Telecom Analysts: Big 3 ‘Fair for Canada’ Campaign Causing Backlash


The CBC reports some telecom analysts have questioned the effectiveness of the ongoing ‘Fair for Canada’ PR campaign waged by Rogers, Telus and Bell, which argue Ottawa’s wireless spectrum policies are unfair as they favour Verizon, despite the Federal government consulting carriers prior to establishing the rules.

Mark Blevis, a digital public affairs analyst had this to say:

“[The telecom providers] haven’t paid attention to the fact — whether it’s reality or not — that the perception is they’re taking advantage of Canadian customers in the pocketbook and taking liberties with customer service,”

“So they haven’t built a relationship with the Canadian public. They’ve now turned to the Canadian public to come to their aid.”

Iain Grant, an analyst with The Seaboard Group consulting firm says the ‘Fair for Canada’ campaign “has been one of the least effective lobbying/PR campaigns in history.”

“Since the print campaign was launched, we’ve had the minister of industry say ‘Ok, thank you, I’ve heard you — NO. And then a week later we heard the prime minister… say, ‘You didn’t understand the minister? The answer is NO.

“Now those are the two Canadians whose opinions count the most. And they haven’t been convinced.”

John-Kurt Pliniussen, an associate professor in innovation, sales management and e-marketing at Queen’s University school of business says incumbents should have argued to improve their service over the years’ past, instead of playing the patriotism card.

He cites how complaints have risen over the years in regards to wireless carriers, from roughly 900 four or five years ago to now over 7,000. Last fall’s annual CCTS report noted 60 per cent of the 11,000 complaints filed were related to wireless services.

“They could have done something that makes the consumer, the user of their services more pleased,” he said. “They say this might happen, or this might happen. They say nothing about our service, nothing about what our costs are.”

“I don’t think the trigger is Canada. I think the trigger is service. Service and value. Because that’s all we care about is great service,”

Yesterday, the Fraser Institute think tank suggested relaxing foreign ownership rules would encourage wireless competition.

A recent Forum Research poll indicated 57% of Canadians would welcome Verizon or other US carriers setting up shop here, but according to their data, 65% agree Verizon should not be favoured in the upcoming spectrum auction. In contrast to this data, our own unscientific poll resulted in almost 62% of voters showing support for Verizon and newer entrants to be favoured in the upcoming auction.

On top of the ‘Fair for Canada’ campaign, incumbent supporters have been vocal in the media, such as Telus Director Stockwell Day calling for Ottawa to delay the spectrum auction. Chairman of the Telus Atlantic Canada Community Board retired General Rick Hillier, generalized Ottawa’s policies as “Canada Last” as he believes they favour Verizon over Canadian incumbents.

Last week, close to 500 Telus employees organized a protest outside Industry Minster James Moore’s constituency office in Port Moody calling for change. With the September 17 application deadline looming for the 700MHz spectrum auction, the race is on for the Big 3 to convince Ottawa to alter its wireless policies, despite the latter reiterating the auction will move forward as planned.

What do you think of the ‘Fair for Canada’ campaign? Is it working or do you disagree with the message?


  • crosseyed_mofo


  • dur durrrrr

    What do you think of the ‘Fair for Canada’ campaign?


    Is it working or do you disagree with the message?
    strongly disagree with the message, and i think it’s working, just not the way robellus envisioned it working 😀

  • 1His_Nibs1

    Sorry but the Negative PR bullshit has done THE EXACT OPPOSITE in terms of influence (for me). I had a dislike for the big 3 before but now I have a full on hatred. They have spent all this money on trying to sway Canadians to their side but as the article states all they’ve done is alienate their customers with crap service & contempt when you call to complain or try to get a better deal (like they’re doing you a favour for allowing you to use their services). As Mr. Pliniussen stated they tried playing the patriotism card but where was the big 3’s patriotism when they outsourced jobs to India and the Philippines? Bloody hypocrites. I, for one, am ecstatic to hear this “Fair for Canada” PR campaign has been a complete bust! The fact that the big 3 even attempted this ill advised/ ill fated campaign goes to show how out of touch these companies are with the customers!

  • Nick

    I’ve been gouged long enough by the big 3. I’ve been with them all at some point. As soon as Verizon moves in I’m switching unless they’re willing to seriously compete.

  • daftchemist

    Let the Big 3 burn for a little. I think any change at this point is good. Let it happen. We need competition, when all 3 carriers plans are nearly identical in price we need change. There is no competition here, more like a mutual agreement among carriers to keep prices equal.

  • trancen

    Totally agree. When I worked at Rogers and my job was outsourced, all I got was “sorry it’s business” well, screw the big three, it’s all business if and when Verizon comes in. As the article said, had they actually used their heads and not “what will the shared holders want” and listened to what the users wanted they wouldn’t be in this position and would have more of the end users support.

    Friend who works at Telus texted me yesterday with “Well once again in a Webinar”, trying to ask employees to help support them by calling their MPs, my reply, “Get ready for the brainwashing”

  • 1His_Nibs1

    That just reinforces my initial point about how out of touch these companies are. It’s quite obvious their PR blitz has backfired yet they’re pleading with their employees to help them out. If only they had shown their “former” employees the same loyalty they’re now expecting. Karma baby!

