Problems With the Canadian Cellular Market

As Canadians, when it comes to the cellular market we don’t enjoy the same type of competitiveness that the United States and other parts of the world do. It’s led to many problems relating to rates and contracts.

Some would like to you to believe there are at least 10 cellular carriers in Canada, with more arriving each year. The truth is there are three main cellular networks in Canada – Bell, Rogers, and TELUS.

Newer service providers such as Koodoo Mobile, PC Mobile, or Virgin Mobile are either completely run by, or are partners of Bell, Rogers, or TELUS. So there really are only three main networks.

Even major regional carriers such as MTS (Manitoba), Aliant (Eastern Canada), and SaskTel (Saskatchewan) purchase their phones directly from Bell and are a part of Bell’s BWA (Bell Wireless Alliance).

That means if you have a cellular phone that it’s almost impossible to not find yourself dealing with one of the Big Three. It also means that because of the lack of competition we don’t get the breaks other countries do.

We pay rates that are much higher than those US residents pay, and our 36 month contracts are the longest in the world. On top of all that we pay a system access fee. Tto add insult to injury, our data rates here are around 4 cents/KB and almost everywhere else on the planet they are 0.2 cents. Not 2 cents but 0.2 cents. There is no question that we are at a disadvantage because of limited competition.

One of the lone advantages of the Canadian cellular tri-opoly is that for the most part, cellular service is very consistent throughout most of urban and suburban Canada. With their expensive rates the Big Three can afford to build out a mostly reliable mobile network.

There are not many options if you want to have a cell phone. We need to complain to the CRTC, the regulating telecoms body in Canada. Sufficient complaints may result in changes. Without complaints the CRTC will simply assume we are okay with the high rates we pay.

We as Canadians must let the regulators know that we believe it is objectionable for us to pay these deplorable rates and that we insist the CRTC permit more competition into the Canadian market, which will allow for a natural market adjustment. That in turn will create competition and much better rates for consumers.

Recent actions by the CRTC have opened the door for greater Canadian competition; let’s hope that initiative is successful but it may take several years to see the results of these actions.

And if you liked this article you can find more articles and videos for Bell Mobility users at – At you’ll also find great contract-free cell phones for Bell Mobility.
Written by A. Thompson.

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December 17, 2015