Smartphones, CRTC and Foreign Ownership

This weekend there was an interesting article in the Globe and Mail about smartphones driving Canadian wireless data usage. The article then dove into the black hole of spectrum auctions in 2012.

The article was speculative, but laid out various tidbits related to the 700 Mhz auction planned in the coming months to increase wireless data capabilitities. 

As innocuous as the article was, there were two pages of comments from the great unwashed masses complaining about the Canadian wireless industry and urging the government action a handfull of idiotic activities to *support the Canadian public*. It never ceases to amaze me how uninformed and short sighted the general public is. (I can’t even read comments on the CBC site any more)

Foreign Ownership: Yes, a little foreign ownership is good, and the CRTC has made some innovative recommendations regarding the opening up of ownership regulations. The expectation is that if a Canadian company has less than 10% marketshare, they may be capable of obtaining foreign ownership greater than 50% . This would apply to all the new wireless startups, Allstream, (mostly) regionalized players like Cogeco, Distributel, Primus Canada, and Xplorenet to name a few….

Foreign ownership of the Big 3 is a BAD thing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Canadian Telecom industry now employs over half a million Canadians. 

Canada’s telecommunications industry makes up 3.3 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product, generating $40-billion of revenue annually.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize all that great Canadian goodness will disappear in a heartbeat if the Canadian government opens the flood gates for foreign ownership, with no terms and conditions. 

People want unlimited voice and data plans for less than $40/month. My question to that: is it worth that much to you, that the end result is 2-3 friends and family members being laid off because their job is now redundant to someone working for (insert US/Global Carrier Name here) in a call centre around the world? 

Of the two pages of commentary, there were 2 intelligent posts: 

 

  • Discussion of reasonable and worthwhile changes to the current offers (per second billing is a smart suggestion)
  • The idea of a nationalized network backbone is creative (but I don’t know if Canada is smart enough to organize an initiative of that magnitude, we can’t even really figure out how to reasonably use the Deferral Account)

 

The rest of the garbage made my head hurt thinking that these people somehow survived their adolescence and are now pro-creating.

I’m looking forward to the next few years and the evolution of the Canadian Wireless/Communications Industry:

 

  • deeper national penetration of services and providers
  • new handsets that allow for more ubiquitous applications
  • Canadian innovations

 

What do you want for the future of Canadian telecommunications?