Transcript, Hearing February 7, 2017
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Date: February 7, 2017
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Attendees and Location
Terrasses de la Chaudière
- Chairman: Jean-Pierre Blais
- Vice-Chairperson, Telecommunications: Peter Menzies
- Commissioner: Christopher MacDonald
- Legal Advisors: Adam Balkovec, Megan Maloney
- Secretary: Lynda Roy
- Hearing Manager: Meghan Wawryk
--- Upon commencing on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 at 9:00 a.m.
1506 LE PRÉSIDENT: À l’ordre, s'il vous plaît. Order, please.
1507 Madame la secrétaire?
1508 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci, Monsieur le président.
1509 We'll start the hearing today with Item 5 on the agenda which is the presentation by Bell Mobility.
1510 Mr. Malcolmson, please introduce your colleagues first for the record. You have 20 minutes for your presentation.
1511 MR. MALCOLMSON: Good morning, Commissioners, Commission staff.
1512 My name is Rob Malcolmson and I am Senior Vice-President of Regulatory Affairs at BCE. It is my pleasure to introduce our panel.
1513 Seated to my left is Ruby Barber, Assistant General Counsel, Consumer Markets. Next to ruby is Paule Desautels, Senior Legal Counsel.
1514 Seated to my immediate right is Claire Gillies, Vice-President, Marketing for Bell Mobility. Claire oversees the development of our wireless marketing programs, for both the Bell and Virgin brands.
1515 Next to Claire is Bram Atlin, Senior Legal Counsel. And finally, next to Bram is Mylene Leduc, Manager of our Accessibility Services Centre.
1516 Before beginning our presentation, I have to apologize. There's a number of our panelists who are under the weather today. So we'll attempt to get through our presentation without any sneezing or sniffling.
1517 Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, in our view, the Wireless ---
1518 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sneezing or sniffling due to health conditions I hope?
1519 MR. MALCOLMSON: Of course, yes. We hope so too, Mr. Chairman.
1520 In our view, the Wireless Code is achieving the three objectives set by the Commission in 2013.
1521 Over the past three years, customer contracts have been revised so that they are now written in plain language. As a result, a large majority of consumers say they find their contracts clear and easy to understand.
1522 The TNS Canada public opinion research confirms this. It found there are many indications that Canadians' understanding of contracts has improved over the past two years. Therefore, the Code's first objective of making it easier for customers to understand the information in their wireless contracts has been satisfied.
1523 The Code's second objective, to establish consumer-friendly business practices, is also being met through a combination of: one, the market's ongoing competitive intensity; two, the empowerment of consumers through the Code; and three, the presence of the CCTS as the final arbiter for consumer complaints.
1524 Consumers continue to see very high value in Canada's wireless service offerings and penetration is expected to grow from 81 percent in 2014 to 87 percent in 2019.
1525 Wireless complaints to the CCTS are down 35 percent in the past two years. The percentage
1526 of customers reporting bill shock declined by 25 percent between 2014 and 2016. In fact, in the most recent CCTS annual report, data overage complaints accounted for just 3.3 percent of the total.
1527 The Code's final objective, to contribute to a more dynamically competitive wireless market, has also been accomplished. As the TNS Canada survey found, Canadians are increasingly taking advantage of a variety of competitive wireless offers. Claire will expand on this theme of how the competitive market benefits consumers.
1528 MS. GILLIES: Competitive rivalry drives carriers to invest more than $3 billion annually in their networks and services. As a result, Canada is consistently among world leaders in rolling out new network technologies like LTE and LTE-Advanced.
1529 Canada is also among the first group of countries selected to release iconic devices from major manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung.
1530 For Bell's part, our goal is to be Canada's wireless carrier of choice and we invest with this goal in mind. The results have been excellent.
1531 For example, a recent PC Magazine analysis referred to our network as spectacularly fast, exceeding anything we've seen in our U.S. results. Bell's LTE is probably even faster than the internet access you have at home. It is truly a world-class 4G experience.
1532 From a personal standpoint, I can tell you that competition in wireless has never been more intense. My team is constantly scanning the marketplace and making changes to our service offerings.
1533 It is critical to our success to secure an advantage over our competitors or react to competitors' efforts to do the same.
1534 In the last six months alone we saw Bell launch the Premium Plus tier of wireless plans, zero dollar promotions for the iPhone 6s along with gift cards of over $100, bring-your-own-device promotions, data bonuses, up to $500 in activation credits for small businesses, discounts for multiple users, free tablets, and countless other competitive initiatives.
1535 That is a massive challenge for us but very good for consumers.
1536 The fact is that we operate in a service industry and consumers have choice. Wireless carriers compete for customer loyalty and rely on network quality, innovative products, customer service, and compelling marketing programs to differentiate themselves.
1537 It is critical that we stay ahead of customer needs, invest, and focus on customer service, every single day.
1538 We have put a great deal of work into customer service programs at Bell and we strive to continue improving on this front. Over the last five years, we have invested more than $850 million in service improvements.
1539 To name just a few, we enhanced self-serve tools like MyBell.ca, and introduced the MyBell app to enable our wireless customers to manage their services with convenience and ease. We improved the look and feel of our bill to provide greater clarity. We launched new tools for our service representatives to help make them better -- to help them make better, more personalized recommendations for consumers.
1540 We launched a new Member benefit app at Virgin so that customers can view and take advantage of exclusive offers from our partners, and we revised our entire customer onboarding strategy from the time of sale to beyond their first bill.
1541 The goal, to ensure customers get the right information at the right time. This covers everything from an in-store checklist to the Bell Mobility Interactive tour, a customized video for new wireless customers to explain their first bill, how to check their usage, and how to add new features.
1542 We are seeing positive results from these efforts. About 124 million times last year, Bell and Virgin customers went online to review their bills, order new features, check their mobile and internet data usage, or choose roaming plans for travel.
1543 Customer service improvements are one reason why the number of CCTS complaints related to Bell declined in each of the past three years. And while the number of our subscribers increased in 2016, year over year, CCTS complaints decreased by 18 percent.
1544 While we are pleased with these results, we are still not satisfied. We remain committed to improving our customer service performance for all Canadians. It is good for our customers and it is good for our business.
1545 Mme LEDUC: Un élément essentiel du service que nous offrons aux clients est d'assurer que les Canadiens ayant un handicap ont accès aux meilleures technologies sans fil possible.
1546 Nous sommes déterminés à créer des produits et des services adaptés à leurs besoins et à cet effet, nous avons récemment amélioré notre site Web du Centre des services d'accessibilité.
1547 Ce site est une source d'information centrale sur nos produits et services. Il contient des renseignements pour planifier une visite dans un magasin de Bell, communiquer avec mon équipe, ainsi que des détails sur les appareils et autres produits conçus pour améliorer l'accessibilité.
1548 Pour répondre aux besoins des 350,000 Canadiens malentendants, nous avons lancé un forfait sans fil qui élimine les minutes inutiles d'utilisation de la voix. Et afin de mieux informer les personnes les plus susceptibles de profiter de ce forfait, nous avons créé des vidéos en langage LSQ/ASL pour présenter l'offre.
1549 L'équipe Centre des services d'accessibilité, dont j'assure la direction, est l'un des éléments qui nous distinguent dans ce secteur. Nous défendons les intérêts des clients au sein de Bell et nous faisons régulièrement davantage ce que l'on attend de nous pour que nos clients ayant un handicap puissent profiter au mieux de nos services.
1550 C'est avec plaisir que je discuterai de notre approche et fournirai des détails sur notre expérience au quotidien.
1551 MS. GILLIES: One of the Code's strengths is the flexibility it provides, enabling carriers to offer more choice and customer-friendly business practices. Consumers benefit when wireless service providers have the operational flexibility to tailor their services.
1552 The Code's treatment of data services provides a relevant illustration. While some interveners want data to be a key contract term, we believe that the Code's flexibility on this issue benefits consumers.
1553 The TNS Canada survey found that 75 percent of customers find data easy to manage today. This is a clear indicator that the current model is working. Our experience supports this conclusion.
1554 In 2016, our customers made more than 2.5 million changes to the data element of their subscription before the end of their contract. Sometimes they increased their data usage, other times they decreased it. For example, during the Pokemon GO craze in the summer of 2016 customers demanded more data until they tired of the game and then they wanted to decrease their data.
1555 The sheer volume of these changes speaks to the fact that customer needs are evolving. If the Code is modified to make data a key contract term then each of these 2.5 million changes I just mentioned would have triggered an early termination fee and a new contract. This would have harmed, rather than helped, consumers.
1556 Today we send usage-related notifications to device users as they approach their monthly thresholds. We also send up to four separate data overage notifications to a device user, beginning when those charges reach $30. Recently, we began notifying e-bill customers by sending an email when device users consent to additional data and fees.
1557 Of course, all customers can monitor their usage as often as they want through our online self-serve tools. In fact, our customers checked their data usage either online or through the MyBell app more than 2.8 million times in December of 2016. We know that some other carriers are taking different approaches to usage notifications. In fact, these practices have become a major point of competitive differentiation.
1558 Wireless data usage is one of the most rapidly changing aspects of our business. New apps become available every day and other apps get enhanced. Smartphone designs constantly evolve, allowing Canadians to use their phones in more and different ways. The number of users on a single, shared plan changes regularly and data allotments are increasing steadily over time.
1559 In this fast paced environment, customers need the flexibility to adjust their data subscriptions as their circumstances change. This would be much more cumbersome for consumers and carriers if data was a key term and every data plan change required a new contract.
1560 MS. BARBER: The Code’s effectiveness is measured today by the number of complaints and Wireless Code breaches reported to the CCTS. This information is readily available in semi-annual CCTS reports.
1561 The Code’s effectiveness is also measured by the public opinion surveys that have been conducted annually since the Code was introduced. As we saw in 2016, the Commission can explore topics of interest in greater detail by conducting more than one survey in a year.
1562 The Commission should continue to rely on CCTS reporting, as well as the existing public opinion survey, to assess the Code’s effectiveness. There is simply no need to introduce new forms of measurement given the detailed data already being collected and reported.
1563 All wireless carriers are required to make their customers aware of the Code. We provide a link to information on the Code on every page of our Bell Mobility website, inviting customers to learn more about their rights as wireless consumers. From these pages consumers can also link to the Commission’s website if they need more information.
1564 The survey evidence confirms that existing measures promoting Code awareness are working well. The March TNS Canada public opinion research found that just under half of Canadians recall hearing about the Code. This is a high rate of recall for a legal document, especially one that’s only three years old and which is primarily a topic of conversation at the time of purchase. As a point of comparison, 10 years after private sector privacy legislation was put in place, only three in 10 Canadians were aware that a federal institution could help them with their privacy concerns.
1565 More important than general awareness of the Code itself is that today, the large majority of Canadians find their wireless contracts clear and easy to understand. This speaks to both awareness and effectiveness of the Code.
1566 MR. ATLIN: A few intervenors recommended that the Critical Information Summary should become a comparison shopping tool for customers. We disagree for several reasons.
1567 First and foremost, it is unnecessary. Wireless carriers’ websites already provide the information consumers need to comparison shop. This information is up-to-date and the consumer can print it if they want.
1568 Second, the Critical Information Summary contains only a subset of the information that is relevant to choosing a service provider. For some customers, service quality is more important than price. For others, after-sales customer support capabilities are the determining factor. The Critical Information Summary is not meant to provide a comprehensive list of comparison variables so its use as a shopping tool could lead customers to make ill-informed purchase decisions.
1569 Third, using the Critical Information Summary as a shopping tool would be burdensome. This is one of the reasons why the Commission rejected a similar proposal in the original Wireless Code proceeding. Preparing multiple Critical Information Summaries would be time-consuming for sales representatives in retail stores and diminish the retail experience for customers.
1570 Mme DESAUTELS: Nous croyons que l’expérience par défaut qui existe aujourd'hui selon laquelle les clients doivent recevoir une copie papier de leur contrat est un élément à modifier dans le Code. Tant que la version électronique du contrat ne peut être altérée, qu’elle peut être conservée et qu’elle est facilement lisible par le client, il n’y a aucune raison que la copie papier soit le format par défaut. Les clients sont familiers avec la réception, le stockage et la conservation des documents électroniques; les copies papier sont moins écologiques, moins pratiques à conserver pour consultation ultérieure et plus coûteuses à produire et à transmettre.
1571 Le Conseil a d’ailleurs reconnu les avantages de la transmission électronique dans le Code des fournisseurs de services de télévision en donnant à ces fournisseurs le choix d’établir le format de contrat par défaut. Le Code sur les services sans fil devrait adopter la même approche en permettant aux fournisseurs de services sans fil de choisir le format par défaut de la copie permanente du contrat destiné aux clients. En vertu de notre proposition, les copies papier continueraient d’être faites sur demande afin de permettre aux clients de choisir le format qui leur convient davantage.
1572 MR. MALCOLMSON: Most interveners agree that the Code has been effective. Customers are more satisfied today with the clarity of their contracts, the incidence of bill shock continues to decline and complaints to the CCTS are trending downward. As currently written, the Code provides consumers with the desired protections without unduly constraining service providers. In short, the Code strikes the right balance.
1573 Like others, we worry that more Code rules could stifle innovation, reduce competitive flexibility and restrict customer choice. The wireless market is rapidly evolving. Since the Code came into effect we have seen many changes in the way Canadians manage their wireless services and use their devices.
1574 More than 80 percent of our postpaid customers now have a smartphone, and that number continues to increase. It has become common for individuals to have more than one device or service offering on their account. Consumers’ appetite for mobile applications, multi-media services, social-networking and Internet browsing through mobile continues to grow.
1575 It is also important to recall that Canadians already enjoy world-class wireless networks, devices, and services. They have control over their wireless services and an abundance of choice from a selection of competitors. It is a remarkable achievement considering Canada’s relatively small population and large geography. Under such circumstances, significant changes to the Code are not needed.
1576 We would be happy to respond to any questions you may have.
1577 Thank you.
1578 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup. Je vais vous remettre entre les mains du vice-président de la télécommunication, Monsieur Menzies.
1579 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Good morning.
1580 You did very well with the coughing and sniffling thing. I may not do as well. So I beg your forgiveness as you will receive mine should we breach that.
1581 A few questions on your oral presentation to start. Yesterday the University of Ottawa made quite a case regarding what they saw as the lack of awareness of the Code and consumer rights. You make a strong case today regarding your view that there is great awareness comparatively like that. What are we to make of that? How can we bridge those gaps and perception?
1582 MR. MALCOLMSON: Sure. I’ll start and my colleagues may want to join.
1583 Our viewpoint is that there is a relatively high awareness of the Code; that the tools that are available for understanding the Code, discovering the Code are readily available online.
1584 And so we were a little surprised about concerns about a lack of awareness of the Code, and if you’ll allow me I’ll take you through some of the primary tools that are out there to discover awareness of the Code.
1585 First and foremost, you know, if you do a Google search of Wireless Code on the Internet the first thing you get -- at least what I do with a search -- is a link to the CRTC’s webpage entitled “Your Consumer Rights for Mobile Phones the Wireless Code of Conduct” and from there you can obviously link to as much detail as you would like to access.
1586 That page, that first instance explains that the CRTC created the Code for -- to make it easier for consumers to one, understand their mobile plan; two, change providers; three, prevent bill shock; and four, return their cell phone. So at that first level, that's where you go when you're provided with that very informative base level information.
1587 Similarly, if you go to the CCTS's home page, there's a link to the Wireless Code in the description. In terms of what Bell does, if you go to bell.ca and you search -- if you just do a search of CRTC Wireless Code, you're directed to our complaints page. That links you to a page entitled CRTC Wireless Code Checklist with a prominent heading saying, "Do you know your rights?" And then if you look at that page, the articulates eight or nine different rights that are yours under the Code as a consumer.
1588 So again, I think it's prominently displayed on our webpage, and at the bottom of all of our webpages, again, there's a link to information on the Wireless Code. So I think there are -- is an ample array of web‑based tools from all the places that a consumer would go when they wanted to understand the Wireless Code.
1589 I think where there may be an issue, and it was an issue we discussed in 2015 at the CCTS Review Hearing, there may be an issue around awareness of the CCTS and what it does for consumers. And coming out of that hearing, as I recall, there was a plan to develop an awareness plan for the CCTS. So again, I think if there's a lack of awareness, that's where it might be, and I think steps are being taken to rectify that perceived lack of awareness.
1590 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, there's a couple of other areas where there may be -- maybe you can help me out too -- there seems to be a similar, perhaps it's a philosophical difference but a perceptual difference regarding issues. One is the use of the Critical Information Summary as a shopping tool.
1591 Others have -- very much see that as a key feature of that. You don't see it that way at all in terms of that.
1592 Is there a compromise between these positions? As there -- as suggested yesterday, the possibility that when cell's reps hand out pamphlets that Critical Information Summary is part of that, or not?
1593 Do you see the -- because the, I mean, the mystery shopper experience yesterday saw people -- their perception was the people were unserved in terms of critical information. The other point of view is when people get their promotional pamphlets, and as you indicated here, the websites, that there's plenty comparative shopping that people can do.
1594 Is there a compromise between those two positions that we can find or ---
1595 MS. GILLIES: Well, I would ---
1596 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: --- are you right and they are wrong?
1597 MS. GILLIES: I would first start with the work that we actually do in our stores and in our call centres to ensure that there actually is awareness of the Code and the representatives' responsibility to clearly articulate the Code to our customers and our potential prospective customers.
1598 You know, since 2014, every year we actually do a training and a recertification training of all of our agents on the Code and their key responsibilities under it, and we require 100 percent pass rate. If we don't get 100 percent pass rate, all of those agents actually have to retake the training module, which is a 30‑minute module.
1599 And then in our call centre, we have very prescriptive step-by‑step instructions to deal with any Wireless Code inquiries to ensure that there is absolute consistency of execution.
1600 When it comes to the CIS, though, I think, you know, the primary question is around should it be a comparative shopping tool, which as we said in our opening statement we actually don't support. And there's a number of reasons for that.
1601 The first is that the CIS in its current form, it doesn't articulate all of the key elements that you need to consider when choosing your wireless service provider.
1602 And you know, when you think about all of the investments we make, it doesn't talk about network coverage. It doesn't about speed or reliability. It doesn't talk about the handsets you'll be offered. It doesn't talk about alternative rate plans should you choose to make a change during the term of your commitment. It doesn't talk about customer service. It doesn't talk about roaming, and a variety of other things, which are critical for consumers making a wireless purchase decision.
1603 The other thing also is where the CIS is impacted in the sales process. So as Mr. Malcolmson said, there are other alternatives that customers have. You know, you can go to a website, and there's also third party websites, not just carrier websites that will allow consumers to compare other service products. They can also shop in third party retail stores, like Best Buy or Walmart where there's alternatives side-by‑side.
1604 But where the CIS actually occurs today in the activation process is after the customer has made quite a significant effort. So the customer has selected their rate plan, they've selected their device, they've given all of their personal information and completed a credit check; otherwise, that CIS would not be complete and fulsome in terms of articulating any required deposits, any conditions of their account.
1605 So you can imagine at that point in time the customer has invested a lot of time before getting to that point where they would have something that they could actually use to shop around.
1606 So for that reason, we feel there's other adequate tools. We feel that the CIS in its current form is not fully representative of the wireless service offering; and therefore, we don't support it as a comparison-shopping tool.
1607 MR. MALCOLMSON: And Vice-Chair Menzies, you asked is there a compromise, or are we right, are they wrong? That's not how we look at it in terms of right or wrong. Our view is the compromise that you speak of exists today. It exists through the availability of the web‑based tools that we've talked about and the existence of the CIS, which is intended for a different purpose.
1608 As I understand the CIS, it's intended to inform consumers as to what they're agreeing to on their wireless contract. So I think the CIS accomplishes that objective. The service providers' tools accomplish that other objective. So in short, that compromise, in terms of balancing information that's available to you as a comparison shopper versus as a party about to enter into a contract, I think exists in the marketplace today.
1609 And I would just note, because you mentioned the University of Ottawa study, and it was an interesting academic exercise, but the study itself did on its face recognize its inherent limitations. And I would just refer you to paragraph 12 of that study where they did say that while the interaction in the mystery shopping experience attempted to replicate a typical consumer experience, it stopped short of signing a contract, which under the Wireless Code, as Ms. Gillies points out, is a key factor in triggering certain consumer rights, or conversely, providers' obligations.
1610 So they stop just short of triggering more disclosure that is provided when a customer is about to sign a contract. And it was also, again, as they noted, a very small sample. I think six providers and twelve retail visits.
1611 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you.
1612 Another area of a perhaps different perception. The PIAC mentioned yesterday the relatively low churn rate between wireless customers. Your presentation speaks of a very dynamic competitive marketplace.
1613 Are both of you right or are both of you wrong? Is -- or is there -- because there's always a possibility in these things that everybody is right but not everybody is completely right, if you know what I mean.
1614 So help us understand, a low churn rate would typically be indicative of a marketplace that lacks competition, but I concede that it is only one measure; you indicate there are others.
1615 What are we to make of the low churn rate?
1616 MR. MALCOLMSON: I'll start briefly, and then Claire will add.
1617 But our view on a low churn rate is it's indicative of customer satisfaction, but Claire will have more to say.
1618 MS. GILLIES: You know, to support that point, I mean, there absolutely is, churn rates are improving, and it's a key focus for our organization. And it's simply put because we continue to invest more and more in our customer service.
1619 So we improve our network quality. We talked earlier about investing $3 billion. Canadians are more satisfied with their networks than in any other country. We invest in our customer service experience. We invest in our retail channel experience. And so all of those things together generally infer that customers are more satisfied.
1620 And in fact, there are other third party studies available. I often refer to the J.D. Power customer satisfaction, and you can see consistent improvements in that survey since the time of the Code's implementation.
1621 So churn is lower, but yet, you know, I did comment that we are in a very competitive dynamic market right now. And in fact, in speaking with my team as we review the fourth quarter, in the month of November and December alone we made over 2,000 different changes to our offering.
1622 You know you’ve got to cross the various regions, the various retailers, the various brands, and we are competing fiercely for every Canadian’s wireless services.
1623 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And so were I to be a customer of yours and I was dissatisfied with something and somebody else was – another provider was romancing me away with a better offer, I could phone you up and we could negotiate?
1624 MS. GILLIES: I think in those instances ---
1625 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I mean am I empowered there as – in that relationship to do that?
1626 MS. GILLIES: Yes, well I think, you know, one of the things that has happened since the implementation of the code is we have more consumers off contract than ever before, so there is a much lower barrier to switching then there has been historically in the Canadian market.
1627 If a customer calls us and they’re off contract, obviously it’s in our best effort to retain that customer.
1628 You know, we don’t want the cost of acquisition to go and acquire a new customer. Obviously, it’s, you know, proven time and time again it’s much more economical for you to keep your existing customers.
1629 And there’s a number of different things, as I spoke about earlier, with regards to comparing. One of the first things we’ll do is talk to a customer about their needs.
1630 You know, if you’re traveling to different countries and the competitor that you’re considering doesn’t provide roaming services in those countries that’s critical.
1631 If you require service in certain markets and that individual – that organisation doesn’t have the speeds or the same coverage, again those are differences.
1632 So that’s always the first place that we start to ensure that the customers clearly understands the difference between the service – that Bell provides and that they might be considering with an alternative competitor.
1633 MR. MALCOLMSON: And if there’s any doubt, Vice-Chair Menzies about the competitive intensity in the marketplace, I would just highlight a few items from our Q4 financial results, because they speak to the competitive intensity of the marketplace.
1634 So rentention spending and subscriber acquisition costs increase 67 million year over year, evidence of a highly competitive market.
1635 The cost of customer acquisition, which Claire just spoke to, increased by three percent to $541 per subscriber in Q4, again, due in large part to richer handset promotions which benefit the consumers and are needed to respond to competitor offers and retention spending, the cost of keeping customers increased to 16.4 percent of wireless service revenues. Again, reflecting more aggressive promotional activity all aimed at keeping customers who are eligible to leave and choose another provider.
1636 How much, or is it length or is it payment that I use?
1637 MS. GILLIES: Certainly. I think -- you know, I listening to some of the commentary and reading some of the submissions, I think there is a bit of -- a bit of confusion.
1638 You know, there are -- there are cards, prepaid cards and top-up amounts that have expiries, and then there's also rate plans. So in terms of -- we have two types of prepaid offerings. Again, no credit check is done.
1639 Pay-per-use services where a customer simply uses voice, text, and data as they need it. and then there are other options starting from 15.75 a month where subscribers can receive, say, unlimited text messaging, but again, all no credit check, on our prepaid paid -- paid in advance.
1640 What I think people were getting confused with is the card terms because all of those are sort of -- none of those have terms associated with the plans I just spoke about. But cards, of course, have different expiries and there was some dialogue yesterday around $100 card being available for one year.
1641 And, you know, we absolutely -- we offer four different card denominations today and those cards, starting at $15 all the way up to 100. The $100 card does last for one year. So it doesn’t expire for one year. And what we generally find is that customers who like that the most are ones who are very seldomly using their wireless device. They can sort of buy the card, forget about it, and use it as they need. And then should they top up their account at any point in time before the end of that year, the card continues of course and those funds don’t expire.
1642 I hope that's clear.
1643 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you.
1644 You talked about -- you’ve talked about your notifications for people as they're reaching their data limit. A couple of questions regarding that.
1645 The overages and the $50 point there, do you -- how do you manage that with a group or family plan? Is the -- is the primary subscriber the only person who can -- who can authorize an overage beyond that, or help me understand how you manage it?
1646 MS. GILLIES: So in our overage notifications today, in fact we do a variety of different notifications. So the first notification we do to consumers today is at 95 percent of their data bucket and we notify the entire account that they're approaching that limit.
1647 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So everyone on the account gets that notice.
1648 MS. GILLIES: At that time, everyone on the account gets the 95 percent. And then when we go into an overage scenario, we actually have a variety of different notifications. We have a $30 notification, a 50 as per the Code, a 300 and a 500. And those notifications are only sent to the end user and we do that for a couple of different reasons.
1649 Number one, our position is that that end user is actually in the best circumstance to understand do they need to go over or not. The second thing is we work very hard to ensure that at time of activation that the account holder understands that they -- that this will be the way in which we manage our notifications and we also invest time with that individual to ensure that they understand and leverage all of our self-serve tools.
1650 And we have a very high percentage of our customers today who use our self-serve tool and by doing that, what they can do is any account holder can go online through their mobile device or through their desktop computer and can see how much data, how much voice, how much text is being used in their account by end user.
1651 So we encourage our customers to proactively manage their account. I don’t know if any of my colleagues want to add.
1652 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Can they designate someone else to authorize overages?
1653 MS. GILLIES: No. At this point in time -- at this point in time, we don’t have that infrastructure in our system.
1654 I did forget that there is one additional thing that we've recently added in that when someone on the account does accept an additional overage charge, we are sending an email notification to the account holder. And I believe it was TELUS yesterday they used the example where parents have corporate plans and the children are the three sharing the account. So, you know, it's often -- there's a situation whereby the account holder may not be the bill pay responsible. So there's some evolution to be done there.
1655 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. So there's an account holder. There's a person who is responsible for paying the bill and there's other end users, right?
1656 MS. GILLIES: Correct.
1657 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So by end user, is that people on the account -- what's your definition of an end user? Is that your spouse, you children, anybody else who you've attached to the account who has a device?
1658 MS. GILLIES: It could be either, absolutely. It is -- it is the individual who is actually using the device. So that's how we define the end user.
1659 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. And so when the overage occurs, do the charges apply only to the account or is it a per line charge or it is a per account charge?
1660 MS. GILLIES: We calculate it per line.
1661 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Per line. So if there's five of us on an account and one of us goes over, then -- to say $50, that's $250?
1662 MS. GILLIES: That's correct.
1663 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Do you think that's fair?
1664 MR. MALCOLMSON: Oh, I think -- Mr. Vice-Chair, I am one of those people. I have five children. My wife is the account holder in my family. The kids all have -- have cellphones and the way we manage it is when that 95 percent notification comes in and it comes in a lot more than I would like, we -- you know, my wife immediately says to each of my children very forcefully you will now shut off your data. So at that critical point, the account holder who has authorized those users to use data has the tool to stop that data usage.
1665 So in terms of is it fair, it's fair from the perspective that the account holder from the time they enter into the agreement with us, they know that those authorized users have the ability to incur data and the account holder has the ability at the 95 percent inflection point to stop that from happening.
1666 And just in terms of this issue of data overage and complaints, well none of us are certainly perfect. We are somewhat heartened by the fact that -- because we track these. We look at them seriously.
1667 In the last 13 months since January of 2016, we had 159 complaints go to the CCTS that related to data. Seventy-nine (79) of those 159 complaints related to this idea of a multi-user plan, so multiple users on the account and one account holder, and only 23 of those complaints were about other users on the account incurring overage charges.
1668 So, you know, 23 out of a customer base of 8.4, 8.5 million wireless subscribers is -- again, we strive for perfection but that said to us that the tools we are providing consumers with are -- they're getting better at using them. Seventy-five (75) percent of consumers say they now find their data easy to manage and we're getting better I think at informing consumers of the fact that they're about to incur a charge.
1669 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I understand that and I guess it's just -- if you were talking about it market forces driving differentiation -- I'm not going to say that word correctly all day -- but driving competition in terms of management of data plans and that sort of stuff, it seems surprising that you'd be able to get away with that. But you are, as you say, getting away with it in terms of that or finding maybe a better way to say that, more polite way to say that you're finding acceptance in the marketplace for that -- for that but it is a key I guess in the consumer relationship that people be well informed beforehand.
1670 And you say you inform -- that was my next question. Why did you pick 95 percent? Why is that the point? Others have different points, some earlier, some even later. How did you come to picking 95 percent as the notification point?
1671 MS. GILLIES: It's a combination of two things. I think firstly 95 percent was chosen because it is -- it creates a real sense of urgency. You're close to the end of your data bucket, so it has a high sense of urgency and it's highly relevant, so increases the likelihood of a customer to act. And in fact, that is what we see is a high percentage of customers at that point taking action, complemented by, of course, you know, all of the additional tools and controls that we've provided to customers to, a) understand their usage, and b) with the flexibility of data make changes to their data plan
1672 So, you know, tying back to your earlier question also, I think one of the things that we've seen in the market in share plans is that people actually experienced less data overage, again related to controls and the ability to have the flexibility to change data. But also, customers are just -- they’re better informed and they are making wiser decisions and they’re optimizing their data in their plan.
