Telcos look to PRISM scandal to de-rail Verizon entry bid

by Andrew Roach on August 19, 2013

It is an issue that has split the telecom world in two over the last few months as Verizon’s interest in entering the next spectrum auction has infuriated the Big Three carriers.

Having prepared a public campaign against the US firm, Rogers, Bell and Telus are now looking to turn the firm’s involvement in the PRISM scandal against them in the eye of consumers.

Verizon was one of the firms who gave personal and private information to the NSA without permission during a security and surveillance operation.

Despite these claims, the federal government has stuck by with their support for the US telecom carrier in an attempt to introduce more competition to the industry.

But Ottawa will be under more pressure should the telecom companies decide to go ahead with their public campaign which is almost finalized.

The campaign would see adverts against Verizon being placed throughout the media including newspapers, radio and TV as early as next week.

Indeed, the telecom industry has already established the website to further their cause and try to win the public over to their side and further add to the heat over Verizon’s potential entry to the market.

But there could be some big risks for those involved in the campaign who could risk alienating themselves with customers and even government officials should things go against them. This was acknowledged by an inside source at one of the firms who told Reuters that “they’re either going to have to fold their tents and live with this, or win the fight.”

Officials in Ottawa are not sitting back though and have prepared several counter measures against what the carriers are doing including launching the website which aims to support the reasons for more competition.

With Bell, Rogers and Telus controlling around 90% of the mobile industry at the moment, the government have been hoping that the introduction of Verizon and other foreign firms in the market could help establish a fourth national competitor which could give a bit more choice to consumers.

Verizon has yet to confirm their plans for the auction just yet with the company most likely going to enter directly into the auction or through one of the struggling independent telecom firms such as Wind Mobile or Mobilicity.

With that in mind, it means that the Big Three may need to halt their anti-Verizon campaign for a while until the carrier confirms their entry plans otherwise it could backfire and leave them short-changed in both the eyes of industry experts and the general public.

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