Some Actual Competition From Canadian Cell Phone Carriers Would Be Nice

Now I am aware that in Canada we have an oligopoly when it comes to cell phone carriers in Canada as I’ve written extensively on the subject for years. But over the weekend I was reminded of that fact when my wife wanted to switch carriers in preparation for getting the Apple Watch Series 4 or whatever Apple is going to call the next Apple Watch. Now my wife is with Rogers, and Rogers doesn’t offer Apple Watch support because they don’t support the eSIM standard. Nor is there a timetable for that support other than to say that it’s coming in 2018. Thus tired of not having any clarity on that front from Rogers, my wife tried to switch from Rogers to Telus as I have my business cell phone and Apple Watch with Telus.

That’s where the fun began.

Now the easiest part of this exercise was to get her iPhone 6 which was locked to Rogers unlocked. So she backed up the device to iCloud and called Rogers. After they asked her why she was unlocking the phone which according to the agent was a requirement for them to ask (she said that she wanted an Apple Watch) and for her IMEI number, it was unlocked. I was able to confirm that by trying my Telus SIM in it which worked. Total time invested: 10 minutes.

She then walked into a Telus store with her newly unlocked iPhone 6 and gave them the use case. Then she made life difficult for them by saying that Rogers had her on a retention plan that had her paying $65 for 5GB. This was a plan that was offered up a Christmas time a couple of years ago which my wife took advantage of. All the people in the store could do when they heard that was to show her a photocopied sheet with their in-market plans. The same ones on their website. When she pressed them on any other options, they didn’t have any. That meant that if she wanted to join Telus, her costs for her cell phone would skyrocket. Needless to say that didn’t appeal to her because why would she want to pay more for her cell phone bill seeing as Canada’s cell phone costs are among the most expensive in the world?

That’s when I got involved and Tweeted Telus:

A few direct messages back and forth and Telus got my wife in touch with a text chat agent who she explained the situation to. But the text chat agent was no better than the people in the store at offering up a plan to come close to or ideally match what Rogers was giving her. That wasn’t possible. Now, one of the things that Telus told me to do was to ask for retentions. My wife didn’t do that as she was really discouraged at this point. Thus she ended the chat session. And as I type this, she’s still a Rogers customer. Though she still wants to leave them if the right deal comes around.

Here’s the bizarre part of all this. Over the last couple of years, Telus, Bell, and Rogers have participated in short lived price wars where they all settled on a price for a certain amount of GB. Say $65 a month for 10GB which was a big deal last Christmas. My guess is that this was a defensive position to ensure that their customers didn’t leave for the other guys. But it does illustrate that if these companies really did want to compete with each other, they’re capable of doing so. They are just choosing not to. That’s a shame as in this case, all my wife wants is for a cell phone company that offers support for the Apple Watch to either match or come close to what she’s paying now.

Now this story sounds like I am bashing Telus. To be clear, I’m not doing that. Because you could substitute Telus for one of the other two of the “big three” being Bell and Rogers and we’d likely still be here talking about this. That illustrates that despite Freedom Mobile and some other entrants, Canada’s wireless industry still lacks real competition. That has to change as Canadians deserve better.

2 Responses to “Some Actual Competition From Canadian Cell Phone Carriers Would Be Nice”

  1. I wonder if they actually realize that most people do not pick the company they like best they just go with whomever they hate the least.

  2. […] with Rogers because of the retition plan that she was on. That’s something that I have raised previously and I hope that TELUS can find a way to address that because from everything that I have seen over […]

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