1673 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Do you lose many customers over bill shock?
1674 MS. GILLIES: I’m certain we do and that’s why we invested $850 million in tools to improve the customer experience on that. And that’s why we have improved notifications and even beyond the notifications I spoke to there are examples of domestic voice, domestic text notifications that we also send. So, we are working proactively to actually improve the customer experience and reduce bill shock.
1675 MR. MALCOLMSON: And I think, Mr. Vice-Chair, the trend line is in the right direction. When we looked at the public opinion research that there’s been four pieces of public opinion research which you’ve commissioned since the Wireless Code came into effect in April of 2014, which was the first time you took a snapshot of the marketplace, customers who had experienced bill shock was in the range of 28 or 29 percent. That’s dropped steadily to now in 2016 where it is around 20 percent.
1676 As importantly or perhaps more importantly, the research that you did showed that 64 percent of those who reported experiencing bill shock, that those instances of bill shock involved amounts of $100 or less. That’s not a trivial amount but it -- you know, it’s not the horror story of someone receiving a $1500 unexpected charge. So I think we’re trending in the right direction and CCTS complaints are down by 35 percent since 2014.
1677 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Speaking of CCTS, they mentioned that a significant percentage of their -- that one area of complaint they get is regarding voice roaming and that’s been raised by others that customers weren’t aware of their data roaming plans didn’t cover voice roaming and got -- there’s some bill shock experience there. Is this -- actually change the way I should ask that question because I don’t -- because I know you’ll just say no. But why should we not be addressing voice roaming within the Code if that is an emerging issue?
1678 MS. GILLIES: So I’ll still say no. We don’t see this as a significant issue. But, you know, when we spoke about this issue three years ago we said that it was very complex given the roaming partner arrangements. And there really isn’t a resolution to that. So voice and texts, we do not get that data in real time. So I think that is -- you know, that situation that existed three years ago still exists today. And you’re talking about having hundreds of global carriers actually comply to provide records to be able to appropriately facilitate the ask.
1679 But there has been some evolution in this area that I think is really critical. I would say first and foremost, as per the Code, when someone arrives in a new destination, we, of course, first and foremost, identify to them what the charges are. But more importantly, we launched just over a year ago a solution called “Roam Better.” And the Roam Better solution from Bell for $5 a day provides customers with unlimited voice, regardless of how many minutes they have in their core voice plan. It provides unlimited voice, unlimited text and 100 megabytes of data. So customers know they’re paying $5 and that absolutely eliminates any concerns around voice, data, roaming bill shock.
1680 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thanks for clarifying that.
1681 How many -- moving on to the trial period, how many cancellations do you get from people, customers during the trial period? Are you -- could you undertake to provide us with that information? We’re trying to get a grasp of the size of that issue.
1682 MR. MALCOLMSON: Yes, we’ll undertake to provide that.
1683 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you.
1685 MR. MALCOLMSON: Sorry, Mr. Vice-Chair, just if we’re leaving overage, can I just make sure we didn’t misspeak on one thing and provide a clarification on it?
1686 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yes, please do.
1687 MR. MALCOLMSON: I’m not sure we -- I just want to clarify.
1688 So you raised the example of 5 user account and a $50 charge. In a scenario where one user on that account goes over, that user incurs the data overage charge, the -- it’s not as if every user on the account is charged the $50 when 1 user goes over. I just -- I wasn’t sure we were clear on that point.
1689 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Well, thank you for that because I understood it to be otherwise that each -- there would be a charge for each phone that was attached to that.
1690 MR. MALCOLMSON: No, so we may have misspoke but that’s the clarification.
1691 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you.
1692 Yes, trial period. So, we’ve done the undertaking to provide us with volume in terms of that gets. So, what are the limits that you use on your trial periods in terms of voice and text and data?
1693 MS. GILLIES: So our current policy is 15 days and we provide 30 minutes unlimited text and 50 megabytes of data. And we double both the period as well as the usage allocation for those individuals with accessibility challenges.
1694 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Sorry, could you just clarify for me when the accessibility challenge is? That was going to be my next question.
1695 MS. GILLIES: So it’s 30 days ---
1696 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right.
1697 MS. GILLIES: --- for those individuals. And instead of 30 minutes it would be 60 minutes, instead of 50 megabytes 100 megabytes.
1698 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Sure. So, how did you develop the 15 and the 30-day limits and the packages in terms of under -- because, I mean, we’re dealing with a prescription that you have to reasonable and how did you decide that that passed your reasonableness test?
1699 MS. GILLIES: So we actually had some previous experience with trial period and buyer’s remorse. In fact, prior to the Code we had a 14-day buyer’s remorse period. So we had an experience and understood what was sort of reasonable under the customer’s expectation.
1700 We continue to monitor it regularly. In fact, one of the things that has happened since the Code came into effect is we were monitoring the impact of CCTS complaints. We have a group which looks at those every single day. In fact, I also personally look at the complaints every day. And we made a change. We noticed just over a year ago we were receiving a number of complaints. And today what we measured is we said about 95 percent of all of the buyer’s remorse claims actually pass with our current policy. There was about five percent of them that weren’t passing. And so we evaluated that and we looked at it and we implemented a pilot, an escalation process.
1701 And what we found is that most of the individuals escalating, it was based on voice minutes. And, in fact, through our escalation process we now manage all but about one percent of all of the buyer’s remorse claim and that one percent really comes down to the device is not in perfect condition when it’s returned. It’s been damaged in some way.
1702 So, you know, with our past experience with sort of the evolving needs we continue to monitor what’s happening in the market and adjust our buyer’s remorse policies appropriately.
1703 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: What about promotional items and gifts, I guess you could call them, that people might receive for signing up? What -- how do you manage those in terms of return? Often, as well, there would be in addition to the device itself other equipment regarding that. What do you think is reasonable in terms of return of a promotional item? Is a gift not always a gift or?
1704 MS. GILLIES: I think there’s an opportunity for customer arbitrage in that opportunity and I think that TELUS did employ that. Our current policy is that we don’t enforce that. It is a cost of doing business.
1705 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So you don’t ask -- if I get a teddy bear with a Bell phone you don’t ask for the teddy bear back?
1706 MS. GILLIES: We don’t ask for the bear back.
1707 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Thank you.
1708 Unlocking fees. The points being -- the argument is out there that this is really simply a matter of a contract cancellation charge in disguise. It’s a proxy in terms of that. The argument is that if I own this device the -- I should own the unlocking codes that go with it. How do you manage -- and I understand you have reduced your locking fees from where they were. Give me your perception on this issue and try to dispossess me of the notion that it is a barrier to customer freedom at the end of a contract?
1709 MR. ATLIN: Sure, if I can speak to that.
1710 So you are correct, we have indeed reduced our typical unlocking fee from, I think, $75 back in 2013, to $50 today. We do charge an unlocking fee and disclose that fee prominently within our Critical Information Summary, and we charge that fee primarily to reduce the risk of fraud and non‑payment of account, which can accompany the unlocking of a device.
1711 Speaking specifically to your question as to whether or not it's a churn inhibitor. I think in our experience, and I can't speak to our competitors, we see a very small percentage of our base actually unlock their device. So in that respect, it does not seem to be an inhibitor of churn when you look at, you know, our -- that very small number in comparison to the large number of customers within our base.
1712 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Let me understand. People mention the fraud concern. Can you unpack that a little bit for me?
1713 MR. ATLIN: Sure.
1714 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Because it's not clear to me why it makes a difference on fraud whether I have to pay for an -- pay an unlocking charge or not pay an unlocking charge, or how much I pay.
1715 MR. ATLIN: Well -- so certainly, we employ fraud detection prevention mechanisms at the time of activation, and that would include something along the lines of a credit check, but for our subsidized devices, it's per the Code. There is a 90‑day prescribed waiting period before the customer can come and request their device to be unlocked.
1716 Within that time period, we are still employing those same fraud detection mechanisms, because you know, the ones that we have at the outset are not infallible. So we try to establish a payment history with the customer that we can rely upon to know that, you know, that this is a customer who will -- who is who they say they are, and will, you know, pay their bills, et cetera, on time. And you know, and the unlocking fee, we believe, helps further deter those incidences of fraud because of the fees that would be associated with unlocking your device.
1717 MS. GILLIES: If I may, on the topic of fraud. It's really a gray market activity, and I think that's -- we talk about that. If you go on Kijiji or Craig's List, or a number of those different sites, that's where you'll see a variety of unlocking.
1718 And in fact, with the iPhone Success launch, there was a change in policy at the Apple Store. And so there's roughly 30 Apple Stores in the Canadian market and the policy change they made is they said for that launch that they would allow to purchase the Success without a carrier contract, and it was the only year that they've ever done that. And in fact, for the iPhone 7, they went back to enforcing it must be sold.
1719 You could go in any food court in those 30 malls across the country and you could see exchanges happening. And so those iPhones that were intended for Canadians did not stay in the Canadian market. And you know, you could see them on websites. You could see them show up -- because there's only about -- in that particular instance, there was 14 countries that launched that iPhone Success.
1720 So you know, in the instance of these very hot iconic devices, you know, we want them to stay in the country in which they were intended for, we want them to operate optimally on our network, and I think those are sort of critical.
1721 And as Bram said, it is a very small percentage of our base, who actually wants an unlocked device; and therefore, you know, it's our perspective that only those individuals who wish to have an unlocked device should be subject to that particular fee, and not the consequence of adding that cost to the entire base.
1722 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So is this an issue that's entirely within your control, or is this issue of unlocking prescribed in contract terms with the device manufacturers? I mean, I'm aware that certainly some device manufacturers are extremely prescriptive in terms of how many you may sell, how many -- what you will charge for them, et cetera, et cetera. Is this a matter that's dealt with contractually ---
1723 MR. ATLIN: It's not in ---
1724 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: --- with the device manufacturers?
1725 MR. ATLIN: Sorry. It's not a term that's actually included in our manufacturer agreements, but it is a request that comes from us, and I think similarly from other carriers at the quality assurance testing stage. So it is a carrier-initiated request; that's correct.
1726 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay.
1727 Would you provide us, if you could, and by an undertaking, because I expect it's not on the tip of your tongue, the information on the number of phones that you unlocked in the past year or the past business year that you have information for, and the revenue that you received from unlocking fees?
1728 MR. MALCOLMSON: Yes, we'll provide both of those, likely accompanied by a request for confidentiality.
1729 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Sure.
1730 THE CHAIRPERSON: And so that we have a comparison, maybe we should do since the coming into force of the Code on an annual basis as well as just for last year, because that's the way we asked for others, right? That way we'll have a better comparison.
1731 MR. MALCOLMSON: Yes.
1732 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
1734 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thanks.
1735 And because you said -- you indicated that you already disclose unlocking fees in your Critical Information Summary, I take it you would have no objection should we amend the Code to add that requirement to it -- to others?
1736 MR. ATLIN: That's correct.
1737 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you.
1738 Regarding device subsidies, in terms of key contract terms, I'd just like to get for the record your view on the implications for consumers of the proposals by the Coalition and by vaccination that devices sold by wireless services providers be sold separately from the plans.
1739 MS. GILLIES: Yeah, I think our position on that is that, you know, we don't support it. You know, in today's world, it makes logical sense for consumers that we sell both our service and our handset at the same time, and I encourage wireless carriers to do things such as we do today, like subsidized devices for consumers. We wouldn't -- it wouldn't be in the consumers' best interest because it would add additional risk to the carrier, and it essentially forces to become a financing organization.
1740 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, can you help me understand how the issue in which some consumers complain regarding device subsidies that at the end of subsidization period, in other words, when they have completely paid for their phone, they are still paying the same rate? What occurs if -- for your customer subscribers in terms of the device subsidy process and rate at the end of that period?
1741 MS. GILLIES: I think the first thing you have to start with is that the way in which our devices are subsidized it's not a financing model. We aren't financing the device. We are giving the customer a subsidy in exchange for a commitment of service. And if I use Holiday Hardware pricing as an example. The iPhone regularly retails for $400, and during Boxing Week, it was just $150.
1742 In a financing world, that would have added $10.41 to each customer's monthly bill in a true sense of financing. We did not. Customers got to benefit from our current rate plans and the carriers, in particular, Bell in this instance, we bear the additional cost of acquisition and subsidy.
1743 What happens at the end of a customer's term, 90 days before the end of the term, we do notify them and effectively they become free agents, and those free agents have a choice to do one of four things:
1744 They can choose to upgrade. They can change their rate plan to another rate plan that we have in our lineup. They may choose to leave us and select a different carrier, or they may do nothing, in which case they continue to benefit from all those service components and the rate plan bonuses that were provided to them upon activation.
1745 So we preserve the terms of their service, in some case, which may have been very favourable, such as bonus data, et cetera.
1746 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So your subsidy is entirely through your rates, right?
1747 It’s not separate. For instance, I’m not paying $75 for my package and $15 a month for my rate. So there is no relief, in a sense, from once I’ve paid for the phone, right? There’s no point at which -- at what point do I know I own the phone?
1748 MS. BARBER: So maybe I could speak to that. So when you come to the end of your term -- you own the phone from day one but when you come to the end of your term we notify you your term commitment -- your contract has come to an end.
1749 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. So I understand how you work it. So the cost of that phone at the front end is built into the contract terms for everyone. So whether I own the phone or not I will always own the phone with you. Is that ---
1750 MS. BARBER: I think that’s right.
1751 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: That cost is just built in across your rate in terms of that. So there is no -- your position in the market is that ownership becomes immediate. Okay.
1752 MR. MALCOLMSON: Yes.
1753 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Why do you think others do it differently in terms of the transparency of that? And how transparent is that situation to your customers in that sense?
1754 MR. MALCOLMSON: I wouldn’t want to comment on why or how others do it. Claire may have an explanation of our practice, but we wouldn’t comment on others.
1755 MS. GILLIES: You know, I think -- you know, customers do benefit from subsidies in the Canadian market, and I’ve articulated a couple of examples today where we’ve increased subsidy without increasing the ongoing monthly cost to the consumers and their rate plan.
1756 You know, there are times when I wish customers truly understood the value of their wireless device. So, you know, the issue with a subsidy model is that often customers think that that device that they got truly is worthless, it’s zero dollars, it’s $100.
1757 So it’s critical to us -- you know, we continue through the ETF calculation to reinforce the value that we provide to consumers. Because I do think that, you know, some of the path we’re going down here today is that customers believe there is an implied handset cost within their service fee and it’s not. In an exchange for a commitment, we give you a subsidy, and that is -- if they want something else then we’re talking about a financing model, which is very different. And in the example I shared, when devices prices go down customers bear those incremental costs.
1758 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I understand that.
1759 The -- I have an additional undertaking request. Could you -- you referred to, when we were talking about the unlocking, a very small percentage of your customers. Could you determine, as best you can for us, by an undertaking, what percentage that might be?
1760 MR. MALCOLMSON: Yes, we can provide that number.
1761 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thanks.
1762 THE CHAIRPERSON: For each year, because you’re doing it by ---
1763 MR. MALCOLMSON: For each year since the Code came into effect.
1764 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, ’13, ’14, ’15, ’16.
1765 MR. MALCOLMSON: Yes.
1767 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So assuming some modifications or amendments are made to the Code, how do you think we should manage that in terms of timeframe, and should any new guidelines -- how should they be coming into effect?
1768 MR. MALCOLMSON: I won’t try and sell you on our view that the Code is accomplishing its intended purposes and is largely -- the status quo is largely working.
1769 In terms of ---
1770 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: It is a hypothetical question.
1771 MR. MALCOLMSON: Yes. In terms of how long, it’s -- it’s difficult to give you a firm answer until we have an understanding of precisely what the changes to the Code might be.
1772 I say that because some changes could require expenditures on system upgrades, which take time and have to get built into the technical upgrades inside our company.
1773 But, you know, the last time I think we went through this in 2013 -- I’ll stand corrected -- but I believe it was about a six month process to implement the various changes from the Wireless Code. So give or take six months, but again, have to understand exactly what the changes are, if that’s a fair answer.
1774 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I’ll give you a for instance on a change, say, the one we just discussed about including the unlocking fee and the Critical Information Summary for instance.
1775 MS. GILLIES: Yeah, I think what we did last time after the Code requirements came out is I believe we submitted a document that actually articulated if these are the changes here’s what we believe the time to market would be based on our system change requirement.
1776 So in the case of the unlocking fee, we’d already comply and wouldn’t, of course, change that, we would continue to execute on that one.
1777 So I think that would be appropriate once we understand the changes once again.
1778 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. The issues come up via CCTS that only 32 percent of wireless providers are informing their customers of their right to escalate their complaint to the CCTS as required under the CCTS Participation Agreement. Is that something that -- in light of that behaviour, is that something we should be incorporating in the Wireless Code?
1779 MR. MALCOLMSON: The requirement is already enshrined in the Participation Agreement and we’re complying with it, so if it was something you wanted to put into the Wireless Code that would be fine. We certainly do our best and strive to comply fully with the requirement to inform people of the CCTS at the second level of escalation.
1780 And not to be uncomplimentary to ourselves, the number of complaints that go to the CCTS that come from Bell would indicate that customers are well-informed about the existence of the CCTS and their ability to complain.
1781 MS. GILLIES: We also would just add that with respect, you know, many of our -- many of the other carriers have commented on this, in a manual process it is difficult, of course, to have 100 percent compliance.
1782 We did -- as I mentioned earlier, we have very detailed instructions step-by-step for our representatives to follow that ensure sort of consistency. We also do regular call listening as well as post-transaction surveys for all of our care agents and our retail representatives so that we can actually track where there perhaps has been an issue, and if there is a negative score on any one of those post-transaction surveys we do follow-up immediately with the customer through a team lead or a store manager to ensure the issue is corrected.
1783 So there’s a number of different practices we have in place today to help manage awareness and compliance.
1784 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: You are making one request anyway of a change in the Code and that’s regarding the paper copy of a contract. Why is that a problem for you?
1785 MS. DESAUTELS: Well, our proposal is that the wireless service provider would make the electronic copy default and the customer would still have the choice to request a copy of the agreement on paper. So actually the customer would be, you know, in the driver’s seat when it comes to deciding, you know, if he still wishes a paper copy.
1786 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So if we did make a change in that regard, you would be comfortable with language indicating that the customer has to be -- you know, would be informed of their option to get a -- to receive a paper copy?
1787 MR. MALCOLMSON: Yes.
1788 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: How much -- just so I get a sense of how this is evolving, how many of your customers currently reserve -- receive paper bills as opposed to electronic bills and at what pace has that been changing in recent years?
1789 MR. MALCOLMSON: I think we’d have to provide that as an undertaking. We don’t have that at our fingertips right now.
1790 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Thank you. That would be useful if you’d be willing to do that.
1791 MR. MALCOLMSON: And year over year?
1792 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Year over year as consistent with the others that’d be fine.
1794 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Those are my questions. Thank you very much.
1795 THE CHAIRPERSON: Maybe just to clarify because I haven’t been doing it but all the undertakings you’re okay with the 16th of February?
1796 MR. MALCOLMSON: Yes.
1797 THE CHAIRPERSON: When the Commission introduced the Code, we did say we’d be reviewing the Code after three years. You would agree with that?
1798 MR. MALCOLMSON: Yes, Mr. Chairman.
1799 THE CHAIRPERSON: And although you may not want changes, would you agree that you were at least put on notice that some changes might be envisaged?
1800 MR. MALCOLMSON: Yes, Mr. Chairman, we understand the purpose of this proceeding and the outcome could be changes to the Code.
1801 THE CHAIRPERSON: And would you agree that in light of that possibility when you were changing your systems to adapt them to the original Code that it would have been reasonable for you to also design them to accommodate future changes?
1802 MR. MALCOLMSON: I’m -- in a perfect world we would have systems that are able to implement change in real time. The world isn’t perfect. Some of -- depending on the change, I’ve learned that it requires time and expenditures to implement the change. So if there are changes coming out of this process, in order to get them right, do them right, not create customer confusion, there will be a timeframe -- an implementation timeframe required.
1803 THE CHAIRPERSON: You understand there’s history of you litigating around this so I just wanted to have -- you have a perfect opportunity. I could ask you to go through like we did last time the entire record of all the proposals and ask you to undertake whether that you could accommodate all those and I’m sure there are hundreds of them. Would you rather us proceed that way?
1804 MR. MALCOLMSON: If I understand your question and I’m trying to be helpful, once we know what the specific changes are, we would be pleased to provide you with estimated timeframes to implement ---
1805 THE CHAIRPERSON: See, that’s not how hearings work. You don’t get to -- you don’t get -- I don’t know if something’s going on with the mics. You don’t get to veto a Commission’s decisions.
1806 MR. MALCOLMSON: And I’m in no way suggesting that. I’m just -- I want to be realistic about how long a particular change may take to implement. That’s all I’m saying is if you order a change as a result of changes to the Code, they may take time to implement. The last time I think it took six months to implement those changes. So that’s all I’m saying to you, Mr. Chairman.
1807 THE CHAIRPERSON: If you look at all the changes proposed on the record of this proceeding through all the submissions, do you believe there are any that would take more than six months to implement for your company?
1808 MS. GILLIES: I think that many of the changes that are being proposed, in fact, we referred to some of them, we’re already implementing. There are others, which again, we don’t know what those changes will be, that may take longer than six months. And until we get into our IT infrastructure which ---
1809 THE CHAIRPERSON: I didn’t ask any potential. I’ve asked the ones that have been put on the record so far by various interveners. Would any of those take more than six months to implement?
1810 MR. MALCOLMSON: We haven’t parsed every single proposed change and looked at how long is it going to take to implement this one, how long is it going to take to implement this one. We will endeavour, as we did last time, to comply with a timeframe that you provide us with to implement those changes. And we’re saying last time, which I think probably involved more extensive changes than I might anticipate this time, it took a six-month period to lift those into our system.
1811 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Legal counsel?
1812 MR. BALKOVEC: Are you familiar with the CRTC Exhibit 1 that’s been placed on the record by the hearing secretary?
1813 MR. MALCOLMSON: Yes, that’s the list of questions directed to various stakeholders of which we’re one, yes.
1814 MR. BALKOVEC: Yes, that’s right. Would you mind undertaking to answer the questions that are applicable to carriers for the 16th of February?
1815 MR. MALCOLMSON: Yes, we will do that.
1816 MR. BALKOVEC: Thank you.
1818 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I believe those are all our questions. So we’ll take a break until 10:40. Thank you very much.
--- Upon recessing at 10:24 a.m.
--- Upon resuming at 10:42 a.m.
1819 THE CHAIRPERSON: À l’ordre s’il vous plaît. Order, please.
1820 Madame la secrétaire.
1821 THE SECRETARY: Merci, Monsieur le Président.
1822 We’ll now hear item 6 on the agenda, which is the Consumers Council of Canada’s presentation. Please go ahead, sir. You have 20 minutes.
1823 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Thank you.
1824 Good morning, Commissioners Blais, Menzies and MacDonald and thank you very much for allowing the Consumers Council of Canada to attend and present at this hearing. I didn’t provide 15 copies of the seating plan because I thought it might be redundant in this particular situation so.
1825 For the record, my name is Dennis Hogarth and I am presenting on behalf of the Consumers Council of Canada. Let me begin by saying how pleased I am to be involved in these hearings, since I was also involved in the hearings three years ago that resulted in the initial Code.
1826 The Consumers Council of Canada is a not-for-profit organization that supports the protection and strengthening of consumers’ rights, and the awareness of consumer responsibilities. We do this primarily through our efforts to improve the marketplace, working with consumers, government and business. The Council has a clear interest in the Wireless Code, including its implementation and possible improvements to be made through this review process.
1827 The Council believes that a considerable positive progress has been made in the wireless marketplace in the three years since the initial implementation of the Code. However, we believe that some key issues remain unresolved as highlighted by a number of the consumers and organizations represented at this hearing. Some new issues have also emerged with changes in the marketplace for wireless services.
1828 In the next few minutes I will set out the Council's views on the Wireless Code and possible changes to be considered, but I will begin by briefly listing some of the positive aspects of the Code that must, in our view, be retained. I will then address other aspects that might require consideration.
1829 Perhaps the single most successful aspect of the Code was a reduction in the length of time that consumers are locked into contracts from three years to two. Although this had the impact of increasing the monthly cost of some subsidized phones, it reduced the potential for bill shock in situations where phones were lost, stolen, damaged or required replacement. It also improved competition in the marketplace because consumers had the freedom to change suppliers more easily in response to more competitive offerings as these have emerged in this rapidly shifting marketplace.
1830 While some wireless service providers such as Sasktel have argued that a return to a three-year contract would be desirable and would make devices more affordable to some consumers, we believe that longer term contracts should be avoided in all instances where the contract includes a device subsidy that also ties the consumer into a contract for wireless services.
1831 The implementation of notifications to wireless users as they approach their voice and data limits has also helped to reduce the number of instances of bill shock that were occurring. However, we believe that some of these improvements are still required to the way in which device and account holders authorize overages.
1832 Another major improvement has been the requirement for consumer contracts to be made available in plain language, combined with the prevention of changes from being made to a contract without the customer’s consent. In particular, the implementation of a personalized Critical Information Summary by wireless service providers has benefited Canadians in gaining a better understanding of what they are being offered by wireless services providers.
1833 Despite the successes of the Wireless Code, some key areas remain that need to be addressed. These include the need to improve public awareness public awareness of the Code, the need to assess its ongoing effectiveness in improving the marketplace for wireless services in Canada, and the need for some further adjustments, improvements and enhancements to be made to the Code three years following its implementation.
1834 On public awareness of the Code, the initial Wireless Code provided -- or required a promotion and awareness campaign to ensure the new rights and responsibilities were well understood by consumers and WSPs. Promoting awareness of the Wireless Code was intended to be the joint responsibility of the Commission, the CCTS, service providers and consumer groups, yet CCTS indicates that awareness of the Wireless Code has been gained from the -- the most awareness of the Wireless Code has been gained from the media.
1835 In addition, despite early publicity surrounding the Code when it was instituted three years ago, awareness levels have fallen and consumer awareness of the Wireless Code remains a significant issue.
1836 Wireless Code public opinion research reported that awareness of the CCTS by Canadian consumers declined from 52 percent to 45 percent during the same period, which represents a decline of 13.5 percent.
1837 We see little evidence to support the effectiveness of public awareness efforts being made by wireless service providers. Although they claim that they have abided by the publication guidelines contained in the Code, surveys have confirmed that awareness programs have relied mainly on media, word of mouth and social media, and not on disclosures or programs sponsored by the WSPs, CCTS or the CRTC.
1838 We further note that, in their submissions, many WSPs are looking only to maintain the status quo of their existing public awareness programs, with little supporting evidence as to the effectiveness of their efforts and -- other than blanket claims that their current efforts are adequate.
1839 For example, Bell claims that “awareness is less important than for consumers to understand the content of their wireless agreements”. Rogers asserts that “the current approach to ensure public awareness of the Wireless Code” is effective and “should continue unchanged [with] no need for additional promotion measures”.
1840 TELUS states that “If all WSPs are complying with the Wireless Code, the magnitude of general public awareness of the Wireless Code is far less of a concern”.
1841 We strongly disagree with all of these positions, especially given the downward three-year trend in awareness of the Wireless Code as disclosed by the Wireless Code public opinion research. We also believe that the declining awareness of the Wireless Code may mean that the picture being painted regarding the decline in the number of complaints being reported to the CCTS isn’t quite as positive as it might first appear.
1842 The CWTA has indicated that the reduction in wireless complaints by 17.6 percent and the decline in contract disputes by 1.8 percent demonstrates the positive impact of the Code and of the CCTS complaint process, yet if awareness of the Code has declined by 13.5 percent, then it follows that fewer consumers are aware of the Code or the complaint process. Taking all of these numbers together would tend to indicate that there might have been little net improvement in the number of complaints or of their resolution over the three-year period.
1843 Given all these factors, the Consumers Council of Canada recommends a renewed awareness effort consisting of an ongoing multi-faceted public awareness and marketing program of the Wireless Code by the Commission, CCTS, wireless service providers and, to the extent they are able to given a lack of available funding, consumer groups.
1844 None of the foregoing reflects negatively on the Wireless Code itself. Regardless of their level of awareness, it is likely that consumers are relatively pleased with a number of the changes that have resulted from the implementation of the Wireless Code, such as reducing the term of locked-in wireless contracts and the role that the Wireless Code has played in enabling them to change wireless service providers more easily in response to marketplace developments.
1845 Some thoughts on the evolution of the retail mobile wireless market since the implementation of the Code.
1846 The CRTC observes correctly that the retail wireless market continues to rapidly evolve and expand. Large organizations such as governments and banks are continuing to move rapidly to electronic customer support solutions, including a broad range of mobile applications.
1847 Banking, government services, health care, retail, entertainment and many other businesses are all moving to mobile friendly applications catering to the Smartphone market. Therefore, and as observed in the Wireless Code public opinion research in 2016, consumers are finding an increasing need to be continuously online through mobile connections. Smartphones and wireless access to data are becoming an essential part of their day-to-day lives.
1848 This has resulted in significant changes in industry trends. Marketing, business practices, consumer behaviour and preferences have all changed considerably since the Code was originally established three years ago.
1849 Perhaps the largest change in the marketplace has been the continued explosion in the uptake of cellular technologies by Canadian consumers. In particular, Smartphones are increasingly a requirement of day-to-day life for most of us. Along with this trend has been an expansion in the data requirements to perform many day-to-day functions.
1850 On the necessity of wireless access for Canadian consumers, the increasing requirement for connectivity is equally important for those living in outlying or rural areas, where the level of cellular service and telecommunications connectivity is limited. However, if it is left to WSPs alone to establish networks driven by market size and profitability, the focus will remain on providing improved services to larger urban centres where volumes are larger and returns are likely the greatest.
1851 We believe that a greater balance of the wireless service capabilities will only be achieved in Canada through some form of government intervention and assistance.
1852 The primary focus of the Wireless Code has been on competition at the retail level without adequately addressing the competition issues at the national network level. Given the evolution of the telecom marketplace and the direction toward greater bundling of telecom services, including wireless, the Council doubts that a retail-only focus will adequately address the overall competition issues within the telecoms sector going forward.
