Postmedia: The decision on the cell phone squeeze has come
It looks like Canadians—especially those who added their names to the petition at http://StopTheSqueeze.ca/ or sent our report to their MP—have had an effect in forcing the Big Three to back off. Yesterday Industry Minister Paradis announced rules that were expected to determine whether indie cell phone companies will get the resources they need.
While the decision that Paradis made is imperfect, it's clear that the government was disinclined to give in to the demands of the Big Three's lobbyists, who wanted to prevent shut their indie competitors out from being able to deliver service to us. And while we think this is a half measured approach, (and that the government will need to deal with angry Canadians if our prices don't drop), Big Telecom has again been prevented from implementing its plans.
Article by Jason Feteke for Postmedia News:
The federal government wants more competition in Canada's telecommunications sector, announcing Wednesday it will ease foreign ownership restrictions on telecom companies and place caps on upcoming multibillion-dollar wireless spectrum auctions to allow smaller wireless firms greater market access.
The last spectrum auction from 2008 raised $4.25 billion for the government. Industry Minister Christian Paradis wouldn't say how much he expects the auctions for the new spectrum will generate, although some analysts believe it could snare as much or more than four years ago.
"We are dealing with very valuable spectrum. This is an important decision," Paradis told reporters gathered in Russell, Ont. — about 30 kilometres outside Ottawa — for the announcement.
The decision is a partial victory for smaller telecom companies, such as newcomers Wind Mobile, Mobilicity and Videotron, which are looking to grab a larger share of the $18-billion Canadian market and gain access to the prime wireless spectrum that will be auctioned off by mid-2013.
However, the decision to loosen foreign ownership restrictions and place caps on upcoming prime spectrum is a bit of a blow to the three major incumbent telecom companies — Bell, Rogers and Telus.
The Big Three hold more than 90 per cent of wireless subscriber market share and had been pushing the government to toss out special rules that granted new carriers access to spectrum.
For Canadians, the upcoming auction for the 700 megahertz (MHz) spectrum will allow telecom companies to bring the latest 4G LTE mobile networks to consumers, businesses and into rural areas. Access to the faster mobile speeds will allow Canadians to secure high-definition video and video-conferencing on their iPads, PlayBooks and smartphones over mobile networks.
A federal study estimates the 2008 spectrum auction, which opened up the marketplace to new telecom companies, has reduced average Canadian mobile wireless prices by more than 10 per cent. Read more »
Read more at ottawacitizen.com