Monday, July 28, 2008

So you want to sell me a cell phone

Recently the Canadian government ended an auction where prospective cellular phone companies bid on bandwith for their operations. Within the next year new cellphone companies owned by Sasktel, Quebecor and others. The companies will require that time in order to arrange the infrastructure, plans and advertising campaigns to launch their new cell phone operations.

In order to be fair to everyone wishing for yet another cell phone subscriber, here is what I'm looking for in a cell phone (idea ironically stolen from high priced lawyer Edward Greenspan in his column in today's Toronto Sun and also published in the Edmonton Sun):

1. Do not charge me a "system access fee." A cell phone plan that pays per month should already have access to your company's system without any additional charge. If the cell phone doesn't, I will be forced to create my own system with two tin cans and a piece of string. If you can't give me access to your system, then what's the use of the cell phone? To use as an expensive paperweight?

2. No small print a the bottom of the adds. Just give me the price I'm expected to pay on a monthly basis and how long the contract is for. Give me the straight goods, straight up without any funny business requiring a magnifying glass and a dictionary to understand. If I wanted small print and big words, I would head to the nearest university library's medical section. Also, quite frankly, I don't care about the: system access fee, text fee, 911 emergency access fee, Frank's cut of my bill, etc. Just give me the final price AND MAKE IT AFFORDABLE!

3. Comparable products and prices to other countries. Recently Rogers released in Canada, after more than a year of availability in the United States, the IPHONE! However, Rogers got lambasted over it's rate plans online because the rate plants were substantially higher than what AT&T provided it's customers in the United States.

4. Customer Service! Rogers and Bell have pitiful records of customer service especially in terms of their base services (i.e. what their company was founded upon). Ellen Roseman, the Toronto Star's Consumer Affairs Columnist has raised these issues on Bell (phone service) and Rogers (cable service) and so have the readers on her blog. If I have a problem with my cell phone service (e.g. billing, reception, electronic problems, etc.) I want answers not apologies further issues that only get me frustrated.

5. SERVICE! I do not want to be wandering along Yonge Street anywhere from Bradford to the Toronto Star building and have a "dropped call". The same with anywhere on Highway 401 in Ontario. If you cannot guarentee service along these two routes at a bare minimum, then don't even apply. If your asking why? Then please cease your operation now as your truly not in the cell phone "service" industry.

So if your a Canadian cell phone company or are a prospective cell phone company, please review the above, and feel free to post your plans, if they adhere to the plans above, in the comment section.

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