Bell, Rogers and Telus gang up against Verizon entry into Canada

Verizon Wireless

Canada’s telecom giants want you to keep paying them some of the highest wireless telecom rates in the world. Bell, Rogers and Telus have set aside their differences and are campaigning together to restrict American telecom giant Verizon Wireless from entering the Canadian marketplace.

Together, the Bell, Rogers and Telus oligopoly control 94 per cent of Canada’s wireless market. This have stifled competition and innovation in the marketplace at great cost to the everyday Canadian consumers.

In mid-May, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) confirmed that Canadians pay some of the highest prices for some of the worst telecom services in the industrialized world.

The OECD’s 2013 Communications Outlook findings are rather depressing with the Canadian marketplace landing high in the top ten most expensive countries categories with only the U.S. being nearly as deplorable. Canadian telecom revenue is also the third highest in the G8 and the fourth highest among all of the OECD member countries.

This is compounded by the findings of another recent report by J.D. Power & Associates: Canadians paid 13 per cent more for their wireless telecom services, although Canada’s inflation rate has been holding steady at just one per cent annually. The same survey also found that customer satisfaction was the highest with standalone brands Koodo Mobile and Virgin Mobile, even though they are owned by telecom giants Telus and Bell.

It is no secret that better service and fairer prices for the Canadian consumer lies largely with allowing and stimulating competition in the telecom market. However, the “big 3″ telecom companies are campaigning to the federal government and the general public to restrict Verizon from becoming the fourth major player in the marketplace.

Their ‘Fair For Canada’ propaganda campaign oddly claims that more competition will lead to more expensive prices and, as a fear tactic, massive job layoffs in their companies. In reality as seen in other industries, more competition is much more likely to increase innovation, which will increase sales and the need for their companies to increase its employment over the long-term.

The campaign also states that “sweetheart deals for U.S. giants are a bad call for you.” Sweetheart deals for a telecom company – as if there’s nothing hypocritical about that when the federal government has for far too long gone with the oligopoly’s preference of restricting the competition and maintaining the status quo.


Image: Metro New York

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Kenneth Chan is Vancity Buzz's Deputy Editor and Social Media Manager. He covers stories pertaining to local architecture, urban issues, business, retail, economic development, infrastructure, politics or anything that makes a difference in the lives of Vancouverites. Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver. Connect with him at kenneth[at]

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  • cool tomato

    Does this mean that their is no collusion in the Canadian Wireless Industry? I think the Canadian Federal Government really need to get off the fence on allowing foreign competition into the marketplace. Why is it such a big deal whether a company is foreign owned or Canadian owned? Do consumers really care as long as they get fair treatment and choice? Clearly the existing policy is flawed thinking that we can create a fourth national wireless provider that is home grown – the fact of the matter is that we really don’t have anyone else in Canada that can or will spend the kind of dough to roll out a national wireless infrastructure to compete essentially for 10% of the market that is not controlled by the Big three. What they need now is a legitimate player like Verizon or T-mobile to come in and really put some heat on the incumbents? If Verizon does end up buying to two smaller carriers – government should just open up the spectrum auction to everyone – whom ever can pony up enough dough gets the spectrum. Taxpayers own the spectrum so they deserve to get the most money for their assets – they are going to get a substantial return on the spectrum auction. New entrants regardless of ownership type should still be allowed to have continued access to infrastructure of the incumbents to ensure coverage and interoperability – this is not giving away for free despite what these wireless guys are currently making it sound – these new entrants – moblicity, public mobile and wind are all paying for it through leasing arrangements – much like the long distance players did when the segment got deregulated – wait a minute same folks fought tooth and nail over that one two – and guess what – consumers won out on that….wait could history repeat itself…mmmmm…I think we need to deregulate this bad boy and see how it plays out…good customer service and competition is the best way to do business – seems a little foreign to these long time incumbents.

  • no love for Big 3

    LOL this made me laugh. Please, like anyone is going to be on the side of the Big 3 – people have been asking for more competition so we can have more options, leading to more competitive prices. If they had willingly given us more value at more reasonable prices then maybe people would pity them and be oppossed to Americans coming in, but they have been throttling us in mobile, cable and Internet.
    I hope after Verizon we see T-Mobile and other new companies coming in!
    I want my unlimited data.

  • Rob

    The only competition between the big 3 is for who can rip the consumers off the most without them switching. I would welcome Verizon with open arms, along with any other number of providers who want in. That commercial ‘Fair for Canada’ actually made me laugh out loud.

    If the big 3 were more competitive, and offered more reasonable pricing, then their business wouldnt be threatened. I have no sympathy for the loss of money or jobs within the telecommunications cartel. They dug their own grave…..

