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Wireless Networking Hardware

Canadians Pay Extra For Their Wireless Hardware 352

Posted by timothy
from the y'know-value-added-and-all dept.
Todd Alivoy writes "Looks like Canadian wireless subscribers have been getting hosed when looking to get new hardware. This isn't the first time Canadian carriers have managed to charge far more than thier US conterparts for the same services. Anyone up there know why? It sure isn't the exchange rates." The linked article shows the price disparity for 14 phones available in both markets.
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Canadians Pay Extra For Their Wireless Hardware

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  • Basic economics... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @12:16AM (#7959685) Journal
    More competition = lower prices. Less competition = higher prices. (Duh.)

    Also:

    More customers = lower prices. Fewer customers = higher prices. (Less overhead per customer.)
    • by Fred IV (587429) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @12:26AM (#7959755)

      Exactly. Also, just because a US consumer pays $99.00 for a phone doesn't mean that the phone costs $99.00. Usually the cell phone company pays a substaintial amount of the handset and tries to make their money back during the life of a contract.

      Heavy competition in the US following Number Portability has set the stage for a messy little price war between carriers trying to win business from each other...great for consumers, bad for the carriers

    • by RhetoricalQuestion (213393) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @01:51AM (#7960232) Homepage

      ...a fact of which I am deeply ashamed.

      And the short answer is "it's more expensive because they can get away with it."

      But yes, it does come down to basic economic, with the corporate greed angle tossed in. Canada is a smaller market, with fewer competitors (4 national, plus a few regional). So the wireless carriers CAN charge more because the consequences of doing so not as great. Plus, the major carriers tend to follow each other quite closely. If one finds a way to charge more for something and get away with it, the others will quickly follow -- why should the other guy be the only one to make more?

      IMO, the Canadian wireless industry is not particularly customer oriented -- they are competitor-oriented. It's not so much about "how can I win more customers through my excellent handsets and plan" as it is about "how can I get my ARPU higher than the competitors and my Churn lower, thus sticking it to the competition when the rankings are published." If the customer happens to benefit, it's a nice consequence.

      That's why the CityFido plan (you probably haven't heard of this unless you're in Vancouver, but you can transfer your landline number to a wireless number, and you get $40/month unlimited local calling) sent the Canadian wireless industry into a tizzy. The other 3 national carriers began running some pretty harsh Fido switch promotions -- particularly on the East coast, where Fido is based. Makes some sense on a competitor level (take out Fido where they are strongest) but not on a consumer level (Easterners who've never heard of CityFido can't understand why the big 3 carriers are all going after the little guy.)

      Mind you, Fido has had financial difficulties lately, so they probably had to pull a gutsy move like this. The rest of the industry doesn't see how Fido's model is sustainable.

      But on the other hand, some stuff just costs more here. Hence the people who cross the boarder every month to shop.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @03:05AM (#7960574)
        The model is sustainable because the majority of the CityFido subscribers are not actual Fido customers, they are NEW customers who are switching their landline to a mobile on the CityFido service.

        Also, most of them are spending a shitload of money on extras: LD bundles, Call Display, Voicemail, GPRS, etc.

        Believe me, CityFido is VERY sustainable for Fido because it doesn't affect another Fido's business, where as Telus Mobility can't really do that because its hurting Telus, Bell Mobility can't do the same because it'd be hurting Bell, and Rogers... well they're planning on launching local phones services too so...

        Also, most of CityFido customers don't have only one line, they have 3-5 for the whole house family.

        Before CityFido, I didn't encounter that many CONSUMER accounts with 4-5 lines and spending 400-500$ a month. It's quite usual now in Vancouver. (Yes, I'm a Fido CSR)

        • The other advantage beside new customers are existing customers who have switched plans because of CityFido. I was previously on a plan that was around $25/month + license fee. I "usually" came in under my minutes per-month, but it was a no-brainer to switch to CityFido for $40 and not ever have to worry about monitoring minutes, not to mention not paying the extra license fee directly.

          Basically turns your cell phone into the equivilent of a city-wide cordless phone, which is just amazingly convenient.

