Regulators find that Telecoms have engaged in systematic “unjust discrimination” to stifle indie providers and keep prices high
July 31, 2014
Responding to the announcement, OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson said: “This proves what Canadians have known all along - that Big Three cellphone giants are unfairly rigging the market to limit choice and keep prices artificially high. These unfair practices show that more affordable independent providers have been boxing with one hand tied behind their back. We need action to prevent the Big Three from unfairly blocking Canadians from the affordable, independent options they deserve.”
Anderson continued: “To lower prices for Canadians we need a level playing field for all providers, large and small. Now Industry Minister Moore and the CRTC need to take the logical next step and consider fully opening the networks, by splitting them from the telecom giants. That’s the common sense solution to lower prices for all Canadians, and prevent these types of abuses once and for all. It’s time to hit the refresh button on our broken cellphone market.”
The announcement from the CRTC comes on the heels of revelations from Wind Mobile that the telecom giants have long been overcharging independent providers by up to 1000 percent over what U.S. mobile providers are charging. For example, Rogers charges Wind a ridiculous $1000 per GB of data. Worse, new price caps mandated by Industry Canada still remain 3.5 times higher than what independent providers are being charged by U.S. firms. Wholesale wireless roaming rates have typically been closely-guarded industry secrets, and today’s CRTC decision confirms why.
Canada’s Big Three recently raised their already-high prices by a hefty $5 a month, sparking outrage from Canadians tired of having no alternative to Big Telecom.
OpenMedia.ca is a network of people and organizations working to safeguard the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy.
The Demand Choice campaign was launched to pressure decision-makers to take action for greater choice and lower prices in Canada’s telecom market. Early in 2012 OpenMedia.ca launched a campaign decrying the price-gouging poor customer service and lack of choice in the cell phone market at StopTheSqueeze.ca.
OpenMedia.ca then highlighted Canadians’ Cell Phone Horror Stories in a crowdsourced submission to the CRTC, and released a citizen-driven report entitled ‘Time for an Upgrade’ detailing their findings and recommendations.
This citizen pressure resulted in a broadly positive new set of customer-friendly rules for wireless companies – national rules that reign in punitive three-year contracts, make it easier to switch to a new affordable provider, and impose caps on data roaming fees.
The Big Three cell phone providers recently unleashed an expensive PR campaign to mislead cell phone users. Canadians took to the Internet to ridicule and debunk the Big Three’s claims in a wide variety of ways - speaking out on reddit and on Facebook, and even creating parody websites, parody videos on YouTube and parody accounts on Twitter. We’ve also seen citizen-produced op-eds appear in newspapers across the country, taking the Big Three to task for their years of terrible customer service.
Over 60,000 Canadians have now participated in the Demand Choice campaign, with more standing up for wireless choice and affordability every day.
Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca
- Measures to improve Canadians’ access to independent wireless services hailed as a positive step forward, although more will be needed to lower prices and boost choice - Source
- Telecom Notice of Consultation 2013-551-1 - Source: CRTC
- OpenMedia.ca: Concerned Canadian reveals Bell’s anti-competitive practices: https://openmedia.ca/news/concerned-canadian-reveals-bell%E2%80%99s-anti-competitive-practices-1
- Ben Klass complaint to CRTC (PDF)
- Crossing the Line - Ben Klass explains why he's taking Bell to the CRTC
- See the infographic showing how half-a-million Canadians spoke out against telecom price-gouging: https://openmedia.ca/sites/openmedia.ca/files/Tariffs_Timeline_111212_0.png
- OpenMedia fought for and won Open Internet rules that should prevent Big Telecom discriminating against competing services. We even flew in some of the original architects of the Internet to the CRTC hearing.
- CRTC report shows Internet openness complaints went up in 2012 - see this media advisory.
- OpenMedia.ca’s crowdsourced Casting an Open Net Plan calls for net neutrality audits and penalties for companies in breach of net neutrality.
- CRTC will rescind ‘unlimited use’ Internet decision – or Ottawa will overturn it. Source: The Globe and Mail
- OpenMedia.ca: Regulators pull back from usage-based billing after half-a-million Canadians speak out
- "If using the Rogers 3G or LTE network, for only $5/month, customers can enjoy 10 hours of viewing on their device" (This means non-Rogers content is unfairly more expensive than Rogers-owned content.) Source: Google Play
OpenMedia works to keep the Internet open, affordable, and surveillance-free. We create community-driven campaigns to engage, educate, and empower people to safeguard the Internet.
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