My Opinion on Canadian Carriers
This is a pretty unpopular opinion but I'm personally absolutely ok with the way that carriers are in Canada. I have 3 arguments to support this: network cost, plan pricing and profit per customer.
Canada is the second largest country in the world, the cost of maintaining a nationwide network is massive. It also doesn't help that we have a tiny population. Our national carriers (Telus, Bell and Rogers) have to support a network that covers the majority of our country. In order to maintain this network and still make a profit then they have to charge more for the plans. With our population size they have to make their money off of margins, instead of volume (like the European carriers). Network maintenance is also the reason that the new entrants can offer such cheap pricing, they only cover the largest population centers in Canada (raising their profit per tower).
Secondly, our plan prices really aren't that bad when compared to AT&T or Verizon. Our current 6GB (although they are more expensive than last month) aren't priced badly at all. I feel that the best way to illustrate my point would be to simply compare a Canadian plan with some US options. It'll simply be Bell vs. Verizon vs. AT&T. I'm going to create a plan on each carrier with 2 phone lines with a combined 12GB of data and then mention whatever features come with it.
Uses a mobile share plan system where the subscriber pays a base amount for a certain amount of data and then a fee for every phone attached to the account.
-Unlimited nation-wide calling
-Unlimited nation-wide texting
-10GB of data
The base plan is $120 plus an additional $30 per phone. This comes to a total of $180 for 2 phones and 10GB of data.
This carrier uses the exact same plan system as AT&T with some slight variations in price.
-Unlimited nation-wide calling
-12GB of data
The base plan would come out to $110 with an additional $10 for each device. Coming to a total of $130.
With Bell, you pick a different plan for each phone which you have the option of sharing (lines on the same account share all minutes and data). For this example I am going to pick the same plan for both phones.
-200 daytime minutes (400 total shared minutes)
-Unlimited nation-wide long distance (back to school promo that applies to all plans)
-Unlimited calling to any 10 numbers (Fab 10)
-Unlimited calling after 6PM and on weekends
-6GB of data each (12GB total)
Each plan would be $75, coming to a total of $150 for both lines.
As you can see, the pricing for Bell's plan came in between AT&T and Verizon. The one downside is that you don't get unlimited minutes, but the Fab 10 should cover most peoples needs.
I'd lastly like to discuss the amount of profit that carriers make off of their subscribers. It is generally felt that the national Canadian carriers milk their customers for all they're worth, I'd like to prove this wrong. Bell Mobility had a 2nd quarter profit of $556 million made off of 7 million subscribers. This comes to an average profit of $79 per subscriber (for the quarter). AT&T made $6.8 billion off of 103 million subscribers (coming to a $68 profit per customer). There is a difference in those numbers, but it is not nearly as large as most people would make it seem.
Thats my opinion on the issue, I'd love to hear what others have to say about it!