Liberal leadership candidate says the CRTC’s proposed wireless code has “little hope for success” and that “Canadians are tired and frustrated” of big wireless bills

Marc Garneau recently threw his name into the mix of people running to lead Canada’s Liberal party. According to his Wikipedia page he’s an engineer, retired military officer, and an ex-NASA astronaut who’s been to space three times. That’s a good track record.

It’s common practice for politicians who are eager to get elected to bring out the frustration and pain that us common folk feel with a promise of hope. We saw this happen a few years ago with the wireless spectrum auction and various proposed bills to have carriers unlock cellphones.

Garneau, in a statement on his website, declared he plans to take on the “competition in the telecommunications sector.” He believes that “Canada must open the door fully to competition in this sector” and that “Canadians are tired and frustrated with big bills, poor service and few choices on wireless, Internet and phone services.” Garneau quotes stats from a CRTC report that indicates Canadians pay approximately $55/month for wireless service, which is about 20% more than our friends in the United States, and “100 per cent more than users in the UK and Germany.” In addition, Garneau highlights Canadians are “frustrated with the endless list of roadblocks: Locked phones, ridiculous contract penalties, hidden service charges, bogus “system access fees.”

The solution is to “bring new ideas, entice investment in new technologies, and drive down the costs of our wireless bills.”

There has been many improvement to the Canadian wireless scene over the past number of years. We’ve seen newer players such as WIND Mobile, Mobilicity, Public Mobile and Videotron all launch their service, plus offer low cost (approximately $30/month) for unlimited talk, text and data. In addition, these carriers also give the customer, like all carriers, the option to sign a contract or not. As for the Big 3, TELUS recently announced that they removed the $35 activation fee. The average monthly bill is sitting around the $50 – $65/month mark, but data usage has also increased. So there has been progress in Canadian wireless.

Finally, Garneau also aimed his words at the proposed CRTC’s proposed “wireless code of conduct” by stating he commends the CRTC “for making the effort on its wireless code of conduct, I hold little hope for success in achieving change. In a system without real competition in which consumers have few choices, the CRTC, the regulator, has limited options.”

Time will tell…

Source: Marc Garneau