TELUS

Canada's Wireless Code of Conduct aka Protect the Sheeple

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission may be ringing in 2013 with one of the most ridiculous plans yet.

The Wireless Code of Conduct is a set of guidelines for wireless carriers to adhere to in providing servics to consumers in Canada.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of the complaints and recommendations that make up this code were submitted by Canadian consumers who may not even have the intelligence to dial a cell phone, let alone understand the services that they are buying.

Top of the list: Outlaw 3 Year Contracts

The main reason for even having a 3 year contract is due to the fact that the average Canadian can’t afford to pay the full price for a cell phone. Having a 3 year contract allows for the carrier to subsidize the cost of the hardware and pass that subsidization onto the consumer. If the CRTC reall does force carriers to remove the 3 year contract option, consumers are now going to be on the hook for shelling out more dough up front for their phone. Likely to the tune of $200 or more, depending on the type of phone they want to get.

What’s funny about the whole contract debacle is the fact that people don’t HAVE to get a 3 year contract right now. All carriers offer various contract lenghts, depending on how much you want to pay up front.

Right now, you can get a Windows HTC phone with no contract for $599 from Bell Canada. You can get a Samsung Galaxy S III from TELUS for $650.

A very smart tech chick (hat tip to @followsandi) suggested that if the consumer bought the hardware upfront, there should be a decrease on the monthly service fees, since you don’t need to subsidize the cost of the hardware. I’m all for that — and it makes good sense. The downside of that is that it REALLY exposes the carrier’s margin models, and unless one of the carriers sees this as a great way to improve transparency with its customers, it’s unlikely that this will happen. You never know.

I’d like to see a few more options for pre-payment of hardware —— if I want to put down 50% of the cost of the phone, I’d like to have a different contract length. I expect that I could walk into any wireless store and make this sort of arrangement, and it changes the outstanding commitments I have with that carrier, since commitment is linked to revenue spend.  Maybe that’s the way to go —- have a minimum spend commitment with a carrier, and when you meet/exceed that commitment, your contract is over, and you’re free to change, upgrade or do the hokey-pokey.

Some of the recommendations are reasonable: alerts when you get close to your data limits, or your voice minutes. EASY ways to upgrade or downgrade services on the fly. 

But really, those recommendations have little to do with consumer safeguards and more to do with service development of the carriers. I expect that some of these recommendations have a pretty heavy service development cost associated with them. The big carriers may be able to shoulder the capital costs of the system upgrades, but the new entrants are going to be challenged with providing additional service features on products that they’re already struggling with.

Sigh.

It’s not going to be pretty, and it’s not going to be the right thing, but silly consumers —- you’re going to get what you get.

The Greening of Data Centres

Much is being written lately about the havoc that regular data centres play with the environment, using excessive amounts of electricity… and the growing pressures of the internet loads are only going to increase the carbon requrements of data centres.

It’s all well and good to feel green, and think green, unless it impacts your ability to twitter and google away your day.

Companies such as ISPs or online retailers that use the data centers could have the added benefit of being able to claim that their web services are powered by clean power, which is a small but growing interest for IT firms.

 

Plans are afoot to drastically reduce the dirtiness of data centres…

Don’t feel alone in your efforts to make your company greener. Leaders in other markets—from companies like Boeing and Toyota to government agencies such as the State of California—are making serious investments in making their operations and products more energy efficient.

 

California utility PG&E said it has given Internet services company NetApp a $1.43 million rebate — the largest new construction incentive the utility has awarded — for its efforts at an engineering data center in Sunnyvale, Calif.

All steps in the right direction.

:-)

Wireless Services for the Young Generation - Amp'd Canada

Imagine: games, entertainment, videos, audios, and interactive applications. In the palm of your hand. Created especially for YOUR generation, with YOUR interests and what is current in mind. It’s a niche market, but sometimes it’s the niches that end up being the sweetest spots.

Amp’d Mobile launched last week.  It’s the first MVNO [Mobile Virtual Network Operator] that TELUS has escorted into the marketplace. Their schtick is all about handheld, wireless entertainment and content.  Custom content, for that matter, specific to the Good, Canadian Kids. They’ve let TELUS do the heavy EVDO network bits, so they can concentrate on getting the right content to the kids.

Chris Houston, Amp’d Canada’s president has some really good insights into the differences between Amp’d and TELUS’ Spark offerings. Amp’d has a much narrower, specific focus. Spark appeals to a much broader audience.  (I’m on the Spark side of the fence, and not just because I’m 35 30-ish. Well, ok, maybe that has something to do with it.

Their packages aren’t cheap, and the content isn’t free, but the quality and variety looks impressive.  Their target audience is between 19 and 30, with gobs of disposable income to splurge on digital joy.

I only feel the slightest bit aged….


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The Crux of Net Neutrality...

In Canada, there is growing interest and concern in the different directions that carriers and content providers are exploring; relative to Net Neutrality.

There is a pro-net-neutrality site that is petitioning the Canadian Government to seriously consider the implications of allowing internet services to run unchecked by the carriers. They support a neutral network architecture, but interestingly enough, they support Quality of Service (QoS), and the measuring of bits and bites (getting what you pay for and paying for what you get), which is outstanding, they are simply against the ugly underbelly of QoS, which is prioritizing of traffic based on protocol, source and content.

That being said, it’s exactly that discriminatory part of QoS that the carriers have their eye on.  Being able to promote specific content, specific protocols and specific sources, and making that traffic easier to access than a competitor’s has an alluring appeal to some network providers.

I want to go where I want on the internet, and regardless of where I go: Amazon or Ebay or iTunes or Joes Underground Goth Recipes, I want to go there unfettered. I don’t want to know that if I’m an iTunes addict I’m going to get charged more than if I’m a Puretracks junkie, if i’m a Bell Canada Customer, or vice versa if I’m a TELUS customer. If the carriers suggest that downloading a certain amount of bits and bytes per month is going to cost $X, that’s fine, but don’t tell me that downloading from iTunes is going to cost more or less than downloading from Puretracks.




Net Neutrality in Canada

While net neutrality supports metered billing based on counting bits and bytes, it does not support metered billing based on the content type. E-Mail, Video, VoIP and gaming services alike MUST be billed in a consistent, equal and non-discriminatory way.



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I'm a BC Virgin

British Columbia, you nerd.
But as of 1:35 PST, I will be in the land of milk and honey and people who are afraid of yoga.  I can’t hardly wait!  Vancouver, here I come.

The only painful part will be the 5 hours of flight time. You see, I’m a wiggler, a leg shifter, another leg shifter and a stretcher.  I’ve got snacks and bevvies and games and books and movies.

I’m still going to be shifty and bored before I even get out of Ontario.
Why Vancouver, you ask?
It’s the TELUS 2007 Sales Kickoff.
I figure that if I don’t end up on YouTube, the week will be considered a success.


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