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OTTAWA –Canada’s present wireless policy will increase investment in wireless networks and lower consumer prices, today said the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and the Consumers’ Association of Canada (CAC). Canada’s “big three” cellphone companies, Bell Mobility, TELUS Mobility and Rogers already control more than 90% of the retail cellphone market and 90% of Canada’s spectrum but are threatening to slow down investment if Verizon or another credible company enters Canada’s market. However, contrary to their claims, these three companies spend proportionately little on their networks and increased competition from a fourth national provider and will spur their investment rather than reduce it.
“It’s hard to see how the three wireless companies in Canada could possibly spend less on their networks,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel for PIAC. “For example, Bell last quarter only reinvested 9.3% of its wireless revenues on capital expenditures for wireless services in the second quarter of 2013. That’s well below averages in every other major economy,” he added.
In addition, the groups noted that the companies’ wireless revenue from Canada’s cellphone users is the fourth highest of all 34 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
“Canadians are paying too much for cellphone service because their market is lacking real competition at the national level,” said Bruce Cran, President of the Consumers’ Association of Canada. “We support the Government of Canada’s spectrum policy because it is designed to help introduce this badly needed competition in the Canadian wireless market.”
PIAC has prepared a short backgrounder on wireless investment and pricing in Canada [pdf file: 0.29mb] which is attached.
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For more information:
Executive Director and General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
ONE Nicholas Street, Suite 1204
Consumers’ Association of Canada