In today’s Globe and Mail, there is a report about a Federal Court ruling, overturning a 2009 Harper Government decision to allow Wind Mobile to operate in Canada. Wind had been denied entry to the Canadian wireless market by the CRTC because they had “too much foreign ownership”. Of course, this case was brought by one of Wind’s competitors, Public Mobile.
What does this decision mean for Wind’s customers? That is yet to be decided. The company has 45 days to respond to the decision. Anecdotally, I know several people who paid stiff penalties to leave their wireless plan with one of the Big 4 carriers, to switch to Wind. They offer competitive prices and no contract. That is the goal of a free market – new providers enter a space, offer a service with some competitive advantage over the existing players, and gain market share. The existing players either adjust their offerings to compete, or die. This is to the benefit of the consumer, always.
What is the end result of all this? If Wind is no longer allowed to offer its service in Canada, then their customers are getting screwed. Many made the decision to switch based on a long term savings that would offset the stiff penalties from leaving their old carriers. Wireless customers from other companies are also getting screwed, as the CRTC does what it does best – uses the powers of Government to prop up certain favoured players in the market at the expense of others and the consumer. With less competition, the Big 4 now have less incentive to improve their services, offerings and prices.
Canada has some of the highest wireless rates in the developed world, and a contributing cause to those high prices is the CRTC, and its endless battle to prevent competition for its favoured few.