Telecom giant Telus has had an eventful week as it moves from claiming that Canada "really should be the most expensive country for wireless service in the OECD" to increasing its prices
in the shift toward two-year contracts to now declaring war on the
government's commitment to injecting greater competition into the
Canadian marketplace. While the comments that something less than the
highest prices in the developed world are a "great success story we
should be celebrating" generated considerable media attention (here, here and here), the bigger long-term issue is the full-court lobbying press to stop the entrance of new competition.
Yesterday, Telus CEO Darren Entwistle was campaigning at the Globe and Mail and National Post, warning of a "bloodbath"
if the government sticks with its commitment to allow for a set-aside
of spectrum for new entrants such as Verizon. Telus is concerned that a
set-aside would allow Verizon to purchase two of the four available
blocks, leaving the big three to fight it out over the remaining two
blocks. Telus emphasized its prior investments in
arguing for a "level playing field" in the auction.
Yet to borrow Telus' phrase
- "scratch the surface of their arguments and get to the facts" - and
it becomes clear the fight is not about level playing fields since new
entrants have been at a huge disadvantage for years in Canada. Indeed,
even with a spectrum set-aside, there would not be a level playing field
as companies such as Telus would have big advantages that include
restrictions on foreign ownership for broadcast distribution (thereby
blocking Verizon from offering similar bundled services), millions of
subscribers locked into long term contracts, far more spectrum than
Verizon would own, and its shared network with Bell that has saved both
companies millions of dollars.
TagsShareFriday July 19, 2013