Cheaper Prairies-based subscriptions are being sold to the rest of the country on Kijiji.
Wireless Black Market:
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You know wireless pricing in Canada is messed up when there’s a black market emerging to provide people with better deals.
Take a fellow who identifies as “Tony,” for example. Tony is selling monthly plans with Koodo on Kijiji for $48. His fee for setting up the plan, which features unlimited nationwide calling and 5 gigabytes of data, is $100. He ships customers a SIM card for their phone, and off they go. (Update: Tony appears to be laying low and has removed his ad. Here’s a preserved version on Howard Forums.)
For the majority of Canadians, 5 GB of data and unlimited calling for $48 a month is an absolute steal. In most parts of the country, such a plan costs at least $90. Anyone taking Tony up on his offer will see his fee pay off in just two months of service.
Tony is cagey about answering questions texted to him, probably because he knows that what he’s doing isn’t exactly above board. What he’s doing, according to a source familiar with the situation, is setting up Koodo plans in Manitoba – where $48 does indeed get unlimited calling and 5 GB data – and then exporting them to the rest of the country.
His customers simply use their Manitoba-based account by roaming on the networks of Bell, Rogers and Telus, wherever they happen to be.
The reason why this is happening is well known by now. The Big Three carriers and their sub-brands, including Koodo, sell service for much cheaper in Manitoba and Saskatchewan because of the presence of strong fourth players: MTS and SaskTel, respectively.
A recent report from Ottawa-based consultancy Wall Communications found that monthly wireless plans are between 30 per cent and 50 per cent cheaper in the prairie provinces because of the extra competition.
The price discrepancy with the rest of Canada is evidently opening up opportunities the same way that a lack of toilet paper and blue jeans created entrepreneurial possibilities in the old Soviet Union. As Yakov Smirnoff would say, what a country!
Regulatory aficionado Ben Klass, he of the forcing-Bell-to-stop-favouring-its-own-video-services fame, says this wireless black market is likely to get shut down if dumb journalists (my words, not his) keep writing posts like this one: