Archive for April, 2013

Spectrum Transfer Policy To Test Government’s Resolve on Wireless Competition

The issue of spectrum transfers has generated considerable attention over the past few weeks as Industry Canada prepares to unveil a transfer policy in response to the proposed sale of spectrum by Shaw to Rogers. Industry Minister Christian Paradis has made it clear that he is uncomfortable with the proposed sale, acknowledging that the intent of the 2008 spectrum auction set aside was not to have the spectrum end up in the hands of incumbents. While the incumbents and their supporters are raising the concerns about market uncertainty and potential lawsuits, the reality is that the government’s policy on the Canadian wireless market has been clear since 2007.  Despite the efforts of the CWTA and the incumbents to convince politicians and the public that Canada is a competitive market, the government believes more competition is needed.

The Conservatives’ policy on wireless competition solidified in 2007, when Prime Minister Harper shuffled then-Industry Minister Maxime Bernier (who most believed was opposed to government intervention in the form of a set-aside or other measures) with Jim Prentice. Within months, Prentice unveiled the government’s policy with the headline “Government Opts for More Competition in the Wireless Sector.”  In case there was any lingering doubt about where the government stood, the release noted:

Recent studies comparing international pricing of wireless services show Canadian consumers and businesses pay more for many of these services than people in other countries. These services are key to strengthening the competitiveness of Canadian business.

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April 17, 2013 5 comments News

The Canadian Digital Divide: The Experience Just North of Toronto

Soon after the publication of my column on the digital divide in Canada, I received the following email from a reader, who lives just north of Toronto (FWIW, I’ve received similar letters from people within the City of Ottawa limits). The reader reacts to both the lack of access and the efforts of Xplornet to stop the government from supporting communities without access. The letter ends with an important question: will the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology take the time to hear directly from Canadians without access?  The full letter is posted below with permission.

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April 12, 2013 41 comments News

New Wireless Entrants Abandon CWTA Strategy of Delay, Dilute, or Defeat Competitiveness Initiatives

The Canadian wireless sector was hit by a shock yesterday as the three major new entrants – Wind Mobile, Public Mobile, and Mobilicity – announced that they were withdrawing from the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association. The companies argued that the CWTA has shown consistent bias in favour of Bell, Telus, and Rogers, the three incumbent providers. All three used strong language to emphasize their frustration with the CWTA, speaking of a “blatant disregard” for new entrants and failures to honour promises of fair representation. 

The move is a major blow to the CWTA, which has long promoted itself as the voice of the industry. For example, during the recent CRTC consumer wireless code hearing, it opened by stating:

CWTA represents virtually all of the major companies in Canada’s wireless telecommunications ecosystem. Our members include wireless service providers, handset manufacturers, builders of network, infrastructure and numerous other companies that develop and produce products and services for the industry and for consumers.

No longer.  So why the change? 

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April 11, 2013 42 comments News

Government Now Says No Deadline for CETA Completion

Ted Menzies, the Minister of State for Finance, yesterday delivered a talk on the Canada – EU Trade Agreement that marked an important shift in the government’s rhetoric on the agreement. Aside from a bizarre reference to the value of the agreement being $17 trillion dollars (total Canadian GDP is […]

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April 11, 2013 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

Nowak: Debunking Yet Another Set of Wireless Myths

Peter Nowak is back with another thorough debunking of many of the wireless myths about the competitiveness of the Canadian market.

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April 11, 2013 Comments are Disabled Must Reads