(Canada Telecom) Globalive financier Naguib Sawiris: 'We will make pain, and they will suffer'
November 1, 2010 2:46 PM   Subscribe

Until recently, Canada heavily restricted foreign control of the telecommunications industry and enjoyed some of the highest prices in the world. Globalive financier Naguib Sawiris discusses penetrating the Canadian market with a vehemence not heard since Daniel Day Lewis 'drank our milkshake' in There Will Be Blood.
posted by Stagger Lee (59 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
I was more or less with him until he suggested that Verizon and AT&T should enter the Canadian market. I'm not sure how having companies that are in most respects actively worse than Bell or Rogers would improve the situation at all.
posted by mightygodking at 2:49 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't think Verizon or AT&T would bother entering the Canadian market. Most of the RBOC/ITEC businesses seem to stay exclusively on their own turf. They know the dirty tricks that can be gotten up to if their competitor controls the actual last mile wiring. It never ceases to amaze me that they can make the claim of a level playing field with a straight face and not actually compete with one another in the land-line and DSL markets.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:57 PM on November 1, 2010


Oh wait, we're talking mobile aren't we. I was confused because Verizon & AT&T are the last mobile providers I'd want in a 'competitive' market.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:59 PM on November 1, 2010


I don't know that an open market is necessarily the best solution, but it seems to be a better one than what Canada's dealt with previously. That's pretty slim praise.
I enjoyed reading Sawiris' interview, but I don't know enough about the game to tell confidence from arrogance.
posted by Stagger Lee at 3:01 PM on November 1, 2010


This is what causes what I like to call the Canadian Delay. Long distance charges on a cell phone? Canada still has them, not seen in the states in like ten years. Netflix? Not in Canada for reasons I can't surmise (well, they are just getting the streaming service now). And don't even get me started the streaming Internet show gap. We have all this NAFTA junk for big companies, but when it comes to products and services that consumers actually want to use, then the border becomes this insurmountable obstacle. I love Canada and split my time between it and the US and find this sort of thing always popping up, where I take something for granted only to find out it isn't available in Canada for totally bogus reasons.
posted by boubelium at 3:09 PM on November 1, 2010 [18 favorites]




. * $ ; -n

posted by vectr at 3:11 PM on November 1, 2010


/\ sets out my mobile internet free-market wares
posted by vectr at 3:11 PM on November 1, 2010


The problem is that the spectrum is auctioned off at a flat rate. It should be auctioned off at increasing rates to maximize the diversity of companies competing.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 3:20 PM on November 1, 2010


How can you have an auction and flat rate pricing? Please explain - I'm sure I'm missing something obvious but that just makes no sense to me.
posted by anigbrowl at 3:26 PM on November 1, 2010


Verizon and AT&T both offer MUCH better value for the money than Rogers or Bell. That's how bad things are up here.

I'm getting a Wind phone.
posted by jb at 3:27 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't want this misconstrued as my being an apologist for the scum sucking Canadian wireless providers, but a few points. Is there any country on earth outside perhaps Japan or Korea where the populace like their wireless options? I hate Bell and Telus, but not nearly as much as Americans hate Verison and T-Mobile. I think hating your wirelss options is part of modern life.

Second, Canada is always going to have shitty wireless, due the fact that there's only a couple hundred of us up here, yet demand seamless 3G coverage over a couple million square miles, I get how that is going to be expensive, or least a hell of a lot more expensive than Britain or Japan, where the population densities are much higher.
posted by Keith Talent at 3:29 PM on November 1, 2010


U.S. telecoms look to emulate Canada’s mobile market:

Unlimited wireless data plans are almost unknown in Canada, and that’s a strategy telecom carriers elsewhere are starting to emulate as they look for ways to cope with booming demand and capacity limits.

bwahahahahaha... *sob*
posted by KokuRyu at 3:40 PM on November 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Not to shit on the wide open prairies or anything, but the statistic I'd heard is most Canadians live within 100 miles of the US border, and a majority of those within a handful of metropolitan areas. That's pretty damn densely populated.

