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Industry Minister James Moore's Commitment to Wireless Competition, Resolution Style

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Thursday August 01, 2013
Whereas the 2013 OECD Communications Outlook ranked Canada among the ten most expensive countries for wireless services in virtually every category;

Whereas the Wall Report commissioned by Industry Canada and the CRTC found that Canadian prices are on the high side in nearly every category of wireless service;

Whereas the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association has argued that consumers would be willing to pay more for wireless services and Telus has said that given our geography Canada should be the most expensive country for the wireless services in the OECD;

Whereas Canada has long been one of the only developed economy countries with significant restrictions on telecom foreign investment and has been characterized as the most restrictive in the OECD;

Whereas Bell has consistently opposed or sought to delay changes to the foreign investment rules;

Whereas the government announced a telecom policy last year that opened the door to greater foreign investment and rules designed to facilitate new entrants to the marketplace;

Whereas Telus described that policy as "thoughtful and balanced";

Whereas the Canadian approach is similar to that found in many other OECD countries including Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom;

Whereas the government established rules on deemed transfers of spectrum licences with the support of companies such as Telus only to be sued over those same policies a few months later;

Whereas Bell has warned of job cuts if Verizon enters the market after laying off hundreds of Canadians due to outsourcing work to low-wage countries and cutting further jobs through mergers;

Whereas the OECD has found that Canada has among the highest wireless roaming costs in the world;

Whereas Rogers has acknowledged that recent declines in roaming fees in Canada are being driven by the fear of regulation;

Whereas Canada is one of the few countries where three-year wireless contracts are common, a position the Competition Bureau of Canada has argued may inhibit competition;

Whereas the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association opposed regulatory changes to the three-year contracts, leading to Wind Mobile, Public Mobile and Mobilicity leaving the association and to the CRTC adopting new contract rules in the wireless code;

Whereas the government has emphasized the need for more competition in the wireless sector since 2007;

Whereas the Prime Minister of Canada has used his Facebook page to reiterate his support for increased competition in wireless services, recognizing consumer frustration with the current wireless marketplace;

Now therefore, Industry Minister James Moore has confirmed that the lobbying campaign launched by Bell, Telus, and Rogers will not result in a change to government policy, which remains committed to greater competition through its policy of foreign investment plus spectrum auction rules designed to facilitate new entrants.
Comments (8)add comment

Simon said:

So...
How about we, the public, refund the carriers what they originally paid for the spectrum and we auction it all off again to the new highest bidders?
August 01, 2013

Steph said:

...
Whereas the Wall Report commissioned by the CRTC and Industry Canada found that the average cost for a mid range basket of wireless services (450 minutes, 300 text messages 10% of minutes are long distance) is:

US $76.14
Canada $44.86
Japan $44.36
France $44.08
UK $38.85
Australia $35.04

Only Mr. Geist can spin Canada's 69% lower wireless costs relative to the US look like a bad thing. The price difference between Canada, France and Japan is a just few pennies. Is that significant? You decide.

August 01, 2013

Craig said:

Telco Shills
Steph et al.,
It's obvious that you and your ilk are nothing more than shills for the telcos. You people practically wrote the book on spin - I need Gravol before reading comments here so I don't throw up from getting dizzy from your bullshit.
August 01, 2013

Lugnuts said:

Being force fed all that Kool-aid must get filling huh Steph?
I love how your 1 slanted report shows no data as if to say a 450mins, and 300 texts package is indicative of a typical 3G/4G service plan.

Dude you've lost. Come to peace with that reality and move on. Spewing rhetoric and FUD is not going to sway the Canadian public whom the incumbents have been gouging for a generation (or two).

Verizon will come and with any luck they'll lay the smack down on Robellus and we as a nation will be better off for it.

Screaming like a 2 year old in your echo chamber because you're not getting what your masters want isn't going to change that reality no matter how upsetting that is to you.
August 01, 2013

HJ said:

Steph...
Characterizing Canada's wireless costs as 69% lower than US based on this single example strikes me as pretty dishonest. Plus, I'm not sure what study you looked at, but the one I find on the CRTC website has the average for incumbents at $51.39 and for new entrants at $39.53, with the overall weighted average at $51. None of the averages for previous years was as low as $44.86. Where does your number come from?

My numbers come from http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/publ...120406.htm

That being said, it is true that US prices in the study are higher for the 'level 2' plan they define. About 43% higher. I'm not sure how representative this midrange plan is, but the level 3 plan is also about 40% more in the US. Of course they included new entrants in Canada, but not in the US, which would seem to skew the numbers somewhat.
August 01, 2013

Devil's Advocate said:

69% extortionary is still being extortionary.
Just because the U.S has some worse figures, doesn't mean that being in "2nd place" is exactly a good thing.
August 01, 2013

Steph said:

...
@HJ

You were looking at the 2012 report. Here is a link to the 2013 report with the latest numbers.

http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/publications/reports/rp130422.htm

If you look at Table 3 in the report you will see that they separated the average incumbent prices from the average new entrant prices. In Figure 4 they show the international price comparisons - you will see that the CRTC only compared the average incumbent prices to other jurisdictions - they excluded new entrant pricing from the international comparisons.

This year's OECD study also shows Canada is cheaper than the US in several wireless categories, but especially so in mobile brodband. But you have to understand that the OECD only looks at one price plan per country, they don't survey all the carriers and calculate an average. For example, if you want to compare Canada to Spain, you are actually just comparing the price of 1 of Bell's plan to the price of 1 of Vodaphone's plans.

The CRTC report didn't compare as many countries as the OECD but they did average the prices from multiple carriers in each country.

As we have seen in this blog, a lot of people like to cherry-pick the results from various studies to prove the point they want to make. Hats-off to you for actually making the effort to look at the studies yourself instead of jumping blindly onto one of the many bandwagons.
August 01, 2013

Devil's Advocate said:

Cherry Picking
The only ones cherry picking are the shills who are scrambling to find *anything* that helps put a more positive spin on the obvious shafting we've been getting in Canada.

Most people don't really need to refer to "reports" to know full well they're being gouged. Those wishing to put the lipstick on the pig, on the other hand, must search through multiple reports just to find one useful snippet.
August 01, 2013

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