During my visit to British Columbia my brother spent some time describing the current state of affairs with respect to the local wireless wars. It seems that the competition has been less that honorable and the government is poised to make things worse. New cellular companies in Canada have been given preferential treatment in order to establish themselves. Larger established companies have not been allowed to bid on wireless bandwidth set aside for start-ups, but the start-ups are allowed to bid on all new bandwidth auctions. Some of the new start-up companies have participated in auctions where they bid up the price, but walked away from the auction.
The thing that has got a lot of people working for the large telecom companies up in arms is not that they have been restricted from bidding on the new blocks of bandwidth but rather that large American companies like Verizon are being treated like small start-ups. Large telecom companies are things that Canadians love to hate and that is not completely unjustified. We have all had our run ins with poor customer service and long wireless contracts. I have my own stories but I’m sure you have your own.
I did a bit of digging to try to understand whether the perception of the public is indeed skewed. When you consider what Canadians pay as a whole for TV, Phone and Internet, we do indeed pay some of the highest rates in the world. The cost of Internet seems to be more out of line than the rest, but the same companies are offering all the services so that could explain the public’s discontent.
I was surprised to discover this week however that although the small wireless start-ups may have had an advantage when it came to bidding on bandwidth, their inability to improve their networks has left them at a considerable disadvantage. My son tried to active his new Motorola Razor world phone and discovered that the small companies in BC don’t have access to the supported frequencies so they cannot support the newest sets. Their plans cost less because they don’t have the features and can’t really compete.
So although I don’t understand why a large company like Verizon should be given preferential treatment, I can’t say that we are not being taken advantage of. If you want to know more about the Verizon issue, checkout the following link.