Ottawa’s Promise to Lower Wireless Bills Creates Confusion, Incumbents’ Lobby Group Says

by Istvan Fekete on October 30, 2013

Ottawa’s outlined efforts to lower wireless bills issued by telecom companies leads to uncertainty and confusion in the mobile industry, at least from the perspective of a lobby group representing the interests of the Big Three.

Speaking with the Canadian Press, Bernard Lord, president and CEO of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, pointed to several weak points of the government’s throne speech. (By the way if you expect to see a praise from the CWTA for action that cuts into the incumbents’ revenue, you are terribly wrong. For this to happen you need a miracle or something.)

“If anything, I think the speech from the throne led to more confusion and less answers,” he said during a speech at the Toronto Board of Trade.

The throne speech included a plan with which Ottawa aims to “reduce roaming costs and networks within Canada”. But according to Lord, the message is confusing; he simply couldn’t understand what the government is referring to. Or maybe he doesn’t want to.

“When the government talks about domestic roaming in the speech from the throne, I’m not sure what exactly that is,” Lord said. “I’m not sure they know what that is.”

Lord also said that everybody should stay within their boundaries: the government shouldn’t overstep their boundaries and start regulating competition in the telecom industry.

From his perspective, Ottawa is wasting energy and money on regulation while there are other areas it should focus on, such as reducing the fees it charges wireless carriers, and making sure there is more spectrum to handle the rapid adoption of smartphones. These smart handsets consume the same amount of wireless spectrum as about 50 feature phones.

His perspective obviously coincides with that of the incumbents: by lowering the fees Ottawa charges the wireless players, it ensures an increase in the revenue stream of the incumbents, peppered with an unregulated market, in which wireless startups depend on the wireless network of the national players.

Earlier this year Wind Mobile, Public Mobile, and Mobilicity realized that the CWTA (which allegedly speaks for all wireless players) is, in reality, the lobby tool of the Big Three, and they have dropped support for the association.

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

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