Which Canadian wireless carrier is best? JD Power knows. Hint: It's none of the Big Three

Posted by Knowlton Thomas

JD Power and Associated unveiled its 2011 Canadian Wireless Customer Satisfaction report today. 

In it are some obvious facts: first, average monthly wireless charges increased from 2009. Second, wireless customers are "particularly dissatisfied with the cost of their service." Anyone else see that coming?

Fortunately, there is hope for Canada's telecom sector yet. While the Big Three—Rogers, Telus, and Bell—faired horribly, smaller and more agile companies managed to pull ahead and impress consumers. 

Still, the overall picture painted is an ugly one: on a 1,000 point scale, satisfaction with cost of service averaged an embarrassing 551. So what is this cost that wireless clients are wailing over? A nasty $78 average per month, up from $71 in 2009. (Though, to carriers' credit, this rise is mostly due to enhanced data-plan penetration, not rising service costs for the same product.)

“As customers move toward more sophisticated phones and data requirements, their monthly costs tend to increase,” said Adrian Chung, senior manager at J.D. Power and Associates. “While the dissatisfaction with cost of service is clearly a challenge to wireless providers, it’s important to ensure that customers are aware of all the features and benefits included in their wireless plans.”

This low satisfaction level with cost of service has led to increases in switching intent among wireless customers—17 percent of customers who had a wireless sales experience within the past six months report switching carriers, and 28 percent of customers “strongly agree” that they would consider switching to one of the new wireless service providers (including WIND Mobile, Public Mobile and Mobilicity) if its offerings met their needs. That's up from 21 percent in 2009.

“It’s clear that the introduction of new options for wireless customers has impacted their likelihood to switch,” stated Adrian.

But enough of all this. Who the heck is the best carrier? Well, region pending, it's...

In the West region, SaskTel ranks highest in customer satisfaction with a score of 678 and performs particularly well in customer service; offerings and promotions; sales process; and network quality. Virgin Mobile (669) and Fido (651) follow in the regional rankings.

Koodo Mobile ranks highest in Ontario with a score of 699, performing particularly well in cost of service. Virgin Mobile follows in the region with 696, and Fido ranks third with 661.

In the East region, Videotron ranks highest in customer satisfaction with a score of 765. Videotron performs particularly well in account management and offerings and promotions. Koodo Mobile (753) and Virgin Mobile (739) follow in the region.

Company:
Telus Corp.
Website:
http://www.telus.com
Location:
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Technology is a key enabler for TELUS and our customers, providing advantage and differentiation in the marketplace. By managing the life cycle of current technologies and the timely introduction of new technologies we deliver superior service value to our customers and long-term growth oriented investment performance to our shareholders. For investors, TELUS is succeeding in managing technology and capital... more

Company:
Bell Canada
Website:
http://www.bell.ca
Location:
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing the most comprehensive and innovative suite of communication services to residential and business customers in Canada. Operating under the Bell brand, the Company's services include Bell Home Phone local and long distance services, Bell Mobility and Solo Mobile wireless, high-speed Bell Internet, Bell TV direct-to-home satellite and VDSL television,... more

Company:
Rogers Communications
Website:
http://www.rogers.com
Location:
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

We are a diversified Canadian communications and media company. We are engaged in wireless voice and data communications services through Wireless, Canada's largest wireless provider and the operator of the country's only national Global System for Mobile Communications ("GSM") based network. Through Cable we are one of Canada's largest providers of cable television services as well as high-speed Internet access... more

Company:
Wind Mobile
Website:
http://www.windmobile.ca
Location:
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Simply put, we want to create the most unforgettably positive customer experience in Canada. How? By speaking with you, not at or over you. By making every site you visit, every store you set foot in and every call you have with us into a meaningful conversation to help build something better - together. We'll make it as easy as possible to be a customer. You'll have more control over your mobile experience than... more

Company:
Vidéotron
Website:
http://www.videotron.com
Location:
Montréal, Québec, Canada

Videotron is a leader in Canadian telecommunications. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Quebecor Media inc. and partially owned by Capital d'Amérique CDPQ inc., Videotron is an integrated communications company engaged in cable broadcasting, interactive multimedia development, Internet access services, cable telephony and wireless telephone services. Videotron has had, for many years, a great reputation thanks to its... more

Company:
Mobilicity
Website:
http://www.mobilicity.ca
Location:
Vaughan, Ontario, Canada

We believe that Canadians deserve an alternative wireless experience that delivers better value, more freedom and most of all choice. Simply a better wireless experience No Term Contracts Unlike other providers that lock you into a term contract, Mobilicity has no term contracts or cancelation fees. We are so certain that you’ll love us and want to stay that we don’t have to force you – the choice is yours to make... more

Company:
Public Mobile
Website:
http://www.publicmobile.ca
Location:
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Formed in 2008, Public Mobile provides unlimited talk and text services to value conscious customers in Ontario and Quebec. There are no contracts, no credit checks and no surprises. Public Mobile launched its network service in May 2010 in Toronto and in June 2010 in Montreal. Public Mobile is building its network from Windsor to Quebec City. The company purchased its spectrum licence for $52M in July 2008.... more


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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys playing tennis, hiking, and exploring weird side streets. more



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