Smaller wireless carriers in Canada, including Shaw Communications and Quebecor, are saying that the CRTC should not impose price controls on low-cost data plans.
The Competition Bureau is arguing that setting controls around these costs will help to combat market power and increase competition. However, the smaller wireless carriers believe that by setting these controls they are invalidating some of the strategies that companies like Freedom Mobile are basing their businesses around.
The controls on low-cost data plans would mirror a move that the CRTC made in 2016, which required TV providers to offer a certain number of channels for no more than $25 per month.
Quebecor is arguing that price controls will not necessarily increase competition, as prices for data are declining rapidly. On the other hand, Shaw is arguing that competition is slowly growing in Canada, even though we have a market where the incumbents have the advantage of amount of the wireless spectrum they own and the rest of their infrastructure. In a statement, Shaw said:
“Canadians do not get the value, choices, and affordable prices they increasingly need as their reliance on mobile data escalates. The reality is that, no matter how innovative Shaw is operationally or technologically, or how many billions of dollars we spend, our competitive efforts will always be hobbled by these fundamental barriers to competition.”
The Competition Bureau rarely intervenes in the CRTC’s affairs, however, they have agreed that the industry in Canada is facing competition problems. Even though they do not favour the price controls, they have put some measures in place that improve customer choice.
Do you think the CRTC should mandate some “skinny” wireless data packages? Let us know in the comments below!
[via Financial Post]