Canada’s Wireless Sector is Globally Competitive in Pricing and Innovation, Contrarian Claims

A Canadian organization shocked the nation this week with an incredibly contrarian claim to everything we believe today: our country’s wireless services are globally competitive in both pricing and innovation.

A research note published by the Montreal Economic Institute says that Canada is “neither among the best, nor among the worst.” Associate researcher Yves Rabeau is quoted as saying that Canada is “far from the caricature propagated by certain analysts,” adding that our wireless marketing is “functioning well.”

Consumers chained to restrictive three-year contracts with hefty termination and upgrade fees would disagree, as would those paying $25 or more for data packages as little as 500 megabytes, and those coughing up roaming fees as high as $5 for a single megabyte in the US. 

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said earlier this year that it intends to revisit decisions made two decades ago to not regulate the country’s wireless industry. As a result of this decision, Rogers, Telus, and Bell seized control of 95% of the nation’s wireless market and forged an oligarchy that has locked tens of millions of consumers into shockingly overpriced plans for three years (50% longer than in the US).

Yet Yves affirms that the CRTC should refrain from interfering through regulations. He cites new competition, such as Wind Mobile and Mobilicity, as one reason why Canada’s wireless market will improve on its own.

But he fails to note these companies have limited financial resources and network coverage, and struggle to get high-end phones in timely manners (and none have the iPhone due to network incompatibility). As a result, the several discount carriers that exist have managed to combine for just 4% of the market after four years of aggressively attempting to penetrate the Big Three’s oligopoly.

We found it slightly ironic to discover after reading the report that the MEI’s slogan is “ideas for a more prosperous nation.”