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Conservative Party of Canada launches “Consumers First” page to fight back against incumbents’ PR onslaught

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“There is no loophole.”

The Conservative government has hastily erected a comeback of sorts to the incumbents’ Fair For Canada campaign, a one-pager called Consumers First.

Within this facts mission, newly-appointed Industry Minister James Moore attempts to clarify all of the misconceptions surrounding a foreign telco entering Canada. Specifically, he upholds the notion that by inviting more competition into Canada, the government is appeasing its electorate and performing a valued service: to lower the costs of Canadians’ wireless bills.

To that end, the site points out that since the Conservative government adopted “pro-competition, pro-consumer” wireless policies in 2008, when they set aside spectrum for new entrants, the price of the average wireless bill has dropped 20%.

Of course, this does not distinguish between the price of service from a new entrant like Wind or Mobilicity, whose average ARPU is under $30 per month, and an incumbent like Rogers, whose blended ARPU hovers around $60, but, on average, Canadians pay slightly less than they did five years ago.

At the same time, the site points out that although this government has taken steps to ensure Canadians pay less, we still pay among the highest bills per month of all developed countries, only slightly under the US market (in which Verizon is the biggest provider). We also pay some of the highest roaming bills in the world.

The 700Mhz spectrum, which limits the incumbents to one block each per region, will take place next January, and though Verizon has deferred its decision to purchase Wind and/or Mobilicity, it has not yet bowed out of the race entirely. Thanks to its designation as a “new entrant,” according to the government’s spectrum policy, it is entitled to purchase two blocks of spectrum in each designated region. The incumbents think that isn’t fair; the Canadian government thinks the incumbents, who hold 90% of the wireless market and 85% of the country’s engaged spectrum, have enough.

  • Humberto Giambrone

    This is a waste of money. You only need to combat an ad campaign that is successful. Nobody in their right mind feels the Big 3′s campaign is anything but self-defeating and embarrassing.

    Edit: Just noticed that it’s only a one page ad, so forget the waste of money comment. As long as it stays that way. They really don’t need to fight here, most people are already on their side.

    • TechD82

      Yup. As long as this ad is all they put out (and really, it’s all they need), I think it’s great.

    • Chris

      Well then you’d definitely be surprised at how many of the older generations of people stick up for the company they’ve been with for years. Almost like the company is an old friend. I work “outside plant” as a technician for Bell, and when people that actually like Bell come up and talk to me, they have a certain ‘love’ for the company.

      The 3 companies have strong marketing to those that know no better. Don’t just imagine everyone has the same knowledge as you, and let’s fight for us, the consumers. Down with Bell, Telus and Rogers. They’ve had it good for too long.

    • thedosbox

      This is less about combating an ad campaign, and more about promoting the tories “accomplishments”.

    • MapleHoney

      I don’t care if it is a one page thing or not. You think it is an one man show to put up that page and wrote all those info. There’s a freaking team doing this. A professional team which charge a lot. It also costs money to maintain the web site and collect data.

      If it is Mr. Harper paying for this himself then do what he likes but then obviously a big fat NO is the answer. He is trying to get money to like him and vote for him for obvious reasons and using our tax payers’ money! He could have use that money on medial care or education service.

      I used to have nothing against Conservatives but if Mr. Harper keeps doing crap like this, things are going to backfire on him and Conservative.

      PS: People say it’s Conservatives’ own money. I hope so but it’s hard to tell.

    • Unorthodox

      I rather have them spend money on this one-pager, than subsidize the living for a piece of work that works for cash and contributes nothing to society, except a horde of poorly raised children.

    • gab_gagnon

      Maybe but it is Conservative’s money, not from the Gov. so I don,t really care!

    • Guest

      until that scandal surfaces lol…
      but if the tories are going to use market fundamentilsm as a slogan then i support them in realizing stronger competition.

    • ScooterinAB

      Actually, there are educated people who feel the Big 3′s campaign is anything but self-defeating and embarrassing. Economists, industry professionals, stock traders, and technology analysts have all touched on this topic, with many condemning the federal government for poor policy writing and a perceived acceptance to ignoring potential problems. It’s only crazy radicals and the PC party that are really speaking out against it.

      The campaign launched by the Big 3 was actually very successful (so far). It has raised awareness to the risks of a company like Verizon entering the market and the risks of poor policies. A large number of people who know little about the wireless industry have started paying attention to what is going on and realize that there could be a problem. Whether the claims made in the campaign are right or wrong, it’s highlighted that the Conservative government actually doesn’t care about their constituents. Any government with any respect for the public would have made a simple announcement that they would take the matter under consideration. Whether or not they support the campaign is irrelevant. What’s more telling is that they immediately shot it down and went on the defensive. When a problem is brought before any government or committee, they owe it to their constituents to at least pretend to care.

      I am in support of more competition. I am in support of the majority of the Wireless Code of Conduct (which the Big 3 were largely following prior to it’s completion). I am in support of lower prices for wireless services. What I’m not in support of is special treatment for any company that tries to enter this market. I am also not is support of this ill-informed and unproven notion that a 4th carrier, simply by its appearance, will drive prices down.

