Friday, December 2, 2016

Contemplating a Move to Canada?

Up north wireless is different.  In Canada, there are only 3 national carriers, compared to 4 in the US.  Canada is an example of what would happen if we had only a "Top 3": high prices.  Canadian wireless users keep hoping that their federal government will issue spectrum and licenses to enable the existence of a 4th major carrier...which they have done...but a new national network has not been created.  It's too big of a project to build that much new wireless infrastructure.  So the crumbs tossed out by their government have been gobbled up mostly by existing players.

What has happened is the some of the smaller players that users had hoped to someday grow big and be competitive, have gone in different directions.  What was Mobilicity has been acquired by Rogers Wireless and absorbed into Chatr Mobile.  This is similar to T-Mobile taking over MetroPCS.  Chatr offers different price points and the same coverage as Rogers, but nobody's giving away the store.

The other change was the acquisition of Wind Mobile, Canada's last hope for wireless salvation.  They were purchased by one of Canada's major cable companies, Shaw Communications, and the name was changed to Freedom Mobile. Hopes were dashed when Freedom sold their licenses in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to local operators in those provinces.  This funded Freedom's upgrade of 4G-LTE coverage in other areas, but requires their customers to roam outside their home service area, which is still quite small, and some of which is limited to higher AWS frequencies.  Freedom does offer cheaper local plans and better deals for roaming into the US, but they can't offer the iPhone.  Freedom's moves don't seem to affect the top 3, so the game continues, and the prices remain higher than in the US. Lucky us. And it's why we can't let any of our top 4 carriers merge.

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