Living in Canada, means at one time or another you’ve complained about your cell phone provider (this goes for Internet service providers too). It’s telling of the current state of the Canadian telecommunications industry – three industry giants Rogers, Bell, and Telus setting a snare trap in the woods. This is essentially what these three telecommunication companies are doing due to steep competition between each other. It has lead to a stranglehold on the industry, essentially an oligopoly, so while it’s prosperous for corporations, it’s a system that is robbing Canadians. Far too much of their energy is being put towards pushing deals, plans, and devices on customer, but they are an illusion because the standard price is significantly marked up, meaning Canadians pay among the highest cell phone bills in the developed world.
Comparing the Big Three
According to a report by wireless-mapping company OpenSignal, the difference between Rogers, Bell, and Telus are not as evident as some would think. In fact, the “Big Three” are fairly even in terms of features like 4G and network availability. The report also finds that Telus comes out on top when comparing overall download speed for 3G and 4G, but these victories are not won by wide margins.
No Room for the Little Guy
With the three leading telecom providers dominating the industry, smaller Canadian-based providers are unable to offer the same level of service. Open Media points to Ting, a Canadian mobile provider that can’t sell its services due to the Big Three blocking them from accessing regional networks. Although they are a Canadian company, Ting shifted its focus to the United States so they could offer a cheaper alternative to America’s many mainstream providers.
Open Media found that it’s because of a price-gouging cycle, in which the big telecom companies dominate a market then use that control to raise rates. Finally, they take the profits and invest it in lobbying to shape market rules in their favour.
Losing the Personal Touch
Another issue is a lack of direct and personal customer service in Canadian retail spaces. Today’s typical telecom retail space focus most of their attention on mobile plans and devices, with less of an emphasis on other services they provide such as TV and internet services. High competition has resulted in these companies having to heavily market their blowout offers and how great a deal a particular plan is, or how the dozens of features on a device are going to make your life better. Sales tactics seem to be focused primarily on making a glamourous first impression and hoping that’s enough to sell a product or service, rather than why a product or service is superior than what the competition offers. The whole process can seem rushed and lacks a personal connection between the sales representative and the customer.
The Big Three aren’t showing any signs of loosening their grip on the Canadian telecommunications industry, meaning that Canadians are going to have to go on paying for expensive plans and continue to be dissatisfied with their providers.