      The federal government claims that prices will go down with a 4th carrier, but there is no proof of this statement. Yes, competition tends to bring pricing down, but we know from prior examples with Wind that this isn’t that simple. The federal government is doing something called “wish-listing,” where they are trying so hard to push their hopes and dreams that it is actually blinding them.

      Supporting the introduction of more competition into this market is valid and honorable. FORCING a 4th carrier into being, and allowing perceived loopholes to be exploited in order to do so is inappropriate.

      To the federal government: You claim that their are no loopholes for the entry of a foreign power. Yet, your actions state the opposite and perceived loopholes have been discovered. If there are no loopholes, why are there loopholes? This is just like the acknowledgement of Area 51. We know it’s there. We know it’s been there for a long time. We have proof that it’s there. Why did the US government and military continue to deny that it was there when it was clear as day that they were lying? Why does the Canadian federal government simply say there aren’t any loopholes in the rules regarding foreign entry and the upcoming spectrum auction when they are taking actions to support it? Why doesn’t the federal actually try and disprove these perceived loopholes instead of putting their fingers in their ears and pretending they aren’t there?

    • Ulfredsson The Vanquisher

      You sir have renewed my faith that there are still intelligent people out there!
      Keep up the good fight!

    • ScooterinAB

      Thank you. It’s a tough fight. It’s good the hear that the largely negative comments on this site are not the only comments.

    • disqus_FqJrvM2zAR

      I wonder how big was the cheque from Verizon to Harper…

  • Stéphane Lachance

    To be clear, the site is set up by the Conservative Party, not the government. It’s hard to tell the difference, I know.

    • JerryBolton

      The Conservative Party IS our government right now (as opposed to The Opposition… and whatever they call the parties that aren’t the Gov or the Op), so yeah, they are fairly indistinguishable for the time being.

    • Stéphane Lachance

      The difference here is that this site and this counter-campaign isn’t publicly funded. The Conservatives are using their own party money for this site.

    • Mark

      “The Conservatives are using their own party money for this site.”

      Which is funded by the Canadian Government.

    • gab_gagnon

      Which is not. Which is funded by their members who pay a membership fee and by donators. HUGE difference from a page from the Government of Canada.

    • Jesse

      Shhh don’t ruin this for them

    • FiveOD

      No, the government of Canada is far more broad than just the Conservative Party. Both houses of the legislative branch are currently controlled by a majority of Conservative Party members, but that doesn’t mean that the CPC is the government or vice versa.

  • Rich

    Eh, it’s good from the standpoint of the Conservatives standing up for Canadians.
    Realistically, this administration definitely needs this type of publicity so they’re going to milk it.

    However, outside of the political agenda there isn’t much point to the campaign.

  • Mr. Everything

    This is the first time in 10 or more years I feel like my government is being sane and doing something for the general public. It’s happened so rarely I don’t even know how to react.
    Compared to the USA we lose out on everything… our taxes are destroyingly high, goods are more expensive…. Anything to change this trend is a good thing.

    • Chris

      Bell, Rogers and Telus didn’t offer enough to pay them off for their support… *laughing* …but seriously, I seriously wouldn’t even be surprised. In the least.

    • Chris

      Or maybe Verizon did have the right price…

    • funkright

      Yes “Compared to the USA we lose out on everything…” like a deeper recession, higher unemployment rates, a usurious banking industry (though our banks do vie for that title), and on and on and on… We should be careful what we wish for, we might just get it :(

    • Chris

      Verizon would have to hire Canadians as I understand. And believe me, it takes a very serious workforce and manual labour to build infrastructure. And that would only force our big 3 companies to counter – which may mean building more; and that requires more work.

    • SmartGuy

      They’re not exactly building infrastructure since the government would be forcing the big 3 to share their network with Verizon

    • Mr. Everything

      It’s not as if the Candian companies are pro Canadian workers. They’ll hire them if they need to do it but anytime they can outsource (i.e. T to the Phillipines) they do so. The’re only interested in the bottom line profits. They don’t care about putting anything back into Canada that they can’t use as part of their advertising.

    • Stephen_81

      I agree with Mr. Everything, the Canadian Big3 currently are not really Pro Canada, the advantage they bring Pro Canada is that their profits are Canadian, they stay in Canada, and they are traded on Canadian markets, where as an Entrant like Verizon will most likely be the same in terms of being Pro Canada with work force, EXCEPT Canadians lose out on the tax dollars on profits as they would go to the US, Canadians lose out on the ability to invest locally and take advantage of favourable taxation laws when investing in Canadian companies. a US buy into another resource of Canada is only a good thing to those who wish Canada was just another US state.

    • SmartGuy

      Canadian telcos have call center reps based in Canada where they pay quite well for Canadians. Telus going to Phillipines, from my understanding is that they offer other companies a source of outsourcing- so they hire call agents to take call for other companies. So in this sense, I don’t think you’re giving big 3 enough credit for being “pro Canadian”.

      But to my initial point in response to Chris, Verizon entering would not bring jobs to building infrastructure to Canada because the towers are already up and Verizon will just be piggybacking off the existing towers owned by the Big 3.

