Canada’s telecommunications industry is dominated by the “big three” mobile network companies: Bell, Rogers, and Telus. These companies control a significant portion of the market and have been criticized for their lack of competition, which has led to high prices for consumers.
One of the main issues is that the big three companies refuse to share their networks openly, which limits the ability of smaller companies to enter the market and compete. This is known as “network sharing,” and it allows smaller companies to use the infrastructure of larger companies to offer their own services. Without this option, smaller companies are forced to build their own networks, which is a costly and time-consuming process.
This lack of competition has led to high prices for mobile phone services in Canada, as consumers have limited choices and no real options for lower-cost services. In fact, Canada has some of the highest mobile phone prices in the world, with average monthly bills of around $80. This is significantly higher than prices in other developed countries, such as the United States, where average monthly bills are around $40 Canadian and in Israel $30 Canadian.
Another issue is that the big three companies are among the biggest lobbyists in Ottawa, and they use their influence to protect their market positions and crush any potential competition. They have been known to acquire start-up mobile companies, which limits the potential for new players to enter the market.
The lack of competition in Canada’s telecommunications industry has led to a number of negative consequences for consumers. For example, it has led to high prices for mobile phone services, limited consumer choices, and a lack of innovation in the industry. And when the big blackout happened in 2022 when the Rogers network crashed, a vast majority of the Canadian population, businesses, hospitals and emergency services were in the dark for days. The lack of competition only underscores the need for more competition and better regulation by the Canadian Radio-Television Corporation (CRTC).
It is clear that more needs to be done to address these issues and increase competition in the telecommunications industry. One option could be for the government to implement policies that promote network sharing, which would make it easier for smaller companies to enter the market and compete with the big three. Another option could be for the government to regulate prices and limit the influence of lobbyists in Ottawa. That being said, the CRTC’s attempt to force the big three to play nice with consumers is seen as a meaningless attempt to help Canadians lower their cellphone bills, and it is certainly nothing to text about.
In order to protect Canadian consumers from being taken advantage of by the big three mobile phone companies, it is essential that the government takes strong action to increase competition in the telecommunications industry. One possible solution is for the government to mandate fixed mobile phone plans, which would ensure that consumers have a choice of lower-cost services.
Another option could be for the government to start its own mobile network or give the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) real power to set fixed prices. This would allow the government to regulate the prices that consumers pay for mobile phone services and ensure that they are not being overcharged. Overall, the government needs to take stronger action to promote competition and protect consumers from the monopolistic practices of the big three mobile phone companies. Without government intervention, Canadians will continue to pay among the highest mobile phone services in the world.