Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Mobile rate calculator "nightmare"

Mobile SyrupYesterday, Mobile Syrup had a write-up about Industry Canada's aborted launch of a mobile rate calculator.

Mobile Syrup is pretty clear about the lack of utility from the rate calculator:
Bernard Lord was correct – no data plans. This would have been a nightmare if it actually launched. More Canadians are transitioning towards Smartphones and this, if actually launched, would have been shelved within the first month as it was poorly thought out.
The Mobile Syrup review appears to be based on the same set of slides that Roberto Rochon at The Montreal Gazette referenced in his blog last Thursday. Roberto credits PIAC for the slide show.

Reading both of these posts, it is apparent that the tool would have been useless as for shoppers. There is no interactivity and as Mobile Syrup points out, the caveats in the proposed terms and conditions leave users with the feeling that the tool would have been saying: take your valuable time and enter your info here but it may not be right… check back later.

After reading these pieces, I understand why scrapping the tool was front page news. But it seems to me that the story should have focussed on why any government funds expended on this project in the first place?

While you are at it, look at the April 30 CWTA letter that The Gazette provides [ pdf, 87KB] - why was there no consultation with the wireless industry in the design phase of such a tool? What consumer problem was supposed to be solved? How would updates to rate plans be added?

PIAC's April 22 letter to the Minister [ pdf, 2.53MB] is also available on the Gazette site.

Hello Mr. Goldberg,

I thought you may be interested in the perspective a small business that has created precisely what the the government was proposing with their rate plan calculator.

I am a partner for the site, and we had the same questions you do about why tax payer money is being spent on this type of tool - especially since it has already been created by a Canadian entrepreneur.

Admittedly we are biased because no small business wants to compete with a tax-payer funded project. With our experience creating a complicated calculator tool and manageing extensive plan data, we do believe there would be issues with the government providing such a calculator, perhaps limiting inovation and broadcasting incorrect data. If interested, check out the press release on our website cellplanexpert.ca

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