Federal Industry Minister James Moore.

Moore blasts back at telcos as tussle over Verizon entry intensifies

Big three telecoms in duel with Ottawa for public support in feud over future of cellphone service

 

Federal Industry Minister James Moore has fired back at Canada’s big three telecom firms in response to their campaign against the potential entry of U.S. mobile phone carrier Verizon.

Incumbent phone companies Bell Canada, Telus and Rogers have taken to the airwaves with ads objecting to Verizon’s ability to use existing infrastructure without having to build its own network if the U.S. giant buys up one of Canada’s two smaller wireless firms that are up for sale.

They also have a website, fairforcanada.ca, that contends Verizon would threaten Canadian jobs and potentially the privacy and security of cellphone users.

Their spokesman accused the Tories of scoring populist political points by tempting a “misinformed” public with the lure of lower prices through more competition.

Moore said the companies’ claims are filled with assumptions and misinformation about the federal government’s intent in allowing a new foreign wireless competitor.

“I think Canadians know very well what is at stake and they know dishonest attempts to skew debates via misleading campaigns when they see them,” Moore said in a letter on his website.

“Our responsibility is toward a broader public interest, and we are serving Canadians with our policy approach.”

The federal Conservatives launched their own website Friday to counter the telcos – consumersfirst.ca.

It underscores the high prices Canadians pay compared to other countries and argues Canada’s big three carriers won’t be forced out by Verizon because they own 85 per cent of the wireless spectrum.

 

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