I never could bring myself to buy a mobile phone here. In the Netherlands (as an example, I’m sure the situation in other countries is more or less the same) there is a lot of competition between mobile phone carriers. They all use GSM, you can keep your phone number when you change carriers (although you pay a fee for that) and because of that the competition is fierce.
As a result the prices you pay are much lower. You can now buy 1800 minute prepaid cards for 3 euro ($5 CAD), and those prepaid cards are valid for 6 months or even a full year. That makes using a mobile phone much cheaper than using a land line (you pay for local call on a land line in Europe) and I know many people who don’t even have a land line anymore. The number of public phones is meanwhile so low (they were almost all removed by the main land line provider, probably in order to push their mobile phone service) that you’re almost required to have one if you want to call ‘on the go’.
I know the investments in aerials and fibre might be a bit lower in a country as small as the Netherlands, but since there is a penetration of over 90% (some people have and use more than one phone) they need more aerials because there is a limit on how many phones can be connected in one “cell”. And having five mobile phone operators competing with eachother and building new networks for faster service should also raise prices, but it doesn’t.

Anyway, since all operators in Canada use a different system (Fido and Rogers both use GSM but now that Rogers bought Fido there is no real competition), and since number portability is not expected (and required by law) before 2007 there is not much movement and thus not much competition. If you have signed up with one provider, you’re not going to switch to another one, because you have to buy a new phone and tell all your contacts you’ve got a new number. This lead to the situation the mobile phone operators can can keep their prices high and can charge for those ludicrous “network access fees”.

I’m not going to pay 300 dollar per year for the “joy” of being able to talk and being reached anywhere and anytime.