Telus, Rogers, and Bell are scared
Sep 4, 2013 / 5:00 am
The debate about whether or not Verizon Wireless should enter Canada's cellular market has heated up rather significantly. Telus, Rogers, and Bell have conducted a huge propaganda push with national newspapers to illustrate how their American competitor will negatively alter the Canadian market. Telecom Unions have even taken to the streets in protest over the potential loss of Canadian jobs. Yet the most amazing factor behind all of this, so far as I can tell, is that we're somehow buying into this myth of corporate victimhood.
It is as if we assume that Telus, Rogers, and Bell are leading us down the primrose path with excellent service at reasonable prices. OpenMedia.ca published an article on July 17th, 2013, with this headline: "Confirmed: Canadians pay some of the highest prices for some of the worst telecom service in the industrialized world." The best response I can muster to that headline, as well as the article attached to it, is that at least it is the worst in the industrialized world. It would be shameful to think that our service might be the worst in the non-industrialized world, wherever that might be.
The other issue is that we get a lot of our pertinent information from broadcast news and newspapers. Well, The Globe and Mail is partially owned by Bell, so they most certainly have a stake in the failure of Verizon (whether they disclose that fact or not). But what's really surprising, after the TARP bank bailouts and Occupy Wall Street, is that we remain suspicious of corporations, suspicious of the way that they operate, and still insist that consumer goods should be much cheaper.
Apparently the Canadian solution to that problem is to limit competitors within enormous markets for the sake of keeping a level playing field. But, if you look at the (miniscule) range of prices for cell phone service we are offered in Canada, it gets a little frightening, as per The Huffington Post:
"According to the [Wireless Matrix] report, telecom firms in Canada make more revenue per subscriber than in any other developed country (the study looked at 19 developed economies). The average take per customer here is $58.22 U.S. per month . . . Compare that to Germany, where revenue per subscriber is less than $20 per month."
To put it simply: we are getting the worst service, at the highest price. Yet, for some bizarre reason, we are still concerned with being fair to the companies that have conducted themselves in this fashion. We can make as many excuses as we want (that Canadians are spread out over a large land mass, that we use our phones too often, etc.), but the fact is that our system is flawed because there is no gamely competition. All three companies have grown accustomed to their monopoly over the Canadian telecom market. Now a major player has threatened their solidarity, so they panic and cheaply invoke fairness.
When three companies that provide an important service are nervous about competition, it is time for us to assess who is being treated unfairly here. If we want to continue to pay high prices for poor service, we can stick with the big three telecom giants that have monopolized our market. Or, we can ask the Canadian government to open up the market a little wider and allow for more competition so we, the consumer, get better service at lower prices.
It's our call.
Read more Practically Politics articles
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- Helmet laws for Dummies Sep 25
- Justin Trudeau's political theatre Sep 18
- Civil war in Syria Sep 11
- Telus, Rogers, and Bell are scared Sep 4
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