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Friday, November 11, 2016

Combat the Canadian Communications Cartel: The Bell-Virgin Rip-Off Continues

Nov 23rd Bill Assembled

The Bell-Virgin Rip-Off Continues

Here’s a pretty blatant example of the way these ass-holes treat their enslaved customers, my newest bill. Note the bloody SuperTab credit and guarantee sticker. I already told them I am not paying it and I will be switching likely to Wind/Freedom.  Virgin was the best before it became Bell’s whore. Oh and they consistently ignore complaints about them not activating the built-in FM radio reception chips I most phone brands, forcing you to data usage. They simply fail to admit or acknowledge that such is the case. Not a word.  Even Wind/Freedom’s phone specs omit that feature, even those the exact same models have it included in the specs from the manufactures. Of course these are the same bastards who control cable non-selection and are attacking their last obstacle… net neutrality.  The Cartel tightens its grip.

Cellphone companies like Samsung have become complicit in this by agreeing to make FM chips so that they can be shipped deactivated to the communications cartel. My Galaxy ACEII came with an active FM chip and all the builtin programs I needed to listen to free radio and my personal music. To do everything I need without forcing data charges. The J1 (2016) that I bought in August had a deactivated FM chip and forced me to download quirky 3rd-party programs to listen to online radio through intermittent WiFi as well as my own music without a streaming service. Samsung now forces data use too, giving the cartel choice instead of their actual users. And my phone was bought outright without a plan, at a Virgin kiosk. They won't let me use the features for which I specifically bought the damn thing. That's Apple's Mo and why I have avoided them since the 1980s. I'm back on my slow, reliable, satisfying ACEII and happier than a clam.

I had to go through quite a bit of searching on Google to figure out that Donnees is Data. I  NEVER turn data on. I use WiFi data only. My phone itself shows no mobile data usage since August when I got the phone and set it up. Also, $7.50 for 1KB of data use seems a tad extreme, like a hit of cocaine.

In the past I've also gotten charged for answering a text survey they sent me to rate the customer service that I had just gotten from them. Fool me once.

 Rogers, Telus, and Bell are destroying the Canadian telecommunications industry and definitely choking the market. Virgin Mobile used to be the best service available until Bell got hold of it. Then, within two years, the built in FM chips stopped being activated forcing users to pay data for radio that is free, not because they can. This is immoral, exploitative, and dangerous considering how essential CBC Radio was in the FT. Mac fire. It is only done so they can be data drug dealers, forcing you to mainline on the expensive stuff. It only benefits them. They care nothing of their customers, just like those pushing fentanyl.  They don’t have to care; they own and control the market.

They are a tripoly, a non-competitive de facto collusion where they never lower prices or offer better deals, but always walk in locked goosestep.  It’s not in their interest to compete. They can’t. In fact, instead of competing they buy up competitor, like Sobeys did with Safeway, with similar results. Nothing improves but their bottom line. In fact things can get worse, because you have no options to go elsewhere. The only place where there is any real competition is in Saskatchewan where there is a government option.

This shows that the big three can’t be trusted with Canadian telecommunications. In a country this size communication is too important to be trusted to an effective monopoly, unless it is a national one through government. Government is at least accountable at the ballot box. The big three are accountable to no one. 

Canada is being held hostage to the profits and whims of three companies. They have obviously become too big to allow to exist. They should be broken up, ideally into six, and forced to compete, no sharing of profit or ownership. Either that or the entire service provider industry should be nationalized. It’s time for them to stop dictating how things are and for the consumers to stand up and fight what others countries take for granted: choice, fair prices, and decent service.
Otherwise any new company that appears just get held down and gobbled up, eaten by the inferior with cash. This serves no one but the investors and I’m damn sick of it. There is no market if there are no real options. They have no reason to change unless we demand it.

Maybe the simplest solution would be to use a concept like eminent domain to national the infrastructure and give equal access to it to all players, big and small. Then they  would HAVE to compete on price and service.

The first way that we could do that is to stop using their data. Use only Wi-Fi in safe locations. You will gain time and attention and money as result as you will no longer be paying through the nose for what you can get far cheaper at home on a PC or through a bloody transistor radio.  We’ve started unplugging the cable cord. Keep doing it. Unplug all cable TV. Tell them you’re sick of being given no options. No choice. No fair treatment. Tell them you are sick of their exploitation and abuse and don’t need them. Hell, go to Wind/Freedom mobile. That’s Shaw but at least not one of the three, yet. At least they still have a $25/month talk and text plan. Like what I have through Virgin because they grandfathered it in but changed the rules on how SuperTab credits work and have been trying everything to push me onto a more expensive plan that I don’t want.  I’m switching. I still have that choice. For now.

It’s time the three giants were cut down to size, leashed, or destroyed, before they destroy our freedom.  The customer is always right, unless they salves to the big three. 

It’s time to fight Canada’s Collusive Cellular Tyranny.Thy don't have to actively collude, just fail to actively compete.  Like a lie of omission or wilful ignorance.

The CRTC and government need to institute solid regulations and consumer protections. The cartel laughs and openly flouts guidelines, even discouraging and places hidden fees on the the mandated skinny-basic cable packages. Despite cable-cutting becoming a national sport.  They'll do anything except provide real choice and competition.

The Canadian Communications Cartel must be defeated, or they will just spread their control and strategies. Competitive pressures you know. That justifies every race to the bottom.

*Update 2018: I just got a ZTE phone. It's FM chip is activated. Maybe the Chinese don't care what the Canadian cell providers want. I'm with Freedom Mobile now and they live up to their name, but my old Samsung's FM chip wasn't activated so it has to be the ZTE. The Chinese might be spying on me now, but I don't care. If they are they will be bored as hell. I only listen to the radio and text my wife and friends.