Canadians are calling on the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to end the domination of Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX: RCI.B), BCE Inc (TSX: BCE) and Telus Corporation (TSX: T) over the country’s telecommunications industry.
The campaign, in the form of a Change.org petition started by Nicole Goodmurphy-McCallum, has gathered over 60,300 signatures so far.
This was triggered by a series of recent events that stress the glaring need for telecom competition in the country: first was the proposed merger between Rogers and Shaw Communications (TSX: SJR.B), exacerbated by the massive, 19-hour Canada-wide Rogers outage last month, and then most recently, Telus’ request to charge a 1.5% credit card processing fee on all customer bill payments.
Canadians also have no choice but to pay for some of the most expensive phone and internet service fees in the world. Perhaps not surprisingly, Rogers posted strong second-quarter earnings despite the impact and backlash of the July outage. While Telus had a net income of $56 million for the second quarter of this year — almost four times higher than the $16 million in the same quarter last year.
The petition calls on CRTC to “take immediate action” and allow new players to enter the market opening up opportunities for healthier competition with lower service fees. It’s also an attempt to keep the two telecom companies to be more transparent and to provide better service quality to Canadians.
Earlier this month, a coalition of two advocacy groups submitted a separate petition, one that called on Innovation, Science, and Economic Development (ISED) Minister François-Philippe Champagne to “explore all options to cut Canada’s telecom monopolies down to size.”
OpenMedia and Leadnow were able to gather over 28,000 signatures for their petition. The two groups are pushing for the Innovation Minister to consider every solution, suggesting that the government step in to provide universal public internet service, separate vertically-integrated “Big Telecom” companies, and put a ban on buyouts by the dominant players. They also said that the Minister should do his part in blocking the Rogers and Shaw merger.
The government has yet to react to either petition.
Information for this briefing was found via the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.