The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. Microcell’s difficulties have been widely reported in recent days following the release of its latest quarterly results. Suggestions of mergers and renegotiating debt agreements litter the business and technology press. With the addition of only 26,566 new subscribers in Q1 of this year, compared to nearly 60,000 in the same quarter last year, doom and gloom predictions about the company’s fate are understandable. One of four Canadian operators, Microcell holds a paltry 12% of total Canadian wireless subscribers. What has happened to the carrier that led the campaign for affordable handsets and services to the mass public? More importantly, what can the struggling carrier do to regain that leadership? In the early days of PCS, Microcell and Clearnet were the most prolific in marketing the $20/100 minutes package. They won hundreds of thousands of subscribers selling easy-to-understand and affordable airtime plans. The other carriers had no choice but to follow suit. Canada’s 35% wireless penetration rate is largely due to the aggressive marketing efforts of Microcell and Clearnet, which forced competitive responses by the Bell group and Rogers. In subsequent years, Microcell’s share of the market has been slipping against larger rivals with better marketing campaigns and deeper advertising budgets. Even a 2%-plus churn rate has been deadly for the company as it struggles to build a customer base more closely approaching that of its rivals. For Microcell to effectively compete in the marketplace over the long term, the company must tenaciously pursue the 2.5G market with high-profile advertising and slick campaigns. Further, it must offer cool handsets and data services at reasonable prices to reverse a proportional slide that will unlikely ever be stopped in the voice-as-commodity market. Perhaps more importantly, it needs to find the right pricing model for these new and emerging data services. The current model of dollars for megabytes doesn’t work for Joe and Jane Citizen. Microcell may have lost the battle for a much larger share of voice subscribers, but it can reverse its fortunes if it comes up with a palatable wireless data service pricing plan that appeals to the mainstream Canadian consumer.