1853 Telecom Decision CRTC 94-19, Review of regulatory framework in 1994, indicated that:
1854 “Regulation is necessary to ensure that service is affordable, where market forces are not sufficient to provide that assurance, and to address issues of undue preference and unjust discrimination that arise due to the vertically integrated nature of the telephone companies and their dominance in some markets.”
1855 It may well be that the wireless service providers themselves will not be able to manage the investment required to put the required infrastructure in place and that government will have to step up to play a role. As part of its mandate, the CRTC should be more actively -- should more actively promote improvements and investments in the Canadian wireless infrastructure to expand connectivity.
1856 Rural and lower income users of telecoms services form a sub-market of the whole telecoms marketplace, and the Council believes that action must be taken, including regulation if necessary, to protect these users from becoming increasingly and significantly disadvantaged over time.
1857 Guiding principles should be developed regarding minimum densities in a service area to deal with the availability of wireless services in rural areas. Programs should then be initiated by government to help fund the implementation of better wireless infrastructure, for example, by assisting with the construction of communication towers in communities such that these could be shared by multiple providers, publicly or privately owned, and using a spectrum of wireless technologies to encourage improved services in remote areas.
1858 On contracts and complexity, the Wireless Code requires that wireless contracts be presented to consumers in plain language. Although some improvements have been made, these contracts remain complicated legal documents and continue to be difficult for consumers to understand despite providers pointing to the apparent decline in CCTS complaints regarding these wireless contracts.
1859 If anything, contracts have become even more complex with the advent of bundled services and shared plans and data. Replacing one device or changing a service on a shared plan over its term can often create undesired consequences for the overall plan itself, often extending its term or changing its cost structure in an unanticipated way.
1860 We believe that further efforts need to be made by providers to improve the clarity of contract language and to reduce the complexity and potential ambiguity of their agreements, and that the CRTC, and the CCTS, or their representatives, should be involved in the review and compliance of this process.
1861 In terms of the contracting process itself, we note that retail sales staff dealing with consumers are under pressure to sell phones and services to consumers, but are often equally confused by the terms and conditions of the contracts they are selling. Regardless, they apply pressure to consumers to buy phones without having a full knowledge or understanding of the terms and conditions of their contracts before signing.
1862 Although the contracts have a cooling off period that allows for a return of the device within 15 days, providing that certain conditions are met, it would be preferable to permit potential purchasers to be able to obtain a printed copy of their proposed contract prior to the completion of the purchase process to have an ample opportunity to review and understand the terms and conditions before making their purchase decision.
1863 On bundling of service offerings. Many issues have arisen from the increased bundling of services, where suppliers of telecom services offer discounts if the customer consolidates a number of different services in their service offering, such as fixed and wireless telephone, long distance service, Internet, cellular service, wireless telephone, cable offerings, and so on.
1864 Bundled offerings are often complex and frequently include short-term price reductions as incentives to sign up consumers for the services. The greater the concentration of services from a single wireless service provider, the more difficult it is to change suppliers.
1865 In many cases, a bundled offering also disguises the actual price that a consumer pays for the individual services. It also provides a significant competitor advantage to larger suppliers who are able to provide more services as part of their bundle, but possibly to the detriment of encouraging competition in the Canadian marketplace.
1866 In its Intervention Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2016-192, the Competition Bureau stated that:
1867 "When this strategic lever exists, ISPs can financially benefit from making affiliated content appear more attractive, and competing content less attractive. This influence can cause consumers to switch to affiliated content, not because of a higher intrinsic value, but rather because [the] ISP has strategically convinced consumers that the content is more valuable than market forces would otherwise dictate. This behaviour can harm competition, stall innovation, and increase prices for consumers." (As read)
1868 The Council therefore recommends that the CRTC further investigate issues relating to the bundling of services and its potential to negatively impact the Canadian wireless marketplace and determine how this conduct affects competition in device sales, telecommunications services and content services.
1869 On shared wireless plans and data. The popularity of family and shared data plans is growing. Findings of the 2016 annual review found that data within wireless and shared plans is becoming increasingly important to Canadians.
1870 According to the Wireless Code Public Opinion Research in 2016, the use of family plans rose 30 percent in 2016 while the use of individual plans declined from 73 percent to 68 percent. While these plans represent a good way for families and groups to optimize their wireless services and charges, they have the potential of tying consumers into a single supplier for longer periods. We note that shared plans also appear to be an increasing source of complaints to the CCTS.
1871 Two of the main concerns expressed by consumers in the Commission's Online Data Forum held from September 13-26, 2016 related to low data allowances, and the cost of data generally, as well as fees relating to overages incurred by family members using share plans.
1872 The CRTC needs to ensure that the wireless code fully reflects and addresses this issue, since mobile services involving data is the new minimum for meeting basic needs, especially for disadvantaged consumers. The need for a very low basic needs service seems significant.
1873 On prepaid plans. Wireless service providers are currently allowed to seize the value of prepaid account balances at the end of a specified period if an account is inactive or not topped up with another payment. This locks consumers into an endless cycle that is difficult to break because they must constantly top up an account with a credit balance if they have not used up all their credits from the previous period.
1874 Wireless phone cards are currently exempt from both the provincial and federal legislation banning expiry dates on retailer gift cards and prepaid credit cards. Although the current practice may be in accordance with wireless contracts, we believe that the practice discriminates against low and fixed income consumers who might require a phone for infrequent use or in emergency situations.
1875 Given the increasing requirement for all consumers to have access to telecommunications services, seniors and other low or fixed-income Canadians are the most reliant on these top-up cards. The Consumers Council and some other consumer-focused intervenors therefore continue to believe that these balances should be carried forward for subsequent use in more circumstances than is currently the case. We therefore recommend that the CRTC further review this practice with a view to eliminating the more discriminatory aspects of prepaid and pay‑per‑use plans.
1876 On locking and unlocking of phones. Service providers argue that the phones they sell under subsidized plans need to be locked to prevent against fraud and address potential non‑payment concerns, although they subject potential customers to fairly extensive credit checks during the sales cycle to minimize this risk. Providers state that the unlocking fees are necessary to recoup their administration costs associated with unlocking a phone.
1877 TELUS argues that unlocking fees are identified upfront to the customer and serve as a competitive differentiator for consumers looking to take advantage of the best offers on the market. Rogers believes that "no party demonstrated a significant problem that needs to be addressed" through changing the current process for unlocking of phones.
1878 From a practical standpoint, phone locking prevents customers from using a different supplier to minimize roaming and other fees when out of the country. In such cases, using a prepaid SIM chip to connect to a foreign service provider is usually far less expensive than incurring exorbitant out of country roaming and data charges imposed by many Canadian plans.
1879 We note that two of the main concerns expressed by consumers in the Commission's Online Data Forum held from September of last year, related to restrictions on device unlocking, and unlocking fees, and anti-competitive conduct in relation to rate plans and unlocking fees, so this issue is of some concern to Canadian consumers themselves.
1880 The Consumers Council position is that unlocking fees, along with the annoyance of the unlocking process itself, prevents many customers from unlocking phones when their contracts ends. This also serves as a disincentive for these phones to be connected to another supplier's network if the consumer wishes to change suppliers at the end of a contract term. We believe this contravenes the spirit of the Code.
1881 The cost of unlocking the phone when consumers have satisfied their contract commitment can range to as much as 50 to 100 percent of the phone's residual value. This negatively impacts the possible resale and re‑use of these phones in the secondary marketplace for purchases -- purchasers who wish to connect to a different supplier, thus inhibiting the growth of an otherwise competitive secondary marketplace for phones and services and limiting competition in the marketplace.
1882 We therefore agree with the Coalition and many of the other interveners representing consumers that the current practice of charging for devices to be unlocked when they have satisfied their contract commitment should be discontinued. We believe that phones should be automatically be unlocked by the service providers when fully paid or at the end of their contract term.
1883 The cost of unlocking the device should either be borne by the service providers at the time of unlocking, or built into the cost of the service contract at the outset of the contract in the case of a subsidized purchase plan. In this way, the consumer is more easily able to move to a different supplier once his or her contract commitment has been satisfied should they desire to do so. On flex plans and data counts ---
1884 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Hogarth, you’re ---
1885 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Yes.
1886 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- well over your 20 minutes so ---
1887 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Okay.
1888 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- I’m going to ask you to just sum up.
1889 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I’m just -- I’m at about the end so.
1890 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, but ---
1891 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Just on ---
1892 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- we have to be fair to everyone.
1893 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Yeah.
1894 THE CHAIRPERSON: So could you please sum up?
1895 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Okay. All right. Just simply on flex plans and data caps, we believe that those should be -- consumers should have the opportunity to set their own limits on those plans.
1896 And in terms of the next review of the Code we think that it should be in three years because of the rapid changes in the marketplace that are occurring.
1897 So thank you.
1898 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. So I’ll put you in the hands of Commissioner MacDonald who will start off the questions.
1899 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Good morning. Just before I get into my questions, I note that you included in your submission from September the responses you received from your public interest network, 13 different questions. I’m just wondering, how did you develop those 13 questions? Were they developed by your Board? Were they based on concerns that consumers had expressed to you? How did you land on those 13?
1900 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: A little bit of both. Those were -- those questions were developed in combination with our executive director who is basically on the firing line of a lot of the issues that come forward and has a lot of information in the area. I participated as well as one of our other board members who is -- who are -- who is very, you know, sort of familiar with the marketplace.
1901 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And this -- the public interest network that you have I assume you reach out to them on a variety of different topics of interest?
1902 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Yes.
1903 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: With the responses that you got back, you said you had about -- your intervention said you had about a 15 percent response rate.
1904 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Right.
1905 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Just so I understand the data that was presented, are you able to confirm -- and you did note that they may not -- the results may not be totally representative of the full Canadian population.
1906 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: That is correct.
1907 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Are you able to confirm that all of the participants are Canadian and are wireless service users?
1908 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Well, they’re all Canadians. It’s -- due to the nature of the public interest network, some of them have an interest in a broader range or a different set of consumer issues because the Consumers Council deals with more than just wireless issues. So we would expect that the people who -- the representatives on the network who responded would have had the most interest in the Wireless Code. But they are, we’re pretty confident, all Canadian, you know, all Canadian citizens and residents.
1909 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And chances are they would be wireless users?
1910 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Yes, who have an interest, as I say, in the Code.
1911 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay.
1912 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: The others who didn’t respond probably are more interested in other matters such as energy and, you know, the -- those real estate and those things.
1913 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. Thank you.
1914 And I also note that on paragraph 27 of your intervention you made mention that the Council had conducted face-to-face question of staff in retail outlets. And I’m just wondering if you could expand on that a little bit. Approximately how many outlets did you go to, which service providers, if you know that, and in what general geography those face-to-face encounters happened?
1915 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Which is this -- which is the clause again?
1916 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So at paragraph 27 it says “other research performed by the Council included face-to-face questioning of staff at retail outlets selling wireless phones and associated contracts on behalf” ---
1917 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Yeah.
1918 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: --- “of various suppliers.”
1919 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I did that personally at a couple of the suppliers in the Town of Cobourg, Ontario.
1920 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. Thank you.
1921 Let’s start out with data overage. And we’ve had conversations over the last couple of days and evidence filed by the CCTS that show that wireless service providers may be applying data caps on a per line basis. And we take note of that with the knowledge that Canadians are also subscribing more and more to family or shared plans. The popularity of those plans is increasing. So I’m just wondering, what are your groups’ thoughts on how data caps should be applied? Should they be applied on a per line basis or on a broader account-wide basis?
1922 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I think probably the data caps we would be more comfortable with a per line basis because it allows for, you know, better control. But as I said briefly, we would like -- we would prefer an environment where the consumers were actually allowed to set those data caps, you know, at limits that they are comfortable with. But on the whole, I mean, it would be if you set a data cap for the entire plan it might cause difficulty for, you know, for families that instead of paying, you know, for a $50 overage they -- they’re stuck at all of a sudden they’re $200 instead of -- for 4 members on a plan.
1923 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And when you say “consumers set those limits”, do you mean that within let’s say a family plan environment I would -- you know, I’m given a certain data allotment by my service provider and then I choose how much I allocate to myself versus my wife versus my children?
1924 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: That could be correct or that I think it’s more a case of, you know, setting the limits. And then if it was a case of for the overall account somebody might set a limit of $100 that the -- you know, as the overage. Others might say if it was a per unit plan they might say that $50 is fine. Others, you know, who have heavy users -- uses might say, well, listen, I’d like to set those limits at $100 a person and $500 for my account. And, you know, our view is that that should be permitted. In some cases $50 might be too high and in other cases it might be too low.
1925 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And how should the costs be calculated and applied in a family plan environment? Should -- and we’ll get into notifications in a second but should a notification, whatever it may look like, go out once any member of that plan goes over their data cap and is subject to an overage charge? Should it go out on a per line basis or on account-wide basis?
1926 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I think it’s most appropriate if it goes out to all the users on that plan just because they -- you might have three people or two people who have their phones on at the time that the notification comes through. I personally have two kids who are heavy data users. My wife and I are less so and, you know, it’s extremely helpful when the entire family gets a notification of the fact that we’re approaching, you know, the limit of our plan and we can take immediate action to adjust our behaviour.
1927 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And in the case where you may get multiple notifications, how should they be presented to a customer? To use your children as an example, maybe your first child has gone over and has incurred a $50 overage charge. Your second child may have done the same. Should you just get a second $50 notification charge or should it say, you know, now 2 members have gone over. Your data overage is now $100 for this month.
1928 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I think the issue is more in terms of notification at that point. It’s the authorization process that needs to kick in, which is the account holder certainly needs to be in control of the overall account, but should also be able to authorize certain other individuals on the account to, you know, to be able to authorize overages if they so desire. I think that issue has been discussed in the last two days.
1929 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. Thank you. That helps to answer a couple of questions I had later on as well.
1930 Do you see -- different providers set their notification limits at -- or notification protocols at different levels. We heard from Bell. They notify customers when they’ve reached 95 percent, other providers may send a notification out at 90 percent or 80. Do you think a specific notification threshold is something that should form part of the Code?
1931 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I think that would be useful so that there’s some uniformity to the process. I personally think that the notification should go out at 50 percent so that you have an opportunity to judge what the remaining usage is going to be and take the appropriate action, and then I think the 95 percent -- 90 or 95 percent level is also appropriate so that somebody knows what, you know, what is coming.
1932 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So you'd suggest a 50 percent and a 90 or a 95 percent ---
1933 MR. CLEVELAND-HOGARTH: Correct.
1934 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: --- threshold?
1935 Do consumers need multiple notifications throughout the month? You know, I think of a Canadian budget in their food bill for a given month, and they make the decision they want to steak in week one, knowing full well that they may be eating hot dogs in week two. And I'm wondering, do more notifications need to happen throughout the month so people can judge how quickly they're using their data allotment or are the existing data management tools that the WSPs have in place sufficient to do that?
1936 MR. CLEVELAND-HOGARTH: I think it would become probably an irritant for a number of people if there were, you know, many notifications that went out during a month.
1937 If you're at the middle of the month and, you know, you're at the 50 percent allotment, you're probably going to say, well, I'm at about the right level in terms of my data usage. You might caution others on the account if you're the account holder to, you know, to basically, you know, manage to the same levels. But I think the two notifications would be adequate to prevent people from going over and to create a stage where they're eating hot dogs instead of steak after that.
1938 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: You said that notification should definitely go out to the account holder, and I believe you said to all the other users on the plan as well, is that correct?
1939 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Yes.
1940 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: You just mentioned notifications potentially becoming a nuisance, and I think to younger children when my stepdaughter gets a notification from our wireless service provider the first thing that happens is, you know, come running downstairs and oh, Provider X has emailed me, or text messaged me.
1941 Should who gets those notifications be determined by the account holder or should the default that the WSPs choose should it be to go to everyone?
1942 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I think it's useful if it goes to everyone, but I can see situations where, you know, the account holder would say, well, I have, you know, I have three other people on this account, and one of them would be, you know, upset if they got the notification instead of me. So you know, it would be nice if the service providers were able to provide that flexibility as well, but I don't think it's essential.
1943 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Family plans have certain characteristics that are very similar to shared plans that a small business may employ, but obviously family dynamics are different than a small business because people tend to be together more often or centred in one geographic location.
1944 Based on your answers to the previous questions, do you think that we should treat both the same or are special provisions warranted for small business given that their workforce may be more remote in nature?
1945 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Yeah, I think so. The, you know, the other thing is I'm not sure that you'd want everybody on that small business plan. Say you had 10 employees in your company, you wouldn't necessarily want them all to receive a notification that the -- of a potential overage. That should basically be the, once again, the account holder and anybody else who's designated as having authority over the account.
1946 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Thank you.
1947 So in a situation where everyone on a given plan, family plan, receives that notification, I'd like to find out who your thoughts -- what your thoughts are on who should be able to consent to that overage. Do you think it should just be the account holder? If everyone is getting the notification, should anyone be able to consent?
1948 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I think the account holder and anyone that the account holder authorizes on that account. So I think there needs to be specific authorization by the account holder, you know, for others who might have the authority to override. That might become a necessity because the account holder might not be in a position to always receive the message, you know, when it, you know, when it is sent. So they might want a secondary.
1949 So for example, in my case, you know, I would probably be the account holder and my wife might be the secondary who is authorized to approve an overage.
1950 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And presumably, if you were okay with your children consenting to overages you could consent them?
1951 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Yeah, one I might give authority to; the other one I might not.
1952 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: That's your judgement call if they aren't.
1953 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Exactly.
1954 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Assuming that based on the systems that the service providers have in place, assuming it's not technically or economically feasible to be able to customize the notice and the consent for overage with that level of flexibility, do you think that they should just dictate that only the account holder can consent, or go in totally the other direction that anyone on the account can consent? Where does the risk lie between those two opposite ends of the spectrum?
1955 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I think if there were, you know, if anybody on the account was able to authorize overages there should be a secondary control of some sort, such as a PIN that would be entered in by, you know, by the person who, you know, by one of the account holders so that, you know, the account holder could then control the authorization through a PIN code if the service provider wasn't able to provide the flexibility.
1956 I think that would also prevent against, you know -- there was one -- notification on the CBC last night about a person who had lost their cell phone and -- in the U.S. and it was used to rack up a huge amount of charges. The message went out but the person who had the phone basically authorized the overage. If there was a separate PIN code that was associated with that it would provide greater control.
1957 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Thank you. You're anticipating my questions and examples before I ask them, so I appreciate that because I was going to cite that example.
1958 Given how many Canadians are paying overage fees, do you think that we should re‑examine what the -- how the caps are currently set today at the $50 and the $100, do you view those caps as reasonable, or do you think that they should be altered up or down in any way?
1959 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I don't know because the, you know, for some people those caps might be appropriate, for others, they might be too high or too low. So you know, those caps are basically set as average by, you know, that the service providers think is an acceptable limit. But as data usage goes up, you know, it's probably going to be a case where those caps need to be re‑examined.
1960 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: $50 to one Canadian may be a lot of money, $50 to another Canadian it may not be a lot of money. If the systems of the service providers could be adapted, do you think it would be appropriate to allow the end user to set what that amount is?
1961 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Yes.
1962 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: They are comfortable with $10 versus $50?
1963 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Yes, so I think I said that. If the limits -- it would be an ideal situation if the limits were set by the consumers at a level that they felt comfortable with.
1964 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay, thank you.
1965 When the CCTS made a recent submission, they noted that 71 percent of the complaints that they received on roaming charges were related to voice services and not data services. And when you were last here talking about the Wireless Code, voice services were not included because we believed Canadians generally understood how that worked and what was required.
1966 Given the fact that so many of the complaints are now related to voice and not data, how do you think the Code should be or if it should be adapted to include voice roaming charges as well?
1967 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I think the problem may be with the explanations or the way that the roaming plans are marketed. They’re more -- they appear to be more geared toward people who are texting and using, you know, the Internet occasionally to browse. And there’s probably not a clear enough understanding of what -- you know, what is happening on the voice side if somebody, for example, is out of the country and uses the phone, you know, that thinks that the usage of the phone, you know, for voice is not going to -- you know, is not going to incur those huge charges. So I think it’s probably more a lack of understanding of the plans as opposed to something that needs to be, you know, put into the Code.
1968 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay.
1969 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I mean, it comes into contract clarity and clarity of understanding of the contract.
1970 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And in that example of more complaints coming in with respect to voice overage, do you think that problem is more acute with certain segments of the population, perhaps older individuals who may be more prone to voice services versus younger individuals who may be more tied to data?
1971 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I think that’s possible. I think, you know, people have their preferences in terms of whether they use, you know, a telephone, the voice, more often than data. I mean, I think the younger generation is probably more attune to, you know, data -- to use of data than voice.
1972 So yes, it may be, you know, kind of the older generation or people who are just -- you know, who are just stuck on the old, you know, telephone, which is a strong possibility.
1973 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: You mentioned in your opening remarks the 15-day trial period. And I’m wondering, do you think, as implemented by the service providers, that the current 15-day trial period, as it exists, is adequate?
1974 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I think one of the issues is that the person who goes in and buys, you know, a cellphone or a smartphone is not -- you know, is not necessarily provided with a clear understanding of the contract that they’re signing. So that forms part of it that, you know, if they could get the contract in advance I think they would be -- you know, they would know better what they’re signing up for.
1975 But then there is the aspect of, you know, the phone itself, taking it home, finding out that, you know, you don’t get the service in your area that you thought you were going to get.
1976 And, you know, I think, in general, if the person understands what they’re signing up for and has -- and perhaps ahead of time, it would be -- that’s why we propose that the Critical Information Summary be available to people who are considering purchases before they buy, then -- you know, then I think 15 days would be adequate to check out the phone.
1977 I do think -- I do agree with the concept that, you know, that 15 days, which is half a month, should come with it an allocation of half of a month’s regular service so that people can have a chance to adequately try out the service and see if it works for them.
1978 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So the trial should include a reasonable amount of voice minutes and
1980 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Yes.
1981 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: --- data to be able to have normal usage for those 15 days without voiding a warranty. Is that correct?
1982 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: That’s correct.
1983 And we do agree that, you know, people who are handicapped, you know, should have a longer period, which I think is 30 days, to continue to have 30 days to evaluate their phone.
1984 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Often when you get a new wireless device there’s data incurred in actually getting it setup, downloading the software you need, the applications that are required from your service provider, and that can eat up a portion. I don’t know whether it’s a small portion or a large portion of that 50 percent of a normal month. Should that be -- should the setup of the device be excluded from the data or voice allotments in the trial period?
1985 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I would say so, yes. You know, if the -- and generally those phones are setup by the suppliers, you know, at the time that they’re purchased. So, you know, that particular period should be -- you know, should be excluded.
1986 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And just for clarity, you said 50 percent of the data package for the 15-day trial what should that percentage be set at for a Canadian with a disability that can avail of the 30-day trial period?
1987 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I would guess that that, you know, should potentially be set at the full rate, the full 100 percent of the month just because that person is probably -- may have a more difficult time evaluating, you know, sort of the phone.
1988 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. Thank you.
1989 A lot of wireless providers offer different gifts, enticements to select provider A over provider B, gift cards. I’ve seen even Apple TV’s on the offer for if some were to purchase a larger bundle. And I’m just wondering if you think the Code should be adapted in any way to account for the gifts with purchase?
1990 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: In terms of the return of the gifts if the ---
1991 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: In terms of the return of the gift, potentially in terms of return of the gift if it’s been used or damaged during that period.
1992 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I think there needs to be a clear -- you know, if the -- there is a certain cost that all retailers have in doing business and they provide incentives, you know, as to people to -- you know, to purchase their products, and that cost should be, you know, sort of for their own risk, unless it is something that is -- you know, that is returnable, it is very expensive, and it’s written into the contract so that, you know, the person who’s receiving the gift understands clearly that if they return the product in the next 15 days that that gift has to be returned in the same condition as the -- you know, if possible, as the phone itself.
1993 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Would it make more sense for providers to only give that gift after the 15 days have expired?
1994 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: That would be appropriate, yes.
1995 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: With respect to unlocking fees, in your intervention you noted that the average life of a smartphone is 4.7 years. This is obviously longer than a two-year contract. You could be well into your third contract before that device reached end of life. And you note that your recommendation is that unlocking fees -- and I’m going to read your quote from your intervention -- “should be unlocked for free or for a much lower charge.” I assume free is the ideal. If not free, what do you view as a reasonable charge?
1996 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I think some of the discussion yesterday and today was that, you know, perhaps a charge might be $10 or something that wouldn’t be a barrier to the person who wants to unlock the device.
1997 You know, I think it’s the same in the case where somebody is basically roaming, you know, in the U.S. and they want to use their own phone with a different SIM card. So, you know, I think $10 would be a -- may be a reasonable fee.
1998 As I say, $50, or even more, you get into a situation where at the end of the two-year period the amortized -- not the amortized -- the residual value of a device, say an iPhone 5, which is maybe two years old, you can get $50 from your -- you know, if you trade it in. The cost of $50 to unlock it would seem unreasonable and prevent -- certainly prevents somebody from reselling that phone into the secondary marketplace because the cost of unlocking it becomes, you know, just exorbitant in relation to the value of the phone.
1999 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: If we were to not allow locking fees to be charged, do you have any concern that on a 24-month contract if provider X can’t charge the $50 unlocking fee that they’ll just increase my monthly fee by $2 a month to recoup those costs?
2000 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I think in some cases it’d be, you know, it’d be better to have that cost built in so that the person is not -- the consumer is not faced with the bill at the end of the piece. But I think the service providers have already argued that, you know, they do competitive pricing and, you know, that in fact some have argued that, you know, the price of the unlocking fee at the end is -- gives some -- the probably ones who price their unlocking fees at a lower amount gives them a competitive advantage.
2001 I think the same thing would be true if, you know, at the initial purchase, if somebody was purchasing a phone and knew that they were going to get $2 a month added to their bill for unlocking at the end versus a supplier that says, well, you know, we’re going to unlock your phone for free at the end without a $2 a month charge, you know, that would be a competitive, you know, give them a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
2002 And I don’t believe that, you know, that the phone actually costs $50 to unlock. I think it’s -- I would argue that it is much lower than that and it’s basically a, you know, free cash to the supplier at the end of the term and does serve to lock in people because it’s much more difficult and time-consuming to switch at that point suppliers than it is to carry on with your plan with the current supplier.
2003 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: What about if a customer, for whatever reason, decided to end their agreement with a service provider before the two-year, say they ended it after one year, does it become more appropriate to charge that unlocking fee if the client initiates an end to their relationship with their service provider early?
2004 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I don’t believe so because that, in the end, is basically locking the consumer into a, you know, into a contract. Whereas, if they -- you know, if say at the end of one year of the term they’re willing to buy out the phone to move to another supplier and pay $2 or $300 to do that, should they be charged an additional $50 for unlocking the phone at that point?
2005 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: You’ve mentioned contract clarity a number of times. As part of that, with early cancellation fees, customers are able to see from month 1 to month 24 they’re able to know that their early cancellation fee is decreasing with each month that they’re in the contract and eventually reaching 0. Would a similar approach make sense for unlocking fees if we were to allow them?
2006 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: If -- it would make sense if you were to allow them, yes.
2007 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay.
2008 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: And if they were basically reduced along the, you know, along the length of the contract.
2009 COMMISSION MacDONALD: In the interest of clarity again, do you think -- what are your thoughts on service providers being required to report to the Commission about their unlocking practices, number of complaints that they’ve received, revenues derived from unlocking fees on an annual basis?
2010 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Well, I think revenue derived from unlocking fees, you know, would make sense. I’m not sure that there are a lot of people who would take the time to complain about unlocking fees to the extent that they would take it to the, you know, CCTS, for example. So, you know, I think it’s just a common irritant as opposed to a, you know, something that would generate a lot of complaints.
2011 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: But in the interest of public awareness or comparison shopping between providers, would it make sense for that information to be filed with the Commission and perhaps made public so you know what each of the providers are charging for an unlocking fee and how frequently those requests come up?
2012 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I would think so. That information is fairly easy to obtain on the internet anyway though, so there are comparison between, you know, between the service providers, you know, that list their unlocking fees but ---
2013 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Just one final question on unlocking fees. Would it make sense -- I guess it’s a two-part question. Would it make sense to include all information -- wherever we land on locking fees, all information regarding the fee amount and the structure of it, include that information in the Critical Information Summary?
2014 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Yes, and I think some suppliers already do but I think all of them should -- it should be something that’s clearly laid out in the CIS of all the suppliers.
2015 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And should those terms and should that unlocking amount remain unchanged for the duration of the contract in question?
2016 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Well, I think the ideal, as we said, it would be best if it was amortized along with the, you know, with the rest of the incentive with the phone as opposed to, you know, sort of being a deterrent at the end.
2017 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. Contract clarity now. In your recommendations you stated that the CCTS or the CRTC should obtain standard contracts from each of the WSPs and compare them to verify compliance. I would assume that your thought in that is if they are found to be non -- in non-compliance that steps would be taken to bring them into compliance. It wouldn’t just be an information exercise?
2018 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Well, that’s correct. But I think the other part of the exercise would be to, you know, for an independent assessment of just how clear the terms and conditions are and how -- and whether the contracts could, in fact, be simplified, you know, for a better understanding by the consumer.
2019 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And you would see that happening on an annual basis or just once as a result of the decisions that will flow from this proceeding?
2020 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I think, you know, an annual basis will be good. I mean, a reasonable period would seem to, you know, to make sense.
2021 The -- you know, the contracts are going to constantly be changed. I mean, they -- because the marketplace is evolving so rapidly. And perhaps the other way of doing it would be, you know, to specify a normal period of time, maybe a year or two years, or anytime the contract is -- a supplier’s contract is significantly changed.
2022 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: What are your thoughts on a provision whereby service providers were required to sell the device, be it sell a finance device independently of the wireless plan that they’re also offering to the customer, does that -- separating those two elements of the service, the device and the service, does that improve clarity in any way?
2023 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I think it would improve clarity. And I think as we get into the increasing bundling of services that it’s going to become, you know, very complex if there isn’t sort of some identification of what amounts are allocated to each of the, you know, each of the parts of the bundle.
