“Canada’s cell phone market is dysfunctional and in desperate need of an overhaul.”

Grassroots organization OpenMedia released a timely report this morning. It’s based on their recent “Cellphone Horror Story” poll and declares that “Canada’s cell phone market is dysfunctional and in desperate need of an overhaul.”

Between October 17th, 2012 and February 15th, 2013 there were 2,859 submissions and brings nothing new when compared to the CRTC’s Monitoring report, or the Complaints for Telecommunications (CCTS) annual report. Wireless customers in Canada still feel that they pay too much on a monthly basis, contracts are still confusing to read, and they receive “disrespectful customer service,” plus “feel mistreated by cell phone providers who put excessive profits ahead of quality service.” In total there were 12 categories that kept arising:

1. Notification of additional fees
2. Clarity of advertised prices
3. Clarity of contract terms and conditions
4. Contract cancellation, expiration and (automatic) renewal
5. Changes to contract terms and conditions
6. Roaming
7. Onus / responsibility / fault on consumer when it should be on telecom
8. Application of the code to bundles of telecommunications services
9. Hardware warranties and related issues
10. Service disconnections
11. Loss or theft of hardware
12. Telecom’s customer service accuses customer of lying about problem

Based on their findings Open Media suggests that now is the “time for an upgrade” have outlined four recommendations for the carriers and the government to improve the cell phone market: Canadians want real choice, Canadians want reliable and respectful service, Canadians want fair contracts, and Canadians want transparency. The report also noted that Rogers, Bell and TELUS (plus sub-brands) control almost 94% of the wireless market in Canada and “It’s time for policymakers to take bold action to create a level playing field for service providers, encouraging independent service options and facilitating real choice.”

Much of the suggestions have already been tabled in the recent CRTC National Wireless Code of Conduct, or hopefully will be with the announcement that Christian Paradis, Canada’s Industry Minister, declared this morning (700Mhz spectrum auction, tower sharing and roaming agreements).

Check out the full report here