Rogers, Bell CEOs Argued Spectrum Auction Should Not Favour Smaller Competitors

The CEOs of Bell and Rogers argued today that their smaller competitors should not be favoured in the wireless spectrum auction.

For the first time ever, the federal government is proposing to set aside more than 40 percent of the 600 MHz spectrum for new carriers that are aiming to bring competition. In a statement to investors, Bell’s CEO George Cope said:

“Two of the largest cable companies in Canada shouldn’t be subsidized by taxpayers.”

The Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development process set aside this portion of the spectrum because the “Big Three” carriers have means to stop these smaller players from acquiring it during an open auction.

The framework is similar to the one used in 2008, resulting in start-ups gaining assets for far cheaper than they would have in an auction. Rogers and Bell don’t like this because the new framework proposed this year also allows for the new entrants into the Canadian market to be well-established companies.

In a statement, Rogers CEO Joe Natale said:

“I do take issue with the fact that we’ve got vibrant capable regional players that are being classified as new entrants and being given set aside opportunities when they’re not new entrants in the classical sense.”

The “Big Three” in Canada have a right to be scared if the new entrants allowed to use the set-aside portion of the wireless spectrum are well-established companies. We all remember the protests that happened when Verizon was rumoured to enter the Canadian market.

[via Financial Post]

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