OpenMedia.ca builds definitive case for opening Canada’s wireless networks to lower prices for all Canadians
Following official confirmation from the Competition Bureau that the Big Three are artificially keeping prices high, OpenMedia and CIPPIC's joint submission to the CRTC sets out common sense steps for fixing Canada’s broken wireless market
OpenMedia’s submission sets out a number of steps the CRTC and government should take to ensure every Canadian has an affordable alternative to the Big Three. It highlights how Canada is falling behind its international counterparts on choice and price because high market concentration levels means the Big Three wield substantial market power. It argues that Canadians need robust open access rules to prevent the Big Three from blocking independent new service providers like Ting in Canada. These rules will lead to a wider and deeper market in terms of innovative services and expanding penetration rates. “If there’s one thing that brings all Canadians together, it’s disgust at our ridiculously high wireless prices,” says OpenMedia.ca campaigns coordinator Josh Tabish. “Our wireless market is effectively broken and is holding our whole country back. There are a number of common sense measures that the CRTC and government should take to help relieve the monthly wireless fees burden for hard-pressed Canadian businesses and wireless users. With affordable Canadian providers like Ting ready and willing to offer services to Canadians, it’s ridiculous that they are being blocked from doing so because of outdated rules that are a legacy of years of regulatory coddling for telecom giants.” Tabish continued: “While the government has taken positive steps towards fixing our dysfunctional market, Canadians will be watching closely to see whether Industry Minister Moore matches his promises with real action. At the end of the day we need to take common sense steps to open up our networks by freeing them from the Big Three’s control. That’s what Canadians want because it’s the best way to put a stop to their blocking tactics and ensure all providers, large and small, can operate on a level playing field. The status quo of high wireless prices and no authentic choice is not sustainable.” Canadians pay some of the highest prices in the industrialized world for wireless service, with StatsCan reporting telephone prices increased by three times the rate of inflation last year. OpenMedia has also worked with thousands of Canadians to create a crowdsourced roadmap to lower prices and improve choice in Canada’s broken wireless market. Leading innovators and job creators have called on the government and CRTC to implement this roadmap. Canadians are calling on the CRTC to take action at https://UnblockCanada.caAbout OpenMedia.ca OpenMedia.ca is an award-winning community-based organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy by engaging hundreds of thousands of people in protecting our online rights. Through campaigns such as StopTheMeter.ca and StopSpying.ca, OpenMedia.ca has engaged over half-a-million Canadians, and has influenced public policy and federal law.
Contact David Christopher Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca 1-778-232-1858 [email protected]About OpenMedia’s telecom campaigns OpenMedia.ca has campaigned for years for action to improve choice and lower prices in Canada’s cell phone 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. Recent examples of unfair practices by Canada’s Big Three include:
- Suing the government for passing positive customer protection rules.
- Blocking Canadian wireless provider Ting from being able to offer affordable services in Canada.
- Unleashing a massive misleading PR campaign against greater wireless choice
- Engaging in “unjust discrimination” against independent provider Wind Mobile.
- Bell’s court challenge against new cellphone roaming and tower-sharing rules to improve choice for Canadians.
- Download OpenMedia.ca and CIPPIC's joint submission to the CRTC (PDF)
- CRTC Media Release, July 31: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=872099
- In 2007 the Conservative government made a promise to reserve key spectrum assets for new entrants. Source: Reuters
- The Conservative government’s 2011 platform promised “to increase competition and choice and to lower costs for wireless consumers”. Source: Conservative Party 2011 Platform, page 15
- For an explanation of why your high cell phone bill has nothing to do with Canada's size, check out this article by OpenMedia.ca's Catherine Hart.
- Industry Canada clearly stated that only "new entrants" were eligible for the AWS wireless spectrum set aside in 2008. Industry Canada further stated that “changes made after the application deadline which create an Association with another applicant are not permitted, and any applicant who has formed such an Association will be disqualified from participating in the auction.” Source: Industry Canada
- Canada’s wireless industry is overwhelmingly dominated by Bell, Telus, and Rogers. Source: The Globe and Mail
- Recent independent reports confirm that Canadians pay some of the highest prices in the world for cell phone service. Source: OECD 2013 Communications Outlook
- Ben Klass: “I am Canadian, a reply to Bell’s Open Letter”
- Background on Spectrum. Source: Public Interest Advocacy Centre