Michael Geist on RIM’s Woes and The Canadian Telecom Policy

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.

via Michael Geist – RIM’s Woes Partly Based on Canadian Telecom Policy.


  1. I can definitely see a correlation between carriers and RIM sucking up to them because they had no choice. It has to be said, no other device maker has played by the careers rules like RIM did. Lets count the ways :

    – Different model number for every carrier cause they’re all different, you see. Who gives a damn about consumer confusion ?!
    – Crappy ass browser cause we need that data consumption kept at a minimum as per Bellus standards
    – No Skype for you cause ma Bell said it needs more cash and Robbers needs a new victim
    – No google maps and apps in the BB App World cause all that carrier navgation GPS crap needs to sell

    Need i continue ?

    I’m glad they’re getting the shaft now from consumers for a well deserved behaviour. I hate the big 3 carriers with a passion and i believe RIM deserves what’s happening to them simply because they never EVER did something GOOD for the consumer but always did something that pleased the big carriers. Thank god for Apple cause otherwise we’d still be in awe over the latest 9700 BB update..



  2. All true, but the question is how much patience to you have and how much of your taxes do you want to contribute to make up the difference?  We have new “players” like Wind, Public, and Videotron (umm, kind-of) not to mention the existing MVNO’s. But look at Wind, the most aggressive (outside of Quebec), and see how long it has taken them to build-up their network. The Big-3 will have their competition but it takes longer than just winning some spectrum: it will take years to work out tower leases, lay fiber to connect them, etc. Until then Big-3 can work out their strategy, squeeze the Little-5, get some overtime from their lobbyists, etc, etc….

    Of course RIM’s strategy should be “give the consumers what they want” rather than “give the telcos what they want” but considering what we hear coming from Waterloo it sounds like Mike has put the “lazy” back in Laziridis and and Jim’s put the “silly” back Balsillie!