Friday, October 30, 2009
With the Christmas shopping season just a few weeks away fears are arising that Canada's Interac network that handles debit transactions that bogs down in the days leading up to Christmas in normal years could be completely brought down under the strain of millions of attempted transactions from those concerned over H1N1. Even credit card transactions could face slow down as millions of more dollars that would have been handed over in cash gets put on plastic instead.
The best way to avoid any disruptions when paying using a debit or credit card this Christmas shopping season is to shop early. The later people leave Christmas shopping the greater the chance of disruptions to the financial networks that process debit and credit transactions will be. If last minute shopping is unavoidable, then the best way to shop without problems is to face your fears and just hit the ATM and get cash, because cash is the only payment method that cannot be disrupted.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Welcoming this decision is Canada's established cell phone carriers who launched this inquiry into the ownership of Globalive. Also welcoming the outcome of the ownership inquiry is DAVE Wireless one of the other cellular startups that will be looking to pull subscribers away from the big three. What is still not known is how large the investment from the definitely not Canadian co-founder of Microsoft Paul Allen.
What Canada needs is strong telecommunications industry to support four, five or more national cellular carriers. That won't happen with draconian regulations keeping some foreign support to help startups get into the business. In Britain two of the three biggest cell carriers are French owned (O2) and German (T-Mobile) with the other one (Vodafone) under British ownership. There the competition is more robust than what exists in Canada.
The Canadian ownership that the CRTC is responsible for defending applies more to broadcasting, so that Canadians can be seen on television and heard on the radio. Applying the same rules to telecommunications simply allows for Canadians to get fleeced by Canadians.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
the twelve ugliest cell phones in the world. Out of the twelve only two of phones featured was offered was the Motorola Rokr and a Walkman phone by Sony Ericsson both offered on Rogers. The Rokr was a little brickish that may have been more at home in 2001 than in 2005 when it was originally released. The W350 is small and from my eyes could tell, far from ugly. If the editors of PC World are compiling a list of dishonorable mentions in the looks, then the thirteenth phone that should be in the list is...Sanyo's Pro 700. The Pro 700 is offered by Sprint in the United States and in Canada by Bell and Sasktel Mobility.
The yellow and black finish of the phone makes it look like a device used at a construction site. Bell offers a version of the phone in all black which is an improvement but does nothing to improve it's box like appearance. This phone is proof that somebody that is legally blind get paid to design cell phones. For those making a three year commitment to this phone maybe they should have had a vision test rather than a credit check when they subscribed to their cellular service.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Consumers hoping to bag big savings are going to be let down, when the fees come off the prices charged for cell phone plans will rise five dollars a month. Average savings will only be about two to three dollars a month. The savings won't be automatic, new subscribers will be put on the new plans without the fees. Existing subscribers will get to switch to a new plan without the fees when their current contracts expire. It's encouraging to see cell carriers ending this bait and switch practice of offering plans for one price and then tacking on fees that raise the total cost of the service by twenty percent or more. If one of the effects of the upcoming competition is honesty in cell phone plan pricing, then imagine what it will be like when the new guys get their services off the ground and really giving the big guys a real run for their money.
Friday, October 23, 2009
This is just another sign that Canada's cell phone industry is a triopoly and not real competition. If there was real competition, Rogers would be offering me a netbook to win me back, Telus would offer me a netbook to keep me, and Bell would actually know where Saskatchewan is and would be offering service here and offer me Netbook to get me to jump to them.
Canada's big three is just three to six months away from getting some competition from upstart competitors the new guys will be bringing subsidized 3G netbooks to attract customers from the incumbents, will the incumbents offer netbooks of their own to keep their customers?
Posted by Bill McMinn at 8:42 AM
Thursday, October 22, 2009
North of the 49th Telus Mobility subscribers have been facing a similar selection of Blackberries or Windows Mobile smartphones. For Telus building market share among high end smartphone users has been a challenge with Rogers carrying iPhones, Android handsets from HTC, and Bell snagging the Palm Pre, the Droid is a must have for Telus.
With iPhones set to go carrier agnostic when Bell and Telus are set to flip the switch on their HSPA networks it could be easy for Telus to get caught up in their own we're getting the iPhone party they could very well overlook the Droid and Android operating system altogether.
