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700 MHz Spectrum Auction Results a Disappointment for Consumers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OTTAWA – Today’s announcement of the most recent spectrum auction results is a disappointment for Canadian wireless consumers said the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC).

PIAC had called upon the government to “set-aside” valuable 700 MHz spectrum in the auction for “new entrants” who would challenge the incumbent wireless providers Bell, TELUS and Rogers. Unfortunately, the list of bidders, and eventual winners, preserve the competition status quo in Canada, with the exception of Videotron, which has acquired some spectrum that may, by acquiring and piecing together spectrum licences from a previous auction, be enough to launch a national wireless service.

“Despite efforts by the Federal Government to promote competition, and previous efforts to improve access by competitors to towers and roaming requirements, little has changed with today’s results”, said John Lawford, PIAC’s Executive Director and General Counsel. “We urge the government to use other methods to attempt to address the lack of competition in the Canadian wireless market as consumers in Canada will continue to pay more for wireless than in other countries, at least in the short to medium term.”

Those methods include enforcing the new competition-focused policy on spectrum transfers; strengthening the roaming and tower-sharing framework; following through on the Government’s promise to cap domestic roaming rates; releasing more licensed and unlicensed spectrum; and creating a more open and predictable environment for foreign investment. PIAC also encourages the Government to ensure that spectrum licence holders use their spectrum throughout their licenced territories, instead of using the licence as an investment to sell to a higher bidder.

For more information:

John Lawford
General Counsel and Executive Director
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
(613) 562-4002×25
(613) 447-8125 (cell)
jlawford@piac.ca

Geoffrey White
Counsel to PIAC
(613) 562-4002×24
(613) 612-1190 (cell)
gwhite@piac.ca

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