Verizon entering Canadian wireless phone market an American invasion that may be worth it

If Verizon enters the mobile phone market in Canada, it may force Telus, Bell and Rogers to have reasonable pricing.

The War of 1812 is one of the things we can hold over the heads of our friends to the south of us. That and the Olympic hockey gold medal games in Salt Lake City (2002) and of course the medal game at Vancouver 2010.

In those instances, we fought off the Americans (whether on the battlefield or the rink) and triumphed and in the case of 1812, an invasion was stopped.

Fast-forward to last week’s announcement that American telecommunications firm Verizon was considering entering the Canadian market and that could be an American invasion worth welcoming.

While the big players on the Canadian mobile phone scene consist of Telus, Bell and Rogers, Verizon is reportedly said to be looking to purchase smaller company Wind Mobile for $700 million and could be looking to buy Mobilicity as well.

There were recent changes announced earlier in June that benefit cellular phone customers. Beginning Dec. 2, cell phone users will have the ability to cancel a contract after two years without a penalty and limits will be placed on data roaming charges, for those who are out of the country.

Nevertheless, the new rules will only apply to new cell phone contracts and current contracts are ridiculous. A recent survey from J.D. Power and Associates, the average monthly mobile phone bill in the country increased by $9 between 2012 and 2013 – the average reported bill was $77 at the beginning of the year as opposed to $68 in 2012.

I have a smartphone and my bill is always quite pricey and some stiff competition from Verizon could very well force the big Canadian cell phone companies offer more reasonable plans.

I’m not against Canadian cellphone companies but various reports have come out listing Canada as having the highest cellphone bills and I wonder if that should be the case – $68, never mind $77, is way too much to be charging for mobile phone usage.

Competition is what fuels the market and maybe an “American invasion” is what this country needs to offer more reasonable mobile phone contracts and billing. Companies have been charging too much for too long.

– Karl Yu is editor of the Grand Forks Gazette

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