(As if we didn't know already.)
Canada's Big Three, the telecom oligopoly consisting of Rogers, Bell, and Telus, have been accused in a report of having cellphone contracts that are too long, too confusing, and—wait for, this one's a surprise!—too costly.
Canada's largest wireless providers have confusing and overly lengthy cellphone contracts that are more expensive than those found in other countries, says a report released yesterday by a telecom consultancy.
The SeaBoard Group consultancy crafted the report, entitled “Death Grip," and it says the big three's contract terms and “early termination fee” penalties that are “downright draconian." The SeaBoard Group report said Canadian wireless contracts “are some of the longest in the world," with penalties to cancel usually tied to the number of months remaining on the contract. From The Globe and Mail:
The government licensed new competitors in part to bring down prices and introduce more consumer choice. “It is true that Canadians are now offered more choice before they purchase their wireless services,” the report says. “This choice disappears, however, once they enter into a mobile services contract.”
The report also notes that Canadian carriers are smaller than many of their global peers and therefore have weaker buying power. Orascom Telecom Holding SAE, which funds new wireless company Wind Mobile, has roughly four times as many wireless customers worldwide as Bell, Telus and Rogers combined. What this means is that smaller players have to pay more for handsets—but the report does state that this can't account for the whole discrepancy between Canadian telecom companies and other global players on contracts.