Business Best Practices Do Not Believe in Status Quo

Status Quo As A Best Practice Might Kill Your Business

 

Some businesses have the big guy as their competitor. Some have a whole bunch of competitors in a local block. Some businesses have so much competition, that its easier to say who the’re not competing with. However, our competitor tops them all! Our competitor is “status quo”. Yup, I’d rather say I’m competing with XYZ Company than to say – we don’t really have anyone that does what we do or the way we do it (TEM 360° Solution). At least you can compete with the other women/man. Ok, but this is not about me venting that I have no direct competition to speak of. This is really to discuss that viral disease that slowly gets a company called “Status Quo” and how to avoid it with best business practices. 

 

I want to share a story about a meeting I had several years ago, with Toyota and the manager of their mobile management team. [Read more…]

Plans with No System Access Fee – Good thing or Bad thing?

Plans With No System Access Fee Under Fire

The debate over the system access fee being a government fee that was simply passed through to the government or another channel for the carrier to simply increase their revenue is as old as cell phones. However, the powers that be (you and me) have finally won the battle with many carriers in having plans that no longer encompass a system access fee, or have we?

At first glance that may be the way that it looks, but as many things go when it comes to telecom expense management, not everything is as it seems or for that matter is so cut and dry. Carol from our Analysis team explains; Clients would have to change to one of the new plans in order to see this charge dropped from billing. In most cases, a comparable new plan is only slightly more expensive (less than the former encompassing the SAF charge), but has increased OOB (out of bucket) and LD (long distance) charges.

 

 

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Get to Know Your Canadian Carriers

Since 2008’s Advanced Wireless Spectrum Auction there’s been a great deal of excitement about new carriers coming in to compete with Canada’s “Big Three” of Bell, Telus and Rogers. This is sure to open up new telecom expense management opportunities and might just lead to lower prices overall for Canadians. With lukewarm competition at best, the Canadian wireless industry inflicted some of the highest prices in the developed world for core services, offering little advantage between carriers beyond occasional coverage considerations.

Canadian Telecom Expense Management

Not all Canadian carriers are who they appear to be

If you’re a Canadian wireless user, you may be wondering why we’re only talking about a handful of companies. What about the discount providers and other brands you keep seeing on TV? Aren’t they competitors? Nope. Most of them are Big Three brands or resellers. Here’s how it breaks down.

Bell Mobility: In Canada, Virgin Mobile is a Bell brand, used under license. Solo and PC Mobile are both independent resellers operating on Bell’s network.

Telus: Koodo Mobile is Telus’ discount brand. Mike is a Telus brand that uses push to talk technology.

Rogers: Rogers resells to 7-Eleven, Petro-Canada and Sears. Its own discount brand is called Fido.

Bell, Telus and Rogers have designed their pricing to be comparable with each other (there is virtually no difference in pricing for similar data plans, for example) and to close loopholes that might be allowed if you purchased phone on one carrier brand and used it on another. Resellers must take their own costs into account with their rates, and the Big Three have managed to prevent deep discounts from that source.

Fortunately, careful telecom expense management can find the best plan for a company based on its desired handsets, services and location – specifics that vary enough to create savings compared to simple head to head comparisons.

But competition is coming. WIND Mobile and now Public Mobile have thrown down their gauntlets to compete, shunning the Big Three’s traditional contracts and rates, but they currently have small coverage areas outside of a few major cities. How do they compare?

WIND Mobile has a limited number of phones available because it uses the Advanced Wireless Spectrum, and its coverage is currently limited to the Greater Toronto Area along with the Ottawa and Calgary regions. It is expanding, however, and phones can be used in “away zones” covered by Rogers for additional fees. WIND offers unlimited data and other benefits, but these only provide real savings in coverage areas.

Public Mobile is focused on basic consumer phones – it’s not set up for business use. Its coverage includes Windsor, Toronto and Quebec City, with more additions on the way. Due to its basic, consumer focus, it probably isn’t the right choice for most businesses.

More carriers can only mean more choice, competition and savings in the Canadian market, so we welcome new players, even if we wouldn’t necessarily recommend them.

Canadian Bandwidth Woes Show Why Telecom Expense Management is Necessary

As far as Canadian ISPs are concerned, the OECD’s bandwidth figures are . . . less than complementary. This CBC story on broadband summarizes the issues. Canadians not only pay too much, but suffer from anti-competitive practices and an unwillingness to finish the job of bandwidth penetration. In short: the ISPs gouge consumers, but they’re too cheap to spend that money on providing better service. Trends like Bell’s “traffic shaping” policies make comparisons even worse. Canadians have to deal with one of the worst per megabit costs in the world – US$28.14, compared to Japan’s US$3.09.

It isn’t quite fair to compare Japan and Canada, however. Japan’s population density’s higher and it’s surface area is lower. That excuses much of the difference – but not all of it. For example, even though the per megabit price is far higher in Canada, there’s much less difference in the range of prices per package. In other words, basic broadband access costs about the same in both countries, but in Japan the money goes a long, long way. Part of the problem is that Canada’s stalled on finishing up its infrastructure.

These kind of comparisons become rather important once we think about business usage. The whole range of standard business Internet services (static IP addresses to reliable, high speed bandwidth requirements, etc.) immediately bump into Canada’s failing broadband development – and it doesn’t help that it’s hard to find out all of your options in an environment where there’s no reliable, central clearinghouse that tells you who the ISPs are and what they offer in a given area.

In our experience, it all boils down to the art of selecting the right service package. In Canada it’s a complex issue that depends on these factors:

  • Location: Service varies widely between regions. Is wireless broadband, DSL or cable right for your small business? Do you need a dedicated line instead? Your ability to get these, and what various ISPs will charge depends on region. For example, some providers may charge five times as much to service a particular area.
  • Base Provider: In Canada this boils down to “Bell or not?” Bell’s admitted to arbitrarily curbing traffic. It’s up to any savings planner to know about reselling details.
  • True Bandwidth: “Unlimited bandwidth” is often a misnomer. It’s our job to find out what this really means. Remember that hidden caps can put you on the hook for additional fees.

There’s more to it, but suffice to say that until Canada gets serious about improving its bandwidth again, our services will be as important as ever.