It's not that insurmountable an obstacle to provide decent wireless to most Canadians, although I will concede that it's going to border on impossible to provide full access to all Canadians (let alone in the more sparsely populated territories in the North).
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 3:40 PM on November 1, 2010


I don't want this misconstrued as my being an apologist for the scum sucking Canadian wireless providers, but a few points. Is there any country on earth outside perhaps Japan or Korea where the populace like their wireless options? I hate Bell and Telus, but not nearly as much as Americans hate Verison and T-Mobile. I think hating your wirelss options is part of modern life.

If you have ever owned a smartphone in Japan (I have - ten years ago) you will never, ever accept anything less. More choice over handsets. It's cheaper. And you get more for your money.

The problem is that there is not enough competition in the Canadian market.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:42 PM on November 1, 2010


Keith, I hear your reasoning, but there is no reason that the bulk of the population, which live in the major metropolitan areas should not be able to have the same service of U.S cities less than an hour away, at approximately the same prices.

This is not 1998 any more. This technology is about as wide spread as wide spread gets. One of the largest handset providers in the world is a Canadian company, yet Somalia has better mobility services and prices than us.
posted by dobie at 3:47 PM on November 1, 2010


How can you have an auction and flat rate pricing? Please explain - I'm sure I'm missing something obvious but that just makes no sense to me.

I think that they auction off pieces of the spectrum. They should slice those pieces into smaller pieces and then auction them off in such a way that bids by players that have a lot of the spectrum (or bids for large parts of the spectrum) are penalized compared with other bidders.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 3:52 PM on November 1, 2010


I don't think the problem is costumer satisfaction in Canada, but rather what you get for what you pay. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that Canada and the US have the most expensive wireless services in the world. Not every country in Europe is densely populated (think Sweden, Norway, Finland), but they have cheaper services.

I also don't believe what I hear from other business that want to get into the Canadian market. They want their share of the overpriced market, they don't want to drive the prices down one bit.

Customers are so pissed at Bell/Telus/Rogers, that these companies setup puppet cell providers (Koodo, Fido, Mike, whatever), which claim to have different advantages in billing/contracts, just to exploit the customer dissatisfaction with mildly deceptive marketing. In the end, though, even the packages offered by competing providers are almost indistinguishable. It is essentially an informal cartel.

Don't even get me started about prices for texting in Canada ... this is clearly something that regulatory bodies should have tackled years ago. Voice mail packages are also a joke. If Google Voice were to show up in Canada, these major companies would loose a lot of money. I wonder if Google has an agreement with all these carriers, so that they will keep selling Android phones, while Google agrees to keep Google Voice away form Canada -- because I really see no reason why it has no popped up yet, while customers would just flock to it.
posted by TheyCallItPeace at 3:52 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


What I meant by flat rate was that the bids are flat. If the winning bid is $X for one piece of the spectrum, then it could also be $X for another. It should get progressively more expensive to capture more of the market.

What happens is that once you have some spectrum, you end up wanting to force everyone out so that you can drive up rates. There's no countering economic force, so you have to introduce it.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 3:56 PM on November 1, 2010


I'm not sure the the population centres are why wireless is expensive. I understand that Vancouver-Calgary equal Seattle-Denver is terms of demographics and marketability, presumably water should be able to find it's own level in both markets, and competition should drive those prices to be close to equal.

The problem arises becuase we expect clear perfect wireless service between Vancouver and Calgary, and with all due respect to those that live there, it's a hell of a long way with no one living there. Our city prices need to subsidize these rural networks, whereas in the states, they have sizable towns between two population centres, in Canada we don't.
posted by Keith Talent at 3:56 PM on November 1, 2010


actively worse than Bell or Rogers

I understand all these words individually, but when they are put together in this order, I have a hard time parsing what you could possibly mean. Unless Verizon or AT&T reps come around and kick your dog, piss in your ferns, and stick chewing gum in your grandmother's hair, I cannot imagine what they could do that would be worse.

Full disclosure: I moved a few months ago and called Rogers in March to give them my thirty days' notice on my landline and internet service. One month later, the day after my service ended, I returned my modem and phone modem and had them tally up the final bill, which I then paid. I asked, "Is that everything?" and, "Will there be any more bills?" and was assured that I was free and clear. I left with a receipt that read "Final Invoice" and "Balance Owing: $0.00."