          N
        • by RhetoricalQuestion (213393) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @11:37AM (#7962733) Homepage

          From an operational perspective, the wireless and wireline businesses of both Bell Mobility and Telus Mobility are entirely separate. One side doesn't pay much attention to the other. So the sustainability question is not around where the business is going to come from (that's obvious -- who wouldn't want $40 unlimited?) but about how Fido can become increasingly profitable while charging so little.

          That is, the big 3 are worried about CityFido pushing the precious ARPU down. Again, attracting new customers is important, but not at the cost of potentially making less per customer. For example, you may have noticed that all the wireless carriers have changed the Evenings clock to start later -- it increases overage minutes, thus increasing ARPU. Customer is screwed over, but hey, higher profits. And since all of them started doing this, competition benefits no one. (I saw a presentation on this a while back; did I mention I'm ashamed of where I work?)

          Then again, (just musing here) the sustainability issue may be simply be fear-mongering. Fido, having gone through financial trouble, is probably in the best position to sustain a lower ARPU model since (frankly) they don't need to worry as much about being less profitable than last year. (And with the lowest ARPU in Canada, the CityFido plan probably pushes the numbers up.)

          I'm not knocking Fido -- I think the CityFido plan is a good strategy. But the rest of the Canadian industry fear that this will bring profits down.

          Oh, just for those who think I flunked geography, I accidentally used internal language, where West Coast = BC+AB, East Coast = ON+PQ, Atlantic = NB+NS+PEI+NF, MB=MB and SK=SK. (It confused me when I started here.)

    • A major ecnomic factor to consider would actually be that the Canadian dollar is up 22% this year. The cellular providers would have set their prices awhile ago and arent going to adjust for a currency fluctuation.

  • by tenzig_112 (213387) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @12:16AM (#7959688) Homepage
    Perhaps they will set up store-front re-import shops where Canadians can buy cheap wireless gear from the US.

    Some will argue that the US should not be able to get the stuff so inexpensively, that the reduced cost raises prices elsewhere. Others will argue that Canadian research firms put a lot of money into the wireless industry, and price controls would kill the industry.

  • Simple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dolo666 (195584) * on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @12:16AM (#7959689) Journal
    Canada is much bigger than the states, but with far less people. The cost of having towers running is a nobrainer.
    • Canada is much bigger than the states, but with far less people. The cost of having towers running is a nobrainer.

      That is a good point, but what does making a phone have to do with maintaing the service towers? Plus it is always wiser to increase the monthly cost, reducing the shock (maaan, if cell phones here were $500+, I would definately not have one!).

      Maybe the cell phone purchase and plan purchase should be decoupled (as I believe it is in Europe) and then many customer problems would disappear.

      • Re:Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @12:52AM (#7959935)
        That is a good point, but what does making a phone have to do with maintaing the service towers?

        Everything. A cellphone being sold with a service package has much of the cost of the phone bundled in the term of the contract. For example, a $50 US phone does not *cost* $49 (or less) - it probably costs much more than $49, but a portion of the cost of the phone is amortized across the term of the contract. Let's say that amount is $10 per month (nice round numbers) for a two-year contract.

        We did that because the phone actually cost us $180. We're going to make $240 over 24 months on the $10 amount, plus the initial $50. While it sounds like we did fine making $290 for a $180 phone, there's a good amount of self-insurance cost (people that break phones and want another without paying the real $180), there's financing costs, and other costs that factor in here.

        Our service rate is $50/month gross, so after phone costs of $10, there's $40/month left for the basic service.

        Here's where the Canada problem enters. In the US, there are many more subscribers per cell - greater density that we can distribute fixed costs (towers, facilities, backoffice, etc.) over a much larger base. Assuming our $50 per month price, the fixed costs in Canada eat up much more of that $50 than they do in the US. This leaves much less room for things like phone internal financing. So we have to charge a up-front price that more closely reflects the cost of the equipment - Canadian customers (we hope) should just be happy to have service.

        I'd personally argue that if they're looking for greater densities, charging a higher nonrecurring fee is a bad way to approach this. High initial costs only prevent people from becoming your customer. But perhaps there are competitive issues in Canada per what the market expects from a monthly rate that don't let them push the Canadian costs into that category.
    • by nmos (25822)
      Canada is much bigger than the states, but with far less people. The cost of having towers running is a nobrainer.