    • Peter

      Correct, starting hourly rate for a call center agent with the big 3 is about $16-$17 an hour, and can go up to about $27 an hour for some positions. They also do outsource, which i don’t agree with but I do understand. There is so much pressure to provide the cheapest plans possible that they have to cut costs somewhere. Also let’s not forget that these are well paying jobs, people who work for the big 3 buy products where each and every one of us works. So all is not for nothing.

    • JR

      @smartguy the big 3 would only have to share their networks to the same extend they do now with Wind and Mobilicity. They would pay roaming to access their networks, just like wind. So not exactly the free ride you make it sound like. Quite lucrative for the big 3.

    • ABCONMan

      If Verizon is awarded in the 700MHz, then they SHOULD have to build their own network. There are many benefits to that spectrum and it would be a waste otherwise.

      At least the big three want to make good use of that spectrum, nationwide.

    • MapleHoney

      If Verizon is willing to spend money building network in Canda, it also mean there will be more jobs created IN Canada. But I really don’t think Verizon will do it for such a small population in Canada.

    • SmartGuy

      JR, I never said it was a free ride. I agree Verizon will be paying the Big 3. My point was in response to the post about creating more Canadian jobs having Verizon build infrastructure in Canada. I meant to say this is not necessarily the case because no new infrastructure will be built- Verizon will be (paying) to use the existing infrastructure- so that jobs argument by Chris is incorrect

  • kevin c

    When people are taking the side Conservative Party over Robellus, you just *know* how badly Robellus has handled their PR over the last 20+ years.

    • ABCONMan

      Only people in Alberta really take the side of the CONS, and at least they can afford decent cell service.

    • Benta Volgut

      Wrong! If it weren’t for Quebec, the CONS (as you call them) would have won the election by a larger majority. They are still wildly popular across this country.

    • Sweet

      Nah, the way I see it, the CONS only won because the right wing has a reputation of being good at managing finances and the economy, which is what Canadians were most concerned with. In other words, Canadians voted for the Cons out of necessity, not because they actually like them. You’re right about Quebec, though.

  • Conception

    The 42nd Canadian federal election is tentatively scheduled for October 19, 2015 – early bird gets the worm, er’ wireless I guess.

    • Fawoo

      Yep. Even if things stay the same (meaning no new entrant to our market), you can be the conservatives will have an ad near election with the bullet point “we helped save the wireless industry and keep it the best in the world”.

    • MapleHoney

      I thought this IS the election ads.

  • Stephen_81

    It is painful to be a Conservative with Harper at the Helm.

    What are the implications for taxpayer with the loss of tax revenue on lets be fair and say 10% of the wireless market assuming Verizon doesn’t grow?

    IF Harper and his government were looking for what is best for Canada then a move to built a nation wide network of towers and leasing the towers to the providers of service and profits from the leasing going directly into expanding and improving the serivce would make more sense.

    But instead Harper wants to sell more of Canadas resources out of Country

    • Dave

      Right, so let’s decrease competition.

    • FiveOD

      You can’t just apply conventional wisdom regarding competition to an industry like telecommunications because the barriers to entry are so high that a few big companies are always incentivized to fix prices as high as the market will allow for mutual benefit. It doesn’t matter if there are three giant telecoms or four, it’s the same story.

    • Stephen_81

      I’m not for decreasing competition, I’m for fostering innovation in the industry. WIND and Mobilicity while their coverage was terrible fostered a new way of doing mobile in Canada. Verizon or ANY of the US carriers are just like the Big 3, they aren’t bringing new ideas or new ways of doing things so why bring them in.

      While I think OpenMedia is a group of delusional hippies who don’t even consider business applications nor ramifications related to proposals and think of the wireless industry as a bubble they did speak about one thing I could get behind which would be government controlled towers with delivery of service handled by carriers. what we would get is lower cost of entry for new CANADIAN based telecoms to do business whilst ensuring that all Canadians can get access to advancements in mobile technology not just the big cities.

    • Sweet

      OpenMedia got that idea from someone who posted a comment on their FB page. They’re clueless about wireless and telecomm. They were very dead-set in favour of banning 3-year contracts until I pointed out that it could result in an increase in phone prices and/or monthly rates. I unLiked their page a while after that and stopped following them completely. Idiots.

    • Sweet

      Governments are notoriously slow and bad at managing technology. I agree with the idea, but I only see it working if they create a crown corporation to build, operate and maintain it, like what some provinces do with their hydro infrastructure.

    • Stephen_81

      I can agree with you on that side, Governments would need to set up a crown corp because they are terrible at managing businesses

  • Jesse

    i won’t get into a debate about politics here, but what i will say is this… the PR campaign that the big three put on was like a spoiled rotten child crying because he might not get the ice cream cone he wants… it was honestly sickening to me. I’m glad the Goverment took this stance because in all honesty IT IS GOOD for CANADIANS! competition is GOOD, can you imagine a world where all choice is stripped away except for Rogers and Telus? i’d get rid of my bloody mobile! i say (in this isolated instance) i’m proud of the choice my goverment made… Rogers and Telus and Bell need to grow the hell up and stop embaressing themselves like they have recently

    • ABCONMan

      Billions lost already, pensions going down the drain, but hey, you might save $2 on your cell bill.

