Canada has had a monopolistic telecom industry for as long as I can remember, but it seems Parliament is finally taking steps to improve the situation. In the prebudget Throne Speech yesterday, the government said it would open Canada’s borders to greater foreign investment and make the industry more palatable to mergers and acquisitions.
The announcement comes after the WIND Mobile controversy, where it was determined that the company had too much Egyptian financial backing to be allowed to operate in Canada, and the decision was overruled. The Canadian government is still saying that new telecoms will only be allowed to operate if the decision provides Canadians with a net gain, and does not pose a national security risk.
The bill still needs one opposition party to sign on and the Liberals have said they are open to the proposal, while the NDP are strongly against the move. The NDP believe it poses a risk to Canadian culture due to the overlap between telecom and broadcasting.
As foreign investment comes in, mergers are a likely response to the new competition. For example, merging Bell and Telus, or Belus, is a definite possibility.
Whatever the outcome, I’m personally desperate for new competition in this country. Canadians are quick to adopt smartphones, and at around 25% penetration, this country is a lucrative market.