PM Harper: Ottawa Won’t Change Telecom Rules to Keep Out Verizon


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image via THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Despite ongoing PR campaigns by Rogers, TELUS and Bell, Prime Minister Stephen Harper today repeated Ottawa won’t be changing telecom rules, even though he understands incumbents have to stand up for their shareholders and employees against Verizon coming to Canada, speaking with the Canadian Press in Miramichi, N.B.:

“While I appreciate some companies have interests that are very important, our government’s first priority is the wider Canadian public and Canadian consumers and we are convinced this is where they want to see us go.”

Harper reiterated his government’s stance their priority is to serve the interests of Canadian consumers first and foremost:

“Our government has pursued this very consistently … a policy of fostering greater competition in this industry for the benefit of Canadian consumers over the past few years,”


“We have seen some results from that policy. We have every intention of continuing that policy in the interest of Canadian consumers and the broad Canadian public, including proceeding with the auction as we have laid out for some time.”

In response to today’s announcement by the Prime Minister, Bernard Lord, the president of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), the lobbying group on behalf of incumbents, said there is still time for Harper to change the rules, which were created for newer entrants and not like U.S. companies such as Verizon:

“If the government wants to open the borders, they must close the loopholes first,” he said.

“It’s simply unfair to let a large American company come in and be able to bid on two of the four spectrum blocks when some of the Canadian companies can only bid on one.”

Josh Blair, chief corporate officer of Telus, said their company welcomes competition but argued allowing a foreign company like Verizon to bid more on spectrum is unfair. He also reiterated the company’s stance foreign telecoms should build their own wireless networks instead of being able to piggyback off existing incumbent networks:

“Given we’ve invested $100-billion in Canada since 2000, we’ve earned the equal right to bid on spectrum against a company with the deep pockets of Verizon,”

Some Canadian wireless users have setup their own websites such as to respond to the ongoing rhetoric from incumbents over how Verizon will negatively affect the industry and jobs.


  • ????Dennis

    He just got my vote! It’s Not often a political party sticks up for the consumers. Sorry Robellus, but you can’t buy or cry your way out of this one. Harper is bringing in real competition! The days of gouging us are over. Prepare your shareholders ahahahahahahahahahhahah!!!

  • mcfilmmakers

    Harper will never get my vote, but he did get my respect.

  • S

    Do you really think that a premium carrier from the US is going to come here and drop prices when they already charge pretty much the same prices already?Pretty sure Verizon isn’t coming to be your buddy. They’re coming to do the same thing the other carriers currently in this country do: make profit.

    Yeah let’s funnel canadian dollars to American companies. Sure makes sense to me. Anyone remember Target and how they were going to change everything? Pretty sure they’re just a cleaner Zellers now.

  • Agree with you on the Target comparison. It will interesting to see what prices Verizon will offer, but it’s more about another major player entering the market to mix things up. That is if they don’t all start working together!

  • Prashanna Kandiah

    we have one more battle left remember Birch Hill planing to buy WIND/MOBILITY backing by rogers fund in return they get to share SPECTRUM with rogers we can not let this happened

  • S

    The only thing I see happening is the shift of market share between 4 instead of 3.

  • Guest


    Vodafone Controls (Europe Market, Australia, India, South Africa) ROAMING FREE

    América Móvil Controls (Mexico and Whole Lanita South American Market) ROAMING FREE

    Verizon Wireless will be first time to Controls North American Market (USA, CANADA 2013) ROAMING FREE ??? we will find out on

    VERIZON call for Board of Directors meeting is

    on Tuesday Aug 13th 2013 on CNBC

    Canadian telecom history will change if or not

  • K3

    Yea but if you remember Walmart took almost a year to smooth out some big issue when they went supersize on there stores, give Target around a year. It will be interesting to see if things become more relaxed up here allowing additional US product brands to be carried because the majority of people checking Target out were probably looking for that first before a saving of an extra buck.

    Agreed on the additional player- there’s a certain amount of potential customers and it’ll mean a possibility of one less now for the three companies that have enjoyed there time for years now.

    The possible “one less” will add up.

  • If they do one thing, and one thing only (toss long distance charges out the window, every call is a local call) as the do in the USA, they’ll win a lot of customers over from the big 3, even if the rest of their charges are mostly the same.

    Long distance charges for incoming/outgoing have been history in the USA for a LONG time. They laugh when they hear that it’s still a normal part of the cellular business up here. A major profit driver, I’m sure.

    Comparing prices along is apples and oranges. Look at what others are GETTING for the same amount of money and you’ll understand how bad we are getting screwed by the big 3 up here.

    And of course there are those who will jump ship to Verizon simply out of spite after years of bad experience with the incumbents, even if they don’t stand to save a red cent.

  • shuttaman

    annnnnnnnnnnnddd he got my vote

  • crosseyed_mofo


  • Chrome262

    Zellers was going to close regardless, All Target did was take over the leases. Its still partly Canadian for one thing. Regardless, a cleaner Zellers is so worth it lol. And Verizon will have to do something to attract customers, doing the same as the other three won’t do it.

  • Chrome262

    But look at Wind, they are getting customers because they are cheaper and unlimited. Verizon has to compete if they want market share, and frankly they can afford to undercut the other three to get market share, once that happens they could then raise prices. Like the big three are doing now with data, once they got us to get smartphones. bastards

  • Al

    It must have been my letter to the PM that caused him to make this announcement.

    Seriously though, I looked at Verizon (I should have done that sooner) and, holy crap, there is no real benefit there with price (with the hopeful exception of North American calling and roaming maybe becoming a reality). And I think Rogers has been gradually working towards offering complete unlimited long distance (near future?). Verizon’s 6GB plan for 2 phones and a device is pretty much the same as I’m paying now. So…. why have I been cheering for Verizon to show up?

    And for those suggesting T-Mobile would be a better choice… Yes, their price is much better, but have you looked at their coverage map??? If they can’t blanket the US successfully, they would truly drag their heels here as well. Verizon, on the other hand, has significant coverage. Including LTE straight down the I75 to Florida, which a lot of people from Ontario will appreciate. Still… the price continues to be a point of frustration.

  • Al

    Good point about Verizon. Terrible point about Target. The only people who thought Target was going to change things were my Target-fanatical gay friends.

  • FragilityG4

    That potential sale would be blocked by the Harper government as well … Much like Telus’ purchase of Mobilicity.

  • Sven L

    I hope individual citizens took up arms (figuratively speaking) and inundated the PMO with letters expressing their disapproval of the Big 3’s actions. Good on Harper for listening to Canadians rather than the insensible lobbyists acting on behalf of these 3 bullies.

  • Sv650

    Ummmmmm…… Isn’t unlimited nationwide calling one of the hallmarks of the new plans just released by the incumbents?

  • 1His_Nibs1

  • Kevin

    I bet Harper is paying a $80+/m plan and he’s stuck in a 3year contract with rogers. lol

  • William

    Well, next time, I may think about give Harper a vote.