    • Jesse

      Well I was trying to be mature and keep my comments isolated to this news story and be objective about it on that level, I see you simply couldn’t

  • sting

    The big 3 say its not fair because they “built” the network, this of course is true. However what they fail to mention is who “paid” to build the network, which is the consumers!

    • ABCONMan

      Doesn’t mean you own it.

    • Jesse

      No, but it means we the consumers should be respected and not taken for granted and lied to by the very companies we supported and made who they are

    • Thr1ve

      Yes, we (taxpayers) paid to build the original network over 20 years ago, but since then, the Big 3 have poured billions into modernizing it, which didn’t come from the taxpayer’s pockets or the government… The upkeep alone costs more than what the original network cost when it was built, and that’s a recurring cost, not a one time deal. Add to that upgrading to 2G, then 3G, then HSPA, then HSPA+, then LTE and now LTE Advanced (not to mention what’s coming in the future), and you’ll soon see that the Big 3 have poured MUCH more money into their infrastructure than the government and tax payers combined.

    • Alucai Vivorvel

      So is that why they feel the need to charge us such high rates? Because they used “their” money to pay for all those upgrades? Where do you think they got that money? From the consumers.

    • Thr1ve

      No, they charge us such high rates because you people whined and complained about 3 year contracts and wanted it changed to 2 year contracts… So they did, but they also jacked up device prices and monthly bill prices to compensate for that lost year… So you have no one to blame but yourselves for the high prices we’re currently seeing… Did you actually think prices would have stayed the same going from 3 year contracts to 2 years?

      And yes, they used their money, the revenue gained from selling services to consumers (that’s how businesses work, you may want to look into it as it appears you’re absolutely clueless when it comes to running a business), in order to upgrade their infrastructure (instead of keeping it as profits), where else were they going to get the money to do it? Also, remember that Canada’s HSPA, HSPA+ and LTE rollout from the Big 3 were among the first in the world (if not THE first in the world), they could have waited until prices for the equipment dropped after everyone else rolled out their networks, but they didn’t, they went with the consumer’s best interest and did it right away, before other, bigger carriers from around the world (such as in Europe and the US) even thought about it… Are you really faulting the Big 3 for spending their money on upgrading to the newer and faster tech?

    • Alucai Vivorvel

      Would you mind not including me in that generalization, because I have never gone with a locked-in plan; I’ve always been on the Tab plans (currently on the Virgin Mobile SuperTab) so I had nothing to do with the 3 to 2 year change.

      Now, for the reason these big companies have been able to upgrade their networks using their revenue (yes I know how businesses work): for years they’ve charged more than necessary to line their pockets, sure they’ve spent some of that money upgrading the network but don’t try to convince me that is what they use most of it for. Charging as much as they are for the little data we get is unreasonable no matter which way you look at it.

    • Techie01

      Do you go into a local business and tell them how to price there stock cause you’re their customer paying there bills? prob tell you where to go and how to get there.

    • sting

      Question:

      Do I “go into local business and tell them how to price there (sic) stock”

      Answer: No

      Results : I have never been told “where to go and how to get there”, except perhaps by my wife (thats a story for another day);)

      However each and everyday I and many others decide how to spend our cash and certainly a portion of that decision is based on price point. So if you think about it we all do have some control over retail price points.

  • Slapnuts2k5

    Hmmm does the government fight for our gas prices as well??? hmmm me thinks they don’t actually get any money from the wireless sector..,

    • Dave

      There is a lot of work ahead. The wireless sector is the first one I hope.

    • Slapnuts2k5

      Hmmmm I fill up my car at 50 bucks a shot sometimes more. 4 times a week. I have a 60$ monthly bill with a carrier and cellular is what we choose to complain about. REALLY?

    • Dave

      And what about buying a shoe box to live at for at least a quarter million $? Is your gas the problem? My point is that there is always something bigger. And in the telecommunications market it’s also about technology, not only price.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius

      I think a car is more of a necessity than a friggin cellphone. I think you could still have a high quality of life without an iphone glued to your face 24/7 scouring facebook. I laugh at those that say “they need it”. Do you “need” a porsche 911 to commute to work as well. lol

    • Thr1ve

      You obviously don’t work a white collar job… Just because YOU don’t need a cell phone doesn’t mean that everyone else doesn’t. The fact that you mentioned Facebook, of all things, as the primary use for smartphones shows that you have absolutely no idea exactly what smartphones are capable of in the hands of anyone but your typical spoiled kid/teenager/20something… I do agree that not everyone NEEDS a cell phone (let alone a smartphone), kids can do without them, teens can do without them, many adults can do without them, but white collar business men/women DO in fact need their smartphones, as do most people in the tech industry, it’s an invaluable tool for us… I could easily ditch my car and motorbike to use public transportation for my commute and personal transportation, but I could never ditch my smartphones (I have 2, one for my regular day job which is paid for by the company, and the other for personal use and my 2nd “job” / various paid projects outside my day job). I wouldn’t have either job if I didn’t have a smartphone, because I simply couldn’t keep up to date and in contact with my clients, co-workers, support staff, managers and so on… Mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, smaller/lighter laptops with more than a couple hours of battery life) have made our lives a hell of lot easier, allowing us to work harder and not be tethered to a desk at the office… But for MANY others (kids, teens and 20somethings mostly), smartphones/tablets are simply toys used to play games, watch cat videos on Youtube, listen to music, update their Facebook, take pictures of their food with stupid photo filters and so on, basically, nothing of worth…

    • Guest

      Our gas prices aren’t consistently among the highest in the world.