A month later I received a bill for $92 and change. I called Rogers and no one could give me an explanation as to why I was still being charged when I no longer had service, a modem, or an apartment in that city. No one had a clear answer, but I was assured repeatedly that the balance was oustanding and I must pay it. I returned to the store where I had paid and produced my "Balance Owing: $0.00" and the guy who had issued it to me shrugged, said he did not understand why it said that, and please pay us ninety-two dollars.

After a week of the runaround, I decided it was worth the ninety-two dollars to be rid of them. I went into a Rogers store to pay and the staff were new and did not know how to do that. (I had actually been looking for one of their automated kiosks, which need only your phone number and postal code to locate your account, but they had no kiosk.)

At the second store, there was no kiosk and I was told that my account number was what was needed. I went home and got my account number and at the third store (again, no kiosk) the combination of name, former address, phone number, account number, postal code, mother's maiden name and retinal scan was insufficient to allow the staff to locate my account. The fourth store was the same, the fifth store was merely gone (closed months earlier, but still listed on the website... no wonder no one answered the phone).

At the sixth store a genuinely helpful staffer said Rogers had pulled all the kiosks from their local stores. He could not locate my account either, but he called Accounts on the store line, which he assured me was the magic bullet. Accounts took my information and put me on hold for eighteen minutes (during which period I was of course told fourteen times I was told they were experiencing a higher than normal volume of calls but assured that my call was important to them) before being disconnected. The staffer called back and I sent an additional forty-three minutes on hold (thirty-seven assurances of my importance, if I counted right).

At last someone arrived to take my information and I paid the balance owing by credit card. I was given a confirmation number and was pleased to be well-shut of Rogers.

Inevitably, a month later I received a bill for $94 and change. And the same day, I received a letter from the collections agency to whom they had referred my account. The agency's letter mentioned that I could offset the balance by returning some of the Rogers equipment I had in my possession: their records showed $9,745 worth of such equipment outstanding.

Another trip to Rogers produced more head head-scratching from their staff. I was told the retail values of the two piece of Rogers equipment I had had for five years were $99 and $119 respectively but that I had returned everything in April.

I had gone back through my credit card statements for the previous several months and learned that when they told me I had paid by Visa, they were in fact mistaken lying, incompetent, and no charge had been processed.

I then paid my final bill for the third time. It seems to have taken at last. At this point, if my choices were between getting telecommunications service from Rogers or from a White Supremacist splinter group from NAMBLA, I would choose Rogers, albeit with a very heavy heart.

Bell I have not dealt with in a decade because of similar shenanigans, but last summer my senior-citizen mother opened up her Bell satellite TV bill one day to find that she had been saddled with a new package of channels that she had no interest in, and her bill boosted by fifty bucks a month. She called to find out when this had happened and Bell gave her a date that she had supposedly called in to order the new premium package. She noted that the date was a day when she had been unconscious in a hospital, on a morphine drip, awaiting surgery (and of course, nowhere near a phone). The Bell rep said she could cancel, but her agreement would oblige her to pay for the package for three more months.

My mom had been paying Bell for phone services every month since the mid-sixties, but she cancelled everything on the spot. If they can alienate customers who have been doggedly loyal for half a century, they are beyond the realm of mere mortal powers to constrain.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:57 PM on November 1, 2010 [43 favorites]


(let alone in the more sparsely populated territories in the North)

It's less than ideal here in terms of mobile phones, but definitely it's a lot better than it was. I'm not sure if it's still the case, but it used to be impossible to transfer a phone number from one carrier to another. Our GSM carrier still doesn't support data.

For a long time we were paying for 911 service which we don't receive. I remember asking about it being on my bill and being told "Oh yeah, that's because we can't change the billing system so you have to pay it."

Bell Mobility finally got data fairly recently and as far as I know the pricing is in line with the rest of Canada.
posted by ODiV at 4:04 PM on November 1, 2010


Anecdotally, my tale of woe: I live in relatively rural Canada...which means about 10km from the nearest town of 27000 people, and 1.5 hours highway drive to the next large city (83000).

At home, I cannot get DSL or cable...the providers won't bring it out this far, although there are a number of customers who would choose either. Instead, I use EVDO/3g for internet...

$96 per month for approx. 300kb speeds with many (!) disconnects and usually slower speeds!

