Canadian consumers' hopes for more wireless competition and lower prices have dimmed

Verizon’s dropped call leaves Tories on hunt for new phone fix

U.S. firm says it won't be Canada's fourth major wireless carrier

U.S. wireless giant Verizon’s declaration it’s not interested in entering the Canadian market appears to have dashed consumer hopes for cheaper cellphone rates and left Ottawa seeking a new white knight to inject more competition.

“Verizon is not going to Canada,” CEO Lowell McAdam told Bloomberg Monday, adding speculation that it would was “way overblown.”

Some analysts had predicted Verizon would take a long, slow approach to any move to buy one or more of the junior Canadian wireless companies that have struggled against the country’s big three dominant telecom firms.

If the biggest U.S. telco has abandoned a northern venture – and isn’t merely playing a waiting game to gain maximum advantage – it sends the federal government back to the drawing board on how to engineer the the improved competition it has said is required.

“It leaves us back where we started in the swamp with no solution,” SFU business and marketing professor Lindsay Meredith said.

The status quo is exactly what Telus, Bell Canada and Rogers want, he said, but a fierce public relations battle waged this summer by the big three and Ottawa means the issue is unlikely to go away.

Nor, Meredith predicted, is public demand for reform and dissatisfaction with high mobile rates.

Up in the air is what happens in an auction of wireless spectrum set for January, which had been dangled by Ottawa as a lure for a new foreign entrant, who presumably would buy a small firm like Wind Mobile or Mobilicity.

“The only scenario that could possibly unbalance things is for somebody with a lot of money to come in and start backing those little guys,” Meredith said.

“I’d call Vodafone. I’d keep the heat on.”

Vodafone is the British wireless firm that is selling its U.S. interests to Verizon for $130 billion. Verizon’s McAdam said the deal wasn’t a factor in its decision against coming to Canada.

Industry Minister James Moore has said the federal government’s policy will be good for consumers, regardless of whether Verizon comes north.

Meredith said there was no guarantee Verizon – which wouldn’t have been able to bundle wireless with home phone or TV services – would have offered the cut-rate prices telco-hating Canadians had dreamed about.

He noted U.S. retailer Target arrived this year, but not with lower U.S. pricing.

But he said Canadians “finally” got a real debate on the issue, crediting Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to push for change.

But he said the “relatively quiet” Harper government didn’t push the issue of unfair pricing hard enough and allowed the telecom firms to recover from what had seemed a winning cause for the Tories.

Most resonant for the telcos, he said, were their claims that Verizon price gouges in the U.S. and that it would unfairly tap into Canadian-built infrastructure, while Canadian firms don’t have the same access to U.S. networks.

“The telcos were making ground on the issue without even talking about pricing,” Meredith said. “The other side did bugger all from a strategic marketing standpoint.”

Just Posted

City of Castlegar treating weeds the next few weeks

City will be using organic product on sidewalks, traffic islands and parking lots.

Summer reading fun at Castlegar library

Registration for second session in July 19.

Last stop: The inside story of Queen City Shuttle and Charters’ closure

Former employees open up about the Nelson company’s final days

Craft cannabis development planned for Castlegar

Plans are underway for one of the first craft cannabis industrial parks in the province.

Trudeau says Ottawa open to proposals for B.C. refinery as gas prices soar

Prime minister says he knows B.C. residents are struggling and the federal government is open to ideas

Clock’s ticking to share how you feel about Daylight Saving Time in B.C.

Provincial public survey ends at 4 p.m. on Friday

Police identify pair found dead along highway in northern B.C.

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

Justin Trudeau’s carbon footprint revealed in ranking of world leaders

Travel company ranks 15 world leaders’ foreign flight CO2 emissions

B.C. First Nation’s group using ads in Texas targeting company for fuel spill

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

West Kootenay U16 Rebels take home provincial gold

West Kootenay Rebels fastball team battle hard to win the BC U16C Fastball Championship

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

Most Read