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Bell, Telus React to Commons Committee Vote Against Wireless Hearings

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A week ago the federal NDP demanded a special Commons hearing on the Conservative government’s wireless plans, despite Parliament currently being prorogued. The Star reports this evening the House of Commons committee voted down the proposal in less than 22 minutes:

An NDP spokeswoman said the governing Conservatives, who hold a majority of the committee’s seats, rejected the motion at the in-camera meeting.

“It’s really unfortunate that the prime minister is not as interested as we are in dealing with the concerns of Canadians in a public as opposed to private way,” NDP Industry critic Chris Charlton said in an interview.

The NDP claims consumers are worried about pricing, access and security of wireless services and should have their voices heard. Industry Minister James Moore has made it clear the wireless spectrum auction for the coveted 700MHz spectrum will go on as planned, despite ongoing campaigns by incumbents opposing its timeline and rules; the decision to vote down the NDP proposal does not come as a surprise.

Bell responded to the decision and said it is “disappointed” by the decision, calling it a “missed opportunity.”

“The vast majority of Canadians want a level competitive playing field in wireless and don’t want any companies to receive special favours. It’s unfortunate that the government has rejected the chance to engage with Canadians on the public stage and show leadership in this critical national debate,” said George Cope, President and CEO of Bell Canada and BCE.

Telus also released statement on the decision, with Darren Entwistle, TELUS President & CEO saying:

“If media reports are accurate, it is unfortunate that the government has chosen to not convene a Parliamentary Committee on an issue that is of critical importance to all Canadians. We respect the NDP’s efforts to have an open and transparent discussion on this issue and we encourage Ottawa to reflect, open up the conversation and listen to what so many voices in Canada are saying to them. Recent polls clearly show the vast majority of Canadians are aligned with TELUS’ perspective that new competition should be welcomed but that the same rules should apply to foreign and domestic companies in the upcoming auction of Canadian wireless spectrum. TELUS welcomes competition from foreign companies and, indeed, we have been on the record since 2001 calling for foreign ownership restrictions to be lifted. Certainly, as numerous, diverse organizations such as Canada’s largest unions, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and the Fraser Institute have stated, applying the same rules to both foreign and domestic firms is the best way to promote healthy competition that would be in the best interest of all Canadians. Giving Verizon or another foreign company a two-for-one advantage in the auction of these airwaves is unjust and harmful to Canadians, especially pensioners and people in rural communities. Moreover, it is not consistent with the intrinsic belief Canadians have in fairness. It is not too late for the government to consider the prevailing voice of Canadians and establish a level playing field in the upcoming spectrum auction.”

Earlier today, WIND Mobile CEO Anthony Lacavera lashed out at Bell and Telus for launching an “aggressive and dishonest campaign” in their recent ‘Fair for Canada’ ad campaign, which he also described as “ridiculous.”

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  • thewinnipegger

    SInce when do 2 of the big 3 have say in what Canadians want ? The feds should talk to a group of canadian consumers if they truly want to know what we truly need in terms of wireless competition.

  • ToBeU

    Well that won’t work. All we will hear in the meeting would be we should get free phone including iPhone and $30 unlimited everything plan.

  • thewinnipegger

    That i doubt, i’d believe people would want lower prices, better data plans and all around better voice plans. Our voice plans are fucking terrible compared to what americans get.

  • hub2

    I think the new 2-year plans are actually decent on the voice part of smartphone plans, many with 24/7 unlimited Canada-wide calling and messaging.

    Unfortunately that’s the most useless part of a smartphone plan. 95% of my iPhone usage is data (iMessage, Facetime and Skype replace most of my voice and text message needs), and the new 2-year plans require a separate charge for data where they start at 250 MB. For $30. That’s outrageous. For $30 you should be getting 1 GB *minimum*. There are pockets of Canada where this is the case, naturally they’re in places where there are regional alternatives to the big 3.

  • crosseyed_mofo

    $30 once got us 6 gigs

    once

  • hub2

    A few times actually; I’m on a 6 GB plan myself. But they were always promos, so I don’t count them as normal amounts for $30.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    Really? I mean do these idiots not know about the age we live in? Social media and blogs/forums like this keep Canadians well informed (at least those who choose to be). When I read (and even then I could only get through like 2 of Entwistles sentences because I started getting nauseous) the constant spin, it just boggles the mind. As for Mr. Cope’s statement “The vast majority of Canadians ( Canadians translated= Bell and it’s shareholders) want a level competitive playing field in wireless and don’t want any companies to receive special favours (don’t want any companies to receive special favours translated= unless it’s Bell, Rogers and Telus). It’s unfortunate that the government has rejected the chance to engage with Canadians (again Canadians translated= Bell, Rogers and Telus and their shareholders) on the public stage and show leadership in this critical national debate” National debate? When did it become a national debate? Now as far as the NDP are concerned, if the NDP are “concerned” about security then how about they demand the removal of all of Bell and Telus’ Huawei equipment. Maybe then and only then would I consider the NDP somewhat credible.

  • FragilityG4

    The NDP only care about opposing the Harper government at any turn and Unions. It’s funny how a party who is so opposed to corporate Canada is now defending them.

  • rob0302

    I’m not an economics major, but if the goal is to have more fair pricing and better service provided to Canadian wireless customers, the format of the currently proposed auction makes perfect sense. Someone please correct me if i’m wrong, but if everyone was able to bid on the 2nd spectrum, would that not create a bidding war? Would this bidding war not raise the final purchase price of that spectrum? Would that now inflated price of the spectrum not result in wireless plan prices going up in order for the company with the winning bid to recuperate the money spent?

  • djepsilon

    Can someone inform me? I want to make sure I’ve got this right. The main reason the big 3 are complaining is because spectrum blocks are being set aside for new players at a cheap price right? Blocks that the big 3 aren’t allowed to bid on? So a “fair” playing field in their eyes would mean that all blocks would be up to the highest bidder?

    Because if this is in fact that case, wouldn’t the big 3 just collude and buy up all the spectrum to block out anyone else from entering the market? And wouldn’t THAT in itself be UNFAIR because it is anti-competitive?

  • chickeee

    each of the Big 3 are limited to one block each

  • Chrome262

    I still have that plan, and if it want to upgrade i lose it, going to let it expire and go month by month and not touch anything on my plan.

  • Chrome262

    I agree, but even 1gb should be 45 bucks for a plan, not 65 at the cheapest. if you notice even Verizon, doesn’t have plans with 1gb and they are the most expensive of the bunch.

  • Chrome262

    So the thousands of comments and letter to the CRTC, which led them to changing the code, mean nothing. No they are just people from an alternate reality that is also called Canada, Telus really knows what Canadian’s want, they have poll data from the most intelligent newspapers on the planet, the Sun, the Star. Oh and yeah, don’t forget that people who get their news from printed newspapers are the real Canadian public. You know because its such a growing segment.

  • hub2

    That’s what I plan to do, too. I’ll just buy next year’s iPhone (when contract is up) unlocked and slip the current SIM into it.

  • hub2

    Just checked, Verizon does have 1GB plans actually. It’s $50 on top of a $40 voice/text package. Their 0.5 GB data is $40, putting them exactly on par with Bell’s “Plus” plan. Like some new Canadian plans, this data is shareable, but this scheme severely punishes people who are single.

  • Chrome262

    you are right, i changed my post, I meant to 250 meg, seriously thats a pitiful amount. And while others have the shareable option, its taken the big3 forever to do that, so much so I can’t share my 6 gigs with the other members in my family. its stupid. Well you could always share it with another device if you are single, or use it to pick up people lol. “hey, I have a 2gb plan, and I am willing to share..with the right person” lol

  • hub2

    Forget sharing, that’s another device activation and SIM card… but keeping them nearby when they need to use data is another story.

    “Hey baby… wanna tether?” 🙂

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