I'm actually only about 3-4km from houses that can get cable internet, but that's a lot of wire for the 30 homes nearby me. Of course, I chose to live outside of the city, but it still aggravates me.
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 4:14 PM on November 1, 2010


I just installed a $50 TV antenna on my roof and called Rogers to cancel. After some runaround, they offered me a "significant" discount.

I said, "you still can't compete with free."

...it felt so nice.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:25 PM on November 1, 2010


Where I live in the US, you have to drive 20 miles to get a 3G signal. And you can't even get DSL on my road.

Did I mention Maine fucking sucks?
posted by dunkadunc at 4:33 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just so we're clear here:

This financier has found the Canadian regulatory system more daunting and impossible to deal with than: Pakistan, Iraq, and North Korea?

When someone implies that North Korea is more reasonable to interact with, it might be time for some serious introspection.
posted by el io at 4:34 PM on November 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I was more or less with him until he suggested that Verizon and AT&T should enter the Canadian market. I'm not sure how having companies that are in most respects actively worse than Bell or Rogers would improve the situation at all.
They may be bad, but they're not that expensive. It wouldn't cost any more to run fiber to Toronto then it would to Seattle. The Canadian people are clearly getting ripped off by their providers.
We have all this NAFTA junk for big companies, but when it comes to products and services that consumers actually want to use, then the border becomes this insurmountable obstacle.
You can't blame the telecom monopoly for most consumer products, I would guess it's mostly about huge corporations simply being lazy, and not wanting to actually do the legal work needed to actually enter the market.

But really the whole telecom system is beyond fucked up. The problem is local monopolies. If you remember the modem era, there were tons of ISPs. You just dialed a local number and got connected.

When DSL first started, it worked the same way, you got hooked up by the phone company - which was required pass your connection off to other ISPs. The problem is that doesn't really make all that much sense -- why have two separate networks?

My view is that local networks should be managed by local governments. Each town could have a citywide LAN, and then users could buy their Internet connection from anyone who had an uplink. Verizon and other dickish companies could go then go burn in hell.

Or if they don't like regulation, just get rid of all regulation! See how well they're able to operate without being able to get legal access to put cables under people's yards and stuff, or with totally unrestricted wireless (works for wifi)
posted by delmoi at 4:39 PM on November 1, 2010


. * $ ; -n

I'm sorry, but I've completely forgotten how to read perl.
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 4:42 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Netflix? Not in Canada for reasons I can't surmise

The shipping rates in Canada are ridiculous. I looked into starting a Netflix-esque business in 1999. Canada Post made it impossible to offer rates that were worthwhile. There are some companies that have done it since then but they haven't been very successful.

As for wireless, I'm with Fido, who I hate. Their service is fine (I don't get dropped calls or other nonsense) but their customer service is appalling. Their staff are clueless. You call about an option or with any question and the answer you get will be 100 percent wrong 180 degrees from the truth.

When I got an iPhone, which I didn't buy from them, I called about data plans. I told them it was an iPhone repeatedly. They offered me a $17 a month unlimited data plan. I took it. A month later a bill arrived for $400. I called, disputed it, and was told that that plan wasn't offered for iPhone. I said, "Oh well, you offered it. Please discount the bill." They refused, said I hadn't told them it was an iPhone. I said, "You know how you guys have a little robot that says this call will be recorded to maintain customer service? While your little robot was saying that... I was saying the same thing to it. You can go back and listen to your tape and see that I did tell you it was an iPhone and then you can credit my bill. Or, I can convert my recording to an MP3 and put it online with a scan of my bill." They credited the bill.

The same thing happened this past April. I went to LA and called in advance and they offered me a $30 roaming fee. When I got back, $200 bill, which again my "little robot" had them delete. They're fucking crooks, plain and simple. Fortunately, they're not very smart crooks.

I've had similar experiences with Bell and Rogers. I will never in my life give Bell another dime. They are the lowest of the low. They still call me every once in a while and ask me to become a customer and I drag out the conversation as long as possible, asking about all the crazy options I can get on the phone--all the long distance plans and whatnot. You can practically hear the sales rep orgasming at the coup they're getting. Then I say, "Oh, wait, did you say you were calling from Bell? Yeah, I asked you to put me on your do not call list years ago. Bye." Assholes.
posted by dobbs at 4:45 PM on November 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


The shipping rates in Canada are ridiculous.

