A press release issued June 18th by Quebecor revealed a new vision for High Quality, Low Cost Wireless in Canada. In a keynote speech to The 2014 Canadian Telecom Summit, Quebecor President and CEO Pierre Dion stated “We aim to deliver real low-cost wireless plans for consumers, real wireless competition, and a real new offering in the Canadian marketplace. Under the right conditions, we are ready, willing and able to become Canada’s “fourth wireless competitor.” Quebecor, owner of Videotron is a communications company with operations all across Canada. If successful in it's attempt, it would become the fourth wireless provider and join the ranks of BCE Inc., Telus Corp. and Rogers Communications Inc.
Many Canadian wireless consumers are paying high prices and more and more Canadians are switching to the "stand-alone” wireless brands due to the lower prices, better choices, better phones and good customer service. Many wireless customers don't realize this but but these stand-alone brands are often owned by the large telecom companies; Rogers owning Fido, Virgin Mobile is owned by Bell, Telus owns Koodo and recently, bought Public Mobile in 2013. This leaves Mobilicity and Wind Mobile as the remaining truly stand-alone provider. Earlier this year in a government auction, Quebecor spent about $200 million to acquire airwaves in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia giving it an opportunity to expand its mobile-phone service nationwide. The auction win could put Quebecor in position to buy Wind and Mobilicity.
Canadians are paying a high price for wireless and getting substandard service, but many stay with the larger providers, because although they would be happier with "stand-alone” wireless brands, they want the security of reliable service and more choice on the latest technologies offered by a large carrier. Will Quebecor fill the niche lacking with the larger providers?
Will Canadians have the new Vision of High Quality, Low Cost Wireless in Canada? It is still uncertain if the "conditions" will be right for Quebecor, but it will be interesting to find out if they are successful, their promise to deliver real low-cost wireless plans for consumers will come to fruition and if there will still be a future for privately owned wireless providers.