      On the other hand, Canada's population is more concentrated in cities so they may not need towers at all in many rural areas.
    • Re:Simple (Score:2, Informative)

      by futuramarama (687115)
      Australia has a similar size/population ratio to Canada (and something like 99% coverage for mobiles), and yet it seems our prices are somewhere closer to the US than Canadian ones.

      (I haven't been able to do a proper comparision, since it seems the model numbers differ, but we do get most phones free with plans).

      Besides, the government could easily subsidize the rural towers (rural sector is fairly heavily subsidized anyway)
      • (and something like 99% coverage for mobiles)

        From the Department of Communications, etc's website: [dcita.gov.au]

        3. How much mobile coverage is there?

        GSM and CDMA networks cover up to 97.5 per cent of the Australian population and 13.7 per cent of the Australian landmass. This is expected to increase to more than 98 per cent coverage of the population and around 18 per cent coverage of the landmass upon completion of the rollout of Commonwealth funded infrastructure under various targeted funding initiatives.

        Satelli
    • Re:Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ergo98 (9391) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @12:49AM (#7959910) Homepage Journal
      Canada is much bigger than the states...

      Only barely, and this comes up in the next point... ...but with far less people

      It's a common misconception of Canada that we're vastly spread out evenly across 10 million square kilometers. In reality the vast majority of us are clustered in a couple of relatively (I mean relative to Canada, although still quite huge compared to most nations) small areas. Outside of this it's sparsely distributed settlements, often related to natural resources, throughout the rest.

      For instance Rogers claims "Our digital TDMA and Analog cellular phone network covers up to 93% of the Canadian population with over 85% digital coverage.". I suspect that 93% of Canadians live in (far) less than 10% of the land mass.
      • Outside of Toronto, and maybe the Montreal-Ottawa area, it's true though. At least when you compare to the US. Once you get past southern Ontario, you don't hit another city of > 500,000 people until Winnipeg, and that's ~2500 kms away. Another ~600 kms till Regina, and another ~700 till Calgary. Then, it's ANOTHER ~1200 till Vancouver.

        Most of the US population doesn't live with the nearest city being a full day's drive away. Most Americans I know can't fathom not having another large urban centre withi
      • Re:Simple (Score:5, Funny)

        by Bill_Royle (639563) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @02:18AM (#7960363)
        Call it clustering if you wish, I'll call it a prelude to an invasion.
      • It's a common misconception of Canada that we're vastly spread out evenly across 10 million square kilometers. In reality the vast majority of us are clustered in a couple of relatively (I mean relative to Canada, although still quite huge compared to most nations) small areas. Outside of this it's sparsely distributed settlements, often related to natural resources, throughout the rest.

        For instance Rogers claims "Our digital TDMA and Analog cellular phone network covers up to 93% of the Canadian populati

    • Yeah, but don't all the people in Canada live within like 2 feet of the US border?
    • Ok 80% of us Canadian's live within 200km of the US border.

      Just as there are not a lot of cell towers in the middle of the wheat fields of Nebraska or Death Valley nor are there many found in the Yukon tundra or mountains of British Columbia.
    • Canada is much bigger than the states, but with far less people. The cost of having towers running is a nobrainer.

      Not everyone who reads /. is from the US - someone should explain it for our Canadian readers. ;)
    • Re:Simple (Score:4, Informative)

      by mark*workfire (220796) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @03:15AM (#7960600)
      Its much simpler to do what I did.

      I wanted a Sony T68i phone. Rogers wanted $699 for it, or $399 with a 3 year contract. I don't do contracts since if I'm not happy with the service, I switch. So, off to eBay I went, and voila, for a grand total of $125 Canadian including shipping I bought myself a T68i *unlocked*.

      Off to Radio Shack for a Rogers SIM I signed up for an account and have been using it with no problem. Even better, I'm in Europe this month, and simply popped in a SIM from our office over here and have nice GSM service wherever I happen to go over here.

      Try that with a Rogers LOCKED Sony phone. Many thanks to eBay!!!

  • Because they will, until they stop allowing companies to ream them on price, companies will go for the higher returns.