Agreed. I'd also like to add that cross-border mail is by far the worst. I send letters to a friend in Toronto from here in Colorado and I assume they will take something like 10-14 days (depending on weekends) to get to her. What the fuck is happening to this mail at Detroit/Windsor that is holding shit up? Whenever I've had to do official "business" mail I always shell out the cash for FedEx because the delays through national posts are ridiculous.
posted by boubelium at 4:52 PM on November 1, 2010


(On the flip side, besides Hockey, hatred of Bell/Rogers may be one of the strongest cultural glues holding Canada together.)
posted by boubelium at 4:58 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Did I mention Maine fucking sucks?

I thought you were just another province of Canada?

Oh wow, you have senators? And they're both Republican? What the fuck?

hamburger
posted by A dead Quaker at 5:54 PM on November 1, 2010


Telecommunications in Canada is a cartel. It is simply ridiculous to say that there is a free market operating with three companies to choose from. A really free market would mean that it's easy for competitors to enter the marketplace. It's always going to be expensive to provide wireless in a country as big and empty as Canada, but it's just completely ridiculous that our laws - as opposed to the laws of economics - discourage foreign competition. Why should I give a shit who owns the company I pay my cell phone bill to? All that matters to me is the price and the service I get. If I weren't on a corporate plan (thank you, work), I would switch to Wind Mobile in a minute.

A little while ago, I called Bell over a bill in which they overcharged me on the tax. The tax! How hard is it to calculate the tax? Well, I called up a rep over the bill, and said, uh, tax is X%, and if you calculate the tax rate on this, you've charged me X + 5.2%, or some truly random number. What did the rep say? Oh, we're charging you the tax on the amount before we applied your discount. What? No, you charge tax on the amount owing. I couldn't believe it. So I said thank you very much, hung up, and called again. New rep. I explain the situation. He can't understand how the mistake was made, and corrects it immediately. But for three minutes, a Bell rep tried to tell me that I owed them tax on money I didn't owe them!

One of Bill Bryson's rules of life is, You can't beat the phone company. It's true. But it's a lot less true now than it used to be. If Canada didn't cling to its ridiculous, parochial rules governing telecoms (to say nothing of airlines), we could have the ability to choose new entrants offering better customer service and better prices. (The other thing this will require is rules reserving a portion of future wireless spectrum auctions for new companies, though that precedent has already been set with the auction conducted when Prentice was industry minister.)
posted by Dasein at 6:15 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ironically, I am hold right now with Virgin Mobile making my 4th attempt to cancel the service I signed up for over the summer when I was changing jobs.

Every time I've called to cancel the service ( this option isn't available online that I can see, SURPRISE!) after a considerable period on hold I've been told that there was no one available on the "Solutions Team" to help, but I would be given a case number, and some one would call me back. I 'll let you guys know if I ever get through, or if I'm stuck paying for a cell service I have never used, even once, forever.

(So who is Virgin a part of then, if there are only 3 providers in Canada?)
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 6:41 PM on November 1, 2010


Virgin Mobile Canada is owned by Bell.
posted by ODiV at 6:45 PM on November 1, 2010


KokuRyu: "The problem is that there is not enough competition in the Canadian market."

How many players are there in the Japanese market? Two?
posted by pwnguin at 6:50 PM on November 1, 2010


Aha. I never even looked into, it was just a quick temporary solution. Never even used the phone once. Still on hold.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 6:51 PM on November 1, 2010


The "phone company" in Canada has been Bell from the beginning and their network has been heavily subsidized over the years by the government. They won't give this up easily.

Not suggesting they shouldn't or ought to... but why they won't.
posted by shoesfullofdust at 6:51 PM on November 1, 2010


Oh wow, you have senators? And they're both Republican?

Jeeze, even Prince Edward Island gets four senators in Canada. Somebody sure got a raw deal from Congress.
posted by bonehead at 7:10 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Canada's telecom situation is pretty bad, but it's nothing compared to Mexico. Telmex is like the Ma Bell of old, but on steroids. Carlos Slim bought the government monopoly for a song and still has all of Mexico's phones in a vise grip. You can call China for 2 cents a minute, but it's 10 cents or more if you want to call any cell phone in Mexico. There's a few companies now that offer a little bit of competition (Axtel, Marcatel, etc), but Telmex still holds all the cards.
posted by kmz at 7:22 PM on November 1, 2010


This guy's got style.

