Apple Contracts with Canada’s Wireless Carriers May Have Raised Prices: Court Filing

Yesterday it was revealed Canada’s Competition Bureau is investigating Apple’s contracts with our wireless carriers and how they may be anti-competitive in nature.

Reuters now shares details of the court filing made this week by the Bureau’s Vincent Millette, which listed ways the Apple contracts may have decreased competition and kept prices high:

  • discouraged wireless carriers from reducing the price of other handsets, or offering other enhancements
  • discouraged them from offering other handsets
  • encouraged them to maintain or boost the price of wireless services for competing handsets
  • dampened upstream competition between handset suppliers.

“The contractual obligations (with the carriers) may therefore increase the price Canadian consumers have paid, are paying or will pay for handset devices and wireless services,”

Also, obligations from these Apple contracts may be “dampening upstream competition between suppliers of handset devices.”

Competition Bureau spokesman Greg Scott said in a email statement Apple has done nothing wrong, at this point:

“It is important to note that there is no conclusion of wrongdoing by Apple Canada Inc. at this time, and no application has been filed with the Competition Tribunal or any other court to seek remedies for any alleged anti-competitive conduct,”

Filings with the Federal Court on Tuesday seek documents from Apple dating back to July 2008, when the iPhone was first officially sold in Canada. The Bureau told Apple about it was investigating contracts with carriers back in April and some records have already been handed over. Antitrust officials met with Apple executives about a month after being notified of the investigation.

Wireless carriers have similarly submitted material in the form of 2,500 documents, based on requests from June through August. While carriers weren’t specifically named in the court filing, Canada’s ‘Big 3’ carriers have dominated iPhone sales from the get go.