Dwayne Winseck, a professor in the school of journalism and communication at Carleton University, has released a new study saying that Canada should welcome cellular firms to better serve Canadians. The report comes from new commercials by the federal government urging for more wireless competition in Canada.
The Ottawa Citizen reports, Winseck says that more than 90 percent of Canada’s wireless spectrum is used by Rogers, Bell, and Telus. In his 60 page report, he argues that the government should make it easier for competing firms to enter into Canada, even if it means forcing Rogers, Bell, and Telus to give up some of the wireless spectrum that they already own.
Canada can do this by employing methods used in other countries around the world, like the U.S., the U.K., France, and many more. Canada can improve the services available to Canadians while also decreasing costs.
As an example, Winseck said, when two of the U.K.’s largest cellular companies wanted to merge, the government forced them to give up 25 percent of their spectrum to another, smaller company that had less market share.
Similarly, France saw its government set minimum technical standards and regulate prices, forcing existing wireless companies to compete not only based on price but based on the services they offer.
“The study challenges the industry’s claim that there is no competition problem in Canada. This, however, is symptomatic of a bigger problem, namely that in Canada the circles involved in discussing wireless issues are exceedingly small and they like to hear the sound of one another’s voices. Their members do not look kindly on those who might rock the tight oligopoly that has ruled the industry from the get-go.”
The report by Winseck comes at a time when the American cellular giant, Verizon, attempted to enter the wireless market this past summer. The big three Canadian wireless carriers, Rogers, Bell, and Telus, launched multiple public campaigns, commercials, and letters all in an attempt to stop Verizon from entering the Canadian market. The rumour that Verizon was going to make an entry into the Canadian wireless market scared the big three carriers to a point where the protests and commercials were taken way to far.
I believe it would have been good for Canadians if Verizon had entered the market. Verizon would have brought different services at different price points giving Canadians an option and most importantly forcing the big three to become more competitive with their services and pricing.
The federal government has become more attentive to the wireless industry with intentions of making it more competitive. The government has gone as far as running ads claiming that Canadians are paying too much for cellular service and are being underserved by the current players in the market.