  • HoratiusZappa

    The poll question is useless. Verizon should be allowed entry into the Canadian market, under exactly the same conditions as its competitors – open auctions for spectrum, no special breaks for anyone.

    I respect the desire of people to get their endless supply of downloaded pop culture and exchanges of ever more voluminous trivial details of their lives more cheaply, but I do not respect their desire to get it at Canadian taxpayers’ expense. The Canadian government must get full value for our resources by holding only fully open auctions for spectrum. Make no mistake – the costs people are complaining about are luxury costs, not necessity costs.

    Understand also that Verizon is likely to want to only pick the juiciest fruit – don’t expect Verizon to be building infrastructure to connect Canadians in remote communities. The incumbent Canadian telcos do more than gouge people to download endless Bieber videos (vital national interest, that – have to make sure it can be done as cheaply as possible, no matter who bears the cost). They provide and maintain the critical communications infrastructure of all types, to all parts of Canada. I suppose the advocates of “crush them now” have the CBC next on their hit list.

    There is a lot of naked greed out there, and it is reflecting very poorly on Canadians.

  • Fed Up

    I’m sorry but the big three, and all of you posters that work for them, just don’t get it. It isn’t just about price. A lot of us just can’t stand the big three, and we want the chance to jump ship just so we don’t have to deal with them any more. If we get a price discount, that’s a bonus.
    The big three have treated Canadians as sheep to be sheared for a long time. They got most of their spectrrum for free, and then gave us one of the most expensive wireless markets in the world. It just adds insult to injury when they come to us now, wrapped in a flag, asking for support so they can maintain their high priced monopoly.
    I’ll go to Verizon, even at the same price I’m paying now, just to put a tiny pin prick in their smug, greedy arrogance.

  • Sandra

    Can’t wait until Verizon hits the Canadian Marketplace! It’s great for us consumers…NOT so great for the big three! Loving it and I chuckle every time I hear Bell Canada’s CHEESY AD on the radio…AS IF I’m going to support your campaign! LOL

  • Anna

    I welcome Verizon….EXCEPT level the playing field for ALL telecom companies, Canadian or not.
    That’s healthy competition.

  • smartitguy

    Bell, Rogers, Telus et al.
    You ALL had your chance to play nice, but never did.
    Time for a new entrant to play nice for “us” customers and take the wind out of your sails.

    THEIR biggest fears are having to reduce the average monthly phone bill from $75 to a real-world reasonable average.

    I will never shed a tear for the poooooooooor stock/share-holders of Bell/Rogers/Telus.

    THIS is what all their fear and crying is REALLY about. They fear the decline of their stock value to their precious share-holders if Verizon takes customers away.

    Of Course Bell, Rogers and Telus have a petition signed with 500,000 signatures. As employees of either company it is their Employment DUTY to sign such a petition. Their job ride on it!

  • smartitguy

    Don’t you just ‘love’ how the website is purely a propaganda page. No contact info, no spot for feedback or comments. Nothing more than a “Hear my propaganda and then go away” website.

  • smartitguy

    Commercial: “… Will Verizon wire the rural communities of Canada?”

    My retort: Hmmmmm ….Bell Rogers and Telus to this day still DIDN’T and have no plans to – Why does Verizon now have to do it?

  • smartitguy

    I dislike the BIG 3 so badly, if I could, “I” would buy up all the remaining spectrum and GIVE it to American companies! …Would probably be cheaper than my current phone bill anyways!

  • Michaelprotects

    Poor coddled, spoiled brat employees of the big three. Dealing with them is like dealing with little princelings and princesses whose only care is what’s on special that day at the company cafeteria. For the first time in their lives they might have to work, if they still have a job.
    And if they don’t, they can only blame themselves for years of lousy service, an entitled attitude, and the assumption they could get paid for doing nothing the rest of their lives.
    Maybe the government is hiring….

  • Britney Van Dahl

    We have worked hard for over 25 years to build a strong standing Canadian Telecom community for our country and now we are going to potentially let Verizon in on an unfair basis which in turn, will cost thousands among thousands of people jobs and once again Canada’s economy is only going to go backwards. I hope everything will turn out fair. Stephen Harper does NOT know what he’s doing so this makes me anxious.

  • william

    But isn’t it a little unfair for Verizon to use Bell’s wireless infrastructure without paying a cent? Cause each one of those towers were built from Bell’s own pocket. And Verizon can buy smaller wireless companies like wind mobile or public mobile to eliminate the competition? Where the big three weren’t allowed to?

  • Corey Taylor think Verizon is going to ‘play nice’ for you? Even though they’ve already stated that they have no intention of providing service for a lower price OR servicing a lot of smaller areas and towns? PROTIP: Study a subject and THEN talk about it.