    It's that simple canada, don't take it.
  • by RobinH (124750) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @12:18AM (#7959698) Homepage
    I had a blackberry through Rogers/AT&T, and once I got the U.S. roaming package on there, it cost me $57 (CDN) per month. That's more than my 3000 kb/s cable modem internet connection (under $40 per month). I loved the blackberry, but decided to cancel the subscription.

    Then, the day after I decided to cancel it, we were broken into and they stole it off the table. Reporting it stolen actually saved me the cancellation charge (~$50), and I figure whoever ended up with the hot item is getting payback by paying the high fees.

    That's what I tell myself anyway. Maybe it was that Michael Moore guy... I heard he was snooping around Windsor opening people's doors.
  • Carrier subsidies (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @12:20AM (#7959710)
    It has a lot more to do with carrier subsidies for the phones. Most countries in the world don't have the same system that we do in the US, where your phone will only work on the network of the carrier that sold it to you.

    When a carrier gives you a discount on a phone, it makes a bet that writing off part of the cost of the phone will pay off with the contract you have to sign to use the phone on their network.

    Since GSM is now fairly prevelant in the US, I've taken to buying my phones and using whatever carrier I want (ok - there are only 3 choice right now) and allows me to use my unlocked phone with any carrier around the world, as long as my phone uses a frequency that is used in that country. Hence, I have 3 very high tech phones that I can choose between, depending on what I'm doing and where I am.

    That's what mobility is all about.
  • "This isn't the first time Canadian carriers have managed to charge far more than thier US conterparts for the same services. Anyone up there know why? It sure isn't the exchange rates."

    Supply and demand.
  • My guess (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jasonditz (597385)
    The higher corporate tax rate and heavy regulation of Canada is encouraging these companies to pass the added expenses on to the customer.

    That or there is some form of protectionist tariff designed to protect domestic telecom hardware.

    It can't be a question of the companies just overcharging, if they were someone could undercut everyone else and drive them out of business.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @12:24AM (#7959738)
    You don't think that this disparity is because of the ability of these companies to differentiate the cost legitimately? There is large fixed cost to be amortized in providing wireless infrastucture over such a large country, with such low population density.

    Here in Vermont we have the same problem with electricity - it costs a lot when you have few customers per mile of wire (or even wireless miles). For the national utilities (like Verizon Wireless and the wired long distance carriers) they lose money on rural areas in order to provide the same bundle to all customers within the country. In rural Alaska all your long-distance calls come over satellite to ground stations that might serve 1000 people who are paying 6.2 cents a minute for long-distance!!!

    Always look for a rational reason before you complain too much about conspiracies.

    • Actualy its not as bad as you make it out to be. Understand that as you increase the cell usage around a cell site you hit a saturation point. Once that poit is reached you need to turn on second, third ... frequency bands. Most of Calgary is nearly saturating F1, with the exception of down town. So say you have a city like Huston (which uses five bands). If the last band is only used marginaly, the cost is much more than using the full capacity of all five bands.
      teh population density in most Canadian ci
  • Don't Canadians have to pay a surcharge on recordable media to offset the effects of piracy? If so, couldn't this be the same type of thing? The government implementing a tax to offset some perceived injustice made available by wide-spread WiFI?

    Although, more than likely, as others have pointed out, it's simply supply and demand.

  • by NanoGator (522640) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @12:29AM (#7959779) Homepage Journal
    When you sign up for service in Canada, do you have to pay a year long contract? If so, then never mind, I step down. If not, then I'd suggest that the money is still being spent, just in a different order.

    Personally, I think it's just that competition's not so hot up there.
    • Re:Question: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Txiasaeia (581598)
      How long is a piece of string? You can get "pay as you go" phones that cost a lot upfront (upwards $200) with no monthly fees, or sign up for a free phone and get a plan for $20-30/mo (plus taxes, surcharges --> $45/mo) for 1-2 years. It all depends.
    • With Fido (only one of the prices quoted), no. With Rogers (half of the prices quoted), the price is with a 2 year contract. With Telus, it's with a THREE year contract.
  • by ComputerSlicer23 (516509) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @12:33AM (#7959802)
    Well, in the US, most of the people who get cell phone plans, couldn't afford the hardware. Thus, some of the price is rolled into the 2 year contract that you have to pay an additional 150-300 dollars to get out of early.

