Image via Twirp
The Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has been ‘getting an earful’ about 3-year contracts from cell phone providers says one Canadian Press report.
500 people gave their opinions to the CRTC on an online forum about these long contracts, all representing the apparent opinion of 27 million Canadian cellphone users. They also spoke about the Lack of competition in the marketplace. The lack-of-competition problem is one that Americans know well, with AT&T and Verizon (some may add Sprint and T-Mobile as well).
An overwhelming majority of Canadians are using Bell (/BellAliant), Telus, or Rogers as their carrier. This makes it easy for these companies to share plan pricing. Smaller carriers, such as Fido, Wind Mobile and Videotron have only 4% of the marketplace.
“Get rid of the 36 months contract!!! It first started with 12 months, then 24 months, now the standard is 36 months, which is ridiculous!”
“CRTC, please get rid of the 3 year contract. Canada will love you for this.”
“Where is the competition? These plans are all the same.”
Not only day-to-day Canadians are speaking out… but Members of Parliament as well:
“Canadian consumers continue to be saddled with higher than average costs for wireless services as compared to other OECD countries,” the NDP’s Consumer Critic Glenn Thibeault said. Speaking on a possibility of fining these companies,”Under such an enforcement regime, the commission would be entitled to assess monetary penalties for non-compliance with the wireless code and any resulting regulations,”
Thibeault also added that 3-year contracts go beyond the lifespan of heavily used cellphones, in many cases. Consumers cannot end their contract after their device dies because of the cancellation fees of (up to) hundreds of dollars. Therefore, they are forced into upgrades.
In America, 2-year contracts are the norm. It is likely that if anything were to change… we would follow America. But even these 2-year contracts receive their fair-share of complaints down south.
What do you think of these cell phone contracts? Should the contract length be lowered by the CRTC? Leave a comment below.
With information from The Canadian Press, CBC, CRTC.