Canada’s wireless market has taken another step backwards. Yesterday, telecom giant Telus announced it has bought out Public Mobile, a small independent carrier with 280,000 customers in Quebec and Ontario.
This is bad news for long-suffering cell phone customers, and Canadians were quick to react. As @bladedandh asked on Twitter:“@JamesMoore_org So 1 less competition gobbled up by Telus http://ow.ly/q7U1A So much for doing what the #Canadian ppl asked for.”
It’s a worrying development because our wireless market is already highly concentrated, with just three giant conglomerates controlling over 92 per cent of revenues according to the latest CRTC report.
This lack of choice is why Canadians pay some of the highest prices in the industrialized world for cell phone service.
What’s especially disappointing is that Industry Minister James Moore has spent months talking about the need for “more choice” in our wireless market. Here at OpenMedia, we know how strongly Canadians feel about the need for greater choice — over 70,000 have spoken out on telecom issues via our online actions.
That’s why so many Canadians will be feeling let down that, under Minister Moore’s watch, the Big Three’s power and control continues to grow. The takeover of Public Mobile means we’re going backwards, not forwards. It’s time the Minister took action to match his promises, and reined in our out-of-control Big Telecom giants.
After all, the way ahead is clear — Canadians have already laid out a comprehensive crowd-sourced roadmap for the future of our wireless market. We’ve had enough of our current old-fashioned system in which high cost service providers also get to control the networks, deciding who can and cannot have access. This control means the Big Three are able to block Canadians from being able to access more affordable providers — like Toronto-based Ting which can only operate in the U.S. because they’re being blocked from operating here.
Canadians know that we need to move forward and build a 21st-century system where all providers, large and small, can operate on a level playing field — just as they do in the U.K. and other European countries. That means opening our networks so Canadians have the freedom to choose more affordable providers that meet their needs.
It’s great that Minister Moore is talking the talk on wireless choice. But talk alone won’t fix this. Tell Minister Moore that it’s time for action at https://OpenMedia.ca/gatekeepers