  • ward09

    It’s okay if there prices are equal, or similar, as long as there is fluctuation caused by competition – in other words, the prices go down from time to time, and they all match the lower prices. What we’ve seen the past few months from the incumbents are huge increases in plans on the data side.

  • ward09

    Can someone clarify for me? There are four blocks of spectrum up for auction right? New entrants can bid on a max of two, and incumbents on one, so could there be a scenario of Verizon 1 block, Rogers 1, Telus 1, and Bell 1? Under the same rules auction results could be, Verizon 2, Incumbent A 1, Incumbent B 1, Incumbent C 0?

    Alternatively, are they having two auctions, one with two blocks for new entrants and a second with two blocks for incumbents?

  • Chrome262

    For what I understand You are correct, in that new guys get a chance at 2 blocks while the others get 1 block. This also includes Wind and others so they can get two blocks as well. And yes all three of the big three could get a block as well, so thats three blocks to two Verizon could get. So no mater what happens they will have most of the new spectrum, as well as what 85% of the old. So yeah what your thinking is right, its not really that unfair for them. They should of excluded them all together. Oh and yes, just because they get access to two doesn’t mean they will get two, if they get out bid, so yeah big 3 could get 3 blocks, and you know work their back deals. Also, i am not sure but they are all suppose to open up that spectrum to rental to everyone.

  • Chrome262

    Yeah this has actually made me less of a fan, so much so that I am in the process of getting rid of Rogers for internet and TV as well. Will go to Techsavvy and stream everything. They are constantly raising prices and don’t give a rats ass for us. And this just shows how out of touch they are. Its so bad that if I took a punch in the stomach once a month, but got good service and better prices from a company I would do it.

  • Chrome262

    I agree, and they expect us to be happy with it. They could at least kiss us before fucking us over.

  • Chrome262

    Hell even if they just offer slight more data for the same price, or no roaming, they could even be a bit higher. Its gotten to a point where all I want is revenge lol

  • ward09

    I think that the rules are incredibly fair for the Big 3. Only Verizon could potentially outbid them, and I would guess that they will each spend as much as necessary not to get shut out. So the Big 3 will likely get 3/4 blocks – at least they have the opportunity to do so. HOW THE HELL IS THAT UNFAIR FOR CANADA?

  • Do you need volunteers to punch you in the stomach?

  • WestCoastStar

    Well at&t were in Canada once. Didn’t workout too well. I’ll wait to see offers before waving the US flag.

  • Chrome262

    Only if you are offering better service and prices. Just for internet I am paying close to 70 dollars a month, and they cap me at 120gig??? Fido which is better still charges me over 250 dollars for three phones. I am paying more in bills to the big 3 then my other bills combined

  • Arcsvibe

    What is fair for Canada is great service, products and prices. Verizon is a wake up call guys! You should have thought of excelling in offering the best instead of making only shareholders happy. You reap what you sow!

  • Alfred K

    I think that thankfully Canada is NOT a Fox News Nation and Canadians can smell bulls**t a mile away. When it’s in your face like this, I can’t imagine anyone who is on a cellphone contract not turning green from the bull here.

    How Canadian are these companies, who outsourced Canadians jobs offshore but never passed the savings onto the consumers?

    While this has happened and we continue to get horrible deals and robbed when roaming Nadir Mohamed, the outgoing CEO and president at Rogers Communications Inc., is entitled to a retirement package worth $18.5 million. Oh cry me a river, if these incumbents had spent their money on improving their service, and being more competitive they wouldn’t be shaking in their boots.

    Just look at their annual reports, Rogers 2012: 3.1 BILLION dollar profit on 7.3 BILLION of revenue. That’s your money, on something that is pretty close to being an essential service.

    I’m all for capitalism, but greed at this scale should not be supported.

  • Alfred K

    I am so happy I just left Rogers home phone and home internet. When I told them the deal I was getting with Acanac, their retentions offered me a “deal” of $90/month to keep me from going to Acanac for $40/month!!! Uhm…hello, I can do simple math here $90 > $40. Goodbye Robbers!

  • trancen

    Make SURE you tell Rogers why you’re leaving! Let them know.

  • JimR

    The Big 3’s loyalty is only to my wallet. I’ve been gouged by Telus and in the past by Rogers for – oh – 20 years or more. I overpay for the services I get, just like I overpay for cable services

  • curious

    you think they dont know :)?
    or does the illusion of telling them (so they could ‘care’) help?

  • Crasucks

    I agree with better competition. However I don’t agree with outsourcing Canadian Jobs over seas regardless of the reason.
    I also don’t agree with giving preferred treatment to non-Canadian companies; that kind of short term thinking will end up costing more Canadian Jobs and flowing money out of Canada which is bad for everyone.

  • Graywriter

    I spent some time reading the comments at fairforcanada’s Facebook site. Except for those obviously by Big Three flacks, comments are almost totally negative. An amazing collection of complaints and horror stories from disgusted customers. I’d say the campaign’s been highly successful at coalescing customer opposition and revealing Big Three greed.