Too bad Wind is currently only building out gradually in 5 major urban areas, and the last time I checked, their "coverage" map was somewhere between sheer optimism and fantasy in terms of accuracy.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 7:28 PM on November 1, 2010


Netflix? Not in Canada for reasons I can't surmise

Well, part of it is that Bell is not only killing unlimited internet plans, they're also making damned sure that no competitors can offer them. While Bell is still forced to resell their last-mile copper network, they can now force resellers to pay Bell tiered per-MB fees. What's worse, Bell can charge resellers the same price Bell charges their retail customers, aka leave the competition a 0% margin.

The result being if you're stuck using copper phone lines, there's no way to not pay Bell to watch internet video. You have three choices: buy Bell's new IPTV service, or use their DSL with per-MB usage fees, or if you're a real rebel go with a third-party ISP and still get stuck with usage fees.

The CRTC apparently can't intervene to prevent monopolies from crushing their competition... only once 'a competitive problem has been proven' meaning all independent ISPs are bankrupt.

Netflix is getting strangled on the data side. Fucking vertical integration, how does it work.
posted by anthill at 7:33 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've had such nightmare experiences with Bell mobile and Rogers (I will never sign up with that company again) that I have sworn off signing another telecommunications contract for the rest of my life. Not for cell phone, not for internet, not for cable, not for satellite. I don't care if it will save me on my monthly fee. No more contracts. If I can't cancel on the spot, penalty free, they can go to hell. My cell phone use is so little that I've gone with a pay-as-you-go phone from 7-11, so I'm way ahead on cost on that anyways.
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:35 PM on November 1, 2010


Bell is not only killing unlimited internet plans, they're also making damned sure that no competitors can offer them.

Yeah, that has really pissed me off. I've always been with a third-party ISP -- you'd be crazy not to, with what Bell and Rogers want for service.

Since Netflix came into Canada last month I and a lot of people I've talked to on 3rd party ISPs have noticed substantially worse internet speeds in the evening . . . to the point where there is sometimes no point in even bothering to check your email.
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:40 PM on November 1, 2010


If I can't cancel on the spot, penalty free, they can go to hell.

So, can I pay you to hold this call for me then, fimbulvetr? Because I'm still on hold. San Francisco won a frikken World Series title while I waited. I'm thinking of hanging up, calling back, and pretending I want to sign up instead.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:49 PM on November 1, 2010


Ah, Virgin mobile. I had a pay-as-you-go phone with them for a while, but they kept cranking up the prices, reducing how long my minutes lasted before they expired, and trying to push me into a plan. I don't miss them.
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:55 PM on November 1, 2010


I don't know how you could possibly be complaining, though, PareidoliaticBoy. According to the Virgin Mobile website, "We’ve been awarded J.D. Power and Associates “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Prepaid Wireless Service, 5 Years in a Row.”"

So of course you must be completely satisfied and happy. They have awards! Lots of 'em! Customer service is just great!
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:00 PM on November 1, 2010


Oh fimbulvetr, yeah the peak-hour throttling... 'necessary to relieve congestion' my ass. More like necessary to free up bandwidth for premium IPTV service. It's death by a thousand cuts here.
posted by anthill at 8:01 PM on November 1, 2010


And they also have a “Highest in Customer Satisfaction With Postpaid Wireless Service” award from J D Power etc. They must be fantastic

Of course, "highest in customer satisfaction" could just be relative to all the other cell phone company bastards
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:03 PM on November 1, 2010


Yep, with "peek-hour throttling" they really are taking it literally and going for strangulation.
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:05 PM on November 1, 2010


boubelium writes "Netflix? Not in Canada for reasons I can't surmise "

Shipping. Not much you can do about that unless you want to let 300 million people move to Canada.

el io writes "This financier has found the Canadian regulatory system more daunting and impossible to deal with than: Pakistan, Iraq, and North Korea?

"When someone implies that North Korea is more reasonable to interact with, it might be time for some serious introspection."


