Canada must have more wireless competition

Canada must have more wireless competition

Canada’s wireless sector is woefully lacking competition. The Big Three telcos—Bell, Telus and Rogers—have an oligopoly, and it’s hurting Canadian businesses.

 

Wireless errors don’t favour business

Quartet Service audited 40 of our clients’ mobile plans using our “Wireless Wolf” program. Since 2011 we have found mistakes in every audit, and none of these errors have ever benefited the organizations.

 

We encounter multiple discrepancies:

  • Excessive roaming charges
  • Miss-assigned handsets
  • Incorrect billing
  • Authorization barriers
  • Disproportionate overuse and underuse charges

 

All of the companies we audited were serviced by one of the Big Three.  In 2011, we audited an enterprise company with over 350 mobile devices and found a whopping $450,000 of extra charges—nearly 50 per cent of the bill.

 

Support increased wireless competition

The Big Three telcos need to compete for our business.

 

On September 14, 2013 the wireless carriers will have an opportunity to place their opening bids on the 700 megahertz wireless spectrum auction. This spectrum will allow the telecoms, both new and incumbent, to provide improved wireless coverage with fewer dropped calls. Coincidentally, four of the seven bidding blocks are the same airwaves used by the American carriers. While the Big Three can only bid on one coveted block each, the smaller carriers and new entrants to the Canadian market can bid on two.

 

Verizon Wireless, a major U.S. telco, is not only looking to enter the Canadian auction as a new entrant, but also purchase Wind Mobile and Mobilicity. The Big Three are up in arms over the threat, and are proactively lobbying the Federal Government to block their entrance. Telus claims if Verizon succeeds in their bids they will have nearly the same amount of Canadian spectrum as the Big Three, putting Verizon on the map as the fourth major telco.

 

Shaking up Canadian telecom competition is positive. It means more wireless options, lower prices and lower roaming charges. We support those changes.

 

Billing errors are plentiful

The challenge for companies today is shifts in the telecommunications sector take time. We probably won’t see many changes in the next 12 to 24 months.  In the meantime, we recommend holding your wireless providers accountable, and not allowing mistakes to slip through the cracks.

 

Audit your wireless bills annually. The key areas to examine include:

  • Identify when roaming charges can be avoided by using long-distance packages, and change corporate plans depending on usage.
  • Comb through the bills. You will catch extra erroneous charges that shouldn’t be on the statement.

 

These are services you can conduct internally, or outsource them for increased efficiency and accountability. Increasing telecom competition will not rid your bills of mistakes, but it will certainly reduce the money out of your pocket.

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