    • Peter

      No they arent, but we do produce our own gas so why not give us some type of discount, after all it is ours. I would rather they go after gas companies. The price of gasoline goes up when the barrel of oil goes down. So frustrating, at least with the big 3 i know what im paying every month, no crazy fluctuations like we have with gas companies

    • Aaron Airline

      I spend $180 on cable and internet but toothpaste only costs me 3 bucks a month. What do I have to complain about? Seriously.

  • Lash

    They obviously haven’t looked at the current prices! The base plans start at 70 and give you only 250mb of data versus to a few months ago where you got a gig. You want a gig now you’re bill is 85 bucks per line for the “Big Three.”

    • ABCONMan

      That’s what you get for whining for 2 year contracts.

      Congrats!

    • Wufai

      Want to point out contracts terms should not affect monthly rates. People are making the mistake assuming that the Big 3 needs to cover their costs given shorter contract period. But failed to understand the gerneral consumer will continue the use wireless after 2 years with the same company if the service is good. Given your logic, if Canadians wants to eliminate contracts altogether, the Big 3 can price their monthly plan as $1000/month becuase ‘they have to make up for the lost of 3 year contracts’ and you can gloat ‘That’s what you get for whining about contracts.’

    • Aaron Airline

      I get 10 gigs Wind 30 bucks last 3 years.

  • Guest

    What competition? Prices are the same everywhere. I think it’s the worst scam ever just after Gas companies.

  • ABCONMan

    If the Conservatives say it, then it must be true.

    Vote pandering.

    Suckers.

    • gab_gagnon

      If Robelus say something it must be true though? Your logic isn’t… logic, my friend!

    • MapleHoney

      I think the Conservatives didn’t get enough funding from the Big 3 and got really mad.

    • Dave

      Here comes the conspiracy

    • The Invisible Hand

      They didn’t get any funding from the Big 3 phone companies… or any other business. Banning corporate donations to political parties was one of the first things Harper did when he took office.

    • guestpooper

      Jean Chretien was the one who banned corporate and union donations, not Harper.

    • The Invisible Hand

      Nope. Chretien restricted how much & where they could give, but it was Harper who banned them altogether.

  • G35

    On top of opening the door to foreign investment they should also regulate the big 3 ‘s price fixing.

  • WAKE-UP

    Stephen why do you live here if your so opposed to freedom of speech? Your put up or shut attitude is the whole reason why we have lack of competition.

    • Stephen_81

      Where did I say I oppose freedom of speech?

      I live in Canada because I love this country. I don’t mind paying 40ish% of my income to income tax to support government programs like social medicine, I don’t mind paying extra sales taxes that go toward education and infrastructure.
      I appreciate that we are in a country that promotes 2 languages and that in doing so it has cost businesses billions of extra dollars to do businesshere.

      I like the Canada has privacy laws and a commissioner that takes them seriously.
      Mr. Everything says we lose out as Canadians and I question what keeps him from moving if the US does it right in his opinion.

    • WAKE-UP

      Canada is a great place to live but to shut out competition and protectionism is backward thinking and stifles innovation. Let’s just sit back and stay in are cozy safe zone, let’s do nothing life is great. Time to get out of the plastic bubble you live in. Things are not perfect everywhere but pretending they are makes me wonder are you working for the PR FIRM that ROBELUS hired.

    • Stephen_81

      My life is easily seen, my twitter is tied to my profile and I am certainly no PR guy for any of the Carriers.

      I want INNOVATION, which means something improving for Canadians, the Big 3 in Canada are just little brothers of the Big 2 in the US. they do business the same, they use the same model for selling and distributing mobile devices. they wont be helping Canada. They’ll hurt Canada by removing the profits from the country while not fostering improvements. Just the same old same old with 1 new player.

      There is no legislation in place requiring a new entrant to actually go nation wide. there is no rules about how fast they must deploy into other markets, This opening up the Canadian market with ZERO plan and zero vision and just letting it pan out is Bad for Canada.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius

      We have a small population, you choose to ignore that & compare canada and US markets if they were equal platforms, they are not. I agree if you don’t like it here, get the f out.

    • WAKE-UP

      Canada is smaller in population goods and services are always going to be more that’s a fact of life. But why not let others investment company’s in what’s the panick. Is that your only excuse for keeping investment out. That’s it not fair. Life’s not fair

    • ScooterinAB

      Thank you for continuing to bring this fact up. The only country that we should be compared against is Russia. Our market cannot be directly compared to the US, who’s companies have more buying power and the geographical difference makes it easier to connect rural customers. We cannot easily be compared to Japan or parts of Europe, whose geographical differences and increased population density make the US look like a barren wasteland.

      It has also been proven that American customers pay quite a bit more for wireless services than we do, as do the Japanese. Yes, prices can and should be better. But it’s a flawed metric.

