Verizon already shaking up Canada's wireless sector
Big 3 Canadian companies have debuted data-sharing plans, which Verizon premiered last year
Even though it has yet to confirm it is coming to Canada, Verizon is already having a major influence on the cellphone market here.
Canadians need look no further than new data-sharing plans that made their debut this summer in what is generally seen as a response by Canadian wireless companies to the looming threat of competition from the U.S. telecom giant.
Rogers, Telus and Bell now all offer data-sharing plans that allow mobile phone and tablet users in a household to share one data package with a set amount of monthly data usage to do things like surf the internet.
Telecom analyst Iain Grant said the response to Verizon's potential move into the Canadian market has made the major telecoms "sharpen their pencils and start giving Canadians better deals."
"This all came about mostly as the spectre of Verizon looming over the Canadian marketplace," said Grant, managing director of the SeaBoard Group. "In the U.S., they've recognized many accounts, many households and [given] them a data-sharing plan."
Big carrier Verizon, which has about 100 million subscribers, has been offering shared data plans for more than a year and other major U.S. carriers such as AT&T and Sprint have followed suit.
There were predictions earlier this summer that Verizon was considering entering the Canadian market when it reportedly made an initial offer for Wind Mobile and started talks with Mobilicity, two smaller wireless companies.
But the Globe and Mail recently reported that Verizon is putting off a potential acquisition of new players and may only participate in the federal government's January 2014 auction for wireless spectrum, which will see telecom companies bidding on the rights to radio waves needed to make cellphone networks operate.
Analyst Troy Crandall said shared data plans on multiple smartphones and tablets would most benefit households with three or more members, but they would have to make sure they didn't go over their monthly data limit.