The government’s vision of fostering new competition is somewhat limited. The primary goal appears to be the creation of a strong, national fourth carrier in the market. The spectrum caps and foreign ownership changes are both geared toward giving a fourth player the necessary spectrum and capital to compete with Bell, Telus and Rogers. That suggests consolidation of the current smaller players in the hope of a single, stronger competitor – possibly foreign owned – challenging the incumbents. Given the current environment, it is not clear that this generates significant new consumer choice.
While the headlines have focused on changes to the foreign ownership rules, the new changes are rather timid. There is an opening for a foreign competitor to enter the marketplace by buying some of the smaller players or aggressively bidding on spectrum, but there is no vision of throwing the market open to full-scale competition that might include a major international player entering the market by buying an incumbent. That would shake up the competitive landscape far more than the incremental, go-safe approach in this policy.