      Regarding Wake-up’s comments, the concern is over equal and transparent practices. No, life is not fair. But our government owes its constituents fair and appropriate governance. Disregarding perceived loopholes and allowing a foreign company the take actions in this country that local companies have been actively condemned and ridiculed for inappropriate. The panic is that there is a perception that companies like Verizon are some kind of magical fairy who will fix everything and give us ice cream when there is no basis for this. Verizon is the most expensive carrier in the US. The panic is that the government is allowing special treatment for a foreign company to entry our market and rip Canadians off. If you think the Big 3 are bad, look at the $20-40 service fees that every US carrier charge. Ya, they look cheaper on the surface, but they can and do charge much more than Canadian carriers do. The panic is that this could also set a dangerous precedent for other carriers to compete in our market against one another, catching Canadians in the crossfire. If one carrier is given special treatment and a red carpet welcome, why can’t another? The campaign against Verizon is trying to get people and the federal government to think about the ramifications of this course of actions. Verizon’s entry could mean nothing. Or it could be a boon for the market. But it could also cause decades of problems and spit in the face of everything the government is doing to give customers a better deal.

      No opposition has been raised that actually combats the claims that Verizon’s entry could cause serious and very real problems. Instead, campaigns like this only sort of prove the opposite point. There is only one statement that comes out against the Big 3, while everything else paints a picture that the Canadian market rules. A 20% price reduction over the last 5 years? That’s awesome. If prices are dropping and customers are being treated better, why do we need more competition? This campaign doesn’t come out and disprove anything. We know that we pay more than many other countries. But this campaign doesn’t try to dispel what the problems raised by the Big 3.

      That’s the panic. That’s why there is resistance to a foreign power entering our market. It’s not that the whole thing is unfair. The issue is that the whole thing can be fair, but the federal government is taking actions to the contrary and artificially making it unfair.

  • kroms

    Im Happy they at least put out something. It really ANGERS me that ROGERS ,BELL, TELUS have stooped this far to make it seem like Canadians are suffering. All the while they continue to beat us with no shame or guilt as long as they make there profits.

    SHAME on you !! ROBELUS. Shame.

  • TechToyz

    Here’s what I think is fair.

    Every company should be allowed to bid on only 1 block of 700MHz each. That way all four companies will have an equal chance at 700MHz. Newer LTE devices will run on 700MHz which is good for rural and fringe areas. It also makes switching carriers easier if they all have some common frequency, unlike the problem we have today with Wind and Mobilicity vs. the big 3

    • Wufai

      Here is what you are missing. Canada has the big 3 + 1 other small company. If there are 4 blocks of spectrium for bidding. How much do you think they will bid? The answer is as low as possible, since each company is ‘entitled’ to one block, why waste money upbidding? Now, if Verison enters and is allowed to bid 2 blocks. Assuming Verison has too much money and will bid high to secure the 2 blocks. Now the Big 3 only has 2 blocks to bid against each other. Do you think they will still bid as low as possible as without Verison? This spectrium is not really about fairness. Its about competition and give the Canada government the highest return on the spectriums.

    • TechToyz

      Sure, the government will make more from the big 3 under the current rules, but then Verizon won’t need to bid aggressively for one of the two blocks which Harper set aside for the new entrants, unless there is another qualifying player with deep pockets.

      So maybe take off all restrictions and let everyone bid on two each. That’s real competition. And the auction will rake in more from all the bidders.

    • Wufai

      You know what? That sound like a pretty good idea! I just don’t know if any 1 of the Big 3 has enough cash to grab 2 blocks if the bidding has indeed become ferices. Another approach is just to sell 2 blocks to the Big 3. let them fight over it and pay top dollars for it.

  • Abdul B

    Will somebody please think of Robellus!!

  • ra51dft

    Anything that is good for my wallet, I would go for it, like shopping at the south of the border.I m not a patriot when it comes to my hard earned money.
    Bring it on verizon.

  • MasterXan

    here’s the thing, I think most HONEST people here who are genuinely in support for more competition and lowering regulations for companies to come in should be concerned about this “make it up as you go” approach that the government is doing rather than a clear cut approach like removing foreign investment regulation and no set aside. btw, we were close in getting that when we had Industry Minister Bernier a few years ago but the bureaucrats didn’t like that and he got shuffled out, then we got Minister Paradis who created this “make it up as you go” approach. However, to be fair though, this new approach is really a consequence of decades of nurturing the big 3 with regulations that benefit them in the name of “protecting Canadian business” so the shoe is on the other foot now. Is it right? It was not right before and it’s not right now. That’s my view.
    However, I could tell who the FAKERS on this board really are though. They were silent when regulations were nurturing the Big 3 yet they complained about Rogers screwing them over yet (wasn’t there a huge protest a couple years ago when people took to the streets?) Whenever we hear of foreign companies coming in, they use every excuse to support the same companies are screwing them over, supporting the current regulatory regime. Is this some kind of Stockholm Syndrome with these FAKERS? Oh yeah, what about that excuse I hear all the time is that in order to support our welfare state, it’s ok to have these onerous regulations, as if there’s some kind of direct relationship? If these clowns say this again, at least have the decency to put some kind of link to some feel good epic music while I read your garbage.

