TelClarity on US Data Roaming with Canada’s Big Three

TelClarity on Roaming

What we’re looking at here is a chart from Andrew Seipp at TelClarity, featured in a piece posted yesterday about the Big Three’s outrageous mark-ups on data for customers roaming in the USA. In the case of TELUS that mark-up is over 50,000%!

The source for these numbers comes from something I wrote about a month ago—WIND Mobile Chief Regulatory Officer Simon Lockie’s presentation to the Senate Committee on Transport and Communications on May 27th, 2014. I guess I made the wrong choice in posting the entire transcript WikiLeaks-style, rather than parsing through the testimony like Mr. Seipp and his sources did. Shame on me, and kudos to them.

The relevant quotes from Mr. Lockie are indeed in the transcript I posted here. Here’s how TelClarity explains them:

“The rate that we were successful in getting from this U.S. carrier, to whom we mean nothing, is 3.5 times less than what these legislated caps will provide…”

Initially this was thought to be in reference to the wholesale roaming rate charged by the carriers, but it turns out that this was in reference the the retail rates that the incumbents would be capped at charging Wind. A further clarification of the quote from Lockie came out later:

“The rate they offered us was a thousand times less than what we were able to get from the domestic incumbent…”

For me what’s especially crazy about this is the paltry 100MB data bucket, quoted as “comparable to 2-3 days of moderate usage”. I don’t know about you, but for me that’s about two speed tests, and nowhere near the generous 300MB of data per day available from Roam Mobility, or the unlimited US data offered in WIND Mobile’s ongoing promotion.

In fairness to our incumbent carriers, each of the Big Three offers some kind of travel pass that lowers the cost per 100MB of data somewhat. Two examples:

So savvy shoppers can get their US data from TELUS at only 20,000% over wholesale rates. Feel better?

TL;DR Roaming on Canada’s Big Three in the United States is even more of a rip-off than you probably thought it was.