  • Corey Taylor

    Shout out to all the geniuses that say Canada has ‘higher rates’ than most other countries, and slower speeds without…you know, actually checking to see if it’s true.

    Wait, what’s this? Is this the OECD Communications outlook report from just a few months ago that shows avg. mobile download speed?

    Average mobile download apeed (MB/s)

    Denmark – 59.7
    Canada – 54.6
    Germany – 21.9
    Italy – 21.4
    OECD average – 21.4
    U.S. – 16.7
    France – 16.2
    U.K. – 6.1

    Whooooooops! Guess we’re not doing that bad, huh?

    Oh yeah, Canada is pretty much in the middle of the pack in terms of prices too. Hell, I don’t work for a phone company, but it pisses me off royally to see generic internet idiots hear something and just go with it before actually doing a bit of research before opening your mouths. The ‘big 3′ just want shit to be fair, they probably welcome another company. Nobody heard them whining when Wind showed up…because it was done in a fair way.

    Morons, all.

  • Enes

    Rogers, Bell and Telus are fixing their prices for wireless and other services. It’s finally time to stop them. Lets competition get in place. Stop thief’s from Rogers, Bell and Telus. They are charging us like no other wireless company in the world. In Europe you can get wireless plan for smart phone (voice, data and messages) for $ 7 the same plan cost $ 60 or over here in Canada. Reason: There is no competition.

  • éliminons le big 3

    J’ai hate de prendre verizon comme compagnie. Ca me fait rire quand les soi disant employés du big 3 viennent nous dire que leurs jobs sont en danger, alors qu’ils n’arretent pas de mentir aux clients pour accepter le prix des forfait.

    Welcome Verizon

  • Ray

    So how come the big 3 didn’t complain much or setup continuous ads (scare tactics to consumers) when the new/smaller companies like Wind and Mobilicity join in the competition and offer no contracts and good prices a few years ago?

  • Lexi

    You need to do some research… a lot of research actually. First let me say I don’t work for the Big 3 so no I am not on that bandwagon. First of all it costs a billion dollars to put up a network that services most of Canada, I said most not all. If you think for one moment Verizon or T-mobile is going to come in and spend that money for a total of 27 million subscribers. Then you need a math lesson badly. They are going to set up a network in heavily populated areas so Montreal and Toronto get competition same as Wind, Public and Moblicity did when they bought spectrum.

    As to coverage in rural areas of Canada, it costs approximately a million dollars to put up a tower, the towers have a radius of roughly 42 km, you know what they can turn up the towers to give larger range but guess what the CRTC won’t allow it. So they have to spend a million dollars to land maybe 200 subscribers, again do the math…not feasible.

    If you want the spectrum auctions open to everyone…good, but that includes the Big 3 who were excluded by the government from the last few under the guise of allowing fair competition.

    The lease agreement that Wind and the others have with the Big 3 were forced on them, again in the spirit of competition, that’s like you building a house and me moving in with you…because I don’t have a house and that’s fair…right?

    Fairness goes both ways, if you force the Big3 to share their network then they should have the same opportunities to bid on the spectrum, they have been excluded from the last couple of auctions again under the guise of fair competition.

    Do they need to improve their service and pricing..yup. But if you think Verizon is the solution to that problem you are sadly mistaken. Businesses, are just that businesses and their sole purpose is to generate a profit, they are not charities. Verizon like any other business will charge what the market allows them to, so you probably would have gotten a better deal with Wind.

    Don’t like the Big 3, fair enough don’t do business with them simple as that.

  • Ramzy

    God how much I hate Rogers for creating its discount brand Chatter to kill Wind Mobile and Mobilicity. We need to start a Petition to counter attack the Big Three.

  • ImagineNoHeaven

    Bell’s rate for a long distance to France show $1.19 per minute on my last bill…. Ridiculous.

  • Richard

    I hate big three BELL, ROGERS AND TELUS . They fear of competition and can’t charge to show higher profits. When world is open to Multinational Companies why not Canada, give opportunity to everyone who want to compete providing better service at reasonable pricing. They can’t keep charging higher prices and keep increasing charges every year for the services. As a customer i prefer price competition not price fixing from big three what is in market today.

  • duh

    Maybe Bell Telus and Rogers can dig up some spare change and move into the US. hmmmm

  • eye360

    Why Telus, Bell & Rogers are afraid of competition ? They don’t have confidence . Rather they should welcome others to do business. They want impose their terms on users.

  • nickelfault

    I’ve created a website to hopefully help educate fellow Canadians on the big three’s stunt so they don’t fall into the trap! You can find it here: Please share if you can, thanks!