Rogers Tries to Distance Itself From Spectrum Battle But It Can’t Run From its Record

The Globe and Mail reports that Rogers Communications is trying to distance itself from this summer’s spectrum auction/Verizon battle. Edward Rogers apparently told an investor conference:

“It’s been like watching a bit of a soap opera. Rogers has tried to be not as engaged in the dramatics of it and tried, as best we can, [to] offer more of a practical alternative for government, for industry.”

Uh huh. So Vice-Chair Phil Lind claiming in July that “everything that they could possibly ask for they’re doing for Verizon” was staying out of the fray? Or CEO Nadir Mohamed warning in August that the government’s approach could result in slower wireless speeds was offering a practical alternative? Sending a company-wide pre-written email urging employees to write to the government and registering 13 board members to lobby the government was not engaged?  Running advertisements about employees losing their jobs in Moncton wasn’t dramatic? Arguing that a fourth carrier won’t work in Canada was another practical alternative? The record speaks for itself and no amount of spin will change the fact that Rogers, Bell, and Telus will have to live with the consequences of behaving like “raving lunatics” (in the words of Wind Mobile CEO Anthony Lacavera).


  1. At least they provided a marketing 101 textbook case on how NOT to run a disinformation campaign.

  2. How is this different from any other interest group trying to protect its own? Both sides did it during the copyright wars. Probably Rogers et al will lose market share and revenue the new spectrum auction. And I’m not sure how it benefits consumers if one of the Big 3 is left out of this. I don’t expect you to be an apologist for the Harper government, but they’ve hardly handled this well.

  3. Your worries seem misplaced.
    Bob, It is only a slight possibility that any of the Big 3 will not get a block of the new spectrum. There are four blocks available and four likely bidders: Bell, Rogers, Telus & Wind. Now it is true that Wind has the option of getting two while the others don’t but how likely is that? Wind’s financial resources are not equal to any of the other three and since this is a bidding process how could it possibly afford to capture two? Only if the Big three allow it.

    The campaign this Summer was certainly within the rights of the Canadian incumbents, no argument there. Was it effective? I doubt it had much influence on Verizon’s decision one way or the other. Did it change more Canadian opinions in their favour than it turned against? I doubt it.

    General consensus is it was a lot of money spent for nothing. Who will end up paying for that? We will with higher fees, as we are their only source of income. Thanks guys.

  4. Crockett, the auction rules reserve two of the four blocks for new or smaller players, so it seems very likely that only two blocks will be available for the Big 3. So, it will hit the customers of the loser.

  5. Bob, you’re making a couple of assumptions: One, that all the currently available blocks are fully utilized (or utilized at all), and two, that telus/rogers/bell won’t have some sort of roaming/sharing agreement in place for the new blocks that are won at auction.

  6. @Bob
    Not a big deal really. I doubt that losing some of the spectrum will mean much to any of them big 3.

    Ed’s scenario is more likely anyway.

  7. @ED
    Have to agree. The loser is still allowed to share towers. So if its just the three they will keep the bidding low and reap the windfall of a cheap spectrum and the loser will pay up some way. So its a lose for the consumer. All this blowing of hot air and stirring up the pot for the illusion effect so the big three can cry crocodile tears with a stone face, so they can get the spectrum for next to nothing. Just remember what ever they pay it will be low balled to what they would have paid if their was true competition. You don’t think the government is having a hand in this. This is the classic government doing something for the consumer illusion.