    Most of the people I know who have Cell phones, couldn't afford $500 CDN, and pay more for minutes. Cell phone companies are trying to bring in new users, so they sell the phones cheap, figuring they'll make it up over time while they make a profit on the service.

    Second, the US market probably has more cell phones in the top 20-40 markets then Canada has people period. So a lot of fixed costs have to be amortized over fewer people in Canada.

    Finally, everything the in US wireless market appears to be about taking it in the shorts to gain market share, and to gain volume, to drive prices down. So they are investing (read losing their shirts) tons, and tons of money, trying to steal customers away from the other carriers, and make money on slim margins. Where as the Canadian market appears to be trying to sustain profitability at a much smaller volume. This means that Canadian service is probably a much better investment (from a business perspective). 5-10 years ago, cell service was a lot more expensive down here then it is now. Pricing for service is probably about the same. Not sure about the phone pricing.

    Kirby

  • by chunkwhite86 (593696) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @12:33AM (#7959812)
    This isn't the first time Canadian carriers have managed to charge far more than thier US conterparts for the same services. Anyone up there know why?

    Well, I'm not entirely sure, but I get the distinct feeling it has something to do with Soviet Russia.
  • Economies of Scale (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Quirk (36086) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @12:34AM (#7959816) Homepage Journal
    I'm sure there are economies of scale that could account for the price differential.
  • Rogers Wireless (Score:5, Informative)

    by va3atc (715659) * on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @12:37AM (#7959835) Homepage Journal
    I have a Rogers AT&T (Canada) phone (Pay as you go) and I get charged airtime when someone calls to leave me a message on the voicemail.

    So I called up Rogers and asked them to deactive the voicemail, so they did. Now whenever someone calls they get "This costumer needs to setup there voicemail etc etc" and I still get charged airtime! (even when the phone is powered down)

    I've called around to all the other cellphone carriers and none of them are this freakin' crazy.

    Basically my plan of attack is sell the phone (brand new which seems like a waste) and go with someone like Bell or Telus.

    Anyone want a phone ;-)
    • That's really weird. I have the same pay as you go plan with Rogers. When I signed up, I asked explicitly to not activate the voicemail and I never get charged for incoming calls that I don't answer (the phone just keeps ringing). In fact, I mostly use the cell phone as a cheap numeric pager and apart from poor reception, I haven't had any complaints.

      It sounds like the rep didn't really deactivate your voicemail, but reset it. You should call them and ask them to deactivate it completely.
  • We get hosed ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by serialdj (593159) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @12:38AM (#7959843)
    Because unlike the U.S. we here in Canada have only four cellular carriers, and if you want to 1X, or GSM then there are only two carriers.

    No Competition means higher rates, no reason to lower them, who else are you going to go to.

  • by JumperCable (673155) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @12:43AM (#7959874)
    I don't know the answer but here are some interesting stats on Canadian wireless:

    http://www.cwta.ca/industry_guide/facts.php3 [www.cwta.ca]

    ...maybe it's because the Canadian phones need to include both French & English?

    You know you could really save a lot of money if your country went ahead and consolidated to using just French.
  • I didn't RTFA, but, I'd like take a leap wonder what the hell they're talking about. If it's the cost of the hardware, well, the cost is very negligable. You can get a free phone, albeit a not very good one if you sign a contract. A good phone can be had for $50. If you want to buy one without a contract you'll get hosed. Because although you won't get a contract, you'll pay more for the phone, and won't get a better deal on your rates anyway. Oh, and the phone is locked down, and we don't have numbe
  • Toilets (Score:5, Funny)

    by raider_red (156642) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @12:45AM (#7959887) Journal
    Anyone want to arrange a deal where we trade cheap cel-phones for high-flow toilets? I think we could work something out.

    • Umm... I'll take you up on the offer...

      Are the phones locked to providers, like every where else and can we somehow get bluetooth into the equation? (yes, I'm in Telus territory and in Alberta)

  • Nonsense! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Schlopper (413780) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @12:47AM (#7959892)
    I don't know what the author is rambling on about.. I just bought a Fido phone (Siemens A56) with 3 months of service for $75 CDN.

