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

Kootenay Lake ferry to shut down Saturday afternoon

Service to resume Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m.

PHOTOS: Nelson climate strike packs downtown to demand action

An inter-generational crowd staged a ‘die-in’ as part of the global strike Friday

Service is status quo at Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue

Lengthy review of the regional fire department is now complete

Kootenay-Columbia incumbent MP responds to Trudeau brownface scandal

Stetski proud of NDP leader Singh’s reaction, which focused on people not power

Mystery illness killing Kootenay bees

Samples being sent to laboratories for analysis

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

B.C. Lions hype-man marks 15 years of cheers

Crazy P cheers, chants, bangs his drum and spreads a message of love

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Most Read