Rogers is currently facing legal action from the Competition Bureau, which undertook an investigation and determined Rogers was employing "misleading" advertising as it hyped its new discount wireless provider, Chatr.
Specifically, the Bureau found Rogers' claims that Chatr had "fewer dropped calls than new wireless carries," an obvious reference to companies such as Wind Mobile and Mobilicity, were "misleading." As a result, it wants to slap Rogers with a $10-million penalty, get the company to pay out money to Chatr customers who may have been lured over by false claims, and tell everyone they were wrong.
Simon Houpt and I wrote about this case when it cropped up on Nov. 19. Rogers said it disagreed with the Bureau's findings and fight the case in court.
But while we wait for the probably very intriguing court battle, the court documents make for interesting reading -- especially where the Bureau compares dropped-call data, which was presumably taken from the companies during the course of the investigation. (Wind chairman Anthony Lacavera said in an interview that he handed over dropped-call data, but Rogers didn't make anyone available to talk and only responded by e-mail, as it usually does.)
It's worth stating here that Rogers is far from the only company to make disparaging remarks about the quality of new entrants' networks. Bell has employed similar advertising for its newly unlimited Solo Mobile brand. And as they struggled to get off the ground, I've heard horror stories about Wind, Public Mobile and Mobilicity's networks -- complaints that many in the industry think are normal for companies launching entirely new wireless networks.
But back to the case at hand. According to the documents stating the Bureau's case, a "comparison of the actual dropped-call data of Chatr and new entrants between July 28, 2010 and October 27, 2010 establishes that the difference in average dropped call rates is insignificant, ranging from 0.11% to 0.77%."
The documents -- which note the original complaint was filed by Wind Mobile but doesn't make clear if the comparisons are between Chatr and Wind -- go on not only to puncture Chatr's claims, but to flip them completely upside down.
"In Ottawa, the Representations (ads, in other words) are false. Chatr's dropped call rates were higher than those of a new entrant on 84 days out of the 92 days," the documents said.
Interesting. We continue to Toronto, where all of the new pure wireless entrants launched first.
"In Toronto, Chatr's dropped call rates were higher than a new entrant's on 53 of the 92 days, establishing that the statements were false 58% of the time. This fact makes the Representations false in Toronto."
What have readers' experiences been like with dropped calls (on either new entrants or incumbent providers like Bell, Telus and Solo)?