The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. Microcell Telecommunications Inc. isn't bowing to pressure from the country's other national mobile wireless providers to squeeze more out of new subscribers on post-paid airtime packages, despite losing approximately 40,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2003. Faced with slowing subscriber growth, the three largest national wireless carriers are now implementing plans to "tax" new subscribers more heavily. Bell Mobility, Rogers Wireless Inc. and Telus Mobility have or will soon move their evening-minute start time from mostly 6 p.m to 8 p.m. for new subscribers. For an industry that prides itself on having a hyper level of competition, it seems odd the carriers would begin to implement plans that appear to go beyond fair and healthy competition. As a result of the evening-minute start time change, wireless customers who switch to another provider other than Microcell, or those who switch and come back, will now have to pay more. While this strategy will help boost average revenue per user, it could backfire and play right into some other competitors' hands - mainly Microcell. This isn't the first time the big wireless operators have sought to increase revenue per user on the backs of new subscribers. Last year, Bell Mobility, Rogers Wireless and Telus Mobility decided to move to per-minute billing for post-paid airtime packages for new subscribers. But Microcell has stuck with per-second billing for post-paid airtime packages, while moving to per-minute billing for its less profitable pre-paid subscribers. It's safe to assume that if a subscriber from one of the other three wireless providers switches to another one of those three only to find that they've lost per-second billing and the evening rate doesn't begin until 8 p.m., that subscriber could ultimately land with Microcell because of its per-second billing and 6 p.m. evening-minute start time. There's no question that Canada's national wireless operators are struggling to solve the problem of lower subscriber growth and the resulting impact on revenue (see chart on page 5 for Q1 subscriber additions). But "taxing" the very people that will ensure the long-term success of the industry doesn't seem to be the right way to proceed.