Protectionism, telecoms and hurting the poor

Many people don’t realize how protectionism hurts the people who are less fortunate the most.

Nowadays, it’s not a luxury having a cellphone or a smartphone, the quasi-totality of people in all western countries own one.

But why your cellphone bill is so expensive in Canada? Because the current telecom sector in Canada is the opposite of a free market, it’s an oligopoly (or a cartel) between 4-5 groups as prescribed by law. It’s close to impossible to have any foreign company being in Canada in the telecom sector due to laws related to a  »strategic » industry. With lack of competition there is no incentive to offer lower costs and a better service for your money.  À la carte billing is not common and you must be hooked in Byzantine contracts like the vast majority of cellphone users in Canada unlike any other mass-marketed services.

No wonder companies who are actually in the cartel are lobbying really hard to keep things as usual, with a law made in the seventies which does not have any raison d’être today. And worse of all, like supply management (with milk), it’s hurting less fortunate people the most, who paying a couple of dollars more a month for their cellphone bill is a big deal.

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