Vidotron’s Possible Entry into Canada-wide Telecom
Vidotron dropped the gauntlet, hinting with its Wireless for Less web portal that it could be preparing to waltz into Canada’s largest markets, which include Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta. If we take a closer look, it becomes more and more evident that Vidotron might have what it takes to take on The Big Three. It couldn’t be more true that Canadian’s are tired of having the same companies with a vice-grip over telecom, especially with their power over their small companies with mildly different plans and branding.
Newly appointed CEO, Pierre Dion, drilled attendees at the Canadian Telecom Summit with the same message Tony Lacavera, Wind Mobile’s chairman, made earlier: Canadian productivity has been crippled by sky-high mobile data prices. Although some plans provided by Telus, Bell, Rogers, and affiliated companies have improved over the past few years, our mobile data rates have remained stubbornly high.
Mobilicity, Wind, and Public Mobile have experienced the harsh realities of the Canadian wireless market; a combination of federal hitches, exceptionally expensive frequencies, and a long-standing stranglehold by The Big Three continues to smother most competition. But Dion has found himself in the right place at the right time; with an election approaching, and promises of more carrier competition left unfulfilled, the Harper government might be compelled to think twice before turning a blind ear (although past PM Brian Mulroney is now chairman of Quebecor, and will carry his own firepower). Not only that, but Vidotron hinted that they are willing to join one or two underfunded wireless companies, growing their customer base and collectively, becoming Canada’s fourth wireless entrant.
The purchase of $1.6 billion in cell towers and premium spectrum further proves Vidotron’s intent on providing affordable, quality plans for consumers and businesses alike. Dion refuses to believe that other carrier’s high prices should reflect the US market, as Europeans pay 50% less than standard plans in North America.
Despite the optimism, Qubecor’s past affiliations may hurt Vidotron’s chances of public acceptance outside of Quebec. The anti-Canadian image set forth through Pierre Karl Pladeau and his run for office with Parti Quebecois has damaged their view in the public eye, even with Pierre, the controlling stockholder of parent company Quebecor, focused on other matters.
Only time will tell if there is room for another mobile giant in Canada, but there is little doubt that Vidotron, along with the more unfortunate contenders like Wind and the near-dead Public Mobile, will continue to press forwards. Canada needs competition in the telecom space, and this might just be the beginning, especially with a new drive for Sustainable and viable low-cost wireless service.