Allows foreign ownership, sets auction rules
The Canadian government has issued several long awaited decisions that will alter that country's telecommunications landscape. It has announced that it will open up greater ownership of Canadian telecom providers by foreign investors. It will also set aside 25 percent of an upcoming auction of prime spectrum for smaller carriers.
Carrier settles with Competition Bureau
Bell Canada is currently facing a $10 million fine to settle an investigation into the company's advertising practices. Canada's Competition Bureau accused the telecommunications provider of using misleading advertising for its range of products, which includes landline phone service, Internet, satellite television and cellular.
RIM fights carriers over how NFC BlackBerry works
RIM is clashing with carriers over plans for NFC-equipped BlackBerry phones that could be a sign of things to come for Apple and others, unnamed carrier officials said Thursday. The company is fighting with GSM carriers like AT&T, Rogers and T-Mobile over where to store the personal identifiers needed for making the short-range wireless payments. Carriers want the information to be encrypted in SIM cards so that it can be portable, the WSJ said, but RIM wants the information stored in a secure memory partition on the phone.
Bell confirms Motorola Atrix due March 17
Canada on Friday became the first country outside of the US to get the Motorola Atrix with firm launch details from Bell. The dual-core Android flagship should reach the carrier on March 17 and will cost $170 on a three-year contract, albeit with as little as a $50 smartphone plan. Both the notebook dock and the HD media dock will also be available, although Bell hasn't given prices.
Being charged even when phone is off
A couple in Merritt, British Columbia, claims that Bell Canada has overcharged them thousands of dollars for the data plan on their Samsung Galaxy smartphone. Since signing up in October, Daniel and Kate Methot have been billed more than $5,000, mostly in data charges that they say are in error. The couple has taken steps to reduce their data usage, such as turning the phone off when not in use and deleting apps, but the bills keep growing. December's bill was over $3,515 ($3,618 USD) - including one 24-hour period that the Methots purportedly used 30 hours of data.
Canadian government seen reversing CRTC rule
The Canadian government is expected to reverse a controversial ruling that many had seen as hurting Internet video and competition. Following a Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission decision that would not only allow but in some cases require usage-based billing for independent Internet providers, a Conservative party official claimed late Wednesday that Prime Minister Harper and Industry Minister Tony Clement had already settled on overturning the CRTC's new rule. The regulator would have a chance to do so voluntarily but would be forced to make the change if it disagreed, the Toronto Star understood.
Palm Pre and Niagara Bell
Bell Canada may be one of the first North American carriers outside of Sprint to pick up the Palm Pre, a roadmap leaked to Mobile Syrup shows. The first webOS smartphone is reportedly scheduled to arrive on the carrier in late spring or early summer and would arrive just slightly after the likely Sprint release in June. Whether there will be any software differences between versions of the multi-touch phone isn't known.
Bell Canada cuts 2500
Feeling the pressure from aggressive competition, closeBell Canada is cutting 15 percent of its management workforce. Bell says it's cutting 2,500 non-union workers. Canada's largest telecommunications company is cutting its management hierarchy from 11 layers to a maximum of eight. The company is slimming down as part of a $52 billion dollar privatization plan funded by the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and several US partners, according to the Canadian Press. Bell missed out on a chance to sell the iPhone, because it operates a CDMA wireless network which does not support Apple's mobile device. It also faces a new competitor in the wireless marketplace.
Rogers Data Plans
Rogers Wireless has begun expanding its historically restrictive data limits, according to a price sheet (PDF) for its services. While primarily affecting PC Cards, the plans are the first to allow multi-gigabyte usage per month for the Canadian provider depending on the level of service. A base $65 monthly plan provides just 1GB of data transfer over the course of one month but adapts automatically depending on usage: crossing the 1GB limit raises the fee to $75 but doubles the bandwidth to 2GB, Rogers says. Theis continues up to a $100 monthly plan that offers 5GB with each megabyte afterwards costing an additional 3 cents.