Barriers to Changing Telecommunications Service Providers


Jacques St Amant


Union des consommateurs




The report reviews and classifies the types of phenomena that can constitute barriers to consumer migration and examines certain foreign experiences to classify existing solutions, which usually correspond to difficulties that are at least apprehended. It also evaluates the effectiveness of measures that already exist in Canada, and then considers the outlines of the measures that might be added. The report studies competitive market conditions and legal frameworks in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and France. The report concludes that the situation in the Canadian telecommunications service markets is similar to that in many other countries: competition is uneven, incumbents restrict customers, departure costs are present and they are unpopular when more visible. Blind faith in market forces as sufficient to settle all problems appears stronger here than elsewhere, the vigour of the interventions of some countries contrasting with CRTC’s attitude. The means made available to government authorities and consumer associations by competition law elsewhere have little in common with the Canadian framework. An examination of market practices and consumers’ complaints, comments and perceptions yields convincing indications that the Canadian telecommunications service markets are indeed littered with obstacles to consumer mobility, and that those obstacles can significantly hinder their migration and the adequate operation of telecommunications markets.

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OCA Funded Research
This research received funding support through the Office of Consumer Affairs' Contributions Program.

Contact information

Union des consommateurs
7000 Parc Ave, Suite 201
Montreal, QC  H3N 1X1
(514) 521-6820
(514) 521-0736

Source: Consumer Policy Research Database

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