I’ve been shopping around for prepaid mobile here in Canada, home to one of the most corrupt telecom industries anywhere in the developed world. Everything costs far too much money and you don’t get very much for your trouble. Most companies still deal sparingly in minutes and finite numbers of SMS messages. Data is almost an afterthought and it’s never truly unlimited despite what marketing claims are made. I mean, it’s not “unlimited” if there’s a cap, is it? The new definition of unlimited is “about as much as you’re likely to use if you’re not doing anything out of the ordinary” (i.e. pirating movies).
Anyway, all this makes me wonder why people aren’t adopting messaging apps like LINE to get around all the byzantine restrictions that afflict Canadian consumers. All we’d need is a decent data allowance and a critical mass of people using such apps and nonsense like “anytime minutes” would be a thing of the past. It isn’t presently possible to overthrow the Canadian telecom oligopoly but we can use technology to alleviate at least some of the suffering caused by their boundless avarice.
After an exhaustive search I eventually settled on Koodo, whose service I have never before considered using. I did a survey of the cost of data per gigabyte and was not surprised to find that every company I can actually get service with charges CAD$30 per Gb with the lone exception of Bell, who charges CAD$35. How’s that for competition! Mobilicity and Wind both provide much more but I don’t own a phone that can access their networks—and both seem to be going under anyhow. Koodo, at least, allows minutes and data to rollover each month. The others charge you the same rate whether you use it all or not—and I don’t even want to know what happens when you run out before the month is over.
This is quite a change from paying approximately CAD$25 per month for genuinely unlimited data access in Taiwan. I understand that geography and density considerations contribute to increased competition and lower prices in the Taiwanese market but still—everyone agrees that Canadian telecom companies suck (just read the comments). Come to think of it, I’m actually surprised this isn’t more of an election issue. Along with repealing our draconian alcohol laws (especially here in Ontario) I’d gladly vote for someone vowing to break open the telecom market in this vast country of ours.
You might think this is some strange permutation of reverse culture shock but I don’t think so. I’ve always been unhappy with the quality of service and value for the money of telecom offerings in Canada. I can’t say I expected anything different but I am still disappointed that the situation hasn’t improved at all in my absence.