Rogers has gobbled up troubled small carrier Mobilicity and the federal government is declaring it a victory for consumers.
Almost two years ago, Ottawa launched a glitzy $9-million ad campaign to let Canadians know it was fighting for their right to cheaper cellphone prices and more choice.
But with rising prices for some plans and now one fewer competitor in the market, critics argue the government is actually losing the battle.
"Canadians may be scratching their heads over why the government just approved a deal that will ultimately mean less choice and higher prices for Canadian cellphone subscribers, despite promises to the contrary," Josh Tabish of telecom critic Open Media said in a statement.
Rogers $440 million takeover of Mobilicity will mean fewer choices for Canadian cell phone subscribers when wireless prices are already increasing at 3 times the rate of inflation
Update: Since this release was issued Industry Canada has released additional details about the Rogers/Mobilicity deal, which can be found here. OpenMedia has updated this release and statement with consideration of these new details. [June 24, 2015: 12:22PM pst]
June 24, 2015 – Mobilicity has accepted a $440 million takeover from Rogers, Inc., according to documents filed with the Ontario Superior Court. The deal, approved by Industry Canada, appears to conflict with the government’s promises to increase mobile provider choice and affordability. The deal will see some of Mobilicity’s AWS-1 spectrum acquired by Wind Mobile, while a substantial amount of spectrum previously set aside for new entrants will go to Rogers.
Community-backed OpenMedia prefers for all spectrum set aside for new entrants to remain outside of the hands of the Big Three. The government previously promised it would not approve any spectrum transfers that decrease competition in the wireless market. However, the takeover still requires approval from the Competition Bureau. Responding to today’s news, OpenMedia Campaigns Manager Josh Tabish had this to say:
Reports over weekend suggest government is poised to allow Rogers and Telus to acquire Mobilicity’s valuable wireless spectrum, despite promises it would be set aside for affordable, independent providers
June 22, 2015: Mobilicity’s employees and founder are calling for government action to ensure their business can continue as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), even if their valuable wireless spectrum is acquired by other operators. Community-backed OpenMedia, which is running a sustained campaign for lower wireless prices, insists any deal must ensure that Canadians’ wireless choices are not further reduced.
The call comes following media reports over the weekend that the government is preparing to allow Rogers and Telus to acquire Mobilicity’s spectrum, despite previous promises that it would be kept out of the Big Three’s hands. Reacting to today’s call from Mobilicity employees, OpenMedia Campaigns Manager Josh Tabish had this to say:
“Ensuring that affordable providers like Mobilicity can continue to offer services is important for Canadians, who for years have been paying some of the highest prices in the industrialized world. Canadians would be disappointed to see Mobilicity’s spectrum handed back to the Big Three given the government’s repeated promises to lower prices and improve choice.”
Posted by Laura Tribe on Thursday, June 18, 2015 - 16:37
Is the federal government trying to hide from results of this year’s report on telecom prices in Canada? Their silence today over the release of the annual Wall Report report sure makes it look that way - and having seen the results, it’s not hard to imagine why. Yet again, the annual report analyzing Canada’s telecoms prices reveals that Canadians are paying among the highest rates in the world.
The report compares Canada’s landline, cell phone, broadband and mobile Internet, and basic TV service bundles to those of Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. (some of the most expensive countries around the globe).
How do we compare? Well, in short: we don’t. Across the board, Canadian telecoms services just don’t measure up. At 89 pages, the report is a long read. But it’s worth taking a look if you want to figure out how exactly how your plan compares.
Official report finds that wireless prices are still rising steeply, and that overall telecom costs are among the most expensive in the industrialized world
June 18, 2015 – A major government report released this morning confirms that Canadians are still paying among the highest prices in the industrialized world for telecom service. The 2015 Wall Report, commissioned by the CRTC and Industry Canada, found that wireless prices are increasing across the board, with the cost of a standard 1GB monthly plan increasing by 7%, or over three times the rate of inflation (2.3%).
The report also found that new entrants, like Wind Mobile, offer rates that are 26-50% cheaper than the Big Three incumbents (Bell, Rogers, and Telus), and shows that broadband prices, especially for speeds over 15 Mbps, “are at the high end of the group of surveyed countries”, with a standard 16-40 Mbps service costing 64% more in Canada than in the U.K.
OpenMedia’s Campaigns Manager Josh Tabish had this to say: “Most Canadian cell phone users don’t need an official report to know that the cost of cell phone service is painfully high - they just need to look at their monthly bills. These high prices are the result of years of regulatory coddling of our unaccountable telecom giants. They are an unacceptable burden on Canadian families and the Canadian economy.”
Posted by Josh Tabish on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 - 09:41
Well, here we go again: a powerful committee in the U.S. House of Representatives has introduced a bill that would kill the FCC's Open Internet rules – or, so-called “Net Neutrality” rules – that we fought hard for and won after a long battle alongside a broad coalition of civil society organizations, Internet freedom groups, and millions and millions of Internet users.