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Interview with Bell Canada CEO Mirko Bibic | “Bell’s perception is improving greatly”

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Between 2015 and 2019, Bell was the target of more than a third of consumer complaints in its industry. The strong downward trend in said complaints, which began with the arrival of Mirko Bibic in 2020, is no coincidence: the CEO has made subscriber satisfaction his priority, combining investments in the network and investments in the customer service. High prices in Canada, coverage in the regions, complaints from competitors: he goes around the owner in an interview with The Press.

“It pays off”

Bell may be Canada’s largest telecommunications provider, with 20.6 million subscribers across all services, but its poor performance in terms of consumer complaints has been striking for a decade. The peak was reached for the year 2018-2019 with 5879 complaints. Between 2015 and 2017, Bell collected 36% of all complaints collected by the Commission for Complaints relating to Telecom-television Services from some 390 suppliers.

But the latest two reports from the federal agency have given Bell CEO Mirko Bibic reason to smile.


He doesn’t deny it, customers had reason to grumble. “There was an outdated network, he admits. It was not me who implemented the project to put optical fiber everywhere, it was implemented by my predecessor in 2010. What I do is that I continue this job, but I accelerated. It gave a better network, the fastest in the world, very reliable. That improves the perception and quality of customer service. »

Bell will exceed 5 billion this year in investments in its infrastructures, he specifies, against 3.8 billion in 2019. The other major project has been to improve customer service, the “experience customer” for which the 50,000 Bell employees are engaged. “Now that it’s a strategic imperative, 50,000 people have one goal: to make the consumer’s life easier, to make it easier to do business with Bell, easier today than yesterday, two years old. This is one of our priorities, and it has been followed by major investments in the services that we provide, that we offer to our employees who deal with our customers every day. Our tools, our online capabilities have improved a lot since COVID. Bell’s perception improves greatly. »


Too expensive in Canada?

International comparisons do not lie, Canada is, year after year, one of the four countries where the cost of wireless service is the highest. However, the gap narrowed from 2020.

Mr. Bibic has obviously heard this complaint often and the arguments are all ready, whether for wireless or for the Internet. “In wireless, since 2019, the price for an average plan in Canada has fallen by almost 30%. It’s not my report, it’s Statistics Canada. The price of a gigabyte of data has fallen by 65% ​​from 2015 to 2020.”

You cannot compare Canada with smaller countries with a high population density, he believes. “It costs us more to build and operate the networks than elsewhere. We offer a safe bet, a better network and national coverage in a huge territory, with reduced prices. »

So why are some discount affiliates, including those owned by Bell, able to offer better prices than the big suppliers? “Each brand targets a different consumer segment. If you want better premium services, more data on the best 5G network, you go to Bell. If you are looking for a prepaid 3G plan because you want to pay less, you choose a brand like Koodo or our Lucky Mobile brand, where all interactions are done online. »


Poles and remote areas

Competitors have complained extensively about Bell’s unwillingness to provide access to its telephone poles, accusing it of neglecting rural and remote communities. Quebecor, in particular, requested the intervention of Quebec and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on this subject.

Often, Quebecor says nonsense. We are the communications provider with the most subscribers in rural and remote areas.

Mirko Bibic, CEO of Bell Canada

It is counting on a new service, wireless residential internet, which is available in one million homes and specifically targets orphan subscribers.

Eventually, Bell’s fiber optics will reach the 12.5 million locations in its territory, he announced. By the end of 2022, 8 million households will have either fiber optic or residential wireless internet at a minimum of 50 Mb/s.

As for the accessibility of the poles, a file for which the CRTC had estimated in April 2021 that Bell had violated articles of the Telecommunications Law, Mr. Bibic claims to have “simplified the process”. Bell, one of the six companies selected as part of the program to connect 148,000 Quebec homes to high speed by September 2022, “will meet the government’s schedule,” he promises. “We have done our job in this regard, it is now up to the internet providers, the competitors, to build. But if I rely on the rate of permit applications filed with us, I do not think that the majority of my competitors will meet the government’s schedule. They took a major delay. »

Learn more

  • 2.9 billion
    BCE net income in 2021, up 7.2% from the previous year

    2021 ANNUAL REPORT

    72%
    Proportion of Bell’s 49,781 employees assigned to “wireline service”. Wireless represents 17% and Bell Media 11%.

    2021 ANNUAL REPORT



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