The federal government’s spectrum auction starts today with its wireless strategy in tatters. Late yesterday, Wind Mobile announced that it was withdrawing from the auction, creating a new entrant vacuum that seems likely to leave some of the prime spectrum in major markets such as Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia […]
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With Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam stating yesterday that “Verizon is not going to Canada”, the government’s best hope for “more choice, lower prices, better service” may have been lost. The mere possibility of a Verizon entry into Canada sparked a massive lobbying campaign by the incumbent carriers, who used every […]
The great wireless battle of 2013 continues to unfold with Bell, Rogers, and Telus – the big three incumbents that dominate the Canadian market – calling for “fairness” in Canadian telecom policy. Ben Klass posted an exceptional response to Bell over the weekend that provided some perspective on Canadian spectrum allocation, while Peter Nowak once again took on Telus’ speaking points on the issue. My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that the incumbents concerns with the policy represent a notable shift, since they described it as “thoughtful and balanced” when it was unveiled by then-Industry Minister Christian Paradis in 2012. The same companies now say the rules will create a “bloodbath” since they fear the potential entry of Verizon Communications, a U.S. telecom giant with the power to shake up the Canadian market.
While the incumbents have framed the issue around fairness and a “level playing field”, the reality is that Canadian policies are strikingly similar to those found in many other countries that have sought to encourage greater competition. Moreover, the arguments around level playing fields conveniently omit the myriad of advantages enjoyed by the incumbents.
Appeared in the Toronto Star on August 3, 2013 as Setting the Record Straight on the Great Wireless Battle The great wireless battle of 2013 continues to unfold with Bell, Rogers, and Telus – the big three incumbents that dominate the Canadian market – calling for “fairness” in Canadian telecom […]
Telus’ decision to file a lawsuit against the federal government over its spectrum transfer rules continues a trend of flip-flopping on policy issues at the company. What does Telus think of the government’s wireless policies? Apparently it depends when you ask. For example, in March 2012, Telus said the following about the spectrum auction approach:
TELUS believes this is a thoughtful and balanced decision that meets the Government’s objectives of promoting consumer choice, supporting sustainable competition through investment in technology and further expanding broadband services in rural markets.
Sixteen months (and the possibility of a Verizon entry) later, CEO Darren Entwistle now says:
There’s going to be a bloodbath, because people are not going to give up on getting that block. So it’s going to be prohibitively expensive and suck a lot of money out of the industry – money that won’t go to infrastructure and technology, money that won’t go into rural coverage or support lower prices.
There is similar change of tune with the latest lawsuit.