  • someguy

    bravo well said robellus just want to keep sucking the money out of everyone’s pockets and a new entrant is just we need competition as is right now terrible

  • Peter

    I would like to point out something interesting.

    In 2000 TELUS bought Clearnet and became the 3rd national carrier within Canada. They were where Wind and other new entrants are now. They took a lot of risk in building out their national network and investing billions of dollars in the process. In fact when they took over Clearnet, the government obliged them to return some spectrum back to each province without compensation. Despite all the hurdles, they gradually took more and more market share, not because they were the cheapest but because people liked their service and felt they were getting good value. Today it has almost as many wireless customers as Bell does and is considered a national player. This shows that:

    A) Price alone doesnt mean much. Wind and others have a flawed business model with their $30 plans, it is unsustainable, you cannot support and build infrastructure with that little revenue. Unless of course you plan on piggybacking off the big three forever. By charging close to what it actually costs to run and maintain a network, TELUS was able to grow into what they are today.

    B) Telus was once the new player in town, now that they are successful they are getting ripped apart for it. Does this also mean that we will be treating Wind the same way should they ever be successful? sounds ridiculous

    C) People vote with their wallets everyday, if people actually hated the big three then why do more people join them each quarter. TELUS, Bell and Rogers just added about 300,000 subscribers last quarter. These people weren’t forced into signing with them but they did. Why? because we trust the big three, we trust them to provide a reliable and fast network, we trust them with our privacy and we trust them for the good they do in our communities. And a little part of us also believes that its just a matter of time before companies like Wind get bought up or go bankrupt because their rates are really too good to be true.

    Just my thoughts on this matter.

    • Aaron Airline

      In 1998, BC Tel merged with Telus to become the second largest telecommunications company in Canada. I do not think you can fairly compare them to Wind or Mobilicity. Furthermore Telus did not have to fight just to put their phones in local malls Future-shop or Best-buy. If Mobilicity or Wind were even allowed to sell their products in major retail outlets they would stand to have a better chance. It is unfair practices the big 3 use to bully competition out before it can take root. I would love to see actual profit margins on services charges I will eat my hat if the big 3 could not make a profit offering 50 dollar unlimited packages with their 90% market share. You may be happy paying more for less, I most certainly was not. There is a positive correlation between prices falling and the competition Wind and Mobilicity brought over the last few years they should be thanked for bringing back Fido’s city plan as well as helping to lower prices. The CRTC has very little to do with it up until just recently. Its just a phone and I will never pay more than 40 bucks for it. If I were a real cheepo I would just use wifi to chat for free. I can talk to people around the world for the flat rate of my internet fee. I do not trust these corporations and would welcome competition to shake up their climate.

  • FlageJan1

    Canadians pay slightly less than they did 5 years ago?

    what kind of nonsense is this if anything we pay more, and we’re going to pay more lol, the only reason why they look “less” is because of wind and mobilicity offering such low prices.

  • Pollux

    This Harper government has kept on selling out Canadian Companies. I bet they are making loads of money from doing that. Why is there no safe guard in place for our privacy due to NSA-Verizon Scandal? Why limit the block of airwave companies can buy? Harper government is trying to paint a false picture of wireless price going down. What they are really doing is to drive the price up. With the inflated price of spectrum companies are paying, who is ultimately paying for the spectrum at the end? WE AS THE CONSUMERS ARE!!! Who is getting the most profit? HARPER GOVERNMENT!!! We don’t get reimbursement on how much extra they made from those auction. Last auction they said they are making est. 1.X billion but in fact they made 4.X billion.

    These politician only care how much they make in their pocket than helping us as consumers. Phones are not necessity, utilities are and their rate are going up even higher? Electricity and Gas, even if we don’t use any, they charge us ~$50 delivery and maintenance fee. Property Tax, Water, drainage, wastewater…. are all up 5+% (some are even up 13.5%) a year which are mostly own and controlled by the government. Why doesn’t Harper Government bring these down during recession? It all comes down to who’s pocket the money goes.

    Target who just recently opens stores in Canada. Did they get Canadians all excited? Yes. Did they offer as low price as they offer in US? NO!!! Therefore, Harper should put more safe guard in place to ensure Verizon is giving Canadians’ a deal when Canadian government are offering them a discount to operate in Canada.

  • Matt

    Here’s a question for the room, how is it going to help Canada if Verizon only offers service in Toronto and Montreal plus some other tourist cities and leaves rural canada out in the cold for their service, how would that benefit Canada, Telus, Rogers and Bell are mostly fighting against Verizon not coming in as a National Carrier

  • lorax1284

    The Harper Government is all about the PR: they spend taxpayers money especially when it serves to flatter the Conservative Party. NOT being beholden to corporate interests is something they should be “proud” of and publicize? Sheesh. I mean, they ARE beholden to corporate interests, just not the Big Three… it’s Videotron in Quebec that is buddy-buddy with the Harper propaganda machine, so it’s THEM that stand to benefit (this “verizon” talk is just a smokescreen).

