers need to take some of the onus for lowering wireless prices on themselves.
“I think consumers have a big responsibility to also push incumbents such as the Big Three in the telco sector by shopping around and being prepared to switch. If they step up, I believe they can reduce prices significantly from the posted pricing. That could undermine the coordination that you see,” said Pecman in his interview with the news station.
While he states that the Competition Bureau can do their part to ensure that there is enough competition in the market, he says it’s up to consumers to shop around and negotiate for the best price. He goes on to say that Canadians are generally passive and don’t want to switch or negotiate to obtain a better deal.
He believes, however, that the population’s unwillingness to leave their plan and shop around is a missing component in the Canadian government’s longstanding debate over wireless prices, saying that without it, the Big Three will “enjoy the quiet life.”
“They’re just profit maximizing, they’re going to charge the price they can get from the market and if consumers don’t take steps to see those prices come down, the status quo continues. We can do our part in terms of the market structure, ensuring that there is sufficient competition, but at the end of the day consumers have to step up to ensure they’re getting better pricing,” continued Pecman.
When questioned by the reporter about whether it was too difficult to get out of a mobile contract in Canada, Pecman countered with a clause in the Wireless Code which states that consumers can buy their own way out of their contracts.
Currently, consumers who want to leave a wireless plan before their contract is up have the option to reimburse their wireless carrier for the phone to get out of the contract. He suggests that more Canadians actively start supporting alternative wireless options if they want to see prices go down.