Or that a big ol' wheel barrow of money is all one needs to get there business needs met in countries with rampant coruption.
posted by Mitheral at 8:29 PM on November 1, 2010


Moving into the realm of performance art here. Now I am just being obstinate. I believe that they will be shutting down back there in Toronto in 25 minutes. If someone doesn't pickup before then, I am going to email the VP of "customer retention" (or whatever corporate speak they use) with a link to this thread.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:42 PM on November 1, 2010


How many players are there in the Japanese market? Two?

Four mobile phone companies, but numerous wired broadband providers who lease phone/optical fibre lines from NTT/KDDI or operate cable networks. The government forced NTT to unbundle its local loops as well as long-haul fibre in 2000. Operators were allowed to lease them at very low rates, which decimated NTT's leased line broadband business.

Just to give you an idea of what that did, SoftBank Telecom sold an 8 Mbps ADSL connection for 2,830 yen (about $25 at the time, IIRC) per month--in 2001.

This paper gives a good overview of the history of broadband in Japan.
posted by armage at 8:45 PM on November 1, 2010


Well, I'm done. The ironic thing is that I might have considered using them again with this phone they gave me, but not now. Obviously, I'll push this up via email, until someone actually allows me to cancel a non-contracted service, but seriously, if this is the best they can do, it's no wonder that no consumer is ever satisfied with any communications provider.

On the reuse/recycle front, what do you do with 3 phones you have no use for?
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:05 PM on November 1, 2010


eBay.
posted by bonehead at 10:01 PM on November 1, 2010


Oh fimbulvetr, yeah the peak-hour throttling... 'necessary to relieve congestion' my ass. More like necessary to free up bandwidth for premium IPTV service. It's death by a thousand cuts here.

Bell is trying to kill the independents in other ways too. They are moving long time Teksavvy customers off of remotes (the only way you can get full speed) just for the hell of it. It happened to me, and Teksavvy has seen dozens of others.

At the same time, the CRTC ruled a couple of years ago that Bell must provide matching speeds, but Bell ignored the decision. There has been no penalty. This fall the CRTC again ruled in favour of matching speeds... We'll see.

It is a huge mess, but nobody in government cares.


As for UBB.. As mentioned, at a business level it is horribly broken. And, it isn't like they even know how to measure it properly. However, for end users it won't make as much difference as everybody is thinking. There will be "bandwidth insurance" of 40GB for $5. On a guess 50% of independent provider customers are already under the 60GB level. Another 40% will only see prices go up by $5/month.

On the other hand, from what I've seen, it will hurt Netflix a lot. As far as I can tell, Netflix streaming seems to use about twice the data/hour of torrents of similar quality.
posted by Chuckles at 11:41 PM on November 1, 2010


I live in Montreal.

While it's not a solution for mobile phones, for my internet connection I switched from Bell's DSL to Videotron's cable. Bell promised 5 mbps which was usually around 1.2 mbps (when it wasn't being throtttled), Videotron actually gives me 25 mbps - on a wifi connection, closer to 30 mbps if I'm directly connected. For less than I was paying Bell. I also switched my land line to telephony, also through Videotron - for almost half what Bell was charging.

It's nowhere near what my friends in Japan get, but switching to cable has given me a metric heckload more service, better pricing, and far better speeds than Bell ever did.

I do recall that when I lived in Toronto cable was slower than DSL but that was 10 years ago... In Montreal, though, not being on cable doesn't make any sense at all.

FWIW I also get my mobile phone service through Videotron and while it's not great, it's substantially cheaper than what Telus used to charge.

And no, I don't work for Videotron.
posted by metameat at 6:30 AM on November 2, 2010


Canada has always been about monopoly control of communications and transportation systems. See the work of Harold Innis.
posted by No Robots at 8:07 AM on November 2, 2010


Don't get too excited though: Wind Mobile is consistently the worst of the big three mobile/cell companies in Greece, especially when it comes to their charges.
posted by ersatz at 12:36 PM on November 2, 2010


I've been with rogers for a few years now- mostly because I got an insanely cheap package. They used to call me up and offer me 'free' (read more expensive) upgrades to my service, until I asked them politely, then less politely to stop.

My thoughts on telus are unprintable.

All I know is that I will never buy a phone from one of those companies.
posted by LD Feral at 1:53 PM on November 2, 2010


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