The 2020 public hearing held by the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) makes part of a comprehensive review of mobile wireless services. In his opening remarks, Ian Scott, the CEO and chairperson of the CRTC, stated that between 2016 and 2018, providers had made a lot of progress. They invested vast amounts of money to broaden their reach and increase the quality of their services, but the prices have yet to be optimal (Government of Canada, 2020). Therefore, in Scott’s words, the objective of the meeting is to enforce a regulatory framework that would facilitate competition and, hence, better prices and more innovative services for all Canadians.
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An intervention in the telecommunication market by a public organization is a rare and undesirable event for providers of mobile services. During the nine-day hearing marathon, they countered many points made by the presenters. For instance, one of the speakers pointed out that Canadians pay some of the highest mobile service prices among the G7 countries. In response to that, providers claimed that the speaker was making allegations based on outdated data and that in actuality, the prices have fallen significantly (Thurton, 2020). In general, providers do not see how the new framework can yield any long-term advantages.
In my opinion, both providers and legislators have a point but fail to find a compromise. I believe that the representatives from the CRTC act on good intentions: they want to bring high-quality, affordable services to the common man. However, if they force the companies to comply and cut the costs, the companies will try to reduce expenses elsewhere. For instance, they might start to lay off some employees. Another tangible outcome of an open competition is the stunted growth of regional providers who, while trusted by locals, will not be able to compete with big players.
Government of Canada. (2020). Opening remarks at the public hearing of the mobile wireless services review.
Thurton, D. (2020). Looming lawsuits, threats of job losses and other takeaways from the CRTC hearings on cell service. CBC.