  • Peter

    I think the government is shooting itself in the foot. People are starting to ask the government to step in and lower the cost of their energy bills, not their cell phone bills. We pay a very large percentage of our income to energy bills, its maddening especially considering we produce all of our energy.

  • Kabir Askari

    its crap

  • ScooterinAB

    I think your comments are some of the most level headed I’ve heard in this whole matter. I too disagree with some of your points, but your comments on customers educating themselves couldn’t be more on track. It’s said that there are 3 sides to every story.

    I do want to refute your point that the carriers are being self serving. Every company and every government is self serving and focuses on their share holders. It’s not that wireless carriers are or are not. The issue with this whole situation is that the wireless industry is being painted a certain way. It isn’t just wireless carriers who are watching their interests, so we shouldn’t blame them for doing so and pretend that no one else does it. But it should be noted that the health of this industry IS the interest of each carrier. While you can say that carriers are self serving, customers can still benefit from that.

    As was explained on CBC’s Power and Politics last night, an equal playing field in the 700 mHz spectrum auction means that more carriers can bid on and gain access to this spectrum, which is a huge boost for customers. The 700 mHz spectrum is important because it reduces the cost of rural expansion and means that we might be able to get almost 100% population coverage as well as improved geographical coverage. If you boil the actions of the Big 3 down to company interest, customers can still come out on top because they will be able to use their phone in more places at an ultimately lower cost. More and farther reaching spectrum means lower costs of expansion, which means less need to make up that cost on the backs of customers. Even if it is self serving, everyone wins.

    • HatInTheRing

      Well said. I totally agree.

      I guess my fear is these companies won’t get better unless there is a shake up, otherwise it would have happened long, long ago.

      I was actually commenting on another thread on MobileSyrup today that has to do with Rogers new Idea Box where they (supposedly) listen to customer questions. So far, however, the outcries are unanimous that these comments are promptly removed. Yet another attempt to change the perception of the company to one that cares.

      But regardless of that, the big 3 are broken. They fall short in every single area, not just pricing — being one of the most expensive countries in the world to own a phone (although it’s a big one, but especially in a situation of little to no value proposition). The customer service is awful. The stores are disjointed. The training and product knowledge is embarrassing.

      I despise that can’t pick up the phone and talk to someone. I don’t do it because I know I’ll have to wait on hold, talk to someone who doesn’t have the answer, go back on hold and play ring around the rosy until I just give up.

      I despise how when I buy a phone at one store I can’t take it back to another. And that if something is wrong, they aren’t in your corner. They say, “that’s too bad. You should buy the S4 for $699 + activation + tax since you’re rich in our eyes”. And that the turn around time for a repair or replace is WEEKS. They have no respect for how important of a role phones play in our lives.

      I despise that they can send a $25,000 roaming bill to father who’s 8 year old son accidentally turned their phone on in Hawaii and won’t bend. “Remortgage your house and pay the bill”, that’s a valid solution (although they are bringing in caps on roaming).

      And what has me fired up right now, I despise that when a foreign competitor entertains the idea of giving Canadians real choice, to put us on par with the rest of the developed word in terms of service and pricing, they wine and complain on the radio about infrastructure. And who do they wine to? The very people who hate them and should not be sympathetic.

      And perhaps what I despise the most, that it’s working. That people who just hate the government because it’s the status quo and the ones who are puppets to marketing campaigns are speaking out against something they don’t know the first thing about. One side to (as you put it) a 3 sided story.

      Your point about coverage being better with the 700 mHz spectrum in the hands of one of the big 3 is totally true. But that’s about all that would realistically change. The 16 year old that answers the phone still won’t know what kind of sim card goes the iPhone 5 and if it’s LTE. When my brand new phone stops working, they won’t exchange it over the counter. When I ask the manager of a Rogers store a question about my plan they won’t stopping directing me to Rogers 1-800 number, and we won’t have competitive pricing.

      Spectrum and infrastructure are a moot point (at least on some level). There is an accounting term called sunk costs. When the infrastructure was built it wasn’t hinged on a 700 mHz spectrum deal so it really has no bearing on the competitive environment of today. I’m sick of hearing what faceless conglomerates thinks is fair (margins and bonuses). I think it’s time we get what’s fair…

  • bridge over troubled waters

    This is how the phone system works people…Imagine a new toll bridge across a river is needed. Do they build 3 or 4 bridges at the same time, 1 TELUS, 1 BELL, 1 Rogers, giving you total competition? No, that would be ludicrous! They build 1 bridge where TELUS owns 1 lane, BELL 1 lane, and ROGERS 1 lane…Depending on where you are going each company gets a piece of the pie. Now Verizon wants in…how? Do we build another lane on that bridge? No, because foreign ownership rules don’t allow it…But, perhaps during rush hours we can give Verizon 1 lane making the bridge 4 lanes one way and 2 lanes the other, in the morning rush. And the afternoon rush reverses those 4 to 2 lanes in the opposite direction. That’s what is going to happen, and I don’t see this giving any consumers much of a better price? IDK?

  • RidetheRails

    Is it true that Rogers and Bell have ordered their employees to flood websites like this and pretend they are regular people in order to make it appear that Canadians don’t want competition and want to pay the higher prices that Bell and Rogers charges?

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