Boris Mann

Open Source. Community. Decentralized Web. Building dev tools at Fission. Cooks & eats.


No LNP in Canada equals no competition

I'm going to pull together two of Mark Evans' recent posts to complain about how bad the cellular market is in Canada.

Mark points to Tyler Hamilton's discussion on how the lack of LNP is harming competition:

The CRTC has said it will look at the issue this year, but more immediate action is needed. Canadian rates are much higher and plans offer fewer features than what U.S. carriers offer, and in many respects it has become more affordable for a Canadian to sign up with a U.S. carrier's North America plan than to get an equivalent package in Canada. Tyler Hamilton: Pressure builds for wireless number portability

I'm pretty close to signing up for a US plan, especially when I make a lot of calls to the US, and as noted, can get a "North America" plan. But there's that damn LNP issue! What can I do with my current number? Nothing.

The "new" CityFido plan is terrible (30¢/minute outside the "local" area, *plus* long distance -- previous price was 10¢/minute) now that Rogers bought Microcell.

More on the no-LNP causing monopoly, plus the cellphone device choice monopoly:

Consumers are also plagued by the lack of local number portabilty, which dampens competition because it's not easy to switch to rival carrier. I'm not sure why the CRTC is so reluctant to push LNP into the market given it has a mandate to encourage competition. Another puzzling issue is how consumers get to choose wireless devices. The way it works now, the carriers offer you several models, and you pick the one that meets your needs and budget. There is no way, however, to bring your own device to the table. Mark Evans: Canada's Wireless Monopoly

Hmmm. I wonder if I can argue that my cell number is my home number, and so LNP should apply? Actually, I wonder about people that switched their home phones to CityFido. Wouldn't LNP still apply?

I'm willing to fight this one. Because, basically, the phone company has my number hostage. If I want to keep my number, which is on my business cards, my email, everywhere -- I have to stay with the same cell provider.

And choice of phones. The only place in Vancouver that I've found that has good phones is Cell Baby on Robson at Bute. The phones are expensive, but you can even get a fancy Sony Ericsson K700i.

Actually, I had an interesting business idea that involved only switching your number once: provide an unlimited forwarding service. There are VoIP providers that could do this easily. So, unlimited forwarding for $5/month, including a web portal to easily change forwarding options. Add in voicemail + voicemail by email for an extra $2.50/month. Basically, $7.50/month for a super-charged virtual phone number.