With offering smartphones the smart move for Telus is to offer smartphones that use the older CDMA network along side with devices that operate on HSPA. For many place that are off the beaten path in Alberta and BC will remain CDMA for some time to come. In Manitoba and Saskatchewan Telus only rents the networks of incumbent providers which are CDMA and will be for next few years to come. A CDMA smartphone running Android will be exactly what Telus needs and Motorola's Droid is the perfect fit.
Friday, October 16, 2009
The other problem that Mr. Brooks has with how music is sold online, every song from every album available for download as a single. Mr. Brooks wants to force consumers to buy the whole album. Isn't paying twenty dollars to buy a dozen or more songs just to get one or two songs that the buyer wanted the whole reason that original Napster took off in the first place and forced big music to rethink their business model?
This isn't the first time Mr. Brooks tried to dictate to music retailers how they should conduct business. In 1993 just before the release of In Pieces, Mr. Brooks got on his high horse and criticized music retailers that bought and resold CD's that people no longer wanted. Mr. Brooks' label at the time Capitol Records refused to ship copies of In Pieces to music retailers that engaged in the practice. The Music retailers retaliated and filed anti-trust lawsuits against Capitol Records. In Pieces eventually shipped to all music stores even those that sell previously enjoyed CD's.
Back then it Mr. Brooks didn't get his way, but now music retailing is so much different than when Mr. Brooks first retired some eight years ago. If his mind set doesn't change than any future new songs will be available online, on Limewire, Bearshare, Ares and Frostwire. Doesn't things will end very good for Mr. Brooks this time around.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
The latest proposal to pull money from Canadian consumers comes from a rights holder group that collects royalties for publishers and authors from public libraries. Canadian agency Access Copyright is putting forth a yearly fee to be collected from owners of any device that can record TV shows. Owners of personal video recorders (PVR's) would pay the fee through cable or satellite bill. Anybody with a VHS VCR would have to pay up too.
The proposal would not just affect TV time shifting but format shifting too. Somehow people should be forced to pay for digitizing TV shows, movies, and music to burn to CD or DVD or put on a portable media players such as iPods or Zunes. This of course goes to show how ridiculously unworkable this tax proposal is.
This makes me wonder why an agency that collects for the publishing industry is trying to tax video recording devices? Could it be that Access Copyright is just saying what the Canadian Association of Broadcasters is paying them to say? I think that the same networks that are looking for corporate welfare in the form of carriage fee to be charged to cable companies and handed down to cable subscribers have something to do with this.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
The proposed law doesn't just ban commercials with raised volume levels, but bans the tricks producers of commercials use to make the commercials sound louder than they actually are. Bringing down the volume levels of TV commercials started with the passing of spokes-blowhard Billy Mays, now if they can get rid of the ShamWow-SlapChop guy and pass this law then people will tolerate TV commercials again. Unlike the Digital Millennium Copyright Act this is a law that countries around the world should emulate.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
That is great for everybody outside of the United States who have been waiting for the Kindle, not so great in two English speaking countries that will not be getting the Kindle, New Zealand and of course Canada. Why Amazon choose not to make the international Kindle available in the Great White North remains a mystery, it could be that there are Luddites in charge Canada's publishing industry? Possible but not likely, While services like Audible don't have Canadian web sites, Works by Canadian authors are on the American based web sites. Could it be the cellular industry? Possible, very possible the international version of the Kindle would have to use the Rogers Wireless network, Rogers may find it objectionable to have to sell access to their cellular network at wholesale rates to Amazon.
Leaving Canada out of such a world wide launch is simply unacceptable, so Amazon, publishing industry, and Rogers, you have some 'splaining to do.
Monday, October 5, 2009
That would at least give most Canadian iPhone users choice of carriers, wherever Bell or Telus operates the incumbent CDMA network. Telus subscribers in Saskatchewan and Manitoba will not get a chance to get an iPhone. In Saskatchewan incumbent carrier Sasktel is planning to upgrade their network to another technology UMTS which is in direct competition, and in Manitoba MTS is making their upgrade to HSPA in conjunction with Rogers Wireless.
Since both Telus and Bell see Rogers as their biggest competitor, how likely would it be that they would have to operate under a roaming agreement with Rogers. Some within both Telus and Bell would see it as a deal with the Devil. Telus' market share in Manitoba and Saskatchewan has been low compared to the incumbent carriers, and Bell has no market share in those provinces since they do not even offer service in neither Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Telus and Bell will likely will wait it out until Globalive or Dave Wireless builds their cellular networks in the provinces.
This rumor of the iPhone coming Telus and Bell would be good for most Canadians, some of us will be left with the status quo.
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