2024 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: From a contract and/or billing standpoint, would they need to be totally separate contracts, totally separate bills? Or could they be combined and just itemized?
2025 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Well, I think they might be combined but I’m not a lawyer to put the agreement together.
2026 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Nor am I.
2027 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Yeah, so they would have to determine whether that’s feasible and practical.
2028 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: What are your thoughts on when the modified Code should come into effect and how long should providers have to come into compliance?
2029 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I’m going to say I actually side with some of the wireless providers on some of this that, you know, there needs to be a reasonable term and that’s very difficult to determine until they know what changes are needed to their, you know, their systems and all the rest of it. So I think that that’s something that should possibly be an area of negotiation.
2030 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And on which contracts do you think it should be applied? Should it be applied to all contracts regardless of when they were signed or only contracts that are signed on a go-forward basis?
2031 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I think it -- and I know the problems that it caused last time but I think that -- I think it should be applied to all contracts with a reasonable timeframe, you know, for organizations to get their arms around, you know, what changes need to be made.
2032 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. Thank you.
2033 In your surveys and your intervention you note that, at least among the people that you’ve talked to and surveyed, that awareness to the Code is relatively low. And we’ve had this conversation in the past with other interveners and in other proceedings, what are your thoughts on is general awareness among the public of a certain percentage what we should be striving for or is situational awareness more important so when clients do run into an issue they know what recourses is at their fingertips?
2034 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: You know, I think both. I think the -- at the outset and I see no reason, for example, why a copy of the simplified Code as a brochure can’t be stapled to a, you know, to a contract or provided at the time that the contract is signed so that people file it away if, you know, for future reference if they need it.
2035 And but I also agree with the fact that, you know, at the time when a person, you know, needs it the most they might not remember where they filed their contract and there should be some -- and I know it’s been argued that there are, you know, there are easy ways for them to go online and find it, you know, but they may not know that -- of the existence of the CRTC or the CCTS in order to go to those websites, and just something that simple.
2036 I mean, the argument is well, there are clear lengths in our, you know, sort of in our service provider’s websites, you know, to those -- to the Code and to the CCTS but people may not know how to go, you know, to find that information when they need it the most.
2037 So I think, you know, the time when they need it the most is usually when they have a dispute with, you know, with their wireless service provider. But I don’t think the wireless service providers are always providing them with, you know, information when they phone in saying, you know, if they’ve got a problem, if they’re not satisfied with the solution that they are being provided with that they, you know, they can refer upwards to the -- you know, to the Code and to the CCTS.
2038 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: You mentioned including a simplified version of the Code stapled to the initial contract. You also mentioned potentially a going out when bills are sent out to customers. How often would you see a requirement to send that information out? Monthy? Quarterly? Once a year?
2039 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I think it would just be background noise if it was sent out monthly. You know, perhaps annually would be, you know, would be adequate. And, as I say, the notification when somebody has a problem or they’re negotiating with their wireless service provider they should be, you know, sort of notified at that point of the fact that the Wireless Code exists and the CCTS is a possible dispute resolution mechanism if they can’t come to terms with their service providers.
2040 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay.
2041 And in paragraph 37 of your September intervention you mentioned the need for broader marketing and awareness campaigns. I’m just wondering if the simplified Code is included in the initial contract and periodically in monthly bills is a broader campaign still warranted or would that suffice?
2042 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I think it is. I mean, I think that what’s going to happen as a result of these hearings and the publicity surrounding them, there’s going to be a lot more awareness again of the Wireless Code and then it will diminish.
2043 But I like the discussion yesterday about the fact that the Privacy Commissioner has probably done a lot more to, you know, to sort of promote the PIPEDA and the various, you know, privacy options available to people and there seems to be a little bit more -- or the testimony was that that has resulted in greater understanding of, you know, privacy laws in Canada. I think something similar might be better here than just having the CRTC have it on its website.
2044 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. Just two more questions before I hand you back over to my colleagues who may have some questions.
2045 Some have suggested that service providers at times are perhaps not informing their clients that they can go to the CCTS and the recourse under the Code when they reach the second level, escalation. And I’m wondering if you think it would be of use and value for those providers to have to provide information to the Commission on the number of people that have reached second level escalation for a problem within their organization and confirm and provide the numbers of how many have been referred to the CCTS.
2046 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Yeah. I think that might be useful information. I think it would be useful to find out how many people drop off in the -- somewhere in the process because of frustration or the fact that their -- the dollar amounts are not considered to be enough for them to carry on in the process. I think there are a lot -- a lot of these things that are probably a lot of potential complaints that are lost along the way so that they never, you know, get to the point of being captured as a statistic of what’s happening in the marketplace.
2047 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. And final question, would you see any value in those reports being made public so groups such as yourselves or consumers can review those results?
2048 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I think so in the same way that, you know, the surveys and reports that are being made from the CRTS and the CCTS right now are being made public.
2049 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. Thank you. Those are my questions.
2050 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Thank you.
2051 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I believe our legal counsel has a question for you.
2052 MR. BALKOVEC: Good morning. In your submission you’ve made some -- you’ve made your position on prepaid cards quite clear so I won’t ask you about that. But I’m wondering if you have any opinions as to another type of prepaid plan that’s come up over the course of the last several days, particularly pay in advance plans that are separate from prepaid cards but may have terms of longer than a month. Do you have any opinion as to whether those need some kind of different treatment under the Code?
2053 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I ---
2054 MR. BALKOVEC: For instance, the provision of a CIS?
2055 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I think the irritant -- the main irritant is if there’s cash balances that are wiped off the table at the end. And, you know, a reasonable approach, for example, might be to -- if anybody’s got a cash balance on their plan that’s left that it’s amortized maybe at the rate of $5 a month before the, you know, the plan expires as opposed to just having it all of a sudden disappear off the table.
2056 MR. BALKOVEC: Okay. Thank you for that.
2057 And are you familiar with the CRTC Exhibit 1 that’s been added to the record of the proceeding?
2058 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: No, I’m not but ---
2059 MR. BALKOVEC: Okay. You can speak with the hearing secretary and she’ll ---
2060 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Yeah.
2061 MR. BALKOVEC: --- provide you with a copy. There are some questions on that that we would like to ask consumer groups to answer as well. Would you undertake to do that ---
2062 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Sure.
2063 MR. BALKOVEC: --- for the 16th of February? Thank you.
2064 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: That’s February 16th?
2065 THE CHAIRPERSON: That’s correct. Can you meet that deadline?
2066 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I can. I said that is February 16th so ---
2067 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, that’s correct.
2068 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: --- before I get ---
2069 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah.
2070 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: --- before I get ---
2071 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, okay.
2072 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: --- pinned down.
2073 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, well, if for whatever reason you can’t answer any of those questions, just provide that as your response to your undertaking.
2074 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Sure.
2075 THE CHAIRPERSON: Not an option we offer to large telecommunication companies however.
2076 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: I’ve noticed.
2078 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Those are our questions. Thank you for ---
2079 MR. CLEVELAND HOGARTH: Thank you.
2080 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- participating. Very much appreciated.
2081 We will adjourn until 1:00. Donc, on ajournement jusqu’à 13h00. Merci.
--- Upon recessing at 11:56 a.m.
--- Upon resuming at 1:01 p.m./
2082 LE PRÉSIDENT: Order, please. À l’ordre, s’il vous plait.
2083 Madame la secrétaire.
2084 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci, Monsieur le président. Nous entendrons maintenant la présentation de Québecor Média au nom de Vidéotron.
2085 Alors, Monsieur Béland, s’il vous plait, présentez vos collègues aux fins du dossier avant de débuter. Merci.
2086 M. BÉLAND: Monsieur le président, Monsieur le vice-président, Monsieur le conseiller, bonjour. Je m’appelle Dennis Béland et je suis vice-président, Affaires réglementaires, Télécommunications de Québecor Média.
2087 Permettez-moi de vous présenter les collègues qui m’accompagnent aujourd’hui.
2088 À ma gauche, il s’agit de Bertrand Hébert, vice-président, Marketing de Vidéotron, et à sa gauche, Caroline Paquet, directrice principale, Marketing, Relations client et contenu de Vidéotron. À la gauche de Caroline, se trouve Pascal Desroches, gestionnaire principale, Service des relations avec la clientèle de Vidéotron. À ma droite, il s’agit d’Antoinette Noviello, directrice générale, Contrôleur corporatif de Vidéotron, et à sa droite, Frédéric Shapiro, conseiller juridique de Québecor Média. À la droite de Frédéric se trouve François Joli‑Coeur, conseiller, Affaires réglementaires de Québecor Média.
2089 Je passe maintenant la parole à Bertrand qui commencera notre présentation.
M. HÉBERT: Merci, Dennis.
2090 Merci au Conseil de nous offrir l’opportunité de vous présenter de vive voix nos points de vue sur les importantes questions soulevées par la présente audience.
2091 Nous souhaitons débuter notre présentation en affirmant que, de façon générale, le Code sur les services sans fil est efficace et a eu un impact positif pour les consommateurs.
2092 On se rappelle, par exemple, qu’un des objectifs fixés par le Conseil lors de l’audience initiale sur le développement du Code était de réduire les obstacles au changement de fournisseur de services sans fil. De l’avis de Vidéotron, cet objectif a été atteint. Les consommateurs canadiens n’ont jamais eu plus de facilité dans l’exercice de leur choix de fournisseur, et cela a forcé tout le monde à redoubler d’efforts afin d’attirer de nouveaux clients et de fidéliser leur clientèle existante.
2093 Chez Vidéotron, je suis heureux de dire que nous avons eu un certain succès à cet égard. Depuis votre première audience sur le Code sans fil – en février 2013 –, notre clientèle a plus que doublé, pour atteindre plus de 860 000 abonnés au 30 septembre 2016. Vidéotron a réalisé ces gains en effectuant des investissements massifs dans son réseau, en assurant une qualité de service à la clientèle hors pair, et en offrant des forfaits de service concurrentiels taillés aux besoins de ses clients.
2094 On note, en passant, que les consommateurs québécois ont tiré des bénéfices particuliers de cette situation. Non seulement ont-ils maintenant une alternative aux fournisseurs titulaires, mais en plus, ils bénéficient de prix plus bas au Québec qu’à l’échelle nationale, comme le dévoile l’étude annuelle de comparaison des tarifs des services de télécommunications publiée par le Conseil.
2095 Un autre des objectifs fixés par le Conseil lors de l’audience initiale sur le développement du Code était l’amélioration de la clarté des contrats de services sans fil. Or, l’étude de TNS Canada constate qu’« un grand nombre de Canadiens trouvent les contrats de services sans fil clairs et faciles à comprendre », ce qui témoigne de l’impact positif des règles visant l’atteinte de cet objectif.
2096 Le contrat de service de Vidéotron se conformait déjà à ces règles lors de l’adoption du Code, mais nous avons tout de même travaillé, dans les dernières années, sur un projet en collaboration avec l’organisme de vulgarisation juridique Éducaloi afin de rendre notre contrat encore plus facile à comprendre pour les clients. Notre nouveau contrat sera bientôt mis en circulation.
2097 L’étude de TNS Canada fait aussi état d’une diminution des plaintes à propos des services sans fil pour une deuxième année consécutive, ce qui tend à démontrer que la mise en application des exigences du Code par les fournisseurs a eu l’effet escompté. De plus, le Code a eu un impact positif quant à l’objectif du Conseil de diminuer le nombre de factures-surprises. La proportion de clients affirmant en avoir reçu en 2016 est en diminution. Il s’agit de données encourageantes, surtout au Québec où cette proportion se situe à 12 % contre 21 % à l’échelle nationale.
2098 Mes collègues aborderont maintenant plusieurs sujets spécifiques au contenu du Code dont nous souhaitons discuter avec vous aujourd’hui. D’abord, nous discuterons de l’évolution importante en cours dans le marché du sans-fil canadien et de deux idées que nous avons afin de permettre au Code de mieux s’y adapter. Par la suite, nous aborderons deux éléments du Code qui sont source d’irritants pour Vidéotron et qui pourraient être modifiés sans affecter les droits des consommateurs. Pour finir, nous allons démontrer pourquoi deux propositions d’intervenants dans cette instance ne devraient pas être adoptées.
2099 Mme PAQUET: Tel que mentionné par Bertrand, le marché du sans-fil canadien vit actuellement une évolution importante, celle de l’engouement pour les services de données. Le Rapport de surveillance des communications du Conseil l’indique clairement : «les Canadiens ont changé la manière dont ils utilisent leurs appareils mobiles, utilisant davantage les données plutôt que les services de voix ».
2100 Un appareil sans fil n’est plus un appareil de services vocaux auquel on ajoute, de manière secondaire, quelques applications de données limitées. Un appareil sans fil est devenu, pour de nombreux Canadiens, leur point d’entrée principal au monde numérique – pour accéder aux réseaux sociaux, pour interagir avec leurs applications préférées, et même pour se divertir. Ils veulent rester connectés partout et en tout temps.
2101 Les fournisseurs de services sans fil comme Vidéotron s’adaptent aux nouvelles attentes des clients en développant des offres innovatrices qui répondent à leurs besoins. Les fournisseurs se livrent une concurrence avec des forfaits qui comprennent de plus grandes capacités de données et davantage de flexibilité dans la tarification de celles-ci. Il est important que le Code sans fil s’adapte à cette évolution.
2102 L’engouement des Canadiens pour les services de données se manifeste entre autres lorsqu’ils sont à l’étranger. Ils s’attendent à pouvoir accéder à leurs applications préférées en voyage comme à la maison. Pour répondre à cette demande, plusieurs fournisseurs ont développé des offres de passes d’itinérance quotidiennes. Ces passes offrent une alternative à la facturation de l’itinérance à l’usage puisqu’elles sont facturées en fonction du nombre de journées d’utilisation des services à l’étranger.
2103 Ce mode de facturation permet aux clients de facilement contrôler leur facture d’itinérance, puisque le coût d’utilisation des services ne dépend pas d’un facteur abstrait comme le nombre de mégaoctets consommés, mais du nombre de jours d’utilisation.
2104 Compte tenu de leur prévisibilité inhérente, nous demandons au Conseil de clarifier que le coût des passes d’itinérance quotidiennes ne soit pas comptabilisé dans la limite de 100 $ de frais d’itinérance prévue par le Code.
2105 En termes de consommation de données au Canada, la situation est similaire avec les forfaits flexibles. Ces forfaits ont été développés pour répondre aux besoins des clients dont la consommation de données peut varier de façon importante d’un mois à l’autre. Ces forfaits s’ajustent à la consommation de données des clients en fonction des paliers définis, chaque palier correspondant à une quantité de données et à un prix. Le client sera facturé en fonction de la quantité de données consommées et recevra donc une facture plus basse lors des mois où il consomme peu de données.
2106 Afin de ne pas restreindre la capacité des fournisseurs de proposer ces forfaits, Vidéotron demande au Conseil de clarifier que la différence entre le prix du premier palier et le prix du palier qui correspond à l’utilisation du client ne constitue pas un frais d’utilisation excédentaire aux fins de la limite de 50 $ prévue au Code. Une telle mesure assurera que les fournisseurs ne soient pas limités artificiellement dans leur capacité de développer des forfaits qui répondent aux besoins de flexibilité de leurs clients.
2107 Mme NOVIELLO: Merci, Caroline.
2108 Passons maintenant à deux éléments du Code qui causent certains irritants chez Vidéotron et qui pourraient, selon nous, être modifiés sans compromettre les droits des consommateurs.
2109 Le premier élément que nous aimerions apporter à votre attention concerne le format par défaut de la copie permanente du contrat, que les fournisseurs doivent remettre aux clients lors de la conclusion d’une entente.
2110 Nous croyons que le Code devrait permettre aux fournisseurs de choisir le format par défaut, soit papier ou électronique. C’est d’ailleurs ce qui est prévu par le nouveau Code des fournisseurs de service de télévision, qui entrera en vigueur le 1ier septembre prochain.
2111 Les services sans fil demeurent donc les seuls services pour lesquels le format par défaut est toujours le papier.
2112 Dans le cas de tous les autres services et familles de produits, les clients qui fournissent leur adresse électronique à Vidéotron ou qui ont déjà une adresse électronique inscrite à leur dossier reçoivent une copie de leur contrat par voie électronique.
2113 S’ils n’ont pas d’adresse courriel ou s’ils nous demandent spécifiquement une copie papier, Vidéotron pourra leur transmettre une copie papier.
2114 L’envoi d’une copie électronique a plusieurs avantages, non seulement pour les fournisseurs, mais aussi pour les consommateurs.
2115 Pour le client, le contrat électronique peut lui être acheminé beaucoup plus rapidement que par voie électronique... postale, excusez-moi.
2116 Il s’agit d’un mode plus écologique facilitant l’archivage du contrat pour les clients. Pour Vidéotron, ce mode de transmission est moins onéreux en termes de coûts d’impression, de traitement des envois et de timbres postaux.
2117 Le deuxième élément qui cause un irritant et que nous souhaitons aborder est la définition des petites entreprises aux fins de l’application du Code.
2118 Il est important de noter que cette expression n’est pas spécifiquement définie dans le Code. Toutefois, le Conseil a adopté la définition du CPRST, qui définit les « petites entreprises » comme étant:
2119 « Des entreprises qui ont une facture mensuelle moyenne de télécommunication inférieure à 2 500 $ ».
2120 Cette définition est difficile d’application puisqu’elle nécessite qu’un fournisseur souhaitant offrir des services sans fil à un client potentiel soit informé sur le montant total des services de télécommunication, qui pourrait potentiellement inclure différents fournisseurs pour différents services.
2121 Par exemple, un fournisseur existant qui offre une gamme complète de services de télécommunication à une entreprise donnée peut savoir facilement si la facture totale atteindra 2 500 $.
2122 Par contre, ce n’est pas le cas d’un concurrent qui ne cherche qu’à offrir des services sans fil. Il s’agit donc d’une situation inéquitable où le premier fournisseur sait que son offre n’est pas assujettie au Code tandis que le deuxième fournisseur croit le contraire.
2123 Afin d’éliminer cette inégalité quant à l’application du Code, nous recommandons que le Code définisse une petite entreprise comme étant une entreprise qui s’abonne à 15 lignes sans fil auprès d’un fournisseur.
2124 Étant donné que cette définition est spécifiquement liée aux services sans fil et dépend uniquement de renseignements connus de tout fournisseur, elle met chacun d’entre eux sur un pied d’égalité et assure que le Code soit appliqué de façon uniforme.
2125 M. HÉBERT: Discutons à présent de deux séries de propositions formulées par d’autres intervenants qui, selon Vidéotron, ne devraient pas être adoptées.
2126 La première série de propositions que nous voulons aborder concerne le verrouillage des appareils mobiles. Vidéotron estime qu’il n’est pas opportun de modifier les règles actuellement en vigueur à ce sujet.
2127 Comme les fournisseurs l’ont démontré dans le cadre de l’audience initiale ayant mené à l’adoption du Code, le verrouillage des appareils est justifié afin de réduire les risques de fraude liées à l’abonnement.
2128 Vidéotron offre des subventions substantielles sur les appareils et le verrouillage nous aide à nous assurer que les clients ont l’intention de payer les frais d’abonnement associés à leur forfait.
2129 Les frais de déverrouillage visent quant à eux à couvrir les coûts de ce service, qui nécessite, notamment, la tenue à jour d’une base de données contenant les codes de déverrouillage ainsi que la prise en charge des demandes de déverrouillage par nos conseillers du service à la clientèle.
2130 Par ailleurs, la capacité d’exiger une période d’attente de 90 jours avant d’offrir le déverrouillage est toujours nécessaire puisqu’elle contribue à décourager les fraudes en liant l’appareil au paiement du forfait pendant cette période.
2131 La deuxième série de propositions dont nous souhaitons discuter porte sur les outils de gestion de la facture.
2132 Certains intervenants estiment que tous les fournisseurs de services sans fil devraient être tenus d’offrir les mêmes outils de gestion à leurs clients.
2133 Par exemple, la Coalition recommande que tous les fournisseurs soient obligés de transmettre des avis à tous leurs clients lorsque ces derniers ont atteint 50 pourcent, 75 pourcent et 100 pourcent de leur limite mensuelle d’utilisation de données.
2134 Vidéotron ne voit pas la nécessité de forcer une telle uniformisation. Nous croyons qu’il est essentiel de laisser aux fournisseurs la marge de manœuvre nécessaire pour leur permettre de se différencier en développant des outils novateurs de gestion de la facture.
2135 Vidéotron, pour sa part, a toujours dépassé les exigences minimales du Code dans ce domaine, et nous espérons retenir la flexibilité nécessaire pour continuer à développer les outils qui répondent le mieux possible aux attentes de nos clients.
2136 M. BÉLAND: Nous souhaitons maintenant dire quelques mots concernant les mesures de sensibilisation actuelles du Code.
2137 À notre avis, les mesures de promotion qui se trouvent actuellement au Code et au plan de communication du CPRST sont suffisantes.
2138 Nous croyons qu’il n’en reste... qu’il n’est pas nécessaire d’introduire de nouvelles mesures comme celles proposées par la Coalition, qui recommande de promouvoir le Code via l’envoi de messages textes lors de l’abonnement ou du renouvellement d’un forfait, par l’ajout de messages sur les factures et par la diffusion de messages automatisés lorsque les clients appellent le service à la clientèle de leur fournisseur.
2139 En plus des inconvénients opérationnels de ces mesures pour les fournisseurs, nous sommes d’avis qu’elles seraient inefficaces considérant que les consommateurs sont réceptifs à l’information sur le Code lorsqu’ils sont insatisfaits d’un service et qu’ils se renseignent sur leurs droits dans ces circonstances.
2140 Finalement, en ce qui concerne la révision future du Code, nous croyons que le Conseil devrait continuer à traiter des demandes de clarification ponctuelles déposées en vertu de la partie 1 des Règles, et devrait entreprendre une révision globale du Code dans un délai de 5 ans.
2141 Nous vous remercions de votre attention et nous sommes maintenant prêts à répondre à vos questions.
2142 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup et bienvenue mesdames, messieurs.
2143 Je vais commencer avec des questions qui découlent de votre présentation cette après-midi, puis après je vais aller vers d’autres questions, si vous le ---
2144 Je vais peut-être commencer dans le texte à la page 6, les paragraphes ne sont pas numérotés, donc c’est la partie de la présentation présentée par Madame Noviello.
2145 Vous dites que vous croyez que les... ça serait... je vous cite ici:
2146 « Le code devrait permettre aux fournisseurs de choisir le format par défaut. »
2147 Et vous dites c’est à l’instar du nouveau Code des fournisseurs de services de télévision.
2148 Selon ma compréhension, le choix n’appartient pas aux fournisseurs, mais bien aux consommateurs.
2149 Mme NOVIELLO: Ultimement vous avez raison.
2150 Ultimement vous avez raison.
2151 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc c’est ça votre intention plutôt?
2152 Mme NOVIELLO: Bien dans le fond c’est qu’on veut que ça soit par défaut par voie électronique, mais le client peut toujours demander une copie papier que nous allons lui donner.
2153 LE PRÉSIDENT: D’accord.
2154 Et donc pour le prochain paragraphe, quand vous dites:
2155 « Vidéotron pourra leur transmettre une copie papier. »
2156 C’est plutôt que Vidéotron devra envoyer une copie papier; n’est-ce pas?
2157 Mme NOVIELLO: Oui.
2158 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui.
2159 Je ne comprends pas par contre, pourquoi vous ajoutez que s’ils n’ont pas d’adresse courriel ils peuvent décider de... même s’ils ont une adresse courriel décider d’avoir quand même demandé un papier... une copie papier pour leur raison qui est propre; n’est-ce pas?
2160 Je ne comprends pas pourquoi vous ajoutez que s’ils n’ont pas d’adresse courriel... je pourrais comme consommateur même si j’ai une adresse courriel préférer recevoir un papier... une version copie papier; n’est-ce pas?
2161 Mme NOVIELLO: En tout temps, oui.
2162 LE PRÉSIDENT: O.k. Donc ce n’est pas vraiment une condition?
2163 Mme NOVIELLO: Non.
2164 LE PRÉSIDENT: O.k. Je comprends.
2165 En ce qui a trait au... à la définition des petites entreprises, vous soulevez le doute qu’il pourrait avoir... pas avoir le même pied d’égalité, moins uniforme entre les joueurs et vous proposez donc un changement qui parle du nombre de lignes, qui ne serait pas tout à fait conforme à l’approche du CPRST.
2166 Que pensez-vous du fait que le Conseil pourrait clarifier que lorsqu’il parle de moyenne de... les factures mensuelles moyennes de télécommunication, qu’on parle ici uniquement des factures de télécommunication sans fil. Ça serait la même définition pour tous et donc tout le monde serait sur le même pied d'égalité.
2167 Mme NOVIELLO: Nous souhaitons dans le fond une clarté et une transparence.
2168 LE PRÉSIDENT: Alors, vous êtes d'accord avec moi que si on clarifiait que c'était les frais de télécommunications par rapport aux frais de sans-fil uniquement que ça ça apporterait un pied d'égalité?
2169 Mme NOVIELLO: Oui, mais dans le fond c'est la recommandation qu'on se base sur le nombre de lignes.
2170 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui, je comprends mien mais vous justifiez ça comme étant... en mettant au même pied d'égalité. Ma proposition fait la même chose, n'est-ce pas?
2171 Mme NOVIELLO: Oui.
2172 M. HÉBERT: Si je peux... si tu me permets, je pense qu'on a un principe de base qui dit que faut être sur le même pied d'égalité. Donc ici on proposait en termes de nombre de lignes mais on pourrait y aller en termes de nombre de dollars parce qu'on sait quel est le montant moyen que les clients paient par ligne. Donc je pense qu'on rencontre quand même l'objectif.
2173 LE PRÉSIDENT: Sauf que vous proposez une définition qui mettrait le Code en porte-à-faux par rapport aux définitions du CPRST.
2174 M. HÉBERT: Effectivement.
2175 LE PRÉSIDENT: Vous discutez aussi dans votre présentation des passes quotidiennes qu'on peut acheter lorsqu'on est en itinérance et j'ai toujours de la difficulté à bien comprendre l'aspect économique sous-jacent à tout ça. Chez vous, je sais pas c'est quoi? C'est 5$, 10$ par jour?
2176 M. HÉBERT: En fait, on n'offre pas le service encore.
2177 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais mettons quelqu'un qui offre le service, c'est environ 5, 10$ par jour selon les endroits?
2178 M. HÉBERT: Oui, exact.
2179 LE PRÉSIDENT: Tandis que si, bon, je pars en vacances disons au Mexique pour sept jours, pour que la mathématique... on va dire 10$, comme ça on va dire 70$. Ça serait ce que la personne paierait s'il prenne la passe.
2180 S'il ne prenne pas la passe et il pourrait avoir à tous les jours des montants beaucoup plus élevés dans la mesure qu'ils acceptent la responsabilité, je ne comprends pas qui perd au change. Parce que de toute évidence si quelqu'un charge à leurs clients on va dire 50$ par jour parce que c'est peut-être l'utilisation qu'ils font en itinérance, vous, vous êtes... peut-être pas vous mais un fournisseur serait prêt à le faire pour 10$. Qui absorbe le 40$?
2181 M. HÉBERT: Donc si je comprends bien ce que vous dites c'est qu'actuellement le service... les services de passes seraient... seraient déficitaires pour les fournisseurs, c'est ça?
2182 LE PRÉSIDENT: Ben il me semble qu'y a un 40$ qui disparait.
2183 M. HÉBERT: Bien là faudrait se baser sur le coût des frais d'itinérance pour connaître c'est quoi la marge dégagée pour chacune des options.
2184 LE PRÉSIDENT: Je vais présumer que le 50$ par jour a une proportion avec les coûts que le fournisseur de services mexicain charge au fournisseur canadien.
2185 M. HÉBERT: Effectivement.
2186 LE PRÉSIDENT: Y a une marge de profit.
2187 M. HÉBERT: Y a une marge de profit.
2188 LE PRÉSIDENT: J'en conviens mais néanmoins, il doit avoir une relation. Donc qu'arrive-t-il la différence du 40$?
2189 M. HÉBERT: Advenant le cas, ce que vous me dites c'est qu'il pourrait y arriver dans un cas que le client consomme avec sa passe énormément de données et dans ce contexte-là, ce que je comprends, ce que vous me dites c'est qu'il pourrait y arriver une situation où le coût relié à sa consommation dépasse le montant qui est facturé au client.
2190 LE PRÉSIDENT: Essentiellement, n'y a-t-il pas un financement croisé entre ceux qui ne sont pas sur la passe vers ceux qui sont sur la passe?
2191 M. HÉBERT: Ben je suis pas en mesure de pouvoir répondre parce que je connais pas la... je connais pas aujourd'hui....
2192 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais comme un homme d'affaires chevronné, vous voyez bien la difficulté? Vous connaissez les contrats d'interconnexion et comment ça fonctionne.
2193 M. HÉBERT: M'hm.
2194 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc si vous offrez un montant moindre, c'est parce que vos coûts sont plus élevés à un certain moment donné, donc le client bénéficie de cet escompte.
2195 M. HÉBERT: En fait, si on revient sur votre point concernant les effets croisés, on vit ça dans toutes les situations d'affaires aujourd'hui. Y a des gens qui ont des forfaits de trois gigaoctets et qui consomment seulement 500 Mo et y en a d'autres qui consomment la totalité de leur forfait.
2196 Donc c'est clair que le coût relié à la fourniture d'un service pour un client qui consomme seulement 20 pour cent de son forfait est moindre que le coût d'un client qui consomme en totalité son forfait. Donc c'est clair que les marges dégagées pour chacun des clients est différente. Dans le cas des...
2197 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc par rapport aux... par rapport aux passes en itinérance, pour un fournisseur qui les offre, le pire cauchemar serait que tout le monde l'accepte.
2198 M. HÉBERT: Que tout le monde y accède?
2199 LE PRÉSIDENT: Tout le monde utilise des passes lorsqu'ils sont en itinérance à l'étranger parce que vous allez perdre les revenus. Les coûts sont plus élevés que les montants de la passe.
2200 M. HÉBERT: Ben là Viéotron on a toujours eu une approche de tarification à l'usage qui est, comment dire, extrêmement concurrentielle. Donc Vidéotron dans le passé on n'a jamais...