    The monthly plan is $25/month = 100 weekday minutes plus 1000 weekend/evening minutes AND all Fido-to-Fido calls and SMS are free. That's $19 USD per month.. AND a free phone.

    And to top it all off, Fido subsidizes all their handsets AND you're never locked into any contract - it's all on a monthly basis. No complaints here when it comes to cell phone prices or cell phone plans in Canada..

    - One Happy Fido Customer.
  • Wow.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mindstrm (20013)
    You mean, the same things in different countries have different prices?

    What a stunning observation.

    Canada is not the US. You will find a great many things where prices are not the same, some higher, some lower, sometimes by a lot either way.
  • Long term customers of Rogers get their cell phones for free.

    I've been with them for almost 10 years, and I only paid for my first phone, which was one of those old Motorola bag phones...remember them? :)

    About every 2 years I've been offered a choice of a new phone for no charge, and they've always given me a good selection to choose from. My latest is the Nokia 3595 which I received about 6 months ago...and it's a great phone.

    I suspect that the article is right when it comes to new customers signing up,
  • Maybe it's karma? (Score:2, Informative)

    by decimal0 (721072)
    ...to make up for their relatively affordable internet access. [slashdot.org]
  • Access Fee Insanity (Score:5, Informative)

    by RedSynapse (90206) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @01:24AM (#7960097)
    I live in Canada and the one thing that made me give up my cell phone plan was the dreaded monthly "Access Fee."

    I had a plan that was $20 for 200 minutes any time, but on top of this EVERYONE is required to pay a $7.95 access fee regardless of what plan they're using. So if you're a businessperson with a $100 a month plan you end up paying what amounts to an 8% tax, but if you are a po' ass student like me you end up paying an insane %40 tax (plus you also have to pay %15 tax on top of the total amount). INSANE.

    All providers in Canada charge this fee. It seems to be governemnt mandated, although I think I read once that the individual providers are allowed to set what the fee is but they all decided to make it 7.95.

    IMHO this is why we don't have wider adoption of mobible phones in Canada.

    Also I'm not sure how it is in other countries but every text message you send with SMS costs 10 cents. So if you want to send a text message to your friend's mobile phone that says "Hi Jane how are you?" that's ten cents.. then if she replies "I'm good, yourself?" another ten cents, and on and on. My carrier (fido) had a "introductory period" where they gave away the text messaging for free and a lot of people were using it. Now that it's 10 cents per message (I think it's max 256 characters) NOBODY USES IT. I mean come on, does it really cost them 10 cents to transmit a 256 character max plain text message? I think if they charged 1 cent per message they would make more money because people would actually use the service.
    • I am told that cell phone users in New York must pay an extra $9.99/mo "access fee" to have a New York area code...

      and I understand there's a significant amount of competition in the New York cellular market. In fact the excuse is that they're running out of numbers.

      Feel free to correct me.
    • I have a landline only so that I can have DSL. The phone company will only track DSL circuts by phone number, to force you to have one. Fine, not like phone lines are expensive. The basic monthly charge for a landline is $13.18USD here. Now on top of that there is about 6 taxes, as one would expect, that are for the most part porportional to the amount you pay for service. They total like $3.50. Ok, great..... Then there is a fixed $6.50 "federal access charge". Umm, excuse me? fixed at like half the cost o
  • by barfy (256323) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @01:26AM (#7960111)
    There is one and only one reason that phones are so cheap in the States. (It isn't that they are more expensive in Canada).

    Craig McCaw and bro's changed the rules of cellular in the United States. There belief was that it was "the subscriber" uber alles. That all else would just follow. In other words, you have to give away the expensive phones to get the subscriber. A large part of the cellular network has been paid on the backs of investors and lenders in Bankruptcy court, and the McCaws made billions selling out to ATT while the getting was good.

    It is going to be more difficult to get new players (capital) to play the same game and risk that kind of capital that would likely be lost in a massive buildup of customers. Canada, just doesn't have a McCaw to rock the boat, and force everyone to play a different game. They do have Canadian Tire money though!
  • by WebMasterJoe (253077) <[joe] [at] [joestoner.com]> on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @01:29AM (#7960124) Homepage Journal
    The prices are obviously set by NASA. You see, in Canada, they use the metric system, and NASA thought they were going to go metric, but some of the guys didn't get that memo...

