This proceeding must lead to an overhaul of Canada’s cell phone market, to substantively address the long-standing issues of affordability, and ensure a significant increase in providers to allow for more choice. As part of this proceeding I am asking the Commission to address the following aspects specifically:
People in Canada pay some of the highest prices in the world for subpar mobile services, and the gap between Canada and other countries’ wireless affordability continues to grow. Too many people are priced out of the market and those who can pay, pay way too much relative to our international counterparts.
To alleviate the affordability issue we need entry level plans that anyone can afford and more competitors to bring down average prices. Everyone should have access to a plan with enough data, voice minutes and text to meet their needs at a price they can afford, without having to sacrifice other basic needs such as food.
We ask the Commission to guarantee affordable, quality mobile services are available to people across the socio-economic spectrum, especially lower income families, no matter where they live in Canada.
The lack of choice of providers in Canada subjects us to some of the highest mobile prices in the world. Without choice of providers, people are confined to the Big Three and their flanker brands (e.g. Fido, Koodo, Virgin), subject to aggressive and misleading sales practices, and have no choice for better alternatives.
The Commission must introduce new providers to the market, including Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), and ensure that these providers are able to compete on fair terms, indefinitely. Having a diversity of providers that can fairly compete with each other will provide incentive for established and new providers to innovate and offer better services and plans, leading to lower retail prices.
Canada’s current environment does not foster the potential for new providers. We demand the Commission ensures a fair playing field for new providers to fundamentally expand and shift choice in the wireless market for years to come.
The digital divide in Canada must be addressed. The Commission must ensure universal wireless access and infrastructure throughout the country. We demand that all providers who enter the market are able to offer the best technology available and as it becomes available (e.g. 5G), including for entry level plans.
We also ask the Commission to force our national providers to share their spectrum with new providers at reasonable rates. This is key to connecting all Canadians by allowing new competitors to enter the market and compete across Canada on a level playing field.
Finally, I acknowledge that my comments and information will form part of the public record for this proceeding including on the CRTC website. I do not wish to appear at the hearing in relation to this submission. I ask that this submission be granted the same weight as that of any other party.
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