Thursday, May 24, 2007

Are Canadian Cell Phone Users Getting Hosed?

An interesting study conducted by Canadian research firm The Seaboard Group discovered that, of the developed countries, Canadians pay the most for their cell phones services. According to the study, the average cell phone user forks over 33 per cent more dough a month than even our neighbours to the south. This number rises to 56 per cent for those considered to be “heavy” users (1,200 min./mth.) This is due to high per/minute rates and long distance charges, as well as hidden (or not so hidden) additional feels, like 9-1-1 access, and that pesky service charge for which no one can really explain the purpose (really, what the heck does that cover?)

Because of this, Canadians are reluctant to jump on board the cellular wagon. Seaboard says that even though 58 per cent of Canadians own a mobile phone, we’re way behind other countries: America is at 75 per cent, while 86 per cent of Germans are chatting it up on-the-go.

How do we change this? Well, more competition would help.

We have, ultimately, four main wireless carriers in Ontario: Rogers Wireless, Fido Wireless, Telus Mobility, and Bell Mobility. Virgin Mobile uses Bell’s network; while youth-oriented newcomer Amp’d Mobile piggybacks with Telus’ EVDO network. GSM, the international standard for wireless technology, is only available through Rogers Wireless and Fido, the latter of which Rogers owns. It’s like choosing between apple pie made with granny smith or mcintosh apples. In the end, it’s just apple pie. Why don't we have some cherry, lemon meringue, and key lime? (getting hungry, yet?)

As they say, variety is the spice of life. Let’s get some in the wireless arena.


Anonymous said...

It's amazing how many of us Canadians are willing to pay quite a lot for our cell phones in comparison to our nieghbours to the South. After reading your post I decided that I would take a look at some of our neighbour’s cell phone carriers and the cost in which they are incurring by their constant use of the cell phone. Verizon (a U.S. cell phone carrier) is charging $39/month for unlimited incoming calls, unlimited nights and weekends, plus 450 day time minutes. I believe I am paying the same thing at a Canadian cell phone carrier (which will remain nameless) for 1000 evening and weekend minutes, 150 day time minutes, and unlimited incoming. Too bad no Canadian carriers have the same deal as the U.S. carriers, maybe Rogers, Bell, Telus, or Fido would see an increase in sales and a lot happier customers.

Anonymous said...

I have been down to the States quite a bit and everytime I go I am compelled to a little shopping here and there. It always amazes me how much stuff costs over there compared to here when the fact of the matter is...our dollar is as strong as its ever been. There is no excuse why the differences in cell phones or any other products exist between the borders of Canada and the US. We must stop taking our providers word on everything and begin to research and start asking questions. By not we are just prepetuating the cycle.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Marketnews - Christine Persaud said...

Thanks for your comments, anonymous.

I agree that research and asking questions is important, but with any product you're purchasing: whether it be a cell phone and contract, or a new bedroom set. My advice to anyone is to always read the fine print, and know what you're getting into before signing on the dotted line.

I appreciate your feedback.

Anonymous said...

My wife works for a US company and therefore has a verizon cell phone that she uses in Canada. Even though every single call she makes is long distance, her maximum bill is only about $150. This includes all long distanct, roaming and data charges (because she has a blackberry). Black berrys themselves cost hundreds less in the US as well. I wonder if there is a way for consumers in Canada to take advantage of these incredible deals. I guess you'd need a US address. Mailboxes etc. could probably provide this. As a start up business owner, I'm looking into this because I just recently received a cell phone bill that higher than my car payment.