Let me start by saying yipee! Sorry Telus, the federal government in Canada just said no you can’t. No you can’t buy out new mobile phone companies says Ottawa and the Conservatives. Did I just start talking politics on a technology site? In a way yes. Be assured I won’t keep on the political path. What I’m really saying is that regulations that were designed to allow for a 4th mobile phone carrier in Canada have worked. Telus was poised to buy Mobilicity which hasn’t been doing very well lately but the deal wasn’t permitted. If you care to read the details of that failed bid, check it out here. The bottom line is that the Conservatives are attempting to balance out the competition in the mobile phone business and by allowing small new entrants to gain a foothold and not be bought out. If you think about it, the Big Three (Telus, Bell and Rogers) can play that game forever. New carriers shows up, then buy them out. A new carrier shows up, they buy them out. It could be never ending and it would be never ending. The fact Telus went for Mobilicity proves that fact. It’s not an easy business to get going in and be successful in. An element of government intervention is necessary.
If you don’t care about this, you should. Our world is going mobile and if you have kids, that’s what they will be part of. There is a LOT of money to be had and when you look at the emergence of smartphones and the use of data, this is a very big business which is going to be even bigger. Those things we call cell phones? Those weren’t money makers. Smartphones on the other hand are the real money makers. Try looking at plans from the Big Three and see what plans cost and how much data you are given per month. It’s actually quite pathetic. Yes, be assured that slowly, and I mean as slowly as possible, those data limits and costs will slowly increase. Afterall, why just bump up the data without charging high prices? Every company exists to make money and the only way the consumer gets a better deal is from competition of government intervention. See the link or connection? The consumers of Canada are not in a good spot when it comes to deals, discounts, variety or hope when it comes to a great data plan for your new smartphone. And yes, I’m going to be talking data and smartphones because honestly that’s all there will be. If you aren’t on the smartphone bandwagon yet, you will be unless you choose to be ultra stubborn. That’s fine, there will always be a need for basic cell phones and frankly, have at ‘er. The point is, for a growing number of Canadians, unlimited talk or free weekends is about as exciting as a headline that reads water is wet. Who cares about talking! Unlimited talk? It’s an attempt to sound amazing. Like this: Unlimited Talk! Unlimited Text! Our Best Plan Yet! Well if you’re getting into the data part of that plan? I would imagine you’re going to be unhappy.
Don’t get me wrong. Data isn’t the be all end all for a lot of people. That said, if you suddenly experience unlimited data? Hand on, hold the phone. Did I just say unlimited data? Did I just say you can use that mobile phone data and connect your iPad to the internet (tethering) through that mobile phone data plan? Smartphones are by design, data hogs. If you’re will a Telus or Bell and want to pay less than $60 a month for a mobile phone, I bet you can’t get anywhere near the value from the device. In a sense you have all this capability in your hands, but you can’t really use it because your tank of gas is pretty much on fumes. Watching YouTube is amazing on your smartphone but yes that consumers data. If you have kids and they watch a few videos in the car during an outing? You better check your usage. You can be thrifty, get a modest plan from one of the Big Three, but you need to understand that you’re only getting half of the pie. You simply won’t have enough data during your month if you were to go no holds barred. Yes for sure you can always use that smartphone on a wifi connection. I also do that and I also realize that relying on some public wifi actually sucks. The connections are generally terrible also. Works yes, but hardly convenient or satisfying.
You might be ask how all this talk relates to Wind Mobile. Well, how about the fact that Wind Mobile is seriously looking at buying Mobilicity now that Telus has been shut out? This additional spectrum to Wind Mobile could move it quickly to becoming a legitimate 4th cell phone carrier in Canada. As consumers in Canada, we should be hoping that this takes place and that Wind Mobile can put something together. Honestly I enjoy Wind Mobile and the fact that I have unlimited everything including data. I can do what I want, when I want. They need greater coverage because their service is limited to main metropolitan areas in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. Because of that, it’s not for everyone. It really means that if they could get that better and expanded coverage, they could be a real pain in the neck for the Big Three. Imagine unlimited data and how that compares to say, 500MB per month? Heck even 1GB of data vs. unlimited data, I’ll take the more limited coverage and take the data. I would frankly rather pay a roaming fee for calls per minute and be without internet outside of the Wind Mobile zone than pay $60+ per month for great amazing coverage areas but a data limit that is pathetic. Not worth it to me and how I view my smartphone usage.
I’ve been very cynical of Wind Mobile in the past because their plans are so cheap and so much better than the Big Three. I’ve long assumed that they are just going all out to gain customers and be a thorn in the sides of the Big Three in hopes of getting bought out. A quick in and quick cash out. That’s how my mind was looking at it and especially with the Telus and Mobilicity deal. As consumers we aren’t doomed yet. I think we need to thank our government for at least identifying and creating an environment which is designed to lower the prices and increase our options when it comes to mobile phones in Canada. It’s something we all need to care about. Too much control is just bad for consumers any way you slice it. Companies exist to make money so you can’t blame them for being who they are.
Update: Just to add extra fuel to the hopes of a legitimate 4th carrier, Public Mobile has some interesting news. Could three join to make a fourth?