Industry Minister James Moore On Cross-Country Tour to Publicize Ottawa Wireless Policy

by Istvan Fekete on August 19, 2013

After facing a harsh campaign by the incumbents against its wireless policy, the Harper government has launched a counteroffensive to defend its plan to attract foreign investment.

Industry Minister James Moore is delivering Ottawa’s message to Canadians in a cross-country speaking tour that began last Friday in Vancouver. And the message is clear: the government’s strategy is unchanged. It aims to bring more competition into the Canadian wireless market.

Speaking with the Globe and Mail, James Moore compared the country’s mobile market to the North American auto market, which faced competition from foreign auto makers decades ago: “I am quite certain that in the 1980s, Chrysler and GM and Ford were making arguments that we don’t need Hondas and we don’t need Toyotas and we don’t need BMWs, we don’t need Audis in Canada,” he said in an interview. “I think more competition has served us very well in the auto sector.”

It is yet unclear how the government will put its plan to work: Verizon has apparently pulled back on negotiations to buy both Wind Mobile and Mobilicity, which is the first sign for weeks suggesting that the red US carrier isn’t ready to spend billions to enter the Canadian wireless market.

Its move comes after the government “handed out favours”, according to Telus CEO, Darren Entwistle.

James Moore replied to the big three’s campaign by calling it a “dishonest attempt” to skew public debate through “misleading campaigns”.

During his tour, Moore will meet with consumer groups, stakeholders and “ordinary Canadians” to explain the government’s wireless policy.

The incumbents claim the government is too generous to foreign newcomers. Moore played down the accusations, saying that “if the rules were skewed in such a way that they were so advantageous to foreign players, why is it that only Verizon has thus far made any public comments about potentially coming to Canada? AT&T hasn’t, Vodafone hasn’t, other companies haven’t, because it’s not quite to skewed.”

One of Moore’s key arguments is that Canadians still pay too much for cell phone bills. How much do you pay for your cell phone plan?

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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