Canada says will not interfere with telecom firms

Fri Aug 8, 2008 2:15pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada will not interfere with the day-to-day business decisions of major telecommunications firms, despite public unhappiness over impending moves by two major companies to charge for incoming text messages, Industry Minister Jim Prentice said on Friday.

Prentice made the comment in a statement issued after talks with BCE Inc and Telus Corp on their new pricing policy for some customers.

He said he had told the firms that "in the current deregulated telecommunications market, our government has no intention of interfering with the day-to-day business decisions of private companies or with the choices available to consumers."

Prentice said he had expressed his "serious concerns" to the firms over the possibility they would charge customers for unwanted spam text messages and said they had assured him customers could have such charges removed.

"Given these undertakings by Bell Mobility and Telus, I would encourage consumers dissatisfied with existing plans to seek alternatives," he said.

Earlier this year, Ottawa auctioned off part of the wireless spectrum in a bid to encourage new players to enter the market.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Peter Galloway)