STEP right up. There's an auction going on for enough bandwidth on Canada's wireless infrastructure to introduce a whole new carrier to our market of scant few options.
The federal government is looking to relax its rules on Canadian ownership to allow U.S. telecommunications giant Verizon to bid, while shutting out Canada's Big Three wireless companies Bell, Telus and Rogers. It's gambling that the addition of a fierce competitor will drive down the price of wireless service.
Naturally, the Big Three have a hard time with this and you might have noticed the very slick and expensive advertising campaign they've launched in order to get Canadians on their side. Draping themselves in red and white, they tell us it'll mean layoffs of good Canadian workers while giving preferential treatment to foreign profiteers. Opponents of the government's plan also make the case that, by being keeping the Big Three out of the auction house, the selling price will go down by about $1 billion. That's $1 billion we could sorely use as the deficit is not yet under control and every month we learn about more government cutbacks.
The points may be valid, but we'd feel a lot more sympathy for the Big Three, if it weren't for the sky-high prices they've already been charging us. According to a 2011 OECD study, Canadians pay more for their wireless service than almost any other nation.
Perhaps if they had been more competitive with each other and mindful of consumers before, they wouldn't be facing this quagmire now.
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