I recently heard a radio interview with a spokesperson for the wireless industry of Canada. You know, the person who essentially speaks for the big three or big four wireless companies in Canada. However I was not aware of the persons title or role until the end of the interview. It was at the time I knew that what they were saying was slightly skewed in my opinion. Sure what they were saying wasn’t how Canadians feel about their wireless network provider. Right? Well, let’s see.
The interviewee eventually got into the nitty gritty and asked about the high prices for Canadian mobile phone service. Imagine the response. Instead of saying how we compare to other markets, price wise, the person deflected the discussion into how our mobile networks in Canada are looked upon as being some of the fastest and most reliable on the planet.
So in other words, let’s not talk about how much we pay for our mobile phone plans, but rather let’s talk about how blazing fast they are and how reliable they are. This is to suggest that it’s the most important aspect of our mobile phone service. Or is it?
The public relations person essentially suggested that in order for Canadians to enjoy our “best in class” reliability and speeds, the companies needed to spend massive amounts of money building the infrastructure. That’s a reasonable suggestion. In order to get reliability and fast speeds, it doesn’t happen from magic. It has to be built, and we Canadians end up footing the bill.
So what if you and I had a choice. What if we were in the boardroom getting a say in the direction these companies have taken. As in, what if you could choose to pay lower prices for slower wireless networks speeds? What if your mobile phone service was slightly less reliable but was cheaper?
I think we partially have our answer if we look at the growth of Wind Mobile. In their instance, we’re talking less speed and less reliability and less coverage, but it provides unbelievable savings. Sure they have bumped up their prices a tad, but at the same time they have built up some network improvements lately.
Some people hate Wind Mobile and their speed and reliability issues. I think however, those complaints are outdated as time passes. Their network speeds and reliability are better now and continue to improve. However it does suggest that people want to pay more for faster speeds and better reliability. But there is a balancing point there somewhere between fast and price. There is a balancing point between reliability/coverage and price.
So I would like to know what you think. Are you happy paying what you pay now for your mobile phone plan? If you had a choice to pay less every month but with slightly slower speeds, would you consider it? Afterall when it comes to home internet services, there are tiers. Home internet lets you decide how much speed you want and you don’t have to take the most expensive and faster option. Mobile phone plans do not give you that option unless you switch to a provider like Wind Mobile.
I’m just wondering if a lot of Canadians would choose a slower speed option if it meant shaving some monthly costs from their mobile phone bill. Yes we may have the fastest speeds on the planet but I don’t think that means everyone with a mobile phone wants or needs to pay for that luxury. The fact is you don’t have the opportunity to choose like you can with home internet services. Is this really fair? I would be interested to see who chooses the cheaper home internet services and why those same people would prefer paying the most money for the fastest wireless network speeds. Of course wireless network speeds are not an apples to apples comparison to home internet. However, it does create and interesting discussion.
The first thing is to remember that the industry spokespeople don’t always tell the truth. They are flexible with their honesty. In this case we have an “average” in Canada higher than the “average” in the states and lower than most of Europe.
The question isn’t whether we would rather pay more for the fastest service, but rather whether we would rather pay more for middle of the road service that the incumbents improve as slowly as possible. I know people that pay for roaming service from outside of the country and have unlimited use in Canada at around half what Telus wants me to pay if the bring my own device.