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Canadians can blame Harper government for high wireless bill: study

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Summary

The study finds consumers lost out in a gamble by the former Tory government when it interfered in the market

Experts warn your bill will go up if the current Liberal administration follows suit

MONTREAL, QUE. (NEWS 1130) – It appears you lost out when the former Federal Government decided against opening up competition in the wireless market to American companies. That’s the upshot of a new report from the Montreal Economic Institute.

The folks at the pro-free market think-tank believe that had Ottawa given US companies like Verizon an opportunity to get in on the game, your wireless bill would have gone down.

“But let’s say Verizon had entered, we would have a huge North American competitor competing with the big three here. [I think] for sure the prices would have been lower,” explains study co-author Martin Masse.

He adds the sell-off of spectrum last year that resulted in the $1.6 billion takeover of Wind Mobile by Shaw Communications will likely result in higher wireless prices instead.

“By insisting on the benefits of a fourth wireless player, the previous federal government went against a worldwide trend of consolidation in the wireless sector and embraced a static view of competition,” says Masse.

With that in mind, Masse says the new Liberal government should stay away from what he calls “interfering” in the country’s broadband industry.

The report notes Canadians are among the highest users of tablets and smartphones in the industrialized world and enjoy some of the most advanced wireless networks. And the prices Canadians pay for wireless services remain higher than in most European countries but lower than in the United States or Japan.