Survey reveals that 56% of Canadians think a large foreign entrant should build its own wireless network

The big 3 carriers – Rogers, Bell and TELUS – have been informing Canadians of several ‘loopholes’ within the government’s policy on wireless competition. This “Fair For Canada” campaign speaks about the implications of allowing a big US-based carrier to enter the Canadian wireless space in the upcoming 700Mhz spectrum auction – specifically covering national security concerns, jobs and ensuring there’s a ‘level playing field’ for all wireless operators.

The Conservative Party of Canada launched their own campaign, aptly called “Consumers First.” This dedicated website focussed on informing the ‘uniformed’ Canadians about how the government has succeeded to bring in more competition and successfully reduced wireless rate plans. Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated ‘Our government has pursued consistently and clearly a policy of fostering greater competition in this industry for the benefit of consumers.’

A new survey has been released today, which was commissioned by Bell Canada and TELUS, that shows 81% of Canadians “preferred that neither foreign‐nor Canadian‐owned telecommunications companies are favoured in the upcoming government auction… If the government were to create an advantage in the marketplace in any industry, respondents prefer that the government favour Canadian (70%) over foreign‐owned companies. Only 2% prefer that foreign‐owned companies be given an advantage.”

The telephone survey was conducted between August 12th and 19th of 2,000 random Canadians and also found that 7% said that lowering wireless prices ‘is not as important’ a government priority as “lowering gas prices (45%) or college/university tuition (33%).’

Probably the most notable finding was to the question, which specifically targets Verizon and the level playing field, that asks “Should this large foreign company build its own wireless telecommunications network to serve all Canadians or should Canadian wireless telecommunications companies be required to provide this larger foreign competitor with access to their wireless networks?” 56% stated the larger company should build its own wireless network, while 33% stated the larger foreign company should should be able to use existing networks owned by Canadian wireless companies.

Check out the full survey results here at Nanos Research