    It was an honest mistake, folks, really. It's like rocket science.

    Or maybe...

    The computer industry did it! I mean, when did you ever buy a 40 GB hard drive that actually was 40 GB? They might have told Samsung to charge $400 for a $372.52 phone and say they were measuring the price differently. Yeah. If you're the only ones who measure it that way, it isn't different - it's wrong.
  • NO shit. (Score:3, Funny)

    by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki@co[ ]et ['x.n' in gap]> on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @01:35AM (#7960152)
    I always see shit like,

    59.99 USD

    799,999.999 CDN.
  • For example, I pay $16.99CND per month for a DSL line complete with modem. It includes 2 IP addresses and ~150kbit/s download rates.

    Now I can't speek about cell services, but the same company from which I get DSL also provides cell access. I can only imagine that if they charge more for the phones it is because they charge less for service.

    One thing that people must remember is that people have less money in Canada - less expensive plans are more desirable. This gives individuals a cheaper alternativ

  • by McAddress (673660) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @01:56AM (#7960258)
    Im canadian, you insensitive clod.
  • Prices for everything connected to cell phone service in the USA have taken a nose dive recently because number portablity went into effect, and every carrier has been doing their best to try to poach every other carrier's subscribers as a result. That's competition at its best.

    Cell phone service will always have to be a regulated marketplace because always going to be a limit on how many providers can be using the finite resources of wireless frequencies. How effective that regulation turns out to be will

  • You (Canadians) send me prescription drugs, and I (American) send you wireless gear. Everyone saves money!
  • by X (1235) <x@xman.org> on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @02:11AM (#7960325) Homepage Journal
    I checked the price for the 270 here in Los Angeles: $349.99 + a $100 rebate. That works out to $446.51 CDN + $127.55 CDN rebate. Sounds like the Rogers deal is pretty good by comparison.

    The moral of the story: cell phone deals are *very* regional, and while you might be able to get a great deal in one town, you won't find such a great one elsewhere. It has nothing to do with which country you are in.
  • by thexdane (148152)
    well that's all well and good that they say a phone costs this much, but there's one small fact that they're missing ALL canadian providers give you a discount on the phone for a term contract, so in reality you DON'T pay the full price

    all the phones they listed are the base price WITHOUT a package deal, and most of the american conterparts had a thing about it being free with a deal and such

    the thing most people don't realise is that america has 300 million people canada has 30 million. another thing is
  • Something that bugs the crap out of me is the cell phone companies in Canada don't reward you for being a long time customer. I assume it's the same state side.

    Sign up for a 1 or 2 year plan, get a free phone. Once that 1 or 2 years are up, they only offer you either 3 months unlimited calling or a $75 CAD credit towards a new phone at practically full rate.

    If you didn't care and cancelled your service, you could go ahead and get that new phone with a new number.

    But it's annoying as hell to get someone
  • Isn't it so that US is cheap and all other countries tend to be more expensive? Look at some Belgian prices:
    • Motorola v66i: 239 EUR = $287
    • Nokia 3300: 330 EUR = $396
    • Nokia 6800: 439 EUR = $539
    • Siemens SL55: 449 EUR = $539
    • SonyEricsson T200: 159 EUR = $191
    • SonyEricsson T610: 349 EUR = $419
    • SonyEricsson P800: 849 EUR = $1019

    1 EUR = $1.2
    Actually it would be better not to account the exchange rate. Use 1/1 for comparison.

    These prices don't include a plan. Most quality phones simply don't come with a pla

  • I always assumed that wireless was some kind of business, with (at least the expectation of) profits as the goal.

    All Canadian Wireless carriers (except Satellite); Source: Industry Canada
    Total net profit (loss) to date:
    1997 :(567.0)
    1998: (743.0)
    1999: (789.7)
    2000: (808.6)
    2001+ (no data, but I sense a trend)

    So, a couple-or-three of $ Billion down the tube, and people still want a $20 phone. Call me crazy, but it seems they're pricing the phones as cheap as they can already.
  • Look at Sonystyle.ca vs Sonystyle.com
    Same minidisc player much more in same currency. Same for many of their products. I think I saw the same with microphones.

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