This is an excellent piece from one of Canada’s premier columnist on technology law issues and law professor at the University of Ottawa. this particular article takes up the argument that the Canadian Government should step in to assist RIM in order to avoid another “Nortel” disaster. We have already spoken up about this aid trend stating that any large company that get’s itself into situations like this has only itself to blame and market evolution should be allowed to take place and allow newer stronger players to take over. Michael Geist takes the position that the Canadian government is actually partially to blame in this case for years of siding with the Telco Carriers rather than allowing consumer demand to set the market.
Bell, Rogers, and Telus dominate our wireless market, resulting in longer consumer contracts than those found elsewhere, among the highest roaming fees in the world, and expensive wireless data costs.
As shocking as this maybe to anyone south of The Great White North, the simple truth is that the Big 3-T have been playing oligarchy for far too long and this has seriously flawed the relationship between the Telco, the phone makers and the consumer buying the phone and subscribing to a plan.
Given a Canadian environment where data is expensive, competition limited, and spectrum relatively scarce, it should come as no surprise that RIM viewed data efficiency as a key competitive advantage. On a global level, however, RIM’s positioning has emerged as a disadvantage, since lower data costs elsewhere mean consumers are more interested in using the wireless Internet than in rationing it.
One of the best things that ever happened to the Canadian Telecom Industry was the launch of HSPA (proper 3G), the iPhone and the subsequent Android devices that started to flood the market afterwards. Phone users no longer had to suffer the compression bottlenecks set into place by RIM, MS WinMo and Palm and the Telcos.
The government response to RIM’s troubles should therefore not focus on assisting the troubled, but still-profitable BlackBerry maker. Rather, it should recognize that the policies that resulted in an noncompetitive telecom market have implications that extend well beyond pricey consumer cellphone plans.
I totally agree withe Michael, at this point the Government should put an end to all of this Telco Cow-Tow and finally let the Canadian Telecom market be decided upon by the consumer. Capitalism was built on the law of supply and demand; Canucks are demanding choice at a fair price, it’s time for the suppliers to start listening to who the real customer is. Yup, it’s that guy with the iPhone buying 4 different version of Angry Birds while waiting for the train.