Earlier this morning Industry Minister James Moore announced the Federal Government has plans to launch the AWS-3 spectrum auction, capable of deploying LTE, while reserving a 30MHz block for wireless startups.
WIND Mobile CEO Anthony Lacavera has issued a statement on today’s announcements, applauding Ottawa’s move, saying it will increase competition:
“Today’s announcement is proof that the Federal Government is taking significant and important steps in encouraging more competition, more choice and more value in the Canadian wireless industry, and I applaud Minister James Moore for his positive efforts,”
The wireless startup previously noted it has plans to build an LTE network to compete with the Big 3, and this new spectrum will help them in their goal. One 30MHz block of the AWS-3 spectrum will be reserved in each region of Canada for wireless startups like WIND Mobile.
Lacavera continued to speak out against the high prices Canadians have been paying for wireless compared to the rest of the world:
“Canadians are paying too much for wireless services that lag behind the rest of the world – and only increased competition will improve that. Competitive alternatives like WIND Mobile need additional spectrum to grow and flourish. Decisions like the one announced today recognize that the Canadian wireless industry is maturing and demonstrate that the Government is determined to see that the demands of Canadian consumers are addressed.”
PIAC and CAC Support the AWS-3 Spectrum
Meanwhile, the consumers groups Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and the Consumers’ Association of Canada (CAC) have also issued a statement noting how today’s announcements of AWS-3 spectrum set aside for new entrants is good for consumers and will increase wireless competition, adding it will encourage a fourth wireless carrier.
“Wireless competition is lacking in Canada,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel for PIAC. “The set-aside of AWS-3 spectrum provides an on-ramp for competitors to get on the wireless data highway with smartphones” he added.
The set aside spectrum for ‘new entrants’ is defined as those with less than 10% national and 20% provincial/territorial subscriber marketshare (in other words, companies such as WIND Mobile, Mobilicity, Videotron). The auction will also require bidders to actually launch wireless service, instead of just buying and holding unused spectrum.
“Canadians are waiting for a fourth national wireless company,” said Bruce Cran, President of the Consumers’ Association of Canada. Added Cran: “Prices won’t fall and wireless competition will not really work until Canadians have another choice.”
Sounds like the AWS-3 spectrum auction and the set aside block for newer entrants is a good thing. Now it’s a matter of time to see who will bid and launch their national network first when the auction is completed in late 2014 or early 2015.