According to the 2022 Canadian Telecom Sentiment Report, telecom bills rank as the third largest cost-of-living pressure for Canadians, behind gas and food prices
Canadians are fed up with wireless affordability, with 82 per cent believing that the government of Canada has a responsibility to do more to lower cell phone prices
TORONTO, Sept. 29, 2022 /CNW/ – Though unprecedented airline delays and sky-high real estate prices continue to run rampant in Canada, Canadians are still most fed up with the national telecommunications industry. According to the 2022 Canadian Telecom Sentiment Report, the majority of Canadians (59 per cent) are angry or annoyed when they think of telecom companies, the highest of all major Canadian industries surveyed.
The Pollara survey commissioned by Globalive Communications found that seven-in-ten Canadians (71 per cent) are angry about telecom bills specifically, the third highest of 13 cost-of-living pressures tested. Amidst rising interest rates, inflation, and other pressing financial challenges, an overwhelming majority of Canadians (82 per cent) see the lowering of telecom bills as being a responsibility of the Canadian government.
“In light of a worsening economic climate and ongoing inflation concerns that puts personal finances top of mind, it’s not entirely surprising that the telecom industry has sparked a strong sense of frustration across the country,” says Anthony Lacavera, Founder and Chairman of Globalive. “These findings reflect decades of high prices, limited competition, and lack of effective action to address either on behalf of Canadians.”
Telecom affordability remains a top concern for Canadians
For many Canadians, wireless fees are teetering on becoming an out-of-budget expense, as two-thirds (66 per cent) would deem their cell phone bill unaffordable if it rose a mere 10 per cent. High wireless pricing has continued to remain an ongoing point of contention for Canadians, especially when compared to those of other countries.
Recent studies have found that Canadians pay anywhere from 20 per cent to 140 per cent more for their wireless plans than other OECD countries. When asked, only 14 per cent of Canadians believe that phone plans will come down in cost over the next decade to be on par with the rest of the world.
With this in mind, Canadians have considered a myriad of ways to save money on their wireless bills, no matter the potential inconvenience it may cause. Over half of Canadians (57 per cent) have or would consider switching providers multiple times to take advantage of “new customer” deals, 42 per cent would consider a prepaid phone plan with limited minutes, 41 per cent would consider switching to a less expensive provider offering worse service, and 32 per cent would consider using a US phone plan while living in Canada.
“You don’t need to look too far south past the border to get a glimpse of what Canada’s telecom landscape could look like,” says Lacavera. “Our US neighbours have demonstrated the impact that true pureplay wireless carriers can have on the market – something we have yet to introduce. What T-Mobile has done for the American wireless space in terms of effective disruption and subsequent lower prices is what we need to continue to push for in Canada. Seeing the number of Canadians that would consider choosing a US phone plan over a Canadian one, as our report has found, strongly reiterates this need.”
Introduced to the US market as the ‘Un-carrier,’ T-Mobile, the country’s most prominent pureplay wireless carrier, has brought US consumers nearly-free international roaming, unlimited data, and more transparent pricing via eliminated wireless service and access fees. Recent reports have found that during this time, wireless prices in the US have sharply declined; in 2010, an unlimited data, talk, and text plan cost $113.87 on average for a single line. By 2019, that same plan cost $64.95. US subscribers now save $130 billion annually in wireless plan costs.
Aftermath of the Rogers network outage
Beyond affordability, Canadians are continuing to feel unsettled and unappeased by the Rogers network outage of July 2022. The widespread outage that began on July 8, 2022, reiterated to Canadians how reliant they are on the wireless industry and, more specifically, its major incumbents.
A majority of Canadians (56 per cent) claimed to be impacted by the outage in some way, whether personally or professionally; this included communicating with friends or family, communicating with co-workers, making purchases using Interac, and/or using emergency services. Respondents from Ontario claimed to be most impacted (68 per cent), followed by the Atlantic regions (59 per cent) and British Columbia (55 per cent).
The period immediately after the outage, in which Rogers offered its proposed financial remedies and changes to its internal processes, has appeared to draw an unsatisfactory response from Canadians. Within the survey, only 35 per cent of Rogers customers feel they were adequately compensated for their losses and inconveniences.
When asked to reflect on the outage, 65 per cent of Canadians are still frustrated and angry when they think about it. This includes three-quarters (74 per cent) are Rogers customers.
Future of the Canadian telecom industry
Looking ahead, a majority of Canadians (67 per cent) believe that another Rogers outage is likely in the future; this figure rises to 71 per cent among Rogers customers. Given the continued progression towards a more wireless Canada, it appears that much is still to be done to reinstate Canadians’ confidence in the incumbent and the industry at large.
“It’s simply not possible to talk about telecom innovation and ongoing industry development without recognizing that wireless technology is at the core of everything. If we plan to operate in the same capacity as our global counterparts, we need to ensure that our baseline telecom needs are reliable – and there’s still some clear work to be done here,” says Lacavera.
“If we ever expect Canada’s wireless industry to be the innovative, world-leading industry it can be, we must ensure that our infrastructure is functional at a basic level. This goes beyond simply being able to communicate with friends and family, but being able to provide Canadians with competitive and affordable offerings. Only then will we be able to win back their trust and support, both of which have become casualties of the current landscape.”
Additional findings from the 2022 Globalive Telecom Sentiment Report:
Telecom bills are one of the largest cost-of-living sources of annoyance/anger for Canadians, along with:
The survey found that sector annoyance/anger is most felt towards the following industries:
Globalive has founded or co-founded and operated 12 operating companies over the past 25 years in the telecommunications industry, including WIND Mobile which was sold to Shaw Communications for $1.6 billion. Globalive Capital manages Globalive’s diversified investment portfolio across multiple asset classes including venture, private equity, real estate, and infrastructure. Globalive Ventures has made over 100 early-stage technology venture investments and is well-known as a strategic, entrepreneur friendly investor. Globalive has been a founding sponsor and ongoing supporter of leading incubators and accelerators including NEXT Canada and the Creative Destruction Lab, and the Globalive team serves as directors and advisors across the startup ecosystem. Globalive Media focuses on the innovation ecosystem and produces the show Beyond Innovation (beyondinnovation.tv) that airs globally on the Bloomberg platform. For more information, visit www.globalive.com.
Founded in 1980, Pollara Strategic Insights is one of Canada’s premier full-service research firms – a collaborative team of senior research veterans who are passionate about conducting research through hands–on creativity and customized solutions. Taking full advantage of their comprehensive toolbox of industry-leading quantitative and qualitative methodologies and analytical techniques, Pollara provides research-based strategic advice to a wide array of clients across all sectors on a local, national, and global scale.
About the survey
The findings come from a Pollara Strategic Insights survey fielded online between September 2nd and 12th, 2022. In total, 3105 Canadians 18 years and older completed the survey. A probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of ± 1.8%, 19 times out of 20.
SOURCE Globalive Capital Inc.
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