2201 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui, mais retournez à vos lignes-là. Répondez à ma question.
2202 M. HÉBERT: Oui, je réponds très bien à votre question mais je... on n'est pas... Vidéotron n'est pas une situation où les frais d'itinérance sont abusifs. D'ailleurs, y a eu un recours je pense qui est collectif à cet égard-là pis Vidéotron ne faisait pas partie des compagnies visées par les recours collectifs. Donc moi je pense qu'actuellement la tarification à l'usage qu'on fait est tout à fait raisonnable et non exagérée.
2203 Donc si le client consomme une certaine quantité de données lorsqu'il est au Mexique, il est facturé à sa juste... au juste prix. Et effectivement est-ce qu'il pourrait y arriver une situation où un client à travers la passe consomme énormément et que ça se traduit par un coût qui dépasse le prix facturé au client, aujourd'hui je suis pas en mesure de pouvoir répondre à cette question-là si ça va arriver parce que le service a pas été encore commercialisé. Mais effectivement, c'est quelque chose qu'il va falloir surveiller de près.
2204 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais de deux choses l'une, soit que vous perdez de l'argent avec la passe ou le montant facturé est globalement excédentaire des vrais coûts.
2205 M. HÉBERT: M'hm. Ben je suis pas sûr.
2206 Mme PAQUET: L'autre chose que je pourrais peut-être ajouter à ça c'est que si on se met dans la perspective de... c'est une vue d'affaires effectivement mais dans la perspective d'une vue client, pour le client, ça n'en demeure pas moins que ça devient très facile pour lui et prévisible. Ça lui donne une certaine sécurité, une certaine sécurité d'esprit.
2207 Quelqu'un qui prend une passe en allant au Mexique, même si sa consommation elle est moins grande, mais au moins il part avec la tranquillité d'esprit qu'il n'aura pas une facture surprise. Donc, faut regarder aussi un peu l'expérience-client qui est liée à ce genre de produit.
2208 LE PRÉSIDENT: J'en conviens, sauf que je suis encore perplexe sur l'économie des passes et qui en bout de ligne paie vraiment pour ces passes-là payées par certains pour réduire, oui, pour créer de la certitude, mais y a quelqu'un... y a un 40$ dans mon exemple qui disparait du système pis je sais pas trop, trop où est-ce qu'il se retrouve.
2209 M. HÉBERT: Ben ce que vous me dites... ben actuellement je sais pas si c'est un cas réel de client qui est facturé 40$ mais dans la tarification à l'usage qu'on applique aujourd'hui, la tarification à l'usage est tout à fait juste par rapport... et équitable par rapport à ce que Vidéotron paie pour les frais d'itinérance aux fournisseurs, aux partenaires étrangers.
2210 LE PRÉSIDENT: Je vais maintenant me tourner vers d'autres questions.
2211 Je remarque... je sais pas si vous avez suivi la présentation de TELUS plus tôt cette semaine mais ils ont mis... on choisit toujours où mettre notre emphase dans nos soumissions par rapport à ce qu'on dit lors du 20 minutes de présentation, donc ce que vous dites parce que vous avez le même dossier public qui est plus long, mais dans le cas de TELUS, ils ont décidé de mettre beaucoup d'emphase sur la question constitutionnelle.
2212 D'ailleurs, TELUS, je crois, nous invitait à agir essentiellement pour évincer la Loi sur la protection du consommateur notamment au Québec. Est-ce que vous partagez ce point de vue-là?
2213 M. BÉLAND: C'est pas une recommandation que nous avons formulée.
2214 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc vous êtes satisfait du fait qu'il pourrait y avoir un double régime en place?
2215 M. BÉLAND: C'est pas l'idéal mais on vit avec la situation aujourd'hui.
2216 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et pourtant, TELUS opère au Québec. Pourquoi semble-t-il que vous vous êtes capable comme entreprise de vivre avec l'ambiguïté d'avoir deux régimes qui ont comme but de protéger les consommateurs et eux ne semblent pas capables de le faire?
2217 M. BÉLAND: On ne peut pas parler pour TELUS. Tout ce qu'on peut dire c'est de répéter que la situation n'est pas idéale au niveau opérationnel d'être... d'avoir deux niveaux de gouvernement qui veulent mettre en place des règlements dans le même domaine. Mais jusqu’à date, nous on considère qu'on est capable de vivre avec la situation.
2218 LE PRÉSIDENT: Par rapport aux arrangements prépayés, quelles sont vos pratiques actuelles dans ce domaine? Est-ce que vous avez des plans prépayés?
2219 M. HÉBERT: On n'offre pas de plans prépayés chez Vidéotron.
2220 LE PRÉSIDENT: Tout simplement pour question d’affaires que vous trouvez que c’est pas utile?
2221 M. HÉBERT: Absolument. C’est une question… c’est une décision d’affaires. Lorsqu’on a lancé… on s’est lancés dans le mobile, on a décidé de mettre l’emphase sur le marché postpaid. Évidemment, y’a des investissements reliés aussi à… reliés au fait que, pour lancer une offre prepaid, donc compte tenu aussi du volume que ça représentait, donc Vidéotron a décidé, pour des raisons d’affaires, de mettre l’emphase sur les forfaits postpaid. Ceci étant dit, on adresse quand même le marché prepaid à travers des forfaits postpaid qui sont tout aussi avantageux en termes de prix.
2222 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et vous n’avez pas l’intention d’aller dans le marché du prépayé?
2223 M. HÉBERT: Je ne pourrais pas répondre à cette question-là aujourd'hui.
2224 LE PRÉSIDENT: Pouvez-vous le faire par réponse écrite?
2225 M. HÉBERT :Absolument.
2226 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc, pour le 16 février?
2227 M. HÉBERT: Oui.
2229 LE PRÉSIDENT: Par rapport aux factures, les surprises qu’on peut avoir parfois – on a déjà commencé à amorcer la conversation –, puis on a des… le Code prévoit des consentements pour les frais d’utilisation excédentaire de données ou des frais d’itinérance à l’étranger, quelles sont vos pratiques à cet égard pour vérifier que l’utilisateur consent à traverser le seuil d’autorisation?
2230 M. BÉLAND: Notre collègue François va répondre.
2231 M. JOLI-CŒUR: Alors, pour nos services où y’a plusieurs utilisateurs sur un même compte… on n’a pas de service résidentiel de forfait avec données partagées, mais quand y’a plusieurs utilisateurs sur un compte, ça va être toujours le titulaire du compte qui va devoir autoriser à ce que des frais supplémentaires soient engagés, une fois le 50 $ ou le 100 $ atteint.
2232 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et le détenteur du compte pourrait autoriser d’autres personnes aussi?
2233 M. JOLI-CŒUR: Oui.
2234 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais c’est à la… toujours à la demande du détenteur du compte…
2235 M. JOLI-CŒUR: C’est exact.
2236 LE PRÉSIDENT: …si je comprends bien.
2237 M. JOLI-CŒUR: C’est ça.
2238 LE PRÉSIDENT: Puis on peut changer ce choix-là au cours du contrat.
2239 M. JOLI-CŒUR: Oui.
2240 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et vous avez choisi cette façon de faire pour quelle raison?
2241 M. JOLI-CŒUR: En fait, moi, c’est pour protéger les factures-surprises. Donc, la personne qui paye est le titulaire du compte, donc on veut s’assurer que ça soit seulement cette personne-là et les personnes qu’il autorise qui puissent consentir à ce qu’il y ait d’autres frais qui soient engagés.
2242 LE PRÉSIDENT: Est-ce que vous… mettons que le détenteur du compte décide d’assigner le droit à un enfant mineur, est-ce que vous accepteriez le choix fait par le détenteur?
2243 M. JOLI-CŒUR: Em… pour l’instant, on ne permet pas à des mineurs de le faire, c’est pas… c’est pas dans nos pratiques actuelles. Ceci dit, si c’était la décision du Conseil, c’est quelque chose qu’on pourrait mettre en place.
2244 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc, vous me dites : à l’heure actuelle, si, mettons, une mère de famille est détentrice du compte, mais qu’il y a plusieurs utilisateurs, que vous ne permettriez pas à cette mère de famille de permettre à son fils de 17 ans et demi de consentir.
2245 M. JOLI-CŒUR: Actuellement, un mineur ne peut y consentir, effectivement.
2246 LE PRÉSIDENT: Les mineurs, parce que vous opérez au Québec, vous dites 18 ans sans doute.
2247 M. JOLI-CŒUR: Exactement. Évidemment, sous réserve qu’il soit mineur émancipé là, mais je pense pas qu’on l’a…
2248 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui, mais ça, ça me ramène à mes cours de droit civil, mais c’est plutôt rare.
2249 Et l’authentification nécessaire, comment vous faites ça? Vous avez sans doute vu dans les journaux… euh, pas dans les journaux, mais sur le site de CBC le cas là de quelqu’un qui s’était fait voler son téléphone et puis quelqu’un aurait authentifié, et la facture a monté rapidement à 24 000 $ – par contre, y’a pas eu d’alarmes qui sont parties à ce moment-là –, ça me paraissait que… expliquez-moi quel genre de vérification vous faite. Est-ce que n’importe quel voleur qui détient le téléphone pourrait authentifier le dépassement des frais d’itinérance ou d’utilisation?
2250 M. BÉLAND: Avant de demander à François de compléter, je veux juste préciser le cas soulevé par CBC parce que je suis pas sûr que mes collègues l’ont entendu. C’est un cas où un appareil a été volé et l’avis de dépassement ou d’atteinte de la limite a été envoyé à l’appareil; le voleur qui détient actuellement l’appareil a pu autoriser le dépassement. Et c’est le scénario que vous demandez si ça serait possible selon les pratiques actuelles de Vidéotron.
2251 LE PRÉSIDENT: Bien, la question est plutôt : quelles démarches faites-vous pour assurer l’authentification, qu’il n’y ait pas une personne qui n’est pas le détenteur qui, de droit ou non, même si ça serait un jeune fils de 17 ans et demi qui prend le téléphone de la détentrice et autorise, comment vérifiez-vous qu’effectivement la personne qui autorise, c’est le véritable détenteur? Y’a pas de mot de passe.
2252 M. BÉLAND: Le fait le plus important chez Vidéotron, c’est que l’autorisation du dépassement ne se fait pas via l’avis reçu sur l’appareil. Mes collègues peuvent expliquer plus en détail.
2253 M. JOLI-CŒUR: La personne qui reçoit l’avis ne peut pas répondre « oui, je veux débloquer » via un message texte. Elle doit se rendre soit sur l’espace client en ligne ou l’espace client mobile, et pour accéder à l’espace client de Vidéotron, elle a besoin d’avoir un mot de passe et un nom d’utilisateur. Et si…
2254 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais vous…
2255 M. JOLI-CŒUR: Oui, allez-y.
2256 LE PRÉSIDENT: …vous considérez que, ça, c’est une meilleure pratique?
2257 M. JOLI-CŒUR: Oui, parce que ça exige que la… on s’assure en fait que ce soit le titulaire du compte qui détient ces mots de passe là qui puisse accéder à ces portails-là.
2258 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc, c’est une façon de protéger les intérêts du détenteur du compte?
2259 M. JOLI-CŒUR: C’est ça.
2260 LE PRÉSIDENT: Est-ce qu’on devrait insister qu’il y ait une façon semblable, avec un mot de passe, pour autoriser les dépassements dans le cadre du Code sans fil?
2261 M. JOLI-CŒUR: Nous, on a pris ces mesures-là sans que le Code sans fil nous l’exige. Si vous considérez que c’est nécessaire pour protéger le consommateur, ça…
2262 LE PRÉSIDENT: De toute façon, pour vous, c’est… vous le faites déjà, donc y’a pas d’impact.
2263 M. JOLI-CŒUR: C’est ça. Y’a pas d’impact.
2264 LE PRÉSIDENT: Le CPRS… CPRST, oui, fait valoir certaines préoccupations par rapport aux frais d’itinérance vocale parce qu’à l’heure actuelle, les mesures en place ne sont pas aussi vigoureuses pour les dépassements par rapport les frais d’itinérance vocale. Croyez-vous que le Code devrait être plus clair à ce qui a trait à de tels frais d’itinérance à l’international?
2265 M. BÉLAND: Pascal va répondre, je crois.
2266 M. HÉBERT: Je peux quand même débuter, puis Pascal pourra poursuivre par la suite.
2267 Nous, on pense que, dans la mesure où le consommateur est capable de bien prédire… quand la prédictibilité est facile à faire pour le consommateur, on pense que les mesures de contrôle du Code sans fil ne devraient pas s’appliquer. Donc, lorsque je parle au téléphone, je suis conscient du nombre de minutes que je parle et je suis capable d’estimer ce que ça va me couter en termes de frais à la fin lors de ma conversation. Contrairement où les données, c’est très abstrait – la notion de prédictibilité, elle est extrêmement difficile.
2268 Donc, dans la mesure… dans le cas… dans la mesure où y’a un principe de base où c’est facile pour le client de prédire ce que ça va lui couter en termes d’utilisation – pour son service de voix, par exemple –, on pense qu’on n’a pas besoin de rajouter des mesures additionnelles pour être capable de répondre aux besoins de nos clients. Et je pense qu’aussi, en tant que fournisseur, on se doit d’être à l’écoute, on comprend les cas d’exception, puis on est capable de pouvoir les traiter ces cas d’exception là, et je pense qu’à ce niveau-là, on a une feuille de route assez… une bonne, belle feuille de route qui fait en sorte qu’on est capable de traiter certains cas d’exception. Comme un client qui pourrait dire : « J’étais pas au fait de la… des frais d’utilisation », malgré le fait qu’on l’a quand même clairement avisé lors de son arrivée dans le pays à l’étranger quels étaient les frais d’utilisation pour une conversation vocale.
2269 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et dans ce cas-là, vous faites des réductions du compte.
2270 M. HÉBERT: Oui. C’est, comme je vous dis…
2271 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc, tout est négociable.
2272 M. HÉBERT: C’est pas une question de négociation, puis c’est vraiment une question qu’on est à l’écoute de nos clients. Et chaque client a une bonne raison de peut-être demander d’être crédité et si la raison nous apparait juste, on n’a pas besoin de passer à travers un processus fastidieux pour nous donner l’agilité nécessaire pour répondre aux besoins de nos clients.
2273 LE PRÉSIDENT: Est-ce que ça vous arrive souvent que y’a quelqu’un comme ça qui est en itinérance et qui se retrouve avec des frais « vocal » surprenants?
2274 M. DESROCHES: Non, pas du tout. C’est très marginal chez Vidéotron, le « bill shock » lié à la voix. Donc, non. Pour nous, c’est très marginal.
2275 LE PRÉSIDENT: Marginal, c’est quoi? Une cinquantaine de fois par année? Une centaine de fois?
2276 M. DESROCHES: Je pourrais prendre l’engagement de vous fournir cette information-là.
2277 LE PRÉSIDENT: D’accord. Peut-être prendre la dernière année complète…
2278 M. DESROCHES: D’accord.
2279 LE PRÉSIDENT: …2016 pour le 16 février. Merci.
2280 M. DESROCHES: Merci.
2282 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et vos abonnés actuels ont une façon, ils savent parce qu’ils sont avisés par un texto, j’imagine, des frais et puis après, ils peuvent faire le calcul par le nombre de minutes qu’ils utilisent. C’est ça?
2283 M. HÉBERT: Exact.
2284 LE PRÉSIDENT: O.k. Et lorsqu’il y a des dépassements de données ou des frais d’itinérances à l’étranger, lorsqu’on a un compte multi-utilisateurs, qui reçoit les avis, le texto, et qui est avisé que le compte approche les dépassements?
2285 M. JOLI-CŒUR: Alors c’est essentiellement le même système que pour les données excédentaires en domestique, donc ça va être la personne qui engage le dépassement va recevoir un texto, mais ne pourra pas débloquer au-delà du 100 $, va devoir passer par l’espace... c’est-à-dire par son texto ne pourra pas débloquer, va devoir passer par l’espace client de Vidéotron par le service à la clientèle pour ---
2286 LE PRÉSIDENT: Dans la mesure que c’est le détenteur du compte?
2287 M. JOLI-CŒUR: C’est... c’est exactement.
2288 LE PRÉSIDENT: C’est... donc fiston, mettons, qui arrive à dépasser lui il reçoit l’avis de dépassement, mais dans l’hypothèse qu’on utilisait tout à l’heure c’est la détentrice, donc la mère, qui doit aller sur l’espace client et approuver le dépassement? Est-ce que c’est ça?
2289 M. JOLI-CŒUR: C’est ça, oui.
2290 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et vous calculez vos dépassements dans le cas des situations multi-utilisateurs par ligne ou par compte?
2291 M. JOLI-CŒUR: Par compte.
2292 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc même s’il y a cinq utilisateurs c’est quand même 50 $ par exemple?
2293 M. JOLI-CŒUR: C’est ça. C’est ça.
2294 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui?
2295 M. JOLI-CŒUR: Oui.
2296 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et vous trouvez que c’est la bonne interprétation du Code ou une bonne pratique?
2297 M. JOLI-CŒUR: Les deux.
2298 LE PRÉSIDENT: En ce qui a trait aux périodes d’essais de 15 jours, on parle de la période générale, quelles sont vos pratiques actuelles en termes de limites pour la période d’essai pour voix, texte et données?
2299 Mme DESROCHES: Bien en fait chez Vidéotron il y a... la période d’essai c’est 30 jours. Trente (30) ---
2300 LE PRÉSIDENT: Vous allez au-delà du Code?
2301 Mme DESTOCHES: Au-delà du Code, oui tout à fait. Je dois même dire que chez Vidéotron ça fait même partie de notre... de notre fer de lance comme organisation au niveau de l’expérience client, du service à la clientèle. Donc déjà là on va au-delà du Code et au niveau des limites pour la voix c’est 30 minutes et au niveau des données c’est 100 Megaoctets.
2302 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et vous êtes arrivé à déterminer que ces limites-là sont raisonnables pour quelle raison?
2303 Mme PAQUET: Oui, il y a en fait 100 mégaoctets, juste pour vous donner une idée, on trouve que c’est raisonnable parce que un client pourrait faire toutes les activités suivantes: soit transmettre ou recevoir une trentaine de courriels, naviguer sur 40 pages web, passer une heure sur les médias sociaux et écouter 20 minutes de musique en continue. Donc nous on trouve que ça ici c’est raisonnable.
2304 LE PRÉSIDENT: S’ils ne sont pas sur le plan illimité?
2306 Mme PAQUET: C’est raisonnable pour pouvoir essayer un produit.
2307 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui.
2308 Et est-ce que vous... est-ce que ça faisait partie de votre offre même avant l’entrée en vigueur du Code?
2309 Mme PAQUET: Oui.
2310 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc vous êtes arrivé à ces chiffres-là à l’époque quand vous avez lancé votre service?
2311 Mme PAQUET: Je n’ai pas la date exacte, mais on pourrait vous le fournir.
2312 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais le fait est que c’est... vous l’avez mis en vigueur avant l’entrée?
2313 Mme PAQUET: Avant le Code, oui.
2314 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et est-ce que les montants, par exemple des données, ont été modifié depuis ce temps-là, donc depuis plusieurs années?
2315 Mme PAQUET: Non.
2316 LE PRÉSIDENT: Vous ne trouvez pas que l’utilisation que... ordinaire, raisonnable, qu’un Canadien peut faire peut être en mouvement?
2317 Mme PAQUET: Oui, je suis d’accord avec vous. Toutefois, dans l’essence du Code l’idée c’est de donner... de donner une période d’essai qui est raisonnable et on trouve que le 100 mégaoctet est raisonnable.
2318 LE PRÉSIDENT: Même si on doit vérifier si... je me mets encore dans la peau de la mère de famille, qui doit vérifier si son nouveau téléphone réponds à ses besoins non pas seulement de l’appareil et la compatibilité avec les logiciels qu’elle pourrait avoir à la maison, mais en plus vérifier que ça fonctionne au boulot, à la résidence, puis peut-être même à l’école quand elle va chercher les petits?
2319 Mme PAQUET: Oui, c’est certain que peut-être il y aurait des cas d’exception, mais comme le mentionnait Bertrand et ma collègue, je pense qu’au niveau de l’expérience client chez Vidéotron on a toujours été au-delà.
2320 S’il y avait des cas d’exceptions comme ça nous pourrions les adresser avec les clients qui en aurait de besoin.
2321 LE PRPRÉSIDENT: Êtes-vous d’accord avec moi que suivant l’utilisation que vous mentionnez, que bien que vous avez 30 jours, ça va prendre à peu près 2-3 jours maximum avant de passer à travers ces montants-là par rapport aux données?
2322 Mme PAQUET: Oui, tout à fait, mais en même temps le 30 jour ce n’est pas seulement une période d’essai pour les données. Ça peut être aussi une période d’essai pour l’appareil.
2323 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et vous ne croyez pas que ce qui est raisonnable ne devrait pas évoluer avec le temps?
2324 Mme PAQUET: Oui, ça pourrait.
2325 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais vous ne l’avez pas évalué?
2326 Mme PAQUET: Non.
2327 LE PRÉSIDENT: Est-ce qu’il y a des plans chez vous de réévaluer? Vous êtes une compagnie qui dit être les leaders, puis je pense qu’il y a une bonne base pour le dire, un leader en termes de service à la clientèle.
2328 Mme PAQUET: Bien je dirais que pour le moment ce n’est pas dans les plans, mais si le Conseil devait nous imposer une telle règlementation, bien nous regardions c’est quoi la consommation.
2329 LE PRÉSIDENT: Ne serait-il pas plus équitable et raisonnable d’utiliser la moyenne d’utilisation de données d’un client moyen chez Vidéotron comme l’utilisation raisonnable pour une période donnée? Je veux dire à 15 jours, même si vous avez choisi d’aller à 30 jours.
2330 Mme PAQUET: M’hm.
2331 Bien je vais vous donner... je me permets de vous donner un exemple d’une personne, par exemple, dont la moyenne de consommation de données est plus grande que son propre forfait dont il a pris avec nous qu’est-ce qu’on ferait avec la différence des données? Comment pourrions-nous gérer ça?
2332 LE PRÉSIDENT: Je vous pose la question.
2333 Mme PAQUET: Je n’ai pas la réponse. Ça serait quasi-impossible, de mon point de vue actuellement.
2334 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et à l’heure actuelle, par rapport aux cadeaux, cadeaux avec abonnements ou d’autres incitatifs promotionnels, est-ce que vous en offrez?
2335 Mme PAQUET: Oui, à l’occasion.
2336 LE PRÉSIDENT: À l’occasion? Quel genre? Faites-vous de petits cadeaux, des gros cadeaux?
2337 Mme PAQUET: Des très beaux cadeaux.
2338 LE PRÉSIDENT: Sans doute.
2340 Mme PAQUET: Évidemment, donc on a offert des écouteurs, des haut-parleurs de marque SONOS, donc deux exemples précis.
2341 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et pour des... pour vous les coûts de ces cadeaux-là, pas les coûts au détail si j’allais l’acheter, mais pour vous ça tourne environ combien? Une dizaine de dollars? Une vingtaine de dollars?
2342 Mme PAQUET: Je pourrais vous fournir l’information; prendre un engagement.
2343 LE PRÉSIDENT: On avait donné un ---
2344 Mme PAQUET: Oui, je dis quand même ---
2345 M. HÉBERT: (Inaudible). Il y a des cadeaux qui ont des valeurs qui sont quand même beaucoup moins là.
2346 Tu sais, si on parle d’écouteurs on parle de peut-être 20 $, si on prend un haut-parleur on parle d’un cadeau qui peut valoir 100 $.
2347 Mme PAQUET: Oui.
2348 LE PRÉSIDENT: Juste pour les fins de la discussion, 100 $ ça serait le haut... le plus haut dans le barème?
2349 M. HÉBERT: Oui, absolument.
2350 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et à l’heure actuelle vous livrez ces cadeaux là au moment de la signature du contrat?
2351 Mme PAQUET: Oui, tout à fait. Lorsque les clients se déplacent chez nous pour profiter de la promotion on leur remet le cadeau au moment de la transaction.
2352 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et est-ce que ça vous arrive souvent que suite à avoir reçu ce cadeau-là, se très beau cadeau, que suite à la période d’essai la personne met fin au contrat?
2353 Mme PAQUET: Non, pas tellement souvent.
2354 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et qu’est-ce qui arriverait au cadeau dans ce cas-là?
2355 Mme PAQUET: Le cadeau doit nous être retourné.
2356 LE PRÉSIDENT: Puis s’il ne l’est pas?
2357 Mme PAQUET: Puis s’il ne l’est pas?
2358 M. HÉBERT: Bien je pense on a jamais vécu des situations ou le cadeau n’a pas été retourné, mais la question est bonne.
2359 Je pense que on ferait un minimum d’effort pour le récupérer, mais je ne pense qu’on va vouloir dépenser 200 $ en frais d’avocat pour récupérer un cadeau qui en vaut 100.
2360 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et j’imagine ça ne fait pas de très bonne relation Vidéotron client dans l’espoir de peut-être ramener ce client-là vers vous.
2361 Mme PAQUET: Tout à fait, oui.
2362 LE PRÉSIDENT: Pourquoi vous donnez... donc pour vous ce n’est pas un gros... un gros risque?
2363 Parce que certain nous on dit peut-être qu’on devrait permettre la récupération de ces cadeaux-là, mais pour vous ce n’est pas vraiment un énorme cost of doing business, si je comprends bien?
2364 M. HÉBERT: Non, effectivement ce n’est pas un --
2365 Mme PAQUET: Non.
2366 M. HÉBERT: -- un énorme coût of doing business.
2367 LE PRÉSIDENT: Je vais me tourner vers le déverrouillage maintenant.
2368 Quelles sont vos pratiques à l’heure actuelle par rapport au déverrouillage, que ça soit pour des appareils subventionnés ou non-subventionnés?
2369 M. HÉBERT: Concernant le verrouillage en fait, tout... lorsque tous nos... tous nos clients qui s’abonnent à Vidéotron avec un appareil qui est fourni par Vidéotron, évidemment les appareils sont tous verrouillés.
2370 LE PRÉSIDENT: Peu importe le type d’appareil?
2371 M. HÉBERT: Peu importe le type d’appareil.
2372 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et est-ce que c’est vous qui demandez à vos fournisseurs de verrouiller les appareils?
2373 M. HÉBERT: Absolument. Donc, c’est…
2374 LE PRÉSIDENT: OK. C’est pas les fournisseurs à…
2375 M. HÉBERT: Non, c’est pas les fournisseurs qui le demandent.
2376 LE PRÉSIDENT: C’est votre choix.
2377 M. HÉBERT: Je pense que… j’étais ici, présent, ce matin à l’audience lorsque ç’a été mentionné par Bell. Je pense qu’aujourd'hui les manufacturiers, comme Apple peut-être, en tirent certains bénéfices pour éviter l’apparition d’un marché gris, mettons entre le Canada et les États-Unis, mais, au départ, c’est une demande qui était formulée par les opérateurs pour limiter la fraude reliée à l’acquisition d’un appareil mobile.
2378 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et les autres façons de vérifier la fraude ne se trouvaient pas être suffisantes – la vérification de crédit ou autres?
2379 M. HÉBERT: La vérification de crédit, c’est une façon de limiter la fraude, mais on n’est pas à l’abri de personnes qui se présentent avec une fausse identité. Donc, à ce moment-là, on veut éviter que, justement, on a les moyens de… de s’assurer que cet appareil-là ne se retrouve pas dans le marché noir, donc ça devient dissuasif pour le fraudeur de prendre un abonnement mobile et de tenter de le revendre sur le marché… sur le marché gris.
2380 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et, évidemment, après 90 jours, quelqu’un pourrait demander de le faire déverrouiller.
2381 M. HÉBERT: Absolument.
2382 LE PRÉSIDENT: Pour des frais de combien?
2383 M. HÉBERT: Cinquante dollars.
2384 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et est-ce que le risque pour vous d’une fraude n’existe pas aussi après cent jours?
2385 M. HÉBERT: Le risque est moindre, donc parce qu’après trente… effectivement, après cent jours, le consommateur pourrait payer sa facture pendant trois mois puis après ça, le quatrième mois, de cesser de payer sa facture et de tenter de défaire… déverrouiller l’appareil, mais on est quand même dans une fenêtre de quatre-vingts jours… de quatre-vingt-dix jours qui nous apparait une fenêtre raisonnable pour limiter les cas de fraude.
2386 LE PRÉSIDENT: Est-ce que vous avez beaucoup de demandes de déverrouillage?
2387 M. HÉBERT: Oui, on en a un certain nombre, mais c’est pas… c’est pas énorme, et puis on peut sûrement vous donner les informations du volume, mais c’est pas…
2388 LE PRÉSIDENT: Vous pourriez me faire ça par engagement pour le 16 février sur une base annuelle depuis l’entrée en vigueur du Code et les revenus associés à ces déverrouillages-là à 50 $?
2389 M. HÉBERT: Absolument.
2391 LE PRÉSIDENT: Puis le tarif est demeuré inchangé depuis l’entrée en vigueur du Code?
2392 M. HÉBERT: Oui, toujours à 50 $.
2393 LE PRÉSIDENT: Est-ce que c’était le même montant avant l’entrée en vigueur du Code?
2394 M. HÉBERT: Je crois que oui.
2395 LE PRÉSIDENT: Euh… non.
2396 M. HÉBERT: Non? OK. Excusez. J’ai bien dit « je crois ».
2397 LE PRÉSIDENT: Avant l’entrée en vigueur du Code, on n’offrait pas le déverrouillage.
2398 M. HÉBERT: Ah! OK.
2399 LE PRÉSIDENT: C’était pas offert du tout.
2400 M. HÉBERT: Merci. Merci de la clarification.
2401 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et est-ce que vous avez des plans pour changer le tarif de déverrouillage?
2402 M. HÉBERT: Pour l’instant, on n’avait pas d’autre plan pour changer le tarif de déverrouillage.
2403 LE PRÉSIDENT: Si un client était chez votre compétiteur et voulait changer de fournisseur de service pour aller chez vous, est-ce que vous… dans vos négociations pour attirer ce client chez vous, vous offririez une compensation financière pour permettre à ce client-là de faire déverrouiller son téléphone chez son fournisseur actuel?
