Telus announces plans to takeover Canada’s largest independent cell phone provider
May 16, 2013
At this time Canada’s largest independent provider, Wind Mobile, is also reportedly up for sale, as is the only other major independent provider, Public Mobile.
This development also comes as Rogers prepares to break Industry Canada rules by obtaining scarce wireless spectrum infrastructure that was set aside for independent providers. So far the government has refused to enforce the rules, which has created turmoil in the wireless industry. OpenMedia.ca also fears that this has signalled to the Big Three that they can get away with breaking Canada’s wireless rules, and threatening choice in the cell phone service market.
Canadians pay some of the highest prices for mobile phone service in the industrialized world for some of the worst service. In addition to being price-gouged, Canadians have also reported being trapped in restrictive long-term contracts and having to deal with disrespectful customer service. OpenMedia.ca’s recent Time For An Upgrade report found that Canadians already face system mistreatment from big cell phone providers.
Already over 55,000 Canadians have spoken out about a lack of choice in the cell phone market at the website: http://demandchoice.ca/
“It’s extremely disappointing that Industry Canada is still failing to stand up for Canadians, even as choice in the cell phone market erodes before our eyes,” says OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson. “At minimum the government should enforce their own rules and not let Big Telecom takeover wireless assets set aside for new affordable telecom options for Canadians. Canada’s cell phone market is increasingly broken and the blame should be pointed squarely at the Industry Minister’s incoherent approach to telecom policy. The government is mismanaging our digital economy and Canadians are paying the price with their monthly bills.”
OpenMedia.ca is a grassroots organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open and affordable Internet. The group works towards informed and participatory digital policy.
About the Demand Choice campaign
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 http://StopTheSqueeze.ca, and the CRTC responded by inviting comments on whether the Commission should development national rules for wireless service in Canada. OpenMedia.ca mobilized Canadians to write in and request that the CRTC do just that, noting that any rules should build upon (not erode) frameworks in the provinces of Quebec and Manitoba, as well as on the framework proposed in Private Members Bill 133 in Ontario.
On October 11, 2012 the CRTC announced it would hold a public consultation on national rules for wireless services. It was in response to this that the campaign at http://CellPhoneHorrorStory.ca was launched, in order to give citizens an easy way to make the CRTC aware of the real human consequences of our broken cell phone market.
OpenMedia.ca highlighted Canadians’ stories in a crowdsourced submission to the CRTC, and has now released a report detailing their findings and recommendations.
Communications Coordinator, OpenMedia.ca
778 232 1858
Executive Director, OpenMedia.ca
- Mobilicity is Canada’s fifth largest wireless carrier, following the Big Three (Bell, Rogers, and Telus) and independent carrier Wind Mobile.
- An estimated 94% of the wireless market is controlled by the Big Three
- Mobilicity is one of three independent carriers in Canada, which were launched following Industry Canada’s 2008 spectrum auction.
- The 2008 auction, which set aside prime spectrum for new entrants, was meant to promote more choice in the wireless market. However for the upcoming auction of 700 MHz spectrum—a key resource for offering wireless Internet—Industry Canada did not use the set-aside framework, opting instead for an alternative framework that the independent providers and OpenMedia.ca warned would not go far enough.
- In 2009, an OECD study found that Canadians pay some of the highest prices for mobile phone service in the industrialized world. This was corroborated by a 2010 report from the New America Foundation. More recently, another study found that Canada has the highest roaming fees in the industrialized world.
- A recent study by OpenMedia.ca called Time For An Upgrade found Canadians face system mistreamtent by Cell phone providers.
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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