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Ottawa Promises to Increase Wireless Competition for More Choice, Better Prices

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The Federal Government has released a statement today to announce the start date for the coveted 700MHz wireless spectrum auction, set to take place on November 19, 2013. Christian Paradis, the Minister of Industry, announced Ottawa plans to increase wireless competition to provide Canadians with more choices and better prices:

“Canadian families work hard for their money, and our government wants them to keep more of it,” said Minister Paradis. “Through better use of existing cellphone towers and by taking action to promote at least four wireless providers in every region of the country, our government is making it possible for all Canadians to have access to world-class wireless service they can afford, no matter where they live.”

The Feds aim to achieve further competition throughout all regions in Canada by doing the following:

  • reviewing the policy on spectrum licence transfer requests with the objective of promoting a competitive environment
  • expanding and extending the requirement for companies to provide roaming to competitors, thereby increasing competition
  • strengthening cell tower sharing rules to further reduce proliferation and deliver better services
  • ensuring at least four providers in every region can acquire spectrum in the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction, to start on November 19, 2013, as part of the Licensing Framework for this spectrum.

The 700MHz spectrum auction is seen as very valuable because of its extended range for both voice and data. The 2500 MHz spectrum auction set for next year.

Minister Paradis reiterated Ottawa’s priority is to “provide greater wireless coverage at better rates for consumers.” What do you think about this announcement and the state of our current wireless environment?

[via The Globe and Mail]

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  • gtasscarlo

    I’ll believe it when rates go down, no more domestic LD. And 2 year contract max for smartphones.

  • themisfit

    In most areas of Canada nothing will change as we already have 6 carriers in the field. You really want to see competition let the American companies into the game, then well see prices come down.

    Besides the big three will just buy up the smaller players in a few years.

  • JB

    I’d presume the sham will be perpetuated by considering the wholly-owned subsidiaries “competitors.” Hooray! I can get Fido, Chatr, OR Rogers! Look at the competition!!

  • Jon

    It’s a sham: here are your 4 carriers: Rogers (chatr, Fido), Bell (Solo, Virgin) Telus (Koodo). Minimum met. Toss in regional juggernauts (Videotron, Sasktel, MTS) and where is the ability for new entrants such as Public and Wind? Nowhere. It’s a scam.

  • Anthony W

    The population is not enough to “feed” that many “competitors”. Compare to Japan, Japan is around 24 times smaller than Canada but close to 4 times more in population than us.

  • bradg17

    November? I thought it was set for “spring.” It’s gonna be 2015 before we see the 700mhz spectrum -.-

  • beavisaur

    The 700MHz spectrum is going to be faster than LTE and provide more range. I do not see Rogers offering cheaper service for faster speeds. When LTE first came around they were charging a premium in order to access the speed.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    Alas…..I fear your statement is all too true except for the counting of carriers. Rogers, Bell and Telus is 3 by my count not 4. I’m not including regional carriers as they are what their name implies and only benefit Canadians in those locales hence they’re not “national” carriers so they present no threat to the big 3 on “national” competition. When you look at the photo used for this post showing Rogers (Fido) Telus (Koodo) & Bell (Virgin Mobile) it’s presented like it’s meant to represent competition when we all know who owns those “subsidiaries”. I agree with them is fit below (lol & jk) we need to allow for foreign competition…..not necessarily from the U.S. per se but the big 3 need to see a real threat from a formidable telecom for them to adjust their thought process in the way they treat and value their customers. Only then will we see true reform and competition at last.

  • Jon

    By your own admission you count 6 carriers excluding regionals. Subsidiaries count as carriers.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    No I count 3. I don’t consider Koodo, Fido, or Virgin Mobile to be separate from their parent ownership. Different name…..same pie. They all get a bigger slice of it once they created “another option/alternate” or bought out a smaller player (like Bell did with Virgin and Rogers did with Microcell or Fido as they’re now known). In the end all profits from Koodo, Fido, and Virgin Mobile go into Telus’s, Rogers’ and Bell’s coffers. Seeing as how you want to get “technical” yes technically speaking they count as carriers BUT “subsidiaries” aren’t separate they’re one in the same as their parent company (or may as well be). They’re really only separate in name only. It’s an optical illusion meant to give people the false impression that we have choice. If they were separate & we did have choice, then we wouldn’t be having a discussion about Ottawa wanting to increase wireless competition because as separate competing companies it would probably already exist.

  • Dave

    Anthony you are spot on. We don’t have the population to support all these national carriers. People always mention Europe and all the carriers and how great the prices are. But building a national network in Canada is very, very expensive. The numbers just don’t support 4, 5 or 6 national carriers.

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