For years, Canadian telecom has been dominated by three companies: Bell, Rogers and Telus. But lately, rumors have been circulating that Verizon may try to make a move into the country, busting up the so-called Big Three and carving out a piece of the Canadian market for itself. For the existing telecoms, it's a scary thought, so they've joined together in an open letter and a public ad campaign, asking the Canadian government to change the current rules to make Canadian telecom a less attractive target.
Their biggest complaint concerns Canada's anti-consolidation laws, which prevent any of the Big Three carriers from buying up smaller telecoms. Those rules don't apply to foreign companies, and as Verizon eyes deals with Canadian upstarts like Wind Mobile and Mobilicity, the Big Three are asking for the right to buy the companies for themselves — or at least bid up the price. They're also asking for changes to the Canadian spectrum auction, which let US-based companies bid on a broader range of wavelengths.
According to Bell and the other Canadian telecoms, it's a matter of leveling the playing field, and forcing Verizon to play by the same rules. Still, while these rules might be good news for Canadian business, it's unclear they'd be good for the average consumer. As one analyst told The Financial Post, "anything that makes the three bullies a little bit afraid is something that Canadians should celebrate."