Seaboard Group popped a piece titled Lament for a Wireless Nation into my mailbox just as I was leaving on vacation. It's a 39 page indictment of Canadian cellular pricing models which leads off with the observation that Canada has the same market penetration for cellular that Botswana and Gabon do. We lag the developed world dramatically.
Seaboard argues that the Canadian market has done well during periods of competition, noting the high growth that occurred while Clearnet and Microcell were still independent. However, since their acquisition by Telus and Rogers, respectively, growth has once again stagnated.
Here in Mexico, I dropped into the local Telcel dealer earlier this week and bought a prepaid SIM for M$200, and a M$500 top up. That puts my rate at M$2.2/minute for local calls and M$5.5 for long distance — roughly 24 cents Canadian and 60 cents for long distance. Not cheap, but cheaper than Rogers rates in Canada. Moreover, there is already a debate here about whether Mexican magnate Carlos Slim has too much power in the wireless industry.
And everywhere I look, Mexicans are carrying cellphones. That's a huge difference from the last time we were here two years ago.
Seaboard's onto something. Besides, what's not to like about the prospect of lower cellular bills?