2404 M. HÉBERT: C’est une bonne question. Ça serait peut-être un élément à considérer. D’instinct, je dirais je serais moins tenté à le faire parce qu’une fois qu’il est rendu chez nous, il a la liberté le lendemain de partir puis d’aller chez un autre fournisseur. Moi, je ne voudrais pas être la personne qui assume les frais de déverrouillage et, le lendemain, voir le client retourner vers un autre fournisseur, mais…
2405 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais vous offrez d’excellents services!
2406 M. HÉBERT: …je serais quand même tenté de faire l’expérience pour voir le comportement des consommateurs.
2407 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais c’est pas dans vos livres d’autorisation du personnel… donc essentiellement, si c’est pas permis, c’est pas permis. Vous l’avez pas mis dans vos…
2408 M. HÉBERT: Actuellement, c’est pas une politique qu’on applique chez Vidéotron.
2409 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc, c’est pas dans vos manuels. Donc, les gens de première ligne n’auraient pas l’autorisation de faire ça.
2410 M. HÉBERT: Non.
2411 LE PRÉSIDENT: Est-ce que les frais de déverrouillage devraient être ajoutés au résumé des renseignements essentiels?
2412 M. SHAPIRO: Dans notre cas, ils le sont déjà.
2413 LE PRÉSIDENT: Vous avez décidé ça vous-mêmes même si c’est pas obligatoire en vertu du Code?
2414 M. SHAPIRO: Tout à fait, mais, en fait, selon notre interprétation du Code, c’est déjà un élément requis dans notre contrat et dans le résumé des renseignements essentiels.
2415 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc, vous devez être surpris que d’autres ne le font pas?
2416 M. SHAPIRO: Je ne peux pas parler pour les autres fournisseurs, mais je peux vous confirmer que, de notre côté, c’est le cas.
2417 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais c’est inéquitable. Vous m’avez dit dans votre présentation tout à l'heure que vous cherchez de l’équité entre les joueurs. Ne serait-il pas utile pour le Conseil de… pour mettre tout le monde sur un pied d’égalité et que le Code soit appliqué d’une façon uniforme de spécifier que les frais pour le déverrouillage seraient dans le sommaire de renseignements essentiels?
2418 M. JOLI-CŒUR: Il me semble qu’ils sont… que c’est déjà spécifié.
2419 LE PRÉSIDENT: On verra.
2420 Qu’en est-il de l’idée de… une fois qu’il est ajouté dans les frais de déverrouillage… les frais de déverrouillage sont ajoutés dans le résumé des renseignements essentiels, qui pourrait faire partie de la formule pour la résiliation anticipée?
2421 M. SHAPIRO: Je suis pas sûr d’avoir bien saisi la question.
2422 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mettons que quelqu’un, après 90 jours, décide de faire déverrouiller son téléphone, paye le 50 $, mais décide de résilier le contrat après 12 mois.
2423 Mme NOVIELLO: Est-ce que vous permettez juste qu’on vous explique un peu le processus, juste pour avoir une idée de qu’est-ce que ça l’implique?
2424 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui, oui.
2425 Mme NOVIELLO: Alors, dans le fond, on a à maintenir une base de données de tous les codes nécessaires pour déverrouiller les appareils. Ces listes nous sont fournies par les fournisseurs, donc on a quand même un maintien, un courriel rattaché aux bases de données. Deuxièmement, un client doit contacter le service à la clientèle soit par téléphone ou par l’entremise d’une de nos boutiques. À ce moment-là, nous devons escalader un deuxième niveau pour justement garder la confidentialité des codes, et tout ça engendre des couts pour l’organisation.
2426 Dans un monde idéal, le code est… dans la plupart des cas, le code est disponible au moment de la demande, mais il nous arrive de ne pas recevoir les codes de nos fournisseurs. À ce moment-là, nous avons à rentrer en contact avec nos fournisseurs et ça pourrait prendre quelques itérations et de suivi de la part de nos conseillers pour obtenir les codes. Donc, le frais du service pour le client qui le demande est en fonction aussi des efforts qui… et des couts réels pour l’organisation.
2427 LE PRÉSIDENT: C’est très bien. Je vous ai même déjà entendue dire que vous pensiez que votre 50 $ de déverrouillage était justifié par les couts et l’effort que vous devez mettre dedans. Ma question n’est pas tout à fait ça. Ma question est plutôt : à travers la lentille du cadre de cette audience-ci où on veut encourager un marché plus dynamique, où les clients peuvent passer d’un abonné à l’autre et même… peut-être même venir chez vous des autres joueurs, devrait-on ajouter les frais de déverrouillage dans le calcul de la formule de résiliation anticipée qui est déjà prévue par le Code?
2428 Mme NOVIELLO: Mm… si nous regardons…
2429 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc, le cout de la subvention pour l’appareil peut-être est de 500 $, déverrouillage 50 $, et c’est ce montant-là qui est calculé.
2430 Mme NOVIELLO: Si nous regardons actuellement la proportion de clients qui font recours à ce service-là, c’est beaucoup moindre que notre base de données actuelle. Donc, je crois, dans l’ensemble, ce serait une majorité. Dans le fond, c’est tous les clients qui paieraient pour un service qui n’ont peut-être pas besoin.
2431 LE PRÉSIDENT: Non, seulement si le client décide de déverrouiller par anticipation. Parce que le montant de 50 $, essentiellement, serait en décroissance.
2432 Mme NOVIELLO: Je comprends pas.
2433 M. HÉBERT: Si je comprends bien… pour être sûr que je comprends bien la question – puis c’est une question fort intéressante… forte intéressante –, donc, ce que vous dites, c’est qu’on pourrait avoir… les fournisseurs pourraient avoir l’option d’appliquer les frais de déverrouillage si le client décide de mettre fin à son contrat avant la période de 24 mois?
2434 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui.
2435 M. HÉBERT: Advenant le cas où le client…
2436 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais sur un…
2437 M. HÉBERT: …après 24…
2438 LE PRÉSIDENT: Sur un tarif décroissant.
2439 M. HÉBERT: Sur un tarif décroissant. Donc, ce qu’on dit, c’est que les clients… est-ce que ça s’appliquerait à tous les clients qui mettent fin à leur… mettent fin à leur contrat avant 24 mois ou on l’app…
2440 LE PRÉSIDENT: Je vous pose la question. C’est nouveau, peut-être que… est-ce que vous voyez une différence dans les deux cas?
2441 M. HÉBERT: Ben, c’est… oui, parce que si on l’applique à tous les clients qui mettent fin à leur contrat, en fait, la tarification devrait être ajoutée en fonction du volume de débranchement avant la période de 24 mois pour couvrir les frais qu’on a mentionnés tantôt. Donc, ça pourrait être une approche différente.
2442 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et avantageuse pour les consommateurs?
2443 M. HÉBERT: Bien, dans ce cas… nous, actuellement, on revient un peu sur la discussion qu’on avait au départ… au début. C’est clair que si on l’applique à tous les clients qui mettent fin à leur contrat avant la période de 24 mois, c’est eux qui se trouvent à défrayer les couts de déverrouillage, mais qui n’ont pas nécessairement l’intention de changer de fournisseur. Donc…
2444 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais, mettez-vous dans les pieds des intervenants dans l’instance qui considèrent que les frais de déverrouillage constituent une barrière, une embûche à ce qu'ils puissent librement aller d'un fournisseur à l'autre. Et d'ailleurs, depuis l'entrée en vigueur du Code, vous le savez autant que moi que le taux de roulement, le "churn" comme on dit en anglais, est non seulement stable mais probablement en décroissance.
2445 Mme PAQUET: Y a deux aspects à votre question. La première c'est les frais de déverrouillage, est-ce que ça pourrait... c'est un frein finalement. Nous, de notre côté, y a tellement peu de gens, on pense que ça diminuerait ou augmenterait le taux de "churn". Y a peu de gens qui font appel au déverrouillage. Pascal pourra fournir des chiffres. Donc c'est la première portion de la question.
2446 La deuxième, j'ai bien écouté hier les...
2447 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais peut-être le 50$ est une embûche, qu'il est préférable avoir un téléphone déverrouillé pour aller à l'étranger utiliser une carte là-bas plutôt que de payer votre 5 ou 10$ pour une passe quotidienne?
2448 Mme PAQUET: Peut-être, mais en même temps c'est tellement une faible proportion des clients sur le taux de "churn" global de l'organisation et c'est pas... non matériel. Mais dans l'autre...
2449 LE PRÉSIDENT: Vous vouliez ajouter, oui.
2450 Mme PAQUET: Oui, puis la deuxième portion de votre intervention c'est concernant le taux de désabonnement de l'industrie. J'ai bien écouté hier le collègue je crois du PIAC qui parlait de 2 pour cent. Je me permets peut-être de nuancer ce qu'il nous mentionnait.
2451 Si on pense à 2 pour cent, 2 pour cent c'est un taux de désabonnement mensuel. Si on annualise ça, c'est qu'on reporte la chose sur le nombre de Canadiens annuellement. On parle d'un taux d'à peu près 25 pour cent annuellement, donc une personne sur quatre au Canada et dans le marché de se renouveler est en train de magasiner. Donc je ne partage pas... on ne partage pas tout à fait le même point de vue dans le sens que pour nous, c'est une industrie qui est en santé où on favorise le libre choix. Donc un Canadien sur quatre magasine.
2452 Puis également je me permets d'ajouter aussi un autre point par rapport à Vidéotron. J'en ai parlé plusieurs fois concernant l'expérience client. Chez Vidéotron, la rétention de la clientèle est une stratégie d'organisation.
2453 Donc malgré la santé du marché qui favorise le libre choix, comme organisation, on met de l'avant des stratégies pour nous permettre de conserver des clients et qui sont bien au-delà des prix concurrentiels qui font appel, par exemple, à l'expérience client, le service à la clientèle. Donc je dirais qu'il faut regarder un peu plus la globalité par rapport à ça.
2454 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc ce que vous nous dites c'est que même si le client n'est pas allé chez le compétiteur, y a pu négocier un meilleur prix chez-vous ou plus de données? De toute façon, il est arrivé à un contrat globalement sur le prix ou les services qui est plus favorable.
2455 Mme PAQUET: En fait, ce que je crois c'est que les clients viennent chez nous pas seulement pour le prix, ils viennent pour la globalité de l'offre qu'on leur propose, incluant l'expérience client.
2456 LE PRÉSIDENT: Tout à l'heure je crois que Maître Joli-Cœur vous avez dit que vos contrats stipulent les frais de déverrouillage dans leur ensemble, ou seulement lorsque l'appareil est subventionné?
2457 M. JOLI-COEUR: Monsieur le président, j'aurais cru que c'est seulement...
2458 LE PRÉSIDENT: Si je ne m'abuse, le Code n'exige seulement les frais que quand c'est un appareil subventionné. Est-ce que vous allez au-delà de ça et le faites aussi pour les appareils des plans non subventionnés?
2459 M. JOLI-CŒUR: Je croirais pas mais est-ce qu'on a des plans avec appareils non subventionnés?
2460 M. HÉBERT: C'est une bonne question. Est-ce que... lorsque le client décide de faire l'achat d'appareil et ne veut pas se prévaloir d'une subvention, est-ce que... est-ce que l'appareil est verrouillé et j'ai pas la réponse aujourd'hui.
2461 LE PRÉSIDENT: Ben je présume que l'appareil est verrouillé. Vous m'avez dit que tous vos appareils sont verrouillés. La question est est-ce que le sommaire critique d'informations essentielles comprend les frais de déverrouillage?
2462 M. DESROCHES: Le frais de déverrouillage, que l'appareil soit subventionné ou non, se trouve dans le résumé des renseignements essentiels.
2463 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc ça, ça va au-delà de l'obligation du Code?
2464 M. DESROCHES: Oui.
2465 LE PRÉSIDENT: C'est très bien. Merci.
2466 En ce qui a trait au service de données dans votre... est-ce que vous considérez que c'est un service complémentaire ou optionnel dans votre... les services de données comme certains fournisseurs, ou est-ce que c'est un montant qui fait... un fait qui fait partie des modalités principales du contrat?
2467 M. HÉBERT: On est d'avis que ça fait partie des modalités du contrat. Donc aujourd'hui quand un client s'abonne, dans son résumé essentiel, résumé des informations essentielles, le nombre de données figure dans son contrat.
2468 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et ça serait conforme à ce que vous avez dit à la page 4 de votre présentation que les données sont pas mal importantes aujourd'hui en 2017 pour les abonnés de téléphone sans fil?
2469 M. HÉBERT: Oui.
2470 LE PRÉSIDENT: Êtes-vous surpris de la pratique de certains fournisseurs qui le mettent comme option ou service complémentaire dans leur contrat?
2471 M. HÉBERT: En fait, oui, un peu surpris. J'aimerais en fait comprendre... j'ai pas vraiment bien saisi là pourquoi qu'on voulait pas stipuler le montant des donnés qui sont associées au montant payé pour le forfait parce que nous ça fait partie du contrat et ça fait partie d'un engagement aussi pour Vidéotron de respecter le montant de données qui est associé à un montant facturé pour son forfait.
2472 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et donc peut-être une autre occasion, en utilisant les mots à la page 7 de votre présentation, d'assurer un pied d'égalité et assurer que le Code soit appliqué de façon uniforme.
2473 M. HÉBERT: Oui.
2474 LE PRÉSIDENT: En spécifiant que les données feront partie des conditions essentielles.
2475 M. HÉBERT: Absolument.
2476 LE PRÉSIDENT: J'aimerais vous donner l'opportunité, comme j'ai donné à d'autres, parce que c'est souvent une question qu'on se fait poser par les abonnés qui ont... qui se sont abonnés chez-vous dans ce cas-ci avec un appareil subventionné pour une période mettons de deux ans et qui ne voient pas leur facture diminuer après la période de deux ans.
2477 Pour ces gens-là, je crois, je porte leur parole, ils disent, bon, y a une partie du prix pendant cette période-là qui était la subvention et après, mon tarif devrait baisser pour... parce que j'ai déjà "payé", entre guillemets, l'appareil.
2478 Qu'est-ce que vous leur dites à ces gens-là?
2479 M. HÉBERT: Mais en fait, lorsque le client bénéfice d'un rabais sur son appareil, le rabais est attaché en fait au service... au service mobile et relié... relié surtout à la mensualité du forfait.
2480 Donc de dire que le montant que le client... que le montant du bénéfice consenti réparti sur 24 mois est... correspond exactement... est inclus dans le forfait offert au client, c'est pas nécessairement exact parce que ça peut arriver par exemple pour la même mensualité, le mois suivant, où j'octrois un 200$ de plus sur l'appareil. Dans ce cas-ci, le client a bénéficié d'un plus gros rabais, pourtant je n'ai pas facturé plus en termes de mensualité.
2481 Donc de dire que la valeur du bénéfice consenti réparti sur 24 mois de ce montant-là que, à la fin du... à la fin de son entente, que le montant devrait être réduit de la valeur du bénéfice consenti...
2482 LE PRÉSIDENT: Vous êtes pas d'accord avec moi que la perception de bien des Canadiens sont que vous avez donné un genre de prêt ou vous avez aidé à subventionner, à payer pour le... pendant une période de temps-là, mettons le 24 mois, et qu'ils comprennent mal pourquoi la facture baisse pas à la fin de la période?
2483 M. HÉBERT: Mais plusieurs...
2484 LE PRÉSIDENT: Même si le téléphone est payé dans son entier.
2485 M. HÉBERT: En fait, le client peut se prévaloir de certains... comme par exemple, les forfaits B.Y.O.D., c'est des forfaits qui sont disponibles à l'ensemble de notre clientèle. Donc le client a toujours le choix de changer de forfait mais ça pourrait arriver que même si le client décide de changer de forfait pour un forfait B.Y.O.D., il risque d'être pénalisé dépendamment de l'offre qu'il a eu à l'abonnement.
2486 Donc de supposer que, à la fin de son contrat, le client, sa facture devrait être abaissée correspondant au montant du bénéfice consenti, c’est pas exact, parce qu’on a… par exemple, je pourrais vous donner un exemple fort intéressant : cet automne, on a fait une promotion où on offrait 6 gigs de données à 66 $. Donc, le client arrive à la fin de son contrat, il paye 66 $, et s’il décidait de prendre un forfait BYOD, il se trouverait à payer plus cher. Donc, c’est pas nécessairement vrai qu’à la fin de son entente que le montant du forfait devrait être réduit parce que, ça, c’est un exemple concret où le client se trouverait… se retrouverait dans une situation où il paierait plus cher.
2487 L’autre élément aussi à considérer, c’est que le client ne veut pas nécessairement perdre ce privilège. Donc si, par exemple, il a un forfait de 66… de 6 gigs à 66 $ et, trois mois plus tard, il décide de se réengager sur 24 mois, bien, il garde ce privilège, ce forfait-là qui est riche en termes de données.
2488 Donc… donc ça, c’est vraiment des exemples pour… c’est faux de dire que le montant du forfait devrait être réduit du bénéfice consenti équivalent à 24 mois parce qu’il se trouve à être pénalisé. Donc, le client veut garder ses privilèges lorsqu’il va décider de se réengager sur 24 mois.
2489 LE PRÉSIDENT: Êtes-vous d’accord que, dans une certaine proportion de la population, y’a quand même une confusion à cet égard, qu’ils pensent que le téléphone est subventionné?
2490 M. HÉBERT: Bien, le modèle d’affaires que, nous, on a adopté nous apparait comme étant le modèle le plus attrayant et flexible pour le consommateur. Chaque modèle a ses avantages et ses inconvénients. Pour l’instant, nous, le modèle qu’on applique – et, évidemment, on est à l’écoute de nos consommateurs – nous apparait comme étant le modèle qui… le plus attrayant et le plus facile à comprendre pour le consommateur.
2491 Donc, quand le consommateur magasine, en fait, il magasine un prix d’appareil, il magasine une mensualité. Donc, c’est quand même facile pour lui de comparer les forfaits entre fournisseurs. Chaque fournisseur a sa propre stratégie de pricing, de prix, mais, à la fin, le consommateur paie une mensualité et paie un prix pour l’appareil et, à la fin de son entente, je pense que tous les mécanismes et les forces du marché sont là pour s’assurer que le client bénéficie toujours de la meilleure offre, du meilleur prix dans le marché.
2492 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et vous pensez que la stratégie de ne pas baisser le prix pour les services de télécommunications à la fin de la période d’amortissement est une pratique qui tend à contribuer à un marché plus dynamique?
2493 M. HÉBERT: Oui.
2494 LE PRÉSIDENT: Pour quelle raison?
2495 M. HÉBERT: Absolument.
2496 LE PRÉSIDENT: Pour quelle raison?
2497 M. HÉBERT: Bien, j’aimerais revenir sur mon… sur l’exemple de tantôt. On mentionnait que, par exemple, avec le modèle d’affaires actuel, le client, dépendamment des moments de l’année, on peut décider de faire une période promotionnelle où le client peut bénéficier d’un rabais additionnel sur son appareil sans nécessairement payer une mensualité plus élevée. Dans un modèle où on déciderait de séparer l’appareil du forfait, lorsque je vais octroyer 200 $ de plus de rabais au client, il va se retrouver à payer plus par mois.
2498 Donc, dans certains cas, le consommateur est avantagé; dans d’autres cas, le consommateur a peut-être plus de flexibilité, mais il devient désavantagé par rapport au prix mensuel. Donc, chaque forfait a ses…
2499 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui, mais il pourrait aller financer son téléphone ailleurs et on pourrait peut-être voir plus de concurrence sur les prix de télécommunications plutôt que les accessoires.
2500 M. HÉBERT: Je ne suis pas convaincu que ça… que ça se… ça se traduirait en une meilleure compétitivité des prix pour le consommateur. Je pense qu’on viendrait uniformiser la stratégie de pricing à travers les concurrents, mais je ne pense pas que ça se traduirait par un marché plus dynamique et plus concurrentiel qui permet d’offrir plusieurs options en termes… plusieurs options au consommateur quand vient son… quand vient le temps pour lui de choisir un opérateur ou un autre. C’est sûr que le prix est un élément dans l’équation, y’a pas juste le prix, mais je pense qu’il faut laisser… il faut laisser les opérateurs innover au niveau de leur modèle d’affaires, puis après ça, c’est au consommateur de choisir quel modèle qui est le plus intéressant et attrayant pour lui. Parce qu’aujourd'hui, je pense que quand on regarde l’ensemble des fournisseurs dans le marché canadien, tous ces modèles sont sur la table, donc le consommateur a le choix de prendre… de faire… de choisir un modèle versus un autre modèle. À la fin, s’il croit que le modèle de répartition de la subvention sur 24 mois ajoutée à un forfait… comment dire… un forfait BYOD lui apparait plus attrayant… mais je pense qu’aujourd'hui le consommateur a déjà ces choix-là entre les mains.
2501 Donc, je pense qu’il faut laisser les opérateurs innover et je pense que… être à l’écoute des consommateurs. Et, en toute honnêteté, c’est des modèles que, nous, on a regardés et qu’on a explorés et, après consultation auprès des consommateurs, le modèle actuel semblait plus attrayant. Donc, faut pas penser nécessairement que les consommateurs veulent opter pour un seul modèle d’affaires. Je pense qu’ils veulent avoir de la diversité quand vient le temps de magasiner, de choisir un opérateur.
2502 LE PRÉSIDENT: La Coalition puis Vaxination proposent que les appareils soient vendus séparément et qu’ils soient facturés séparément. Il ne s’agirait pas d’une pratique qui serait plus transparente?
2503 M. HÉBERT: C’est… pour moi, c’est une autre façon de commercialiser nos produits et services. Est-ce qu’elle est plus transparente? Je ne serais pas prêt à dire que c’est plus transparent.
2504 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais, y’en a des fournisseurs qui le font dans le marché.
2505 M. HÉBERT: Oui.
2506 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et vous avez choisi de ne pas le faire de cette façon.
2507 M. HÉBERT: Oui.
2508 LE PRÉSIDENT: En ce qui a trait aux appareils… la liste pour les… la liste nationale d’appareils de perdus ou volés, est-ce que vous l’utilisez pour des fins de collection sur des dettes impayées?
2509 Mme NOVIELLO: Non. C’est strictement dans le cas d’un vol ou une situation de fraude.
2510 LE PRÉSIDENT: Dans le cas de la mise en œuvre, est-ce qu’à votre avis une période de six mois serait raisonnable pour mettre en œuvre des modifications au Code, le cas échéant?
2511 M. BÉLAND: Six mois seraient probablement suffisants, avec une exception. Le seul bémol que, nous, on met sur cette échéance possible, c’est, si jamais le Conseil avait l’intention dans sa décision d’ordonner aux fournisseurs justement de séparer le prix de l’appareil du prix du service dans leurs forfaits de façon globale, ça, ça serait une initiative très importante de changement de système chez Vidéotron, puis nous ne croyons pas que ça serait faisable en dedans de six mois.
2512 LE PRÉSIDENT: La seule exception à la période de six mois, à votre avis?
2513 M. BÉLAND: C’est la seule que nous avons identifiée à date dans l’instance, oui.
2514 LE PRÉSIDENT: Je ne sais pas quand est-ce d’autre que vous allez pouvoir nous en identifier, donc voici votre moment.
2515 M. BÉLAND: On a eu une discussion interne précisément à ce sujet-là et c’est la seule que nous avons identifiée.
2516 LE PRÉSIDENT: Est-ce que ce changement dans la période de… sujette à votre (inintelligible) de période de six mois s’appliquerait à tous les abonnés, peu importe où ils se trouvent dans leur contrat?
2517 M. BÉLAND: C’est une couche additionnelle d’analyse. Si vous me permettez, on aimerait prendre ça en engagement.
2518 LE PRÉSIDENT: D’accord. Pour le 16 février?
2519 M. BÉLAND: Oui.
2521 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais vous êtes d’accord que, lorsque le Conseil a adopté son Code il y a trois ans, on a dit clairement qu’on revoyait le Code après trois ans, n'est-ce pas?
2522 M. BÉLAND: Absolument.
2523 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et qu’il serait raisonnable de prévoir qu’il y aurait possiblement des changements au Code après cette…
2524 M. BÉLAND: C’est dans la nature même d’une révision du Code qu’il y a des changements possibles.
2525 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et que dans votre planification, il serait tout à fait raisonnable d’avoir planifié la possibilité de changements?
2526 M. BÉLAND: D’avoir planifié la possibilité de connaitre les changements, non, mais d’avoir planifié la possibilité, absolument.
2527 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et donc, vous avez mis en place des systèmes qui sont capables d’être modifiés dans la mesure du possible, ils ne sont pas figés dans le temps. Donc, c’est des systèmes informatiques qui sont un petit peu plus souples qu’ils étaient la première fois qu’on a mis en place le Code, n'est-ce pas?
2528 M. BÉLAND: Pas sûr qu’on irait jusque là, de pouvoir dire qu’on a mis en place des systèmes qui sont assez souples pour accommoder des changements futurs…
2529 LE PRÉSIDENT: Sachant que des modifications étaient possibles, est-ce que vous allez me dire que vous dites maintenant à vos abonnés et à vos actionnaires que vous n’avez pas planifié la possibilité d’un changement qui pourrait être mis en vigueur à moindre cout.
2530 M. BÉLAND: Ah, je dirais que c’est… ça fait partie de notre réalité comme entreprise assujettie à la juridiction du Conseil que le Conseil peut nous imposer de nouvelles règles de temps en temps. Ça fait partie de notre réalité. Dans la mesure du possible, on essaie d’être assez souple pour pouvoir répondre à cette réalité, oui.
2531 LE PRÉSIDENT: La Convention de participation du CPRST exige que vos clients soient avisés de leurs droits de porter plainte dans le cadre d’un processus du traitement des plaintes à l’interne, après le deuxième échelon de recours. Est-ce que vous rencontrez cette obligation-là à cent pour cent?
2532 M. DESROCHES: Oui. Absolument.
2533 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et vous avez des méthodes en place pour vérifier que, effectivement… d’autres ont dit qu’il peut y avoir des erreurs humaines puis que peut-être ça n’arrive pas dans cent pour cent des cas, mais qu’ils ont des systèmes en place pour assurer que, dans la quasi-totalité des cas, ça a lieu.
2534 M. DESROCHES: C’est exactement la même chose pour nous. On a des mécanismes en place pour s’assurer effectivement d’être conforme. L’erreur est humaine, mais je peux vous affirmer qu’on vise cent pour cent.
2535 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc, ça ne serait pas un fardeau supplémentaire d’ajouter cette obligation-là dans le cas lui-même plutôt que dans l’entente de participation – vous le faites déjà.
2536 M. BÉLAND: Non. Non.
2537 LE PRÉSIDENT: Non, ça serait pas un fardeau?
2538 M. BÉLAND: Non. Exact.
2539 LE PRÉSIDENT: Effectivement. Donc, oui.
2541 J’ai eu une discussion plus tôt… comme vous le savez, on regarde les alertes publiques sans fil et un des enjeux qui est soulevé dans ça, c’est la limite de responsabilité civile que vous auriez en donnant des alertes. Et ici, ma question se pose uniquement par rapport à limiter votre responsabilité contractuelle avec les abonnés et non pas à l’extérieur des obligations extracontractuelles ou délictuelles. Est-ce qu’il y a des empêchements dans le Code tel qu’il est rédigé qui pourraient vous permettre – dans la mesure que c’est permis en droit là, évidemment, selon les principes généraux du droit civil – de limiter votre responsabilité par rapport à des alertes publiques?
2542 M. SHAPIRO: Selon notre lecture du Code, y’a pas de tels empêchements dans le Code sans fil actuellement qui nous empêcheraient de limiter notre responsabilité. Il pourrait y avoir certaines dispositions de la Loi sur la protection du consommateur du Québec qui pourraient s’appliquer dans des cas spécifiques, mais rien au niveau des avis dont vous faites mention.
2543 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et maintenant, ma dernière question, donc je me tourne vers mes collègues et puis le contentieux.
2544 Vous avez pris connaissance de la pièce no 1 du CRTC?
2545 M. BÉLAND: Oui.
2546 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et vous avez des questions qui se sont adressées à vous comme fournisseur de service?
2547 M. BÉLAND: Oui.
2548 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et vous êtes capable de fournir les réponses à ces questions d’ici le 16 février?
2549 M. BÉLAND: Oui, on le fera.
2551 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup.
2552 Bon, apparemment, ce sont nos questions. Merci beaucoup.
2553 Et… 2 h 25, ça tombe bien, c’est presque planifié comme ça. On va prendre une pause de 15 minutes puis on va revenir à 2 h 40 pour la suite de l’audience aujourd'hui.
2554 Merci beaucoup, Mesdames et Messieurs.
--- Upon recessing at 2:25 p.m.
--- Upon resuming at 2:42 p.m.
2555 LE PRÉSIDENT: A l’ordre. Order, please. Madame la secrétaire.
2556 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci, monsieur présidente. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
2557 We'll now hear the presentation by Rogers.
2558 Mr. Watt, please introduce your colleagues for the record, please, and you have 20 minutes.
2559 MR. WATT: Thank you Madam Secretary, Mr. Chair, Vice-Chair, and Commissioner MacDonald.
2560 I'm David Watt, Senior Vice President at Regulatory and Chief Privacy Officer for Rogers Communications.
2561 With me today to my left, is Deborah Evans, Director of Consumer Policy and Associate Chief Privacy Officer. To Deborah's left is Donavan Beth, Senior Director Wireless Data and Roaming. To Donavan's left is Kim Walker, Rogers' Ombudsperson; and to Kim's left is Monifa Morgan, Manager Regulatory.
2562 To my right is Howard Slawner, Vice President Regulatory Telecom. To Howard's right is Chris Smale, Vice President Wireless Pricing; and to Chris' right is Joshua Yarmus, Senior Legal Counsel.
2563 We welcome the opportunity to be here today as part of the three year review of the Code. In Rogers' written comments, we provided responses to the specific questions set out in the Commission's Notice of Consultation.
2564 Today, we want to tell you that the Code has been a success. Rogers has been committed to the Code since its inception. We encouraged the Commission to establish a unified, national set of rules to govern wireless agreements. We remain supportive of the Code as it both empowers Canadian wireless consumers and provides a safety net in certain circumstances. We do not see the need for widespread changes to the Code. Any amendments should not constrain market and service innovation flowing from today’s intensely competitive wireless market.
2565 Canadian consumers are well served by a competitive wireless industry, with many service providers and innovative product offerings. Carriers offer coverage to more than 99 percent of Canadians, and LTE networks, the latest generation of wireless technology, are already available to approximately 97 percent of Canadians.
2566 There are over 30 million wireless subscribers in Canada, with 73 percent of Canadians owning a smartphone; and the market continues to grow rapidly. In the fourth quarter of last year, well over 300,000 more subscriptions were added.
2567 Concerning the issue of churn, with average monthly industry churn of roughly 1.4 percent, almost 15 million -- almost 5 million, not 15, 5 million subscribers changed providers last year. So they didn't look at changing. These were people who actually changed providers.
2568 Canadian wireless users are among the heaviest data consumers in the world. According to CISCO, Canada ranks 4th internationally in mobile data use and Canadian mobile data traffic is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 42 percent between now and 2020. Already 70 percent of Canadian wireless subscribers have plans that provide at least 1 gigabyte of data usage per month.
2569 All this data usage is driven by national wireless networks that, according to a recent Open Signal report, are in the top tier of global 4G performance with average Canadian speeds of 26.6 megabytes per second, more than double the average data speed experienced in the U.S.
2570 The wireless market has evolved significantly since the Code was introduced in 2013. It is important for Canada's wireless industry to continue to innovate and adapt to future changes in technology, customer needs, and the development of new business models in a competitive world. Consumers now have more products and services, more contract models, and more account management tools available to them.
2571 We will explain the steps that Rogers has taken in this ever changing, competitive market to empower consumers with services, information and management tools that optimize their wireless experience. We view these steps as providing us with a competitive advantage that benefits our customers.
2572 We believe that the current Code provides a base level, or safety net, of protection that is appropriate, while allowing the marketplace to flourish with new innovative products and services that benefit consumers through dynamic competition. The current Code strikes the right balance of providing standardized protection for consumers, while allowing competitive market forces to introduce differentiated products and customer support.
2573 Over the past three years, Rogers has invested heavily in the customer experience in order to keep our customers and attract others. These efforts have resulted in reduced calls to our call centres, reduced complaints to the CCTS and continued growth in customers.
2574 Donavan will now describe a number of our key initiatives.
2575 MR. BETH: At the most basic level, our new bill design helps our customers better understand the wireless invoices, and the costs associated with using their devices. Our customers have told us they want to have more control over their wireless products and services, and we have responded.
2576 Since 2013, we have introduced an increasing number of self-serve options that empower our customers. For international roaming, customers can choose Roam Like Home and Fido Roam. To address domestic data cap issues, customers now have data notifications, alerts, data top‑ups, and Data Manager available to them. I will describe each one in turn.
2577 Consumers want predictable, affordable roaming options. Since November 2014 we have introduced Roam Like Home and Fido Roam allowing our customers to use their voice, text, and data services worry-free as they would at home for a small daily fee while roaming outside Canada. We have seen -- we have seen roaming complaints reduced by almost 50 percent now that our customers have the option to use their plan while roaming as if they were at home.
2578 Wireless data use is one of the top reasons our customers call us every month. To increase customer satisfaction and reduce calls, we have introduced a number of new tools to empower customers to optimize their data use and minimize unexpected additional charges.
2579 First, above and beyond the Code-required $50 notification of service cut off, Rogers sends a text message to our customer -- customers once they reach 90 percent and 100 percent of their data allotment in a billing cycle. We also send a notification at $30 and $90 of data overage. In total, we send up to five notifications to our customers, so that they are fully informed when using data.
2580 Rogers recently introduced data top-ups allowing customers to get more data in a billing cycle before paying standard overage charges and ultimately reaching the Code’s hard stop threshold. This product is simple and completely self-serve. Let me explain in detail.
2581 The 90 percent notification, which identifies where the customer is in their bill cycle, alerts the customers to consider adding additional data to carry them through to the next bill cycle. There are two sizes of data top-ups offered; 300 megs and 1 gig. If the top-up is not enough to last for the remainder of the month, the customer can take advantage of this option an additional six times. Once the billing cycle concludes, the plan’s data allotment is fully reset.
2582 Data top-ups are available to customers each month, when needed. If they don’t need additional data, they don’t have pay for more. This option provides customers with the added certainty of what they will be paying if they continue using data. There are no unexpected fees as they are not incurring overage charges.
2583 Rogers’ customers have had a number of data monitoring tools for many years. And now we have recently introduced an exciting, game changing tool called Data Manager. Data Manager takes the worry out of data use for our Share Everything customers who have multiple lines sharing a bucket of data. Share Everything customers make up the majority of our customer base, and while the bill payer recognizes that their family runs on data, they also want to have control how it is used.
2584 Our new Data Manager tool gives them this power. The bill payer identifies a “data manager”, very possibly themselves but it could be any line holder, who can monitor data use; set customized real-time alerts by line; purchase additional data; and temporarily block data access by line. This tool is contributing to a reduction of unexpected additional charges for customers as it has created transparency of data use for our Share Everything customers. And very importantly, the customer is in complete control and can customize their preferences rather than having a one-size-fits-all experience.
2586 Mme WALKER: Rogers se concentre sur le renforcement des interactions efficaces et efficientes avec ses clients. Nous concrétisons cela grâce à de nombreux programmes, tels que ceux mentionnés par Donavan. Nous voulons donner plus de pouvoir et de contrôle à nos clients afin de continuer à différencier dans le marché.
2587 En tant qu’Ombudsman chez Rogers, j'ai une connaissance approfondie de l'engagement de Rogers quant au service à la clientèle. Comme nous l'avons expliqué à l’automne 2015 lors des audiences publiques concernant le CPRST, depuis 2014, nous avons intensifié nos efforts afin d’améliorer l'expérience client et de renforcer nos relations auprès de notre clientèle. Ces efforts ont toujours comme objectif de donner le plein contrôle directement aux clients.
2588 L'engagement de Rogers quant au service à la clientèle porte fruit et nous sommes des témoins importants de l'impact positif de ces changements. Par exemple, les deux derniers rapports annuels du CPRST démontrent une réduction drastique des plaintes provenant des clients de Rogers. Nos efforts, visant à simplifier les interactions et à donner plus de contrôle à nos clients, ont entraîné une diminution de 53 pour cent des plaintes auprès du CPRST pour 2015 et ‘16. Ceci représente les meilleurs résultats parmi tous les fournisseurs nationaux.
2589 En fait, nous avons constaté une amélioration des plaintes pour la quatrième année consécutive. Nous faisons du progrès concernant notre plan d’amélioration de l'expérience client et nous travaillons fort pour résoudre leurs problèmes et aussi pour apprendre davantage de leurs commentaires. Avec un résultat de 95 pour cent, Rogers a obtenu auprès du CPRST le taux de résolution le plus élevé parmi tous les fournisseurs nationaux.
2590 En ce qui concerne la performance de l'industrie, et plus particulièrement pertinent à cet examen, je constate que le Code sur les services sans fil semble bien compris, et ce, de plus en plus puisque le nombre de violations confirmées est passé de 582 en 2014 et ‘15 à 246 en 2015 et ‘16. Ceci représente une très bonne performance pour une industrie qui compte 30 millions d'abonnés payants à chaque mois.
2591 Rogers se concentre à offrir à ses clients des solutions conçues pour faciliter le libre-service, réduire les coûts imprévus et aussi pour mieux comprendre les frais mensuels. Nous voulons que nos clients disposent des outils nécessaires afin qu’ils se sentent en plein contrôle. Nous avons donc introduit plusieurs programmes dans le but de mieux gérer les raisons principales pour lesquelles ils nous appellent. Nous voulons nous différencier dans le marché sur cette base.
2592 MS. EVANS: The Code introduced both data overage and data roaming caps to minimize large wireless bills that were unexpected by customers. These caps served to provide Canadians with greater certainty when it comes to their data charges.
2593 Today, we face a new issue; managing data on family or shared plans brings new complications and challenges. We have described earlier how Rogers is providing our sophisticated Data Manager tool to customers to address these challenges.
2594 The intention of the data overage cap in the Code was to minimize bill shock, due to significantly large costs that were not anticipated or expected by the customer. In 2013, when the Code was introduced, the most popular contract model was the single line account, where each user had their own data allotment and was responsible for their individual charges. The Commission felt under these circumstances $50 was the right amount to give Canadians bill certainty and have the ability to use their device.
2595 However, three years after the introduction of the Code, the typical plan has changed dramatically. More and more customers are attaching more than one device or telephone number to an account. Rogers’ wireless customer base now consists primarily of Share Everything plans, and this number increases each year. These plans allow customers to combine the account features, such as data allotments, across multiple devices or users.
2596 MR. SLAWNER: Given the prevalence of today’s popular multi-line data products, the Code should be updated. Applying a $50 cap level put in place for a one-line account in this new environment where the majority of accounts have multiple devices would not be the best option. Doing so could impair the service of large families or small businesses that may have several lines on a single account. A $50 cap would not provide the flexibility such customers need and could result in service interruptions that will harm them.
2597 In order to strike the correct balance between avoiding bill shock and the needs of multi-line accounts, the provisions in the Code related to domestic data overage caps should be amended to explicitly account for sharing plans.
2598 We propose that the Commission apply the $50 domestic data overage cap for single line accounts but for a multi-line account, we propose an amended cap of $100. This new cap would apply to any account with two or more devices or telephone numbers attached to it. So, even if an account had 3, or 6, or even 10 devices or telephone numbers the cap would be $100.
2599 We consider that this would still maintain the spirit of the Code’s safety net protection to avoid large unexpected charges while allowing consumers to use their service in an uninterrupted manner.
2600 Rogers does not believe that any changes should be made to the existing data roaming caps. The introduction of products like Roam Like Home by most carriers has drastically eliminated significant bill shock which was historically associated with data roaming.
2601 Further, it is important that the Commission clarify that the roaming and domestic overage data caps apply only to unexpected per-unit overage charges. Programs and services that create cost certainty for our customers, such as Roam Like Home and data top-ups, do not constitute unexpected fees and should not be subject to any data cap.
2602 MR. WATT: For Canada to remain leaders in wireless adoption innovation, we believe that changes to the Code should be kept to a minimum. It is working well as drafted, but there are opportunities for minor changes to improve the Code and to provide even greater clarity for both consumers and service providers.
2603 Three such opportunities for greater clarity are: permanent copy of the contract; early cancellation fees; and definition of small business customers.
2604 First, Rogers agrees that a customer should receive a permanent copy of his or her wireless service agreement. But we believe requiring a paper contract as the default is inconsistent with the digital world. It is also inconsistent with the Commission's own views that many consumers maintain electronic records and conduct much of their business online so electronic copies of the contract and related documents may be more convenient.
2605 In fact, the Television Service Provider Code concluded that mandating a paper copy as the default was no longer necessary and left it to the individual service providers to determine the appropriate default. Rogers agrees with this approach and urges the Commission to amend the Code to allow for a similar flexible approach. Of course, we would provide a paper copy upon request by a customer.
2606 Turning to early cancellation fees. A primary objective of the Code was to make it easier for consumers to switch service providers and take advantage of competitive offers. This has been achieved by a simple and understandable formula for calculating early cancellation fees tied to the device subsidy the customer received.
2607 Wireless competitors provide Canadians with more than device subsidies when they enter into fixed-term contracts, but under the existing early cancellation requirements of the Code, these costs cannot be recovered if a customer cancels before the end of the contract period. For example, gifts with purchase such as phone accessories and attachments, gift cards, and port-in credits, all provide added benefits to the customer when they sign an agreement.
2608 Rogers encourages the Commission to allow for the recovery of any additional economic incentive using the same formula used to calculate the subsidy-based early cancellation fee.
2609 The flexibility to offer and recover non‑handset related incentives to acquire new customers will ultimately contribute to a more dynamic marketplace, and will not limit a customer's ability to switch service providers. In addition, the remaining cost of the economic inducement would be recovered from the party that enjoyed the inducement rather than being subsidized by the general subscriber base.
2610 Finally, Rogers agrees that the protections of the Code should apply to small business customers, but it is important that the Code be updated to provide a specific definition of small business customer, as it is increasingly difficult to accurately apply the Code without one.
2611 Currently, if there is a complaint about Code compliance from a small business the CCTS applies its $2,500 monthly telecommunications spend threshold to determine if the Code applies. There are a number of practical problems to this approach, and Videotron, who appeared before us this afternoon, listed and explained a number of those issues.
2612 Rogers recommends that the Code be amended to clearly define small business based on the number of employees. We recommend the definition be 29 employees or less. This is an easily identifiable and measurable metric.
2613 We also encourage the Commission to make it clear that determining if the Code applies to a small business complaint should be based on the facts in place when the business entered into the contract.
2614 Rogers thanks the Commission for the opportunity to participate in this review. We'd be happy to answer any questions you may have about our opening remarks or our previously filed written comments.
2615 THE CHAIRPERSON: So thank you very much.
2616 Commissioner -- Vice-Chair Menzies will start us off.
2617 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you.
2618 I thought maybe we'd start with churn. It's come up on more than one occasion. PIAC articulated it as 2 percent in a fashion we understood to be indicative of not a very competitive marketplace. Bell didn't have a great comment -- a great deal of concern regarding that or an alternative view. Videotron indicated that would be more like 1 in 4. Changing your number is 1.4 percent, and you talk about 5 million subscribers.
2619 Can you -- which -- there's a big difference between that and where we started yesterday. What is the source that you're using for the 5 million?
2620 MR. WATT: My source, I went to the 2016 CRTC Communication Monitoring Report.
2621 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, that's, I think, the one I have in front of me as we speak.
2622 MR. WATT: I looked at Table 5.5.9.
2623 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yeah, that's the one I've got. Okay.
2624 MR. WATT: And I come to -- I took 2015, so the most recent number, and it had showed Bell at 1.5 percent, Rogers at 1.6, and TELUS at 1.3 percent, and that is per month, churn.
2625 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right.
2626 MR. WATT: And what I did, and it doesn't explicitly say it, but my belief is that that is the blended post-paid, pre‑paid churn, because I know that some of the post-paid churns are lower than this. So this is the total churn across the whole market.
2627 So I just took a simple unweighted average here, or roughly, so a third, a third, a third, and you get 1.4 percent monthly churn, and just multiply that times 12, you've got me just short of, I believe, 15 percent. And then applied 15 percent to the roughly 30 million subscribers that exist in Canada today and that gets me 4.5 million, and we are growing.
2628 So roughly like 4.5 to 5 million subscribers' subscriptions changed providers in 2015; or -- well, using the 2015 churn rate to today's 30 million, it might have been 28 million at that point, but 30 million today, that gets you to the almost 5 million subscribers that changed providers.
2629 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thanks for clarifying. It's very useful to have a, sort of an agreed upon set of facts of us and that we can work from.
2630 Does that include -- do you -- to your knowledge, does that include -- would that -- the numbers, the 30 million you're talking about, would that include corporate?
2631 MR. WATT: That includes all subscriptions, yes.
2632 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thanks, that's very helpful.
2633 I have a quick question on accessibility in terms of that fact. Bell mentioned it now has a voice free plan for the deaf and hard of hearing. Where is Rogers with that?
2634 MS. EVANS: We've had a plan since 2015 that is text and data only.
2635 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, so that, sorry, was text and data only was it?
2636 MS. EVANS: Correct.
2637 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thank you.
2638 And is -- in terms of -- Bell made the point that usage notification is a competitive area. You certainly -- my take from your presentation is that that's certainly something you would agree with because of the number of innovations you've been making in that area.
2639 Can you give us some more -- a fuller sense of understanding of how big a feature that is in the acquisition and retention of customers and how that has evolved over the last, let's say three years?
2640 MR. WATT: As you say, this is a very important area for us. We do see it as a competitive differentiator and we have put -- placed a lot of emphasis on this.
2641 And I would ask Donovan to explain in detail what we have done.
2642 MR. BETH: So from our perspective we've invested heavily in this area for two reasons. Number one is when we look at the calls to our care centre, a lot of them are around domestic data. So giving them transparency and clarity reduces those calls and helps us run more efficiently as well as keep our customers happy.
2643 The second thing that's important to us is when we look at our Share Everything Plans the only way that customers will feel comfortable adding a line to those Share Everything Plans is if they have full transparency to how much data their using and full control.
2644 And so our belief is if we give customer full transparency and control they will then feel comfortable to use data.
2645 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Then help me understand a little bit, because I don't quite get how as a consumer it's going to be more appealing to me to go to you if you have $100 notification limit as opposed to the $50. Right? Whereas I would -- one would -- many people would assume that, you know, the lower my exposure the better in terms of that. Obviously there’s something I’m missing in terms of your argument and why the $100 is more beneficial to the consumer. I mean, you even use the word that it could do “harm” to the consumer under these certain plans to have a $50 limit as opposed to your $100 limit and I’m -- I -- off the top I wasn’t getting it. So maybe you can ---
2646 MR BETH: So we ---
2647 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: --- help me with that.
2648 MR. BETH: --- we view the Code as a safety net.
2649 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yes.
2650 MR. BETH: Okay. So we have, as I’ve indicated in the presentation, we alert the customer five times or up to five times before and as they go into overage. In addition to that, we’ve overlaid Data Manager. The way Data Manager works is anyone at -- well, the account holder or the person that they allocate as the data manager can go in and set alerts for each individual account. In addition to that, they can go ahead and stop data for that individual line.
2651 And so the reason that we feel it’s important to have the $100 at $100 or the multi-line at $100 is if you have it too early in a multi-line, it’s very likely that the customer will just accept it. And so if they accept it, then the safety net is gone. The Code needs to be there for a safety net in case they don’t use the Data Manager, in case that they ignore the alerts, you want to have something later on in the process to avoid bill shock. If it’s too early, it -- there is a risk that they will just accept it and then there will be no safety net.
2652 And so, although we provide all these tools to the customer we’d like to have the Code there as a safety net.
2653 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So what I’m understanding you to be saying is that if I have 5 dependents on my plan, so there’s 6 lines, right, and that the chances are I’m going to be going over the -- I’m going to be hitting the 50 early and I will say yes.
2654 MR. BETH: Well, as a percentage of the bill, $50 is not significant; right? So if you have 5 or 10 lines ---
2655 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: How big a bill would I typically be incurring for ---
2656 MR. BETH: Let’s say you had 10 lines, assuming it’s $50 a line, that’s $500. Fifty ($50) is 10 percent. At 10 percent is someone going to say, “Yeah, you know what, I’m pretty comfortable. Let’s keep going.”
2657 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And the next thing -- and your argument is the next thing you know that 50 is 200.
2658 MR. BETH: Potentially, yes.
2659 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So -- but if this area is competitive, as you say, why wouldn’t you put in another notification on your own?
2660 MR. BETH: So we do. So we have five ---
2661 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay.
2662 MR. BETH: --- as well as we have Data Manager where the customer can customize the notifications for each individual line versus at the account level.
2663 And so what I’m trying to say is, yes, it’s very competitive and operators should do what they can to essentially differentiate and provide the best customer experience, and then you let the Code act as a safety net to ensure that the customer doesn’t come home with a $200 bill or 150 or 110.
2664 And so with multi-line accounts it’s important that you don’t have it too early; otherwise, it becomes just something that people accept, they continue, then you lose your safety net. And so we’re very focussed on the customer and we feel that this is in the customer’s best interest to have a $50 for individual and $100 for multi-line. We’ve done a lot of thinking about this and once you layer that on with the points of differentiation that we’ve talked about and the other operators also have their points of differentiation as well, then you have the ideal customer experience.
2665 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So and the definition of multi-line would be?
2666 MR. BETH: Two lines or more.
2667 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Two or more?
2668 MR. BETH: Yes.
2669 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Because it’s -- it ---
2670 MR. BETH: So if you have 1 line it’s $50. If you have 2 lines it’s $100. If you have 3 it’s 100. If you have 4 it’s 100, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
2671 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So even up to 10 or ---
2672 MR. BETH: Yeah.
2673 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: --- however many.
2674 MR. BETH: Correct.
2675 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: How many can I have? As many as ---
2676 MR. BETH: So as a consumer you could have up to 10.
2677 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I can have up to 10. So between 2 and 10 -- okay. Anyway, I understand the -- you know, your ---
2678 MR. WATT: One of the ---
2679 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: --- argument in terms of that now.
2680 MR. WATT: --- one of the other considerations is as well, this is -- this applies to individuals and to small businesses. So, I mean, some argument could be made that the individual or the residential situation is different than the business situation in that the business situation should be treated differently and there’s not so much necessarily concern from a safety net perspective there but there is concern in terms of the interruption of their business and that sort of an irritation factor. But we decided that we think the best approach is still to keep the two together. They’re in the -- they’re treated the same. But it is a complicating factor that likely you would have -- you could have a large number of lines, say seven or eight might be a very typical situation for a business.
2681 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. When I was reading this I was thinking back to a different process that we had last spring in which we encountered presentations from a large number of people from poverty groups. And I recall one person appearing who had teenage children and was -- she was having difficulty managing their demands on the system and this was causing her financial stress. Would there be any problem with having -- putting consumers in charge of the tiers that they wish to be notified at? I mean ---
2682 MR. BETH: So I think that’s what we’ve done with Family Data Manager. Each ---
2683 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So ---
2684 MR. BETH: --- account can customize an alert for each line. So if I had five lines, I could set five different alerts for each person on the -- each line on the account. So little Johnny gets one gig, mom and dad get two gigs, little Jenny gets one gig. And then the alert pops based on what they’re using.
2685 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So who gets alerted when Johnny ---
2686 MR. BETH: The data manager.
2687 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: --- gets at 95 ---
2688 MR. BETH: Sorry.
2689 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: What percentage do you alert at?
2690 MR. BETH: So the data manager has the ability to go in and set customized alerts.
2691 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And the data manager is who?
2692 MR. BETH: Whoever -- so it would be the account holder would be the one who signs in.
2693 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: The person who pays the bill.
2694 MR. BETH: But -- hold on.
2695 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay.
2696 MR. BETH: If they were absent or not interested in it, they could assign someone else. So let’s pretend little Johnny was 18 and very responsible and then they could assign little Johnny as the data manager to essentially manage the alerting as well as the blocking.
2697 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right. But -- okay. Just -- and I understand that. But to go back to the terms of the notification, then they get notified when they’re at 95 percent of their 1 gig?
2698 MR. BETH: No, so at account level Rogers notifies at 90 percent, not 95.
2699 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Ninety (90) percent?
2700 MR. BETH: Yeah.
2701 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay.
2702 MR. BETH: So at the account level those notifications are there. They’re at 90 percent, 100 percent, $30 in overage, as well as $90 in overage. Data Manager goes a little bit more granular where you can do it at the line level. And so you could associate an alert -- a customized alert at each -- for each individual line.
2703 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay.
2704 MR. BETH: So if I have a 10 gig plan, I will get notified at 9 gigs at the account level, as well as at 10 gigs. Having said that, I could go in if I had four people and set alerts for one gig for each person. So when little Johnny hits one gig, both little Johnny and myself get the alert. And at that point I could decide if I want to turn little Johnny’s data off or not.
2705 And so what this solution does is it gives the most comprehensive and holistic ability to control data and for data transparency.
2706 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. So what you’re describing is the market working very well in -- is that data management has become a market -- market forces are working well on behalf of the consumer in terms of data management is ---
2707 MR. BETH: So let me give you an ---
2708 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: --- what you’re describing?
2709 MR. BETH: Let me give you an example. So in 2014 we launched Roam Like Home. Within a year both Bell and TELUS came out with similar products. So ---
2710 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right.
2711 MR. BETH: --- my anticipation is that now that we’ve launched Data Manager I would expect that the competitors would look to do something that would also be customer-friendly with respects to managing data overage. So the answer is absolutely, the market’s working extremely well and it will continue to work well.
2712 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So what I don’t -- what I’m still not quite getting is why, if the market is working that well for it, why we shouldn’t just leave things as they are with the $50 because you’re already going to stop people -- the market is going to stop people when they get to 100 anyway, why would we risk moving it to 100 and there being harm done to somebody for whom $50 is harm?
2713 MR. BETH: So I worry as plans evolve -- and when I mean evolve we’re adding more and more lines to these plans and the bill for the account gets larger and larger. If the $50 stays at -- is at $50 and then it becomes such a small percentage of the bill, they will accept and then their safety net is gone. It’s important to have that safety net in place as a backstop and not as a means of the first kind of like method of alerting.
2714 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right. And I won’t belabour this point too long but what I’m still struggling with and want to give you the opportunity is when you’re talking about two lines, and I’m a single mom and I work at a fast food restaurant and I have a 16-year old at home, and that’s $100, right, for those two $50, that next $50 is not something I’m going to quickly say yes to and it’s something that if it’s $100 all of a sudden my bill is doubled and I’m struggling to get it, and that’s what I’m concerned about is protecting.
2715 And I understand -- I’m not disagreeing with the points you’re making. I’m sort of saying what about this situation in terms of that, where’s the -- does that safety net catch those people who may be the most exposed?
2716 MR. BETH: So the world’s not perfect and everybody’s different, and this is why we believe in layering of tools. And so again the Code is the safety nest, it’s the highest level, but we give tools to customers so they have the capability. If they’re price sensitive they have the capability of actually incurring zero dollars in overage and that comes through Family Data Manager.
2717 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Thank you.
2718 You mentioned the Share Everything Plan is growing. Can you give me some numbers in terms of how it’s growing?
2719 MR. BETH: So we have the numbers but I prefer to give them to you in an undertaking.
2720 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. That would be ---
2721 MR. BETH: They are ---
2722 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: That would be fine.
2723 MR. BETH: They’re very high.
2724 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay.
2725 MR. WATT: We consider them confidential so we would prefer ---
2726 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: You will ---
2727 MR. WATT: -- to put it in an undertaking and ask for confidentiality.
2728 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Understood. Thank you.
2729 THE CHAIRPERSON: And providing an abridged version ---
2730 MR. WATT: Yes ---
2731 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- if possible.
2732 MR. WATT: --- we will.
2733 THE CHAIRPERSON: A practice that has been lost.
2734 MR. WATT: And we certainly will provide the abridged version. It will just -- it will frustrate some people though because ---
2735 THE CHAIRPERSON: Perhaps, but I’m using this opportunity to send a message to others who will be filing in confidence.
2736 MR. WATT: I understand.
2738 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I just wanted to clarify something from your oral presentation. When you were referencing the digital versus paper option here where you say that -- and it might just be a matter of wording. You refer to -- it’s on page 16 of your oral presentation here. When you refer to the TSPC saying you left it to the individual service providers to determine the appropriate default. Our understanding of this is that it’s up to the consumer to determine that they have the option to choose between electronic or paper.
2739 MR. WATT: That’s correct. This was the issue that arose with Vidéotron just before us here. It’s probably poor phrasing.
2740 Yes, the consumer gets to pick which they want ultimately, but we would, in the first instance, offer them the digital, an electronic copy, and they would then tell us they would wish a paper copy. So, in other words, we would not ---
2741 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: You would not present the option to them but if they request it you would agree. Is that what you’re saying?
2742 MR. WATT: Correct. But we would indicate that a paper copy is available upon request to them.
2743 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. So you would say well here’s your -- where can I email you your copy and if you want it in paper I can print one out for you and give it to you too?
2744 MR. WATT: Yes.
2745 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Thank you.
2746 I’d just like to deal with this issue of prepaid and post-paid. Why -- first of all, what are your -- how long are your prepaid terms? You do prepaid?
2747 MR. SLAWNER: Yes, we do prepaid.
2748 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And I can prepay for how long, 30 ---
2749 MR. SLAWNER: Well, you have two kinds of prepaid basically now. You have the kind of classic prepaid card or vouchers where you’d basically top-up a phone as you needed it. And now we also have the new version of prepay, which is kind of a pay in advance. You prepay for 30 days, which is -- so you pay, let’s say, a $30 fee at the first of the month and then you have service for the month and you have texts, and voice, and data. And we have actually one prepaid plan that actually lasts 365 days.
2750 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And do you provide prepaid subscribers with a Critical Information Summary?
2751 MR. SLAWNER: Only in a couple of channels that it’s actually done because it’s already established. But for a lot of prepaid it’s not really practical to provide the Critical Information Summaries.
2752 For example, they’ve buying kind of a prepackaged over the counter phone at a 7-Eleven where they basically just buy the phone and a card and activate it online. It doesn’t make sense in a lot of those cases to actually provide that information to them. So in a couple of instances we do and in most instances we do not.
2753 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Give me an -- to help me understand, give me an instance in which you -- I mean, I can see it being inconvenient at some point, but let me put it this way, what goes -- what bad thing happens if we require a Critical Information Summary to be available to prepaid?
2754 MR. SLAWNER: I’m not sure a bad thing will happen. I just think that in some cases it’s not that practical. A lot of people when they buy prepaid they want something very simple and quick. They just buy something over the counter at, like I said, a gas station even. So in the past it’s not been -- it’s not provided that level of paper and agreements with them. They just go online and they activate it. They have a very quick and easy way to get a phone. So it’s just more of a practicality issue than it is that something bad would happen.
2755 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And can you just expand a little bit while we’re on there -- I mean, you made it fairly clear that you think consumers are well-served by the Code distinguishing between prepaid and post right now. Why is that to the benefit of consumers?
2756 MR. SLAWNER: I think there’s some -- a couple fundamental differences between prepaid and post-paid that prepaid service does not, you know, rely on the Code.
2757 Two of the core goals of the Code was to facilitate switching and to ensure that there’s no unexpected charges. For a prepaid device those are kept just by the nature of a prepaid service. You can switch anytime with a prepaid. As soon as your card is up leave, or move to another carrier, or stop service all together. You can switch at any time basically. There’s also no unexpected charges, you have prepaid in advance. When the amount of money on your service is used up that’s it, you have no more exposure.
2758 So a lot of the provisions of the Code for things like disconnections, and cancellations, and overages and stuff, it just doesn’t apply to a prepaid environment. There’s no extra protection provided by the Code for prepaid.
2759 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thanks.
2760 And we’ve dealt -- we’ve talked a bit already about what you have in place to help people manage their data and avoid bill shock and that sort of stuff, but there was something I wanted to come back to in terms of -- and clarify in terms of how you assign authority to authorize an overage. And you mentioned I think -- I think it was Johnny who is 18 and a good guy, and trustworthy and that sort of stuff.
2761 But I wanted just to find out where you would -- where you currently do or where you see the line at being drawn for designation. Could I designate an 11-year old? Do you see -- are there legal issues in terms of age of designation and that sort of stuff? How do you manage that?
2762 MR. BETH: So just to be 100 percent clear, so from a data manager perspective the customer can designate who they choose or would like to be the data manager for the account. From a WCUC blocking perspective, the $50 cap, from Rogers’ perspective we allow any customer to unblock themselves.
2763 And the reason we do that -- and we’ve thought about it quite long and hard -- is that data is slowly becoming an essential service and there’s a lot of use cases out there where if that person was not able to unblock themselves they could be stranded.
2764 So, for example, there are nine year olds that walk home from school, there’s also teenagers that go out late at night, and they rely potentially on data to get home from Uber or with Google Maps. And so we didn't feel that it was appropriate for us to block and not these peoples to unblock themselves.
2765 Number two, is from an age perspective, we have no way to find out or to understand how old these people are. We do not ask each line to present us with their birth certificate and we don't input that information into our system. So we just don't have access to that information.
2766 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So if I'm the parent in the household and I buy your plan and I have my 8 year old twins, they can -- I'm aware of that, that they can authorize an overage?
2767 MR. BETH: Are you aware of it?
2768 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: If they're on the same line, am I made aware of that as a consumer that they can authorize the overage?
2769 I'm imagining -- to help you. I'm imagining being in the car, I'm driving to Florida. Two kids in the back playing World of Warcraft; right?
2770 MS. EVANS: Yeah.
2771 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: This could be a big bill if they both say yes to the overage coming in and I haven't taken advantage of some of the plans that you have to manage my roaming and that sort of stuff. The kids can say yes I don't -- do I get informed?
2772 MR. BETH: Well, so -- the answer is yes and no.
2773 So first is, we offer data manager, which provides alerts and providers the Data Manager the ability to track and block those lines. Okay? So Data Manager is there, and it's all about layering, right?
2774 And so the beauty of Data Manager is the Data Manager, you can assign who the Data Manager is and then they can set the alerts and they're in full control. With the WCUC Code, it's not something that they can set, they can't customize, it just goes onto the account.
2775 And so because it is just there, and they may not be aware that the WCUC is actually there, they don't know that little Johnny's blocked or little Jenny who's out late at night is unable to come and they've turned off their phone and they've gone to sleep and she's stranded, right. They don't know that there's a WCUC blocking. Whereas Data Manager, they know and they have full control.
2776 And so that's why when we looked at the code we also looked at Data Manager and we looked at how can these two things work together to provide the best customer experience and the best flexibility.
2777 With respect to your roaming question, all of our Rogers customers have Roam Like Home by default. So there wouldn't be these outrageous bills.
2778 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So my scenario is impossible if I was a Rogers' customer?
2779 MR. WATT: I guess it's not absolutely impossible if you haven't turned on your Data Manager, but you should turn on your Data Manager in the domestic scenario. I think it is impossible in the roaming scenario going to Florida.
2780 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, because I would be notified right away and I would be -- have the opportunity to, if I hadn't already, to purchase what I needed to protect myself?
2781 MR. WATT: Correct.
2782 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay.
2783 When you said those were available for a small fee, that was something I was going to come back to. What is the size of that fee for that?
2784 MR. BETH: Sorry, the roaming?
2785 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yeah.
2786 MR. BETH: The roaming is $5 a day in the U.S. to a maximum of $50. Internationally, it's $10 a day to a maximum of $100 per day.
2787 So for example, if you're in the U.S. for 15 days it's still $50. If you're in the U.S. for 10 days then it's obviously $50.
2788 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Data and voice?
2789 MR. BETH: Data, voice, and text.
2790 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And text. All three for that?
2791 MR. BETH: Correct.
2792 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I pay $5 or $10 ---
2793 MR. BETH: Per day.
2794 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: --- per day?
2795 MR. BETH: Yeah, yes.
2796 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And ---
2797 MR. BETH: And so what it does is it gives you access to your domestic plan. So most plans are unlimited minutes, so you essentially have unlimited minutes, and then you have access to your 5 Gig plan at home, and then you'd get all the alerts that you'd get if you were at home. So what we do is we make it seem to the customer that essentially they are at home.
2798 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay.
2799 Now, why did you choose the levels that you chose? You said 90 percent you notify at?
2800 MR. BETH: Yes, so there's a lot of science going into that. So with 90 percent, you essentially have roughly three days left in your bill cycle. And so we believe with three days, based on the studies that we've done, is enough time for customers to take action.
2801 And when I talk about taking action, they could do three things: they can buy a data top‑up, so increase how much data they have on their account; they can choose to slow down their usage and go onto to Wi‑Fi; or they can go into standard data overage.
2802 And so the reason we chose 90 is we felt that three days was optimal. Because if you're at 50 percent, that 50 percent just becomes useless; you're not going to take action. And so what it does do is because you're going to receive that 50 percent every single month, customers will be desensitized to it, and then they'll start ignoring the messages.
2803 And so pretend you have the 50 percent. You keep getting the message, then a 90 percent comes. By then the customer is going to ignore it because they keep getting these messages from customers.
2804 75 percent we've looked at, that's seven-and‑a‑half days. And with seven-and‑a‑half days left the customer is going to say, you know what, I've got plenty of days left I'm good to go, and they're not going to take action. Yet at three days, they start thinking I need to do something, and so that way is optimal.
2805 And what we actually did is we looked at those customers who had less than three days, they're actually more likely or they have a higher probability of taking action. And taking action, meaning reducing their usage or buying a data top‑up.
2806 So that's why the 90 percent, in our view, is the optimal amount, and that's why we went ahead and implemented 90 percent.
2807 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you. That was very helpful.
2808 Just to go back to voice roaming for a moment. Some have made the case that it might be something that the -- that we should contemplate as including it as an issue to be in the Code for protection on voice roaming. What are your thoughts on that?
2809 MR. BETH: So number one, from -- if you're a Rogers' customer there's obviously no issue and there's no need for it.
2810 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right.
2811 MR. BETH: Having said that, let's pretend that we did not have Roam Like Home. Technically, it's almost impossible to essentially -- to implement it. And the reason being is when you're on a roaming partners' network, they have up to 30 days to send us those files, the files that are associated with the roaming usage, the voice roaming usage, back to Rogers.
2812 We have over 700 roaming partners out there and most of them, they do -- most of them take 1 to 3 days, but they have up to 30 days. And so the reality is we just don't have that information. There are some fraud mechanisms in place where you start seeing a little closer to real time, but not everybody adheres to that and the systems aren't integrated.
2813 So technically, implementing the voice roaming solution isn't feasible. And given that all three operators do have a Roam Like Home like product, I don't think it's a concern.
2814 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I understand your position there.
2815 The trial period, I just wanted to touch on that. How many cancellations -- and are you willing to undertake to provide us with this information -- do you get during a trial period?
2816 MS. EVANS: We'll take that in an undertaking, if that's okay.
2817 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, that's the February 16th, right?
2818 And so can we just provide it sort of on an annual basis from when the Code came into effect?
2819 MS. EVANS: Absolutely.
2820 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thank you.
2822 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So you raised some concern in your oral presentation regarding -- I wanted to do with the -- we might as well deal with the issue about gifts, I think was -- in terms of your presentation.
2823 We've heard Bell indicate that they don't require a promotional item, a prize, whatever you want to do, a promotional item. That Bell just considers it sort of the cost of doing business. Videotron is sort of well, they'd like it back but they're not going to make a big deal about it, they're not going to spend more than it's worth, in other words.
2824 You seemed to request some provision for having it back. So to use my teddy bear analogy. You wouldn't want my teddy bear back, Bell would let me keep it, Videotron would ask for it back but not make a big deal about it if I said no.
2825 So why do you want my teddy bear back?
2826 MR. WATT: Sadly, it may be a Freedom Mobile teddy bear.
2827 Chris is our expert in this area, and I'll ask him to respond to that.
2828 MR. SMALE: Yeah, so I think it's safe to say that we would probably not ask for your teddy bear back. I think really the key part that we are looking for here is there's an opportunity to remove the risk for operators of introducing more lucrative, economic inducements over and above the device subsidy than we do today.
2829 So if you talk about many of the companion devices that are starting to come out with smartphones, Google VR headsets, and you know, Bluetooth headphones, and smartwatches, and things like that, there's an opportunity to provide these additional devices, as well as things like gift cards that just provide a straight dollar reduction off of in-store purchases of accessories or off the price of the device at the till.
2830 I think it’s -- you know, there is a baseline cost of doing business today where we do these things and our response would probably be similar to Videotron’s in that regard that we would ask for it back but we’re not going to kick up a big fuss over what we do today. But there’s also a notion of if the Code allowed for us to do things over and above today, based on the same formula that we have for the device subsidy recovery that we might be able to introduce these additional incentives to have customers switch.
2831 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: But it sounds -- and maybe I misunderstood and you can correct me. It sounds as if you want to use the Code to restrict the ability of people to give -- to offer fancier and fancier stuff in a sense that that would -- because that could get too expensive and -- but isn’t that how competition is supposed to work?
2832 MR. SMALE: Well, I think I would say that the Code as it exists today does restrict those more lucrative devices because we know that there’s no recovery of those things. There’s only so much cost that we would burden our overall subscriber base with as the cost of doing business calculation embedded within ---
2833 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So I got it completely wrong then. You want people to be able to recover so that you can have even -- so you can offer a TV set, for instance; is that where you’re at ---
2834 MR. WATT: I think ---
2835 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: --- where it’s going or ---
2836 MR. WATT: Well, really I -- probably our confusion I think really two issues here that have arisen. One I think is the issue within the trial period where if a gift has been given and a person then chooses not to proceed with the carrier or turns the device and doesn’t go forward do we make attempts to get that gift back. My understanding is that we do not provide the gift until after that timeframe.
2837 MR. SMALE: That would be the case for some of the less rich offers that we would do. For some of the more rich offers we do wait a period of time to fulfill that more lucrative offer.
2838 I guess the point would be right now, to use an example, if we were going to offer $100 gift card that you could apply against accessories in-store or something like that, we might wait 30 or 90 days to fulfill that offer right now. If that gift card were something that we could apply as an economic inducement to the contract, we may be willing to go above and beyond the $100. So it is really two separate issues.
2839 The trial period one is more sort of for the thing that we would redeem today in-store when you’re shopping for your wireless service. The second is our ability to introduce more compelling offers based on the ability to recover the economic inducement of that more compelling offer.
2840 MR. WATT: And really the issue that we’re bringing -- that we have brought forward to you in our opening remarks deals with not the trial period but deals with the economic inducement -- non-handset economic inducement in general. And, yes, we would like to be able to recover the cost of that non-handset inducement from early cancellations in order to allow us to provide more offers of that nature.
2841 As it stands currently, we do not get to recover any of that money and, therefore, we tend to be temperate in terms of the additional inducements that we provide. I know the argument is that, well, that’s the cost of business and you choose to accept it or not and that’s absolutely correct. It’s just that in this case the cost of doing business includes the non-recovery from the early cancellation. And what that does do is, again, applying business sense to it, it reduces our appetite to make some of these offers.
2842 And I think that harms the general base of subscribers because really they are not the cause of the economic loss that causes us to reduce our incentives, our promotions. We think that the people who accepted the promotion, accepted the inducement, but then choose to cancel early should pay rather than having that cost borne by the general subscriber base.
2843 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. I understand. How do you -- can you remind us of what your timeframes are in terms of cancellation and what your limits might be on in terms of text and voice and data?
2844 MS. EVANS: So for us it’s 15 days and less than 30 minutes of voice and we don’t have any limits on text and data. And our time period and our minutes of use are double for people in the category of accessibility.
2845 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Sorry, that last bit again? Accessibility?
2846 MS. EVANS: We double it so it’s 30 days and 60 minutes.
2847 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Thank you very much.
2848 Lock -- unlocking fees. What do you -- remind me what you charge. I know you’ve informed us of it.
2849 MR. SLAWNER: We charge $50.
2850 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And has that been a -- that rate has been the same for ---
2851 MR. SLAWNER: I believe so, yes.
2852 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: --- for recent years? Now, at the -- that is $50 at the end of the contract?
2853 MR. SLAWNER: It’s $50 when requested. So we wait for the 90 days and then if a customer requests to have their device unlocked, the fee is $50.
2854 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Anytime after 90 days after signing up with you ---
2855 MR. SLAWNER: Exactly.
2856 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: --- you -- and the fee is $50. Why is that justifiable if the person is the owner of the device, at that point, would they not be the owner of the code to unlock it?
2857 MR. SLAWNER: No, they are the owner. We just feel that in order to protect us against fraud, to ensure payment, that we feel that the $50 fee is required. And we think that it’s justified under the circumstances, yes.
2858 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: How big an issue is fraud in terms of that? Is it something that -- is it a -- something that is a fear of or is it something that is based on past experience in -- specific to the unlocking?
2859 MR. SLAWNER: I’m not sure it’s easy to actually measure the fact, the deterrent level. That’s the thing with deterrence is that it provides a protection but it’s hard to actually say what would happen if the deterrence was not there.
2860 We have seen, as other carriers have suggested, that devices that were not locked potentially go into the grey market. That troubles our OEM partners. So we think that this is actually an important issue that we prevent this kind of activity.
2861 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. What did you -- what do you think of the idea that the Chairman introduced in his chat with Videotron about the unlocking fee being attached to the subsidy cost calculation for a subscriber who might want it?
2862 MR. SLAWNER: The trouble with that suggestion is the cost to provide unlocking does not change over the duration of a contract, over the 24 months say. So there’s still that issue of how to recover the cost of the unlocking. If you have a diminishing like that, what will have to happen is the cost of it will end up getting spread over the entire customer base. We think it’s a lot more appropriate that people who actually have their device unlocked bear the cost of the unlocking. We think it’s -- that’s the more appropriate way to do it.
2863 MR. WATT: And I might -- may misunderstand how the mechanics would work, but in that case, wouldn’t actual dollars only be received by us in those cases where a customer has cancelled their contract prior to the termination date? And so it would just be this subset of customers who had asked to be unlocked and then chose to terminate prior to the end of the contract.
2864 So in other words, there would be a large number of -- could be significant number of people who would request to have the phone unlocked for whatever reason, to put in an additional -- a foreign SIM card when travelling or whatever, who would not be cancelling prior to the termination of the contract and there would be no cost recovery in that instance.
2865 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right. Well when dealing with hypotheticals we can make them as complicated or as uncomplicated as we like and as impossible or as possible too so. We can probably just stop right there and say you didn’t like the idea and ---
2866 MR. WATT: Yes.
2867 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: --- or you didn’t see it as being workable? That would probably be the easiest way.
2868 MR. SLAWNER: Yes.
2869 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Because when we’re -- but speaking of subsets, would you -- this is a -- and this is in the undertaking because it’s been expressed by others that this is a very -- this is a very small percentage of people.
2870 Do you undertake to provide us with information on the number of phones that have been unlocked and the amount of money that you receive in unlocking revenues, again, over the --
2871 MR. SLAWNER: Yes.
2873 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: -- on an annual basis in the year since the Code has come into effect?
2874 MR. SLAWNER: Yes.
2875 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Thanks.
2876 But I just want to -- now I will just return to this issue of -- in terms of the security issues and fraud or understanding that.
2877 If it is a risk how does the $50 mitigate that risk? I mean if it’s -- if there’s a -- if unlocking a phone creates a risk and I wish to do you harm, why isn’t it worth $50 for me to do it to you?
2878 MR. WATT: I think I understand where you’re going. I think ---
2879 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Well were it to happen to you.
2880 MR. WATT: Right. Probably the best here is we should go back and take an undertaking, speak to our fraud people and get you the facts, the scenarios under which these situations arise and why it is a benefit.
2881 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay.
2882 If you’d be happy to do that, that would be helpful, because it’s ---
2883 MR. WATT: I think we should and I don’t think -- I know the composition of the panel -- unless -- unless one of my other panel members wants to weigh-in on this? Don’t believe we have --
2884 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: No one wants to self-identify as an expert on this?
2885 MR. WATT: -- an expert on fraud. Donovan’s reaching for the button.
2886 MR. BETH: I think it’s two separate things, so the 90 days reduces the risk significantly. So having the customer there for 90 days, paying their bill proves that there is proof of payment and they have a proven track record, so that reduces the fraud.
2887 The $50 is there to recuperate the cost of unlocking the device. So it’s not the $50 that’s going to stop the fraud.
2888 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So it’s the 90 days that ---
2889 MR. BETH: Reduces the fraud.
2890 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And you can feel free to take that undertaking and add more information, but the 90 days that establishes my credentials as a -- as a real human being.
2891 MR. BETH: Correct.
2892 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Bonafide member of society, et cetera, et cetera, and the 50 is just a matter of recovering the costs?
2893 MR. BETH: Exactly. And that’s why if you –- if you straighten the ---
2894 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Well while you’re doing the undertaking maybe you could give the particulars of where the costs come from in terms of the $50.
2895 Whether that’s a charge for one hour of work by a skilled craftsperson, tradesperson or whatever it might be to help us make sense of that.
2896 MR. WATT: Well we -- now, actually on that we -- just to clarify this is I think precisely a question in Exhibit 1.
2897 Is not question 9?
2898 “What are your annual revenues for unlocking fees, what are the costs associated with locking devices with…”
2899 Oh, I think that should read “unlocking devices” here, not “locking devices through a network and unlocking devices upon request.”
2900 So we would -- we would answer this question, not in a separate undertaking, but in this exhibit?
2901 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Ummm ---
2902 MR. WATT: Or ---
2903 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Well -- yes. You’ve been asked -- that question is in -- is in the exhibit.
2904 MR. WATT: It’s in the exhibit but ---
2905 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I already asked it to you here again.
2906 MR. WATT: M’hm.
2907 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: You’ve agreed to it and then the last question -- and I’m probably getting this confused now, I think was your offer was it not to ---
2908 MR. WATT: Oh, that’s right, my offer in terms of fraud in the 90 days and instances of fraud ---
2909 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Because that question ---
2910 MR. WATT: I’m going to keep that undertaking.
2911 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Question number 9, that’s about the numbers; right?
2912 MR. WATT: Right.
2913 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: That’s the numbers and the dollars and then this other undertaking we’re discussing is about the details on the fraud concern.
2914 MR. WATT: Correct.
2915 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right, okay. So those are all separate?
2916 MR. WATT: Yes.
2917 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right, same date in terms of that. Thank you.
2919 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: When it comes to that I know this is anathema to you, but I’d like to understand more fully the argument.
2920 The Coalition and Vaxination both suggested that devices sold and services sold should be on separate streams, in terms of that.
2921 Why -- I’m going to take a great leap and assume you don’t like that idea, but -- so assuming I’m correct, why do you not like that idea?
2922 MR. WATT: And I’m going to ask Chris to respond to this.
2923 MR. SMALE: Yes, what I would say is I don’t think it’s a matter of us not liking the idea. I think the idea is fine. It’s a matter of whether the idea should be mandated by the Code.
2924 The idea exists in the market today. We compete against this idea today of -- you know, separating the hardware costs out from the service plan and selling them as two discreet elements.
2925 It is not our preferred model we believe that the subsidy model that we employ is demonstrating true value for the customers and that’s one of the key reasons that they’re choosing us.
2926 One of the examples that was given this morning from Bell was the example of the iPhone going on sale by $150.
2927 When the rate plan and the device are sold separately that’s just a thing that is not easy to do for customers and it becomes just a model of passing the cost of the device onto the customers.
2928 One of the key elements that benefits customers from the subsidized model is that we actually place a monetary value on the contract itself and to be -- in how we determine the price of the plans, not in how we determine the cancelation penalties of that contract.
2929 So to give you an example of what we do, for example, we have multiple tiers of subsidy that you can choose from, so you can choose your data bucket and you can choose the tier of device or the tier of savings that you want from a given device.
2930 When you choose no tab option, so BYOD plan, the cost is the cost and there’s no contract with it. You can also though step up to our smart tab option, which is the next -- the next level for subsidy.
2931 The price of that plan is actually the same for us as our no tab option, because really what we’re saying there is we would be happy to invest $2-$300 of subsidy in that customer investment, in acquiring the customer, based on the fact that they have committed to a 24 month spend and then we calculate the cost of terminating that contract separately under how we do the Code.
2932 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Will I have with you the option to go with a -- the tab or the no tab?
2933 MR. SMALE: Yes, you have the option to choose a BYOD plan. Our model is essentially ---
2934 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Sorry, what plan?
2935 MR. SMALE: A BYOD, sorry, “bring your own device”.
2936 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right.
2937 MR. SMALE: So we call them no tab on our –- on our website, but that’s effectively what it is and that is sort of the industry terminology.
2938 Our model is very similar to how you’ve heard Bell describe their model or how you’ve heard Videotron describe theirs.
2939 So our price remains the same on the rate plan, whether you’re currently within the contract or whether your contract has expired.
2940 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: But if I bring my own device I pay less?
2941 MR. SMALE: You would pay our “bring your own device” price. If you then choose one of our various subsidy options, some of them for lesser up front device savings, would be the same cost as the BYOD plans.
2942 Some other options for more premium devices, so if you want the iPhone at the best possible price you would be subscribing to a more expensive plan, say $10 or $20 more depending on the amount of device savings that we give, but it is not a separation of hardware from the service. It is all one fee and that fee exists for the life of the contract.
2943 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And then from the moment I buy that plan the -- I own the device?
2944 MR. SMALE: Correct.
2945 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And then it’s just a matter of my two-year term ends and there’s no change in -- I continue to pay the same rate or the same rate plus whatever inflationary increases have applied over the years in terms of that? There’s no -- I’ve paid it off, my rate goes down?
2946 MR. SMALE: Because the rate plan is one fee, inclusive of the subsidy ---
2947 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right, it’s all built into the -- I think I understand the way it’s worked.
2948 Do you understand -- I guess this is where you can be helpful to us, because you’re dealing with people in the marketplace in terms of that and you probably -- you may hear different things then we hear from time to time.
2949 In fact, I’m sure you do, but you’re obviously have chosen to do things that way, because you find -- because you will do things the best way to sell plans and phones, I'm assuming, and earn subscribers.
2950 What we can hear a bit about is people -- is disappointment from people saying, hey, wait a second, if I own that phone, didn't I just pay for it, or why do I have to keep paying for it forever, or, you know, I guess the phone is only going to last two years or something and then I'm going to -- you know, the history of this file is that people felt like they were trapped and didn't have options to get out and that -- and that might still be existing.
2951 So that might be what we hear. What information do you have that indicates that's a less significant sector of the marketplace than we might assume it is?
2952 MR. WATT: Well, I'll make a few observations and then hand you back to Chris.
2953 I think that, you know as Chris said, for top-end iPhone, when you come off your 24-month plan, as Bell explained today, you face I think they said four options. One of those options is that you can go to a Bring Your Own Device plan and as Chris said, that plan would be less than the plan -- might be less than the plan you've been on. And this is where Chris is going to define touches because it may well be that the plan that you got 24 months ago with the high-end phone was during a good promotion period or whatever. And that price is a price that we actually don't have in the market anymore for one of the term contract so that when you come to the Bring Your Own Device plan, it actually ends up as -- as a fellow from Videotron said as well this afternoon, you might actually end up with a higher price.
2954 But take a situation where you've got a high-end phone on a 24-month plan, you come to the end of you, you can carry on with that plan. You can choose to go with a Bring Your Own Device plan. You can, we hope, choose to have a hardware upgrade and plan with us for 24 months. And then the -- turn it back over to Chris. I can't remember off the top of my head the fourth -- the fourth option.
2955 But that is the -- sort of the choices and people certainly have the choice but it is not as -- with the passage of time, the plans do change such that a plan that you might think would get you a lower price today relative to what you had, that may not be the case.
2956 MR. SMALE: Yeah. I think the key element for us is the fact that everything is built into the one-rate plan. So we don’t make any assumption on the customer's behalf at the end of the agreement as to what rate plan they want going forward and automatically force them to anything.
2957 We certainly encourage customers to look at the options that we have available on market at that time and those options may be to renew with a new handset and stay on their current plan, or move to a different plan with more data or whatever the case may be so that they're informed of the options that they have.
2958 It might also be to move to a Bring Your Own Device plan to save some monthly amount if there are cheaper options in market at the time. It could be any number of things that they decide to do at the end of the contract, including moving to a competitor who may also have attractive Bring Your Own Device pricing if they're not looking to get a new device, or simply do nothing because they are waiting another two months for the next iPhone to come out and they're already on a plan that they know will give them access to that device.
2959 So effectively, we definitely offer the customer options of each of these four scenarios but we don’t presuppose what option the customer might want to choose. We allow them to make that choice on their own.
2960 MR. WATT: And very importantly with the "do nothing" option, it is simply a month by month decision. You have complete freedom at the end of that month, the next month to do it, whatever you want.
2961 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Thank you. That gives us a good overview of how you shape things in terms of that.
2962 Another matter here was the matter raised by the Coalition that, according to CCTS, only 32 percent of wireless service providers actually inform their customers of their right to escalate their complaint to the CCTS as required under the Participation Agreement and the request that this should then be put into the Wireless Code.
2963 What are your thoughts on that?
2964 MS. WALKER: This is something that's been part of that Participation Agreement with the CCTS anyways and so we've been undertaking this matter very seriously in the last few years and we have a number of tactics in place both for general awareness and specifically at the moment of truth, whether as a dispute.
2965 Personally, in my role at Rogers, I'm very invested in making sure that complaints are well treated and well handled and that we're collecting the feedback and doing as much as possible to make constructive use of what we're hearing from customers. And some of these programs I think come from that feedback.
2966 One of the biggest challenges will always be that sometimes a customer may not be expressly letting us know that they're not satisfied. Those are the most difficult ones to tackle because if we don’t know they're not satisfied, we have no recourse to let them know that there's another place for them to go.
2967 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Sorry, could you just repeat that last bit?
2968 MS. WALKER: Yeah.
2969 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: If they're not satisfied, they have...?
2970 MS. WALKER: If they're not letting us know at the end of sort of an interaction, if they're not letting us know that they're not satisfied with the resolution we've offered or presented, then we don’t necessarily know if we need to advise them of other recourse. But that's probably the most challenging situation we have.
2971 Otherwise, we're fully compliant with letting people know what recourse or choices they have if they're not satisfied.
2972 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Thanks.
2973 So is there any objection to moving that from a condition of the Participation Agreement into the Code seeing as you would already be doing it?
2974 MS. WALKER: No concerns, no.
2975 MR. WATT: We have no objection.
2976 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Thanks.
2977 What sort of a -- you've requested changes and many anticipate that there may be changes. What sort of timeframe would you think would be reasonable for implementation of any modifications or changes that may occur from -- as a result of this process?
2978 MR. WATT: There's been considerable discussions around this issue previously. We would agree with the comments expressed earlier today by Bell and Videotron.
2979 In terms of a timeframe, I think six months likely is doable. Obviously, we would prefer nine. Last time we were trying to get everything done in six months. We, as you know, had to come back. There were a few items that we literally could not get put into our systems in six months. I think we had relief on for a few more months on one of the items and other instances we literally had to do manual processes to try and to implement the Code.
2980 So typically, six months is a good timeframe.
2981 Having said that, as Videotron indicated just before us, should the change be a mandated requirement to have device financing, so the two separate contracts, as Chris mentioned earlier, we're continuously looking at ways of offering our products. We've looked at this in the past. We don’t think we could possibly implement anything like that and we don’t think you should require us to but we don’t think we could possibly do it in less than 18 months.
2982 You have to change -- I have this written down, so I'm going to look at the notes. The billing systems, the issue here is then you have -- to have that, you have to change all your sales channels in the interfaces to them. So this would be our retail sales. This is our channel operations. Like we have systems connections into Best Buy for example. Those would all have to be changed to reflect the new model.
2983 We have -- we would have to change the systems of our CARE customer service reps. We would have to change the systems for, I mentioned, our own retail. Then we have our sales portal for our salespeople when you come to -- where we have salespeople interacting. Our Roam Like Home and our top-ups, all of these systems would require systems change.
2984 And then we would have to -- our billing system is changed. We have to get them real-time data as well from the network. So in separating that out, this is a really, really major task. We'd obviously have to change our website, et cetera, which may sound like an easy thing to do, but I know everybody in this room who has changed a website knows it’s not that easy to do.
2985 So that is something that would be -- place an exceptional strain on us. It would -- to be quite frank, it would imperil any other innovation product development efforts that we would have underway because you would have to devote all your resources to this particular activity.
2986 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. I understand your position there.
2987 I just want to clarify a couple things to complete my questions, and our confusion about undertakings. I just wanted to clarify that the exhibit doesn’t ask for the number of devices that have been unlocked. So that is part of another undertaking that we discussed. So that’s separate. It’s ---
2988 MR. WATT: Yes. Yes, we will ---
2989 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: We’ve still ---
2990 MR. WATT: We’ll read the transcript and we’ll make sure that everything we’ve agreed to provide to you we get to you.
2991 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right.
2992 MR. WATT: And any undertaking, yes.
2993 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And then I just want to confirm for the record too that you will be responding to the questions within the exhibit that have been presented to you?
2994 MR. WATT: Yes, we will. And I know in one of the undertakings you want the annual year -- the information by years as well, yes.
2996 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yes. Okay.
2997 Thank you very much. Those are my questions.
2998 THE CHAIRPERSON: And I’ve checked around and apparently those are all our questions for you.
2999 You seem disappointed, Mr. Watt.
3001 MR. WATT: No, not disappointed, but we’re happy to answer questions.
3002 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, we can make them up if you wish.
3004 THE CHAIRPERSON: We could ask you the questions you thought we should have asked you that you would have struggled to answer if you want to provide those.
3005 MR. WATT: We did have a few of those during the course of ---
3006 THE CHAIRPERSON: There you go. But hopefully we found them and we’ll be able to figure those out.
3007 So thank you very much to you and your colleagues. We very much appreciate it.
3008 And we will be adjourned till 9:00 o’clock tomorrow morning.
3009 Thank you.
--- Upon adjourning at 4:10 p.m.
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