Reuters reports Rogers, TELUS and Bell are set to revamp their Verizon attack ads, as sources say incumbents have plans for a new campaign set to possibly launch next week once approved in newspapers, online and radio focusing on how the U.S. carrier’s potential launch in Canada will result in loss of privacy. Verizon was named as being involved in the NSA’s leaked PRISM surveillance program.
The planned campaign, which has yet to get a final green light, will focus on how Verizon’s entry into Canada could open the door to overreaching surveillance and a loss of privacy for Canadians, said the sources, who declined to be named as the plans are not yet public.
Incumbents currently have an ongoing PR campaign aimed at convincing Ottawa to reverse its wireless policies to allow Verizon to enter the country’s wireless market. The latter is rumoured to participate in an upcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction first, ahead of its previous plans to acquire WIND Mobile or Mobilcity first.
Separate sources tell Reuters incumbents have decided to ramp up their efforts to lobby against Ottawa, as the current ad campaigns have received negative attention from the Canadian public and Industry Minister James Moore, calling them “dishonest” lobbying:
“They’re either going to have to fold their tents and live with this, or win the fight,” said a source familiar with the new campaign. “If they are going to win the fight they obviously need much more aggressive tactics.”
“There’s enough negative feedback about the campaign coming in that they’re scrambling for new messages,”
In response to the ongoing media campaign by incumbents, Industry Minister James Moore embarked on a cross-country tour that started this morning in Vancouver to reiterate Ottawa’s message they aren’t planning to back down from telcos.
In an interview with iPhoneinCanada, Moore told us “we’re not going to change our policy” and said the spectrum auction, which has already been delayed twice, will move forward as planned. Ottawa today launched its own website called Consumers First, in response to the incumbents’ Fair for Canada campaign.
Rogers, TELUS and Bell own 85% of the wireless spectrum in Canada and hold 90% of the telecommunications market. Ottawa’s wireless policies would allow foreign companies like Verizon to invest in a company with less than 10% of the telecommunications market.