Over 60,000 Canadians now speaking out for cell phone choice
Rapidly-growing Demand Choice campaign spurred on by citizen outrage at misleading Big Three PR and lobbying effort, says OpenMedia.ca
August 21, 2013– Canadians are speaking up in increasing numbers to demand greater wireless choice and more affordable cell phone prices. Over 60,000 have now signed up to support the DemandChoice.ca campaign, which is organized by citizen-backed OpenMedia.ca
The significant milestone comes after months of Canadians speaking out and fighting back against a highly misleading and expensive PR campaign being waged by Canada’s Big Three wireless conglomerates, Bell, Rogers, and Telus – a campaign even the Industry Minister has described as “dishonest”.
The Big Three cell phone providers currently control over 85% of vital wireless spectrum -- the digital highway required to service cell phone customers. Much of this public asset was essentially handed to the Big Three (Rogers, Bell, and Telus) for free yet they are still permitted to charge competitors for access. As a result of the Big Three’s gatekeeper status Canadian providers like Ting.com are available in the U.S. but not Canada.
The Big Three are misleading Canadians in hopes of undermining new Canadian upstarts like Toronto-based Ting.com. The resulting lack of choice has resulted in Canadians paying some of the highest prices in the industrialized world for cell phone service, as confirmed by multiple independentreports. Canadians have also faced years of systematic mistreatment at the hands of the Big Three.
“Our small, dedicated team here at OpenMedia.ca were absolutely delighted when our DemandChoice.ca campaign hit the 60,000 mark earlier this morning,” says OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson. “This remarkable milestone shows that Canadians are absolutely fed up with our arrogant and out-of-control cell phone giants. We’ve recently seen the campaign rapidly pick up momentum, as more and more Canadians speak out against the misleading tactics of the Big Three.”
Anderson continued: “Canadians want reasonable action from the government to ensure greater choice and lower prices by opening our wireless networks to independent Canadian providers. The Big Three must not be allowed to continue preventing smaller, innovative Canadian providers from offering the quality, affordable services Canadians deserve.”
Canadians are continuing to speak up for open networks, greater choice, and lower prices at DemandChoice.ca with more citizens joining the campaign every day.
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.
About the Demand Choice campaign
The Demand Choice campaign was launched to pressure decision-makers to take action for greater 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 http://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.
Over 60,000 Canadians have now participated in the Demand Choice campaign, with more standing up for wireless choice and affordability every day.
Communications Coordinator, OpenMedia.ca
- 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, see 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
- Citizen-driven websites speaking out against Big Telecom’s claims: http://